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Firearms In Poland 2023: Number of permits continues to grow

The National Police Headquarters has released statistics regarding the number of firearm permits and firearms themselves in the hands of Poles. According to the statistics, the number of new firearm owners exceeded 40,000 in 2023, thus surpassing the record set in 2022.

Year 2023

The year 2022 was revolutionary in terms of the number of new firearm owners. Its impressive number of 37,402 new permits was surpassed in the following year, however, reaching… 40,867.

The number of individuals who were issued a firearm permit in 2023, categorized by the purpose for which the permit was issued

The number of individuals who were issued a firearm permit for a specific purpose*:

  • Collector’s – 17,019 individuals,
  • Sporting – 12,363 individuals,
  • Personal protection – 6,242 individuals,
  • Hunting – 4,279 individuals,
  • Protection of persons or property – 756 individuals,
  • Training – 187 individuals,
  • Historical reenactment – 7 individuals,
  • Memorial – 7 individuals,
  • Other – 7 individuals.

*The numbers do not include individuals for whom the permits were issued under art. 155 of the Code of Administrative Procedure amending the decision regarding the number of firearms, or individuals who obtained a firearm permit for the same purpose, issued after 2011 pursuant to art. 10 of the Firearms and Ammunition Act

According to Police data, as of December 31, 2023, the number of individuals with a firearm permit reached 323,983, owning a total of 843,755 registered firearms. However, it should be noted that a single person may have several different types of permits.

Overall status as of December 31, 2023

The approximate number of firearms per person holding a permit for a specific purpose as of December 31, 2023:

  • Training – 7.9
  • Historical reenactment – 3.3
  • Collector’s – 2.8
  • Hunting – 2.8
  • Sporting – 2.7
  • Memorial – 1.5
  • Personal protection – 1.0
  • Other – 0.9
  • Protection of persons or property – 0.6

Changes 2022/2023

Approximate changes between 2022 and 2023

While the highest number of permits were obtained for collecting, sports, personal protection, and hunting purposes, the largest year-on-year increase was observed in permits for the protection of persons or property. In 2023, such permits were issued to 756 individuals – for comparison, in 2022, it was just one (!) person.

A high increase was also noted in permits for personal protection purposes. In 2022, 154 people obtained such a permit, while in 2023, it was 6,242 individuals.

Changes 2014-2023

Total number of permits in 2014-2023

From 2014 to 2021, the number of permits for hunting and sports purposes increased at a similar pace. Since 2019, the number of permits for collecting purposes began to catch up with those for sports purposes, surpassing them in 2022, when there was a drastic increase in the number of both types of permits. The reason for this sudden growth was the outbreak of war in Ukraine, which led to increased interest in firearm ownership among the population. This event caused a growth that theoretically would have occurred only over the next few years. The increase from the previous year was not as drastic, but it may indicate the emergence of a new trend, as illustrated in the chart below.


Polish Arsenal

As of December 31, 2023, there were 843,755 registered firearms in the possession of Poles (excluding black powder firearms that do not use modern cartridges). On December 31, 2022, there were 760,218 registered firearms – and a year later, their number increased by 83,537 (an increase of approximately 11%). For comparison, the increase from 2021 to 2022 was almost 16%, and from 2020 to 2021, it was just under 12%.

February 2022 was a cold shower for many permit holders and made them decide it is the time to purchase firearms. Stores reported cases where purchases of the first firearm were made with a permit issued as far back as 2018.

Will Poles continue to arm themselves? The war in Ukraine is still ongoing, with occasional breakthroughs by both sides. Analysts try to predict the end of the conflict, while the Russian government continues to express hostility towards Western countries, especially Poland. This raises concerns in society, fueled by military speculations and predictions of a new conflict erupting in the coming years. This news has led to an increased interest in various types of training organized by private companies, whether it’s first aid, survival skills, self-defense, or a combination of all three. This military-themed topic is increasingly permeating social media, where more and more interviews or popular short films are appearing. Military topics are becoming more integrated into everyday life, and self-defense organizations boldly advertise their activities. Stores have also noticed the increase in demand from 2022, actively encouraging the acquisition of permits and often assisting in their processing. The surge in demand and the quick response of entrepreneurs have led to swift depletion of store shelves. Nearly 2 years since the outbreak of war, stores continue to expand and offer firearms at both low and high price ranges. This is likely not happening without reason.

While the topic of firearms still remains somewhat taboo in Polish society, interest in them is certainly higher than before the beginning of 2022. Estimating based on the average rate of change, in 2024, the number of permits will reach approximately 343,421. However, will it continue to grow at such a rapid pace? The boom that originated in 2022 may subside, and permits may increase at a pace similar to that of the years 2018-2021.


Based on statistics released by National Police Headquarters.

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