So yeah, 16 million ARs/AKs were made in the U.S. since 1990

Curious about some actual figures on how many semi-auto (Title I) AR-15 and AK-47 style platforms there were in the country, I contacted the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization for the gun industry. This is what they sent me as a production estimate after combing through the ATF’s AMFER data compared to manufacturers:

Yup, just over 16 million ARs and AKs from 1990-2016.

As far as the number in circulation, while some have surely been scrapped, worn out, broken or otherwise retired, guns manufactured or imported before 1989 are not listed in the 16 million figure. Likewise, guns assembled from so-called “80 percent” lowers or kits by home builders are not tracked by the industry. Keep in mind that before 1989 an estimated one million SKS rifles (some of which were M-models with detachable mags) and about half as many Chicom AK clones came in the country. Further, I do not believe the figure includes Mini-14s and Mini-30s, which Ruger have cranked out in seven-figure quantities since the 1970s.

In short, I think the 16 million mark may be a low-ball.

The debate over just how common ARs are has been a matter of legal contention at the federal level for several years. More in my column at

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “So yeah, 16 million ARs/AKs were made in the U.S. since 1990”

  1. I am Not Cory Booker says :

    Obama is the King of gun salesman!

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