Special Report

The Gun Calibers Most Likely to be Used for Crime in Every State

John Normile / Getty Images News via Getty Images

The United States has more firearms than people, and while most guns are held by law-abiding citizens, many end up being used in crimes. The majority of murders are committed using a gun, and handguns were the most common weapon used in robberies in 2021. Guns that are traced by the ATF are typically those found at crime scenes. These guns either have been used, or are suspected to have been used, to commit a crime. It is important to note, however, that not all firearms used in a crime are traced.

To identify the firearm calibers most likely to be used for crime in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on firearm tracings from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Specific rifle, handgun, and shotgun calibers and gauges traced by the ATF in 2021 were ranked based on tracings in 2021. We also reviewed data on firearm background checks from the FBI, which are often used as a proxy for gun sales. Background check data is also from 2021. 

One characteristic of firearms is their caliber, which is the internal diameter of a gun’s barrel. The larger the diameter of the barrel, the larger the bullets that it fires. In turn, larger calibers can be more deadly because of their size and power.

The most common caliber used in crime in every state is the 9-millimeter. The 9mm designation covers a range of barrel sizes that are between 9 and 9.99 mm. For a national ranking of calibers, these are the firearm calibers used most to commit crime in the U.S.

Most other calibers are expressed in inches. For example, .22 caliber gun is a gun with a barrel diameter of around 0.22 inches. The 9mm category covers weapons that have barrel diameters of 0.35 to 0.393 inches. The caliber designation is not always exact and is used to categorize guns with similar barrel sizes.

Most firearms do not go beyond a caliber of .50, and even that can be extremely powerful and a lot to handle. For this reason, handguns usually come in smaller calibers.The  9mm is often associated with handguns but it is also a common caliber for long guns.

According to the ATF, there are three main ways guns flow from legal vendors to the black market: They are stolen from private owners or gun dealers; they are purchased by someone who can legally buy firearms to give to someone who cannot, also known as a straw purchase; or they are bought through what is commonly known as the gun show loophole.

In many states, individual gun owners do not have to initiate a background check when selling to another individual, and may inadvertently sell a firearm to someone who cannot legally possess one. These kinds of sales can happen at gun shows, hence the name, but they also happen outside of these events. (Here is a look at how many guns are stolen in each state.)

Click here to see the firearm calibers most likely to be used for crime in every state.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

Source: Barry Lewis / In Pictures via Getty Images

Alabama
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (3,851, 43.8% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,043, 11.9% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (735, 8.4% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 174.5 per 100,000 people – 9th most (8,797 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 18,776 per 100,000 people – 5th most (946,271 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: specnaz-s / iStock via Getty Images

Alaska
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (208, 26.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (102, 13.1% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .45 caliber (80, 10.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 106.2 per 100,000 people – 20th fewest (778 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 12,449 per 100,000 people – 13th most (91,207 total)

Source: Marc Lecureuil / Getty Images

Arizona
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (5,215, 43.4% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,119, 9.3% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (934, 7.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 165.3 per 100,000 people – 10th most (12,027 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,748 per 100,000 people – 17th fewest (563,763 total)

Source: artas / iStock via Getty Images

Arkansas
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,472, 41.9% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (411, 11.7% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (323, 9.2% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 116.2 per 100,000 people – 22nd fewest (3,516 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 9,541 per 100,000 people – 24th most (288,706 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: David McNew / Getty Images News via Getty Images

California
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (21,437, 39.9% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (5,504, 10.2% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (4,989, 9.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 137.0 per 100,000 people – 22nd most (53,761 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 3,762 per 100,000 people – 6th fewest (1,476,073 total)

Source: Chet Strange / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Colorado
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (2,688, 38.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (676, 9.7% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (641, 9.2% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 119.6 per 100,000 people – 25th fewest (6,954 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,819 per 100,000 people – 18th most (628,811 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: rypson / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Connecticut
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (647, 40.5% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (158, 9.9% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (149, 9.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 44.3 per 100,000 people – 4th fewest (1,596 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,689 per 100,000 people – 16th fewest (277,250 total)

Source: Patrick Smith / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Delaware
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (778, 47.1% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (158, 9.6% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (139, 8.4% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 164.5 per 100,000 people – 11th most (1,651 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 6,884 per 100,000 people – 11th fewest (69,068 total)

Source: wellesenterprises / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Florida
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (14,889, 43.4% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (3,573, 10.4% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (3,015, 8.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 157.6 per 100,000 people – 14th most (34,331 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,859 per 100,000 people – 19th fewest (1,711,685 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Davis Turner / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Georgia
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (9,708, 47.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (2,431, 11.9% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (1,509, 7.4% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 188.5 per 100,000 people – 7th most (20,356 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,472 per 100,000 people – 14th fewest (806,912 total)

Source: infospeed / iStock via Getty Images

Hawaii
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (21, 19.1% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (13, 11.8% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (08, 7.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 7.6 per 100,000 people – the fewest (110 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 1,228 per 100,000 people – the fewest (17,707 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: CRobertson / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Idaho
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (486, 36.1% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (163, 12.1% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .45 caliber (120, 8.9% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 70.8 per 100,000 people – 11th fewest (1,345 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 14,402 per 100,000 people – 9th most (273,762 total)

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Illinois
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (9,444, 49.5% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (2,325, 12.2% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .45 caliber (1,300, 6.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 150.6 per 100,000 people – 18th most (19,086 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 66,879 per 100,000 people – 2nd most (8,474,505 total)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Indiana
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (4,799, 46.5% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,116, 10.8% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (805, 7.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 151.6 per 100,000 people – 17th most (10,316 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 26,676 per 100,000 people – 4th most (1,815,531 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iowa
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,116, 43.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (307, 12.0% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (198, 7.7% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 80.0 per 100,000 people – 14th fewest (2,555 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 8,352 per 100,000 people – 21st fewest (266,678 total)

Source: artas / iStock via Getty Images

Kansas
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,764, 41.3% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (450, 10.5% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (426, 10.0% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 145.6 per 100,000 people – 20th most (4,273 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,843 per 100,000 people – 18th fewest (230,168 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Kentucky
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (2,936, 43.4% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (693, 10.2% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (490, 7.2% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 150.0 per 100,000 people – 19th most (6,764 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 85,334 per 100,000 people – the most (3,848,061 total)

Source: Stacy Revere / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Louisiana
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (5,727, 41.8% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,757, 12.8% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (1,033, 7.5% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 296.3 per 100,000 people – the most (13,702 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 8,680 per 100,000 people – 22nd fewest (401,345 total)

Source: Portland Press Herald / Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Maine
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (176, 35.3% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (65, 13.0% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .45 caliber (36, 7.2% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 36.4 per 100,000 people – 3rd fewest (499 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 9,415 per 100,000 people – 25th fewest (129,193 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Maryland
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (3,689, 38.0% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (969, 10.0% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (861, 8.9% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 157.5 per 100,000 people – 15th most (9,710 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 4,343 per 100,000 people – 7th fewest (267,753 total)

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Massachusetts
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,338, 41.9% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (291, 9.1% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (281, 8.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 45.7 per 100,000 people – 5th fewest (3,193 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 3,712 per 100,000 people – 5th fewest (259,248 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Michigan
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (5,863, 47.8% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,521, 12.4% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (771, 6.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 122.1 per 100,000 people – 25th most (12,274 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 9,661 per 100,000 people – 23rd most (970,990 total)

Source: Onfokus / E+ via Getty Images

Minnesota
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (2,159, 47.3% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (404, 8.9% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (388, 8.5% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 79.9 per 100,000 people – 13th fewest (4,560 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 16,563 per 100,000 people – 6th most (945,299 total)

Source: LifestyleVisuals / iStock via Getty Images

Mississippi
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (2,074, 44.1% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (530, 11.3% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (397, 8.4% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 159.3 per 100,000 people – 13th most (4,699 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,960 per 100,000 people – 15th most (323,319 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Missouri
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (4,361, 43.2% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,348, 13.4% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .45 caliber (728, 7.2% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 163.7 per 100,000 people – 12th most (10,096 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,282 per 100,000 people – 22nd most (634,191 total)

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Montana
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (272, 24.2% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (175, 15.6% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (88, 7.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 101.9 per 100,000 people – 19th fewest (1,125 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 14,547 per 100,000 people – 8th most (160,640 total)

[in-text-ad]

Nebraska
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (731, 33.5% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (368, 16.9% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (180, 8.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 111.1 per 100,000 people – 21st fewest (2,181 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 4,618 per 100,000 people – 8th fewest (90,676 total)

Source: David Becker / Getty Images

Nevada
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (3,319, 49.6% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (619, 9.3% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (485, 7.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 212.7 per 100,000 people – 4th most (6,687 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 5,934 per 100,000 people – 9th fewest (186,578 total)

Source: DOMINICK REUTER / AFP via Getty Images

New Hampshire
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (242, 35.0% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (72, 10.4% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (56, 8.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 49.8 per 100,000 people – 7th fewest (692 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,933 per 100,000 people – 16th most (151,853 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News via Getty Images

New Jersey
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,905, 41.1% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (453, 9.8% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (421, 9.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 50.1 per 100,000 people – 8th fewest (4,640 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 2,411 per 100,000 people – 3rd fewest (223,437 total)

New Mexico
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,577, 38.8% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (459, 11.3% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (317, 7.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 191.9 per 100,000 people – 6th most (4,060 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 9,216 per 100,000 people – 23rd fewest (194,989 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Dmitro2009 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

New York
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (3,906, 38.3% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (1,065, 10.4% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (966, 9.5% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 51.4 per 100,000 people – 9th fewest (10,198 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 2,342 per 100,000 people – 2nd fewest (464,575 total)

Source: Sean Rayford / Getty Images News via Getty Images

North Carolina
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (9,554, 41.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (2,328, 10.2% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (1,861, 8.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 217.2 per 100,000 people – 3rd most (22,918 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,409 per 100,000 people – 13th fewest (781,733 total)

Source: Mike Kemp / In Pictures via Getty Images

North Dakota
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (240, 32.0% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (112, 14.9% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (68, 9.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 96.8 per 100,000 people – 18th fewest (750 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,394 per 100,000 people – 21st most (80,546 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Ohio
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (10,531, 50.8% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (2,178, 10.5% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (1,560, 7.5% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 175.9 per 100,000 people – 8th most (20,723 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,232 per 100,000 people – 12th fewest (851,887 total)

Oklahoma
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (2,129, 40.6% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (541, 10.3% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (493, 9.4% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 131.6 per 100,000 people – 23rd most (5,246 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,448 per 100,000 people – 20th most (416,514 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: ROB KERR / AFP via Getty Images

Oregon
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,795, 33.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (723, 13.6% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (430, 8.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 125.5 per 100,000 people – 24th most (5,331 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,695 per 100,000 people – 19th most (454,133 total)

Source: Jeff Swensen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Pennsylvania
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (6,895, 45.4% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,387, 9.1% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (1,286, 8.5% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 117.1 per 100,000 people – 23rd fewest (15,186 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 10,862 per 100,000 people – 17th most (1,408,165 total)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

Rhode Island
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (299, 45.2% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (69, 10.4% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (52, 7.9% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 60.3 per 100,000 people – 10th fewest (661 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 3,463 per 100,000 people – 4th fewest (37,936 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Richard Ellis / Getty Images News via Getty Images

South Carolina
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (4,872, 45.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,151, 10.8% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (861, 8.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 205.4 per 100,000 people – 5th most (10,661 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 9,353 per 100,000 people – 24th fewest (485,487 total)

Source: picture alliance / picture alliance via Getty Images

South Dakota
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (256, 31.8% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (129, 16.0% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (78, 9.7% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 90.0 per 100,000 people – 16th fewest (806 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 11,937 per 100,000 people – 14th most (106,881 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: krblokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Tennessee
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (6,679, 43.5% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,933, 12.6% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (1,095, 7.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 219.9 per 100,000 people – 2nd most (15,337 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 13,828 per 100,000 people – 10th most (964,512 total)

Source: Sergio Flores / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Texas
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (21,189, 46.7% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (5,321, 11.7% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (3,289, 7.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 153.6 per 100,000 people – 16th most (45,351 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 6,708 per 100,000 people – 10th fewest (1,980,753 total)

Source: GEORGE FREY / AFP via Getty Images

Utah
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,206, 40.3% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (389, 13.0% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (228, 7.6% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 89.5 per 100,000 people – 15th fewest (2,989 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 35,398 per 100,000 people – 3rd most (1,181,564 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Scott Eisen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Vermont
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (72, 31.0% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (42, 18.1% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (21, 9.1% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 35.9 per 100,000 people – 2nd fewest (232 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,985 per 100,000 people – 20th fewest (51,549 total)

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Virginia
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (5,442, 45.3% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (1,409, 11.7% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (898, 7.5% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 139.1 per 100,000 people – 21st most (12,019 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 7,583 per 100,000 people – 15th fewest (655,339 total)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Washington
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (1,866, 34.1% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (638, 11.6% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: 12 gauge (428, 7.8% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 70.8 per 100,000 people – 12th fewest (5,478 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 9,522 per 100,000 people – 25th most (736,846 total)

West Virginia
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (586, 35.1% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (197, 11.8% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .380 caliber (157, 9.4% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 93.7 per 100,000 people – 17th fewest (1,671 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 12,577 per 100,000 people – 12th most (224,240 total)

Source: Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Wisconsin
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (3,575, 50.9% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .40 caliber (699, 10.0% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (531, 7.6% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 119.1 per 100,000 people – 24th fewest (7,021 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 13,329 per 100,000 people – 11th most (785,856 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

Wyoming
> Most traced firearm chamber: 9mm (79, 27.4% of total)
> Second most traced firearm chamber: .22 caliber (49, 17.0% of total)
> Third most traced firearm chamber: .45 caliber (24, 8.3% of total)
> Guns traced by the ATF, 2021: 49.8 per 100,000 people – 6th fewest (288 total)
> Firearm background checks, 2021: 14,621 per 100,000 people – 7th most (84,624 total)

Methodology

To identify the firearm calibers most likely to be used for crime in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on firearm tracings from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Specific rifle, handgun, and shotgun calibers and gauges traced by the ATF in 2021 were ranked based on tracings in 2021. 

Guns that are traced by the ATF are typically those found at crime scenes and are either have been used, or are suspected to have been used, to commit a crime. Though it is important to note that not all firearms used in a crime are traced.

We also reviewed data on background checks from the FBI, which are often used as a proxy for gun sales. Background check data is also from 2021. 

Population data used to adjust total gun tracings and background checks per 100,000 people is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. 

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.