Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Where Has All the Ammo Gone?

On outdoors, gun, and right-leaning sites, an oft-heard complaint is that there is no ammunition to be had.  Oh, sure, on the more obscure calibers, there is still a limited supply, but for the most popular loads, there is none.

That is not hyperbole.  

Not a limited supply.  Not hard to get.  We're talking empty shelves, and impossible to acquire at retail.  The only way to get a supply is by purchasing from a private party at a grossly inflated price.  

One can see just how bad it is via this example: consider the 9mm load, shown above.  It's quite popular, but available nowhere.  Check out the pages from the largest ammunition retailers: Cabela's, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro, Sportsman's Guide, Midway USA.  Nobody has a round.  Not one.

And it is not just the big retailers, either.  A buddy at work went to Milwaukee last weekend on a quest specifically for 9mm ammunition and stopped at 9 different outdoor/gun stores.  Empty shelves, all of them.

So what is going on?  There are two main drivers, and they feed each other.  The first is that the anti-gun talk from the Obama administration and the recent action by states like Connecticut have made gun owners extremely nervous; fearful that ammunition will either be taxed to oblivion, or banned outright.  Hence, there is significant demand, and substantial hoarding.

Second, the government is buying a massive amount of ammunition, and has decimated supply.  An order of 1.6 billion (yes, billion) rounds for just the Department of Homeland Security has raised eyebrows in quarters like Forbes, and has driven conspiracy theorist over the edge in other quarters.  The government talk-off for the purchase is that they are training rounds for their agents, but when one does the math, it blows away any rational amount of range time.  Consider as well that the purchase is for expensive hollow-point bullets - rounds not designed for the range, but specifically designed for dropping human beings - and those that already had a mistrust of the government get even more concerned.

Hence, folks that fear what the government is doing are seeking even more ammunition, which already has a massive demand and a massive hit to the supply.  And the cycle perpetuates itself.

There is no question that the government is buying far more ammunition than it needs.  It certainly is buying the wrong type.  Do I think they're doing so for an impending square-off with the citizens?  Hardly.  But I do feel that it is purposeful, and designed to make it hard, if not impossible, to buy ammunition.  Note that this is the same administration that brought us Fast and Furious - the arming of Mexican drug cartels by our government.  This is a nefarious administration when it comes to guns, and I believe that they're attempting to disrupt supply because they can.

The rumors have it that there is a nine month hole in supply.  Despite running three shifts, manufacturers cannot keep up.  Layer on the seasonal demand that will come this fall with hunting season, and things will only get worse, and people, especially those that may be completely oblivious to the current situation, will only get more nervous.  It is and will continue to be an ugly scene.

For shooters and sportsmen, there is hope, and that resides in the market.  I project additional production capacity to come on line, new manufactures to launch, imports to increase, and overall a new supply to be generated to match the demand.  That's the way the economy works - that's the way it has always worked.  Yes, the government can keep its thumb on the scale, but their impacts cannot last forever.  And when that thumb eventually comes off the scale, we'll be awash in supply.

In the meantime, it is fascinating to watch.  It is interesting to see how the retailers are reacting, how the conspiracy theorists are reacting, and how the Obama administration and their defenders are reacting.  Add to the mix Joe Hunter who will be looking for rifle loads for his upcoming deer hunt this fall, and the situation gets all the more volatile.

Stay tuned - this is only going to get more interesting.    


  1. Can you get reload supplies?

  2. its obama and his administration they are doing as they please, with money they don't have. with the continued effect of destabilizing this country. no regard for the future of the United States

  3. Anoynmous (above) is correct about the Obama administration. Be it bullets or bacon, it just doesn't matter. BO is on a mission to bring down this Nation.., and he is doing a hella job. Why, because Americans voted for him. Barack Obama is merely the symtom of a greater pathogen of failure.., which is American voter.


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