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The global small caliber ammunition market size was USD 8,140.0 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 8,808.9 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 1.72% during the forecast period.
Small caliber ammunition is a combination of cartridges and bullets fired or scattered from a weapon, especially from a gun. It consists of gunpowder and primers for ignition or explosion. These are the projectiles used with fuses, propelling charges used in guns, small arms, and artillery. Such ammunition is manufactured using a variety of materials such as brass, steel, and others.
The increase in the procurement of small caliber ammunition by armed forces, local enforcement agencies, and border security forces is driving this market. Furthermore, the increasing use of ammunition for sports and hunting activities in North America, especially in the US, is expected to propel the growth of the market across the region.
The U.S. is the largest market for guns as it constitutes 46% of the total number of guns in the world. Continuous changes in governmental norms regarding gun usage are likely to affect sales, which, in turn, will affect the demand for small ammunition. However, increasing investments in R&D to manufacture advanced ammunition and stockpiling of ammunition will create opportunities during the forecast period.
Growing Personal Security Concerns amid COVID-19 Pandemic to Surge Gun & Ammunition Sales in the US
In March 2020, US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this, firearm sales surged for the next few days and reached 120,000 per day, as per government data. The sudden spike in gun and ammunition sales was fueled by the growing concerns about personal safety and a staggering economy.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), firearm background checks were at an all-time high during the COVID-19 outbreak. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) showed 14 million checks between March 2020 and June 2020.
Due to the pandemic, people in the U.S. felt insecure, thus increasing the number of first-time guns and ammunition owners. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) estimates that in the first quarter of 2020, 40% of firearms were purchased by first-time buyers.
Guns and Ammunition Industry Witnessed Unmatched Challenges amid COVID-19 Pandemic (All Countries except the US)
COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global economy in three main domains
The defense industries of various countries have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden reduction in demand has changed the dynamics of this industry. Due to lockdowns, there has been a huge impact on the defense sector, which has resulted in a slowdown in ammunition production. Countries’ defense expenditures have taken a hit, with resources getting shifted towards the healthcare sector. For example, India and Thailand announced a reduction of their defense expenditures due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Janes.com, an open-source defense intelligence company in the UK, forecasts that defense expenditures in European countries will be around USD 288.8 billion in 2021, reflecting a 0.97% decrease from the previous year. The UK, France, and Germany contribute up to 50% of their overall defense expenditures in the European Union (EU). As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, these countries have had to cut military expenditure, which has caused an overall contraction in the European defense sector.
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Growing Demand for Environment-friendly Bullets to Spur Development of Green Ammunitions
Nowadays, companies and military agencies are looking forward to designing and developing environment-friendly ammunition. In an effort to protect the ecosystem, the U.S. army has been involved in the designing and development of biodegradable bullets, with its focus being on reducing soil contamination.
The hazardous materials used in ammunition such as lead creates soil contamination and companies and government agencies are focusing on eliminating lead by using polymer-based ammunition instead. This also reduces the weight and costs of ammunition for guns.
Development of Advanced Ammunition to Gain Popularity among Shooters and Military Forces
The smokeless powder used in bullets generates high temperature and pressure, indirectly increasing friction. Thus, the increasing usage of copper and zinc alloys to cover bullets provides a shield and improves the overall performance of the firearm. Fragile ammunition is mostly used for close quarter battle (CQB) training, generally for close-range steel targets. These bullets can easily hit a small target, yet if a shooter misses the target, there is little danger of harming someone else in the vicinity.
Tracer ammunition is also gaining popularity in the armed forces. In this, the bullet travels through the air, emits an intense light, trails smoke, and helps to see the bullet’s path. These types of ammunition were recently used by the military and civilians for a better shooting experience.
Increasing Usage of Guns for Personal Safety to Propel Market Growth
Small caliber ammunition is majorly used for civilian applications such as sports shooting, hunting, personal safety, and others. Increasing instances of mass shootings, especially in the U.S. and Australia, growing terrorism activities, and rising demand from defense forces are driving the small caliber ammunition market growth. In August 2020, for example, there was a shooting incident in a social gathering at Dubois Place Southeast, Washington, DC that killed a girl and injured 19 other people.
Handguns are used primarily by military officers and policemen as side-arms. The U.S. has a huge market for civilian firearms and thus there is a rise in the demand for the small caliber ammunition required for pistols and revolvers.
In addition, an increase in the production of handguns, shotguns, light machine guns, short-range rifles, and large gun imports and exports across the globe are also aiding the growth of the market. Furthermore, the growing number of mass shooting instances every year in the U.S. has heightened personal security concerns among citizens. As per the data released by Gun Violence Archives (GVA), there were 366 mass shooting incidents recorded in the U.S. till November 2019 that killed 406 people.
Military Modernization Programs in Major Countries to Boost Market Growth
The rising threat of terrorist activities, political unrest across the globe, and geopolitical tensions in Asian and Middle Eastern countries have led to the procurement of next-generation ammunition and associated equipment to enhance the defense capabilities of countries. An increase in ammunition procurement and military modernization programs in several countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and India are boosting the growth of the market.
Military spending on R&D activities and the signing of ammunition procurement contracts have increased significantly across the world, particularly in the US. Increasing defense budgets of developing countries for enhancing military strength is auguring well for this market. For example, in its 2020 defense budget, the U.S. Department of Defense allotted USD 201.6 million for the procurement of small ammunition for the U.S. Army. These factors will drive the growth of the market.
Differences in Economic, Legal, and Political Regulations to Restrict Growth
Governmental rules and regulations regarding the ownership of guns and ammunition vary between countries. As a result, small arms and ammunition original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) encounter several challenges posed by the stringent government norms and lengthy certification processes. India, for instance, has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. In India, prospective gun owners have to show that they are trained and must secure their firearms in a knocked down condition in gun lockers.
These strict gun laws impact key players’ contracts and procurement processes across countries. International trade of small-caliber ammunition is highly restricted by different regulatory authorities such as law enforcement agencies and homeland security. This hampers the growth of the market.
In the US, after the 2016 Presidential election, there was a continuous decline in gun sales, which affected the market. Previously, the U.S. government had imposed stringent regulations on firearm ownership. According to the Giffords Law Center, buyers had to undergo background checks to get ammunition and firearm licenses in the states of New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. These factors are expected to hinder the growth of the market during the forecast period.
5.56*45 and 7.62*39/54r Caliber Segment to Gain Momentum
Based on caliber, the market for small caliber ammunition is segmented into 223 Remington, 308 Winchester, 9mm Luger, 45 auto/ACP, 380 ACP, 357 Magnum, 10 Gauge, 12 Gauge, 40 S&W, 20 Gauge, 22LR, 50 BMG, 6.5 Grendel, 7.62*39/54r, 5.56*45, 0.338 Lapua, 30-06 Springfield, and others. Among these, the 22LR caliber segment holds the highest share in the market. The fast growth of the segment is attributed to the increasing use of caliber in handguns as well as rifles. The increasing use of handguns and rifles for commercial and military applications will further drive this segment’s growth.
The 5.56*45 and 7.62*39 segments will showcase remarkable growth during 2020-2027. These are the popular rifle caliber ammunitions used by military forces in different countries. Increasing defense expenditures and procurement of advanced rifles are expected to drive the adoption of these calibers.
The 9mm Luger is the most widely used handgun cartridge in the United States. Handguns are widely used in hunting, sports shooting, and self-defense. The increasing demand for pistols for a variety of applications is set to increase the demand for the 9mm Luger caliber.
High Adoption of Handguns and Rifles in Military and Homeland Security Operations to Drive Growth
Based on application, the market is classified into commercial and military & homeland security. The commercial segment is further grouped into shooting sports & hunting and self-defense. The military & homeland security segment held the highest market share in 2019. The increasing demand for ammunition in military modernization programs and increasing defense expenditures in several countries across the globe boosts the growth of this segment.
The commercial segment will show significant growth during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the increasing demand for ammunition for sports and hunting activities in North America, especially in the U.S. The presence of a large number of shooting ranges and rising personal security concerns are fueling the growth of the market.
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Increasing Demand for Bullets for Hunting and Sports Shooting to Propel Growth
By bullet type, the market is classified into lead, copper, brass, and others. The copper bullet segment is anticipated to showcase remarkable growth owing to the extremely consistent performance and lightweight features of copper bullets. In addition, copper bullets provide accuracy and deeper penetration.
The lead type bullet segment is estimated to hold a considerable market share during the forecast period due to the applications of lead bullets in a variety of activities such as hunting, self-defense, shooting cans or bottles, or shooting target points. Lead is a malleable metal and while keeping its weight and properties, it can be easily combined with other metals. Moreover, a major advantage of lead bullets is their versatility and the relative softness of the projectile. Their accuracy makes them different from other bullet types, enabling this segment to hold the major market share.
North America Small Caliber Ammunition Market Size, 2016-2027 (USD Million)
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The market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. North America is anticipated to be the leading region in the market share during the forecast period. The region’s dominance is attributable to the increasing defense expenditure and military modernization programs in the US. The presence of key players in North America, which includes Olin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and General Dynamics Corporation, is also projected to boost the market.
Asia Pacific will witness substantial growth during 2020-2027. The growth is attributed to the rising number of terrorist activities in Asian countries, growing political conflicts, and increasing investments in several countries in defense operations across the region. In 2020, the defense budgets of China, India, Japan, and South Korea were USD 237 billion, USD 61 billion, USD 49 billion, and USD 44 billion, respectively.
In Europe, the presence of key players such as BAE Systems, Nammo AS, RAUG Group, and Nexter will drive the regional market growth. Growing investments in Europe from private defense companies for the development of advanced calibers is anticipated to boost the market growth.
The Middle East & Africa is set to register remarkable growth during the forecast period. This growth is owing to the increasing expenditure on defense and the strengthening of military forces by countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel.
Latin America is estimated to show moderate growth owing to the rising defense spending by Brazil and Argentina.
Key Players to Focus on Business Expansion by Securing Contracts with Defense Forces
The small-caliber ammunition manufacturers are majorly focusing on business expansion through contracts with defense forces of different countries. In April 2020, for instance, Nammo AS signed a contract worth USD 68.3 million with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration for the delivery of small caliber ammunition. This enables the Swedish Armed forces to strengthen their military training program. The contract covers deliveries from 2020 to 2022. In addition to that, in July 2020, Fiocchi of America invested USD 15 million to expand its existing production facility in Southwest Little Rock, USA. The plant produces components for ammunition and will be converted into a full-production facility, mainly for center-fire ammunition.
An Infographic Representation of Small Caliber Ammunition Market
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The small caliber ammunition market research report provides an in-depth technical analysis of the market and majorly focuses on key aspects such as leading market players, COVID-19 effect on the market, leading technological trends, and research ideology of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the current market trends and highlights key industry developments & trends. In addition to the aforesaid factors, the report analyzes factors that will contribute towards the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Value (USD million)
By Bullet Type
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 8,140.0 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 8,808.9 million by 2027.
In 2019, the North America market value stood at USD 4,412.9 million.
Growing at a CAGR of 1.72%, the market will exhibit low growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).
The commercial segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The increasing use of guns for personal safety is propelling the growth of the market.
BAE Systems, General Dynamics Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Aguila Ammunition, RAUG Group, Olin Corporation, Denel SOC Ltd., and Nammo AS are the major players in the global market.
North America dominated the market in 2019.
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