TriggerFinger


Some time ago, I asked about the number of cartridges used per year...


And now, I have a belated answer: 12 billion rounds of ammunition sold in the United States each year. The chart does not indicate how many of each type, but does list the most popular types (including handy color-coding by state).

I had originally asked about it to refute a claim by Dianne Feinstein that "assault weapons" were not "in common use" (the term from the Heller decision). One way to refute that claim is to show usage by ammunition type. So let's look at the ammunition types by rank.


  1. 9mm: Most popular in handguns, but almost all handguns designed for this round were designed to take advantage of its smaller size to increase the magazine capacity. As such, almost all handguns that use this cartridge can accept magazines over 10 rounds, which qualified them as an "assault weapon" if they had other cosmetic design features. Most popular in 30+ states.

  2. 223/5.56mm: Most popular in the AR-15 rifle, this is the quintessential "assault weapon" that gives Feinstein nightmares. Oddly enough, this round is the most popular in California, and a total of 7 states.

  3. 12 Gauge: your basic hunting or home defense shotgun. Doesn't imply an assault weapon. This is the most popular round in only three states, which may suggests

  4. .22lr: Your classic target shooting or plinking round. Doesn't imply an assault weapon, mostly because no one even tries to pack more than 12 or so into a magazine. There's almost no point. Oddly, this is the most popular round in only one state. Well, possibly also Hawaii. Restrictions may play a role here too.

  5. 300 Win Mag: Only one state again, and it's Alaska. Apparently shooting at anything in Alaska with anything less powerful is futile.



So. I defy even Feinstein to claim that 12 billion rounds is not common use. We don't know the exact distribution, but we know the far and away favorite ammunition type is the 9mm, which is practically defined by its large magazine capacity. The next most popular is the 223, which is also defined by its large magazine capacity and use in the AR-15.

That's what common use looks like.

This entry was published Thu Nov 22 06:47:20 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2018-11-20 04:52:04.0. [Tweet]

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