At least to the general public…
The 2017 BATF production statistics, Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report (AFMER), https://www.atf.gov/file/133476/download have been released. There are some interesting facts about market trends in it. The snub nose .38, which was a long time standard for Personal Protection, has clearly been replaced in popularity by compact .380 ACP autoloaders. This continues a trend that has been building for a decade.
Total .38 revolver – 177,956
Total .380 autoloader – 848,425
Americans blithely continued to disregard the cognoscenti who say .380s will get them ‘kilt in da streetz.’ The last year in which .38/.357 revolver production was close to .380 production was 2008.
In fact, .380 production exceeds the combined total of both .22 revolvers and .22 autoloaders. That surprised me. The .380 is the second most popular caliber in the Nation, after 9mm.
Ruger’s production statistics are interesting. It produced 12 times as many .380s as LCRs. In fact, .380 production for 2017, 376,304 units, was 80 percent greater than all their other centerfire autoloaders combined. Over the past ten years, Ruger’s production of the LCP has averaged 227,220 units annually. Production of the LCP as of Year End 2017 has been 2,272,204 pistols, making it one of the most popular pistols in America.
Other notable (>10,000 units) manufacturers of .380s were:
- Taurus – 60,172 units
- Glock (US manufacture) – 73,646 units
- Smith & Wesson – 113,246 units
- Remington – 15,045 units
- Sig Sauer – 66,586 units
- Jimenez Arms – 11,586 units
- Kimber – 27,608 units
- Hi Point – 14,805 units
- Beretta – 20,810 units
- Browning – 19,472 units
- Cobra – 11,475 units
- Walther – 13,604 units
S&W produced over 7 times as many 9/40/45 autoloaders as they did .38s. They produced nearly as many .380 Bodyguards as they did J Frame revolvers. Its 2017 production of 9mm autoloaders alone was 606,732 units, in contrast to 207,384 total revolvers produced.
Aficionados might be experiencing a ‘revolver resurgence,’ but the general public just isn’t interested.