Most AR-15 gun owners own AR-15s to protect their self, family, and property

After protection, a major reason most AR-15 gun owners own an AR-15 is because it is fun to shoot, the latest results of a Washington Post-Ipsos poll of gun owners finds.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington DC, March 27, 2023—A major reason most AR-15 gun owners (65%) own an AR-15 is to protect themselves, family, and their property, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll of 2,104 gun owners conducted in October 2022. Most AR-15 gun owners also say a major reason they own an assault rifle is because it’s fun to shoot (63%) and to use it for target shooting (60%). Four in five AR-15 owners (80%) fire their AR-15-style rifle a few times a year or less. For AR-15 gun owners, most (75%) report that all or some of their friends own assault rifles. Among all gun owners, only 35% report that all or most of their friends own AR-15s.
Read the Washington Post's piece here.

About the Study

This poll was jointly sponsored and funded by The Washington Post and Ipsos. It was conducted among a random sample of 2,104 U.S. adults 18 and older who reported they own a gun, of which 399 own an AR-15-style rifle. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. A sample of adults aged 18 years and older were screened for gun ownership and gun owners were asked if they own an AR-15. 

The questionnaire was administered with the exact questions in the exact order as they appear in this document. Demographic questions are not shown. If a question was asked of a reduced base of the sample, a parenthetical preceding the question identifies the group asked.

Ipsos conducted sampling, interviewing and tabulation for the survey using the KnowledgePanel, a representative panel of adults aged 18 years and over living in the United States. The survey was conducted online among a sample from the KnowledgePanel, an ongoing survey panel recruited through random sampling of U.S. households through address-based sampling. Panel members who do not have internet access are provided with a tablet and internet service.

This survey uses statistical weighting procedures to account for deviations in the survey sample from known population characteristics, which helps correct for differential survey participation and random variation in samples. The general population adult sample was weighted to match the makeup of the population geodemographics to the sources below. The gun owner weight was then scaled to the number of respondents.  



U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey (ACS)

Sex, region, metropolitan status, age, education, household income

U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2022 Current Population Survey supplement (CPS)

Metropolitan status

Washington Post-ABC News telephone polls

Political party affiliation

The margin of sampling error for the sample of AR-15-style rifle owners, including the design effect is plus or minus 5.5 percentage points. Note that sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll.

All error margins have been adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, which is 1.2. The design effect is a factor representing the survey’s deviation from a simple random sample and takes into account decreases in precision due to sample design and weighting procedures. Surveys that do not incorporate a design effect overstate their precision. 


For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President,
Public Affairs, U.S.
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Vice President,
Public Affairs, U.S.
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs