NSSF reported that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) completed 680,671 background checks related to firearms for the week leading up to and including Black Friday. That figure is down 4.3 percent from 2022’s total of 711,372 for the same period. 

FBI NICS completed 214,913 background checks on Black Friday— the highest figure recorded for a Black Friday. The figure approximates firearm sales at retail on that day, although it also includes background checks for other firearms-related purposes, including approvals for concealed carry permits.

NSSF said it has worked with firearm retailers to spread out special sales offers to customers throughout the week leading up to Black Friday so as not to overwhelm FBI NICS on a single day, which can result in longer than usual wait times.

“The background checks reported by the FBI are in keeping with the trends NSSF has seen throughout the year. Firearm sales remain consistently strong, with over a million per month for more than four years running,” explained Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. “These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”

Annual background check data shows that firearm sales typically rise during the final months of the year, coinciding with hunting seasons and holiday sales.

The following data pertains to the unadjusted FBI NICS background checks performed leading up to Black Friday:

  • November 18, 2023: 95,354
  • November 19, 2023: 52,521
  • November 20, 2023: 79,970
  • November 21, 2023: 101,199
  • November 22, 2023: 110,703
  • November 23, 2023: 26,011
  • November 24, 2023: 214,913

 Photo courtesy Outdoor Life