Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute

From  Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law (ABC/Clio: 1st ed. 2002). 

By Dave Kopel

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI--pronounced "Sammie") is a trade association of America's leading firearms and ammunition manufacturers. SAAMI creates voluntary industry standards for firearms, ammunition, and accessory quality.

SAAMI was founded in 1926, at the suggestion of the United States government. Organizations such as the U.S. military, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state and local law enforcement often mandate that firearms or ammunition procurement contracts must comply with SAAMI standards.

Among the more than 700 standards which SAAMI has developed are industry test methods (to ensure that firearms and their parts will perform properly) and ammunition performance standards. A gunpowder performance standard might specify that a particular grade of gunpowder would burn within a certain temperature range under certain conditions, and would not ignite under other conditions.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) oversees standards development in a wide variety of industries. ANSI has selected SAAMI as an accredited standards developer firearms products. Hence, SAAMI's standards are reviewed by ANSI.

As required by ANSI, SAAMI standards are developed by consensus. A proposed standard would typically be circulated to SAAMI members, to firearms companies which do not belong to SAAMI, to government agencies such as the FBI or the U.S. Customs Service, and to scientific groups such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology. After receiving input from the various organizations, SAAMI's Technical Committee determines the proper standard. In cases of disagreement, a party can appeal to ANSI.

Every five years, all standards are reviewed, and revised when appropriate.

In a 1996 audit, ANSI gave SAAMI exemplary rating for technical expertise, professionalism, and competency.

SAAMI is currently working with the Commission Internationale Permanente (CIP) in Europe, to make American and European standards more compatible.

SAAMI's Logistics & Regulatory Affairs Committee (SLARAC) works with government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Transportation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and their foreign counterparts, as well as with the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods. With these groups, SLARAC helps develops standards for the safe transportation and distribution of firearms and ammunition.

SAAMI currently has 27 members, including ammunition manufacturers, gunpowder manufacturers, handgun manufacturers, and long gun manufacturers. SAAMI is affiliated with the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

See also: National Shooting Sports Foundation

For more information: SAAMI website,

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