Ammunition Sales Up Too
For the last few years, commercial ammunition has been Alliant's fastest-growing business, fueled in part by Americans' increased concern over their safety and fears that stricter gun control laws could be ahead, company officials say. The segment's performance has helped Alliant offset declines in its aerospace and defense segments due to federal budget cuts and the end of the U.S. war in Iraq.
While Alliant can claim a piece of some markets, like missile components or military weapons, it is the undisputed leader in making ammunition for both military and non-military customers, a division that produced more than $900 million in sales last year.
Revenue for the commercial segment, recently renamed the sporting group, continues to be buoyed by rising gun sales. Firearm ownership in the U.S. has never been higher, with more than 300 million guns in civilians' hands, said Larry Keane, a senior vice president at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
"It's what's referred to as 'the Obama factor,'" Keane said. "Individuals concerned about future restrictions have been stocking up."
FBI background checks on gun buyers -- a key barometer of civilian firearm and ammunition sales -- have grown dramatically since 2008. So have federal excise tax collections on guns and ammo, up 45 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to the Treasury Department.