Ammunition

Where's the Ammo?

It is consumer demand that keeps supplies of ammo nationwide low—and prices high. To figure out why, you might ask your neighbor.

The NRA is regularly inundated with letters from members requesting an explanation of the nationwide ammo shortage. Some folks merely vent their frustration over the amount of ammo they are able to acquire for range sessions. Some complain about the jump in prices; they insist it can’t all be explained by supply and demand. Others are sure the government is buying up all the ammo so average Americans can’t get their hands on it. Everyone wants to know if we have any inside information.

Whatever you believe to be the cause for the shortage, the fact is ammo continues to be difficult to find. Store shelves are empty. If you’re lucky enough to find a few boxes, chances are either you or the person behind you in line will buy all that either of you can carry and stash it away like Private Pyle hides a jelly doughnut. So, is this the future of ammunition, or is there an end to the madness? I did my homework, and while my conclusions may not be the answers you’re looking for, they are at least based on fact.

Government Purchases
Let’s start at the rumor mill. The Internet is awash with reports of large acquisitions of ammunition by government agencies, and the pot-stirrers ran with it: They insist “the government took it all.”

But as reported on the NRA Institute for Legislative Action website (nraila.org), much of the concern over these government purchases stems from a lack of understanding of federal law enforcement functions and the agencies tasked with performing them.

For instance, the Social Security Administration (SSA) employs 295 special agents tasked with combating fraud; this is a law enforcement function. These agents have the power to execute warrants and make arrests; they are required to carry firearms. The 174,000 rounds of pistol ammunition recently solicited by the SSA works out to roughly 590 rounds for each of the 295 agents for periodic training, mandatory quarterly qualifications and duty use.

At first blush, the 46,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammo requested by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seems like a waste of money for a bunch of lab coats arguing about the rain. But the reality is that ammo is going to the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, a small outfit of 63 personnel who enforce marine importation and fishing laws. They carry firearms. It works out to about 730 rounds per officer per year.

But that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the solicitation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for 450 million rounds of .40 caliber jacketed hollow-points over the next five years. At least one politician thought such an open-ended contract stunk enough to look a bit further. After receiving numerous questions from his constituents regarding the contract, pro-Second Amendment U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) got some answers. He issued them in a press release, explaining that the DHS contract covers the DHS Police Force as well as Customs and Border Protection, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, Citizenship and Immigration Service and more—roughly 65,000 law enforcement personnel combined. Crunch the numbers: 1,384 rounds per officer, per year.

So, while it’s true the government has purchased a lot of ammo, is it enough to empty store shelves? That leads us to existing supply and production, data for which ammo manufacturers hold close to the vest based on concerns regarding market competition. American Rifleman Editor in Chief Mark Keefe spoke with representatives of major ammo makers during the NRA Annual Meetings in May and was able to delve a bit deeper, albeit “off the record.” What he tells me mirrors the official responses I have received: “All of them reported they have their plants working full out, and all of them are shipping more ammunition than ever.” The percentage of law enforcement and military sales is down largely across the board due to increased production of consumer ammunition. “They are not making less ammunition for the government,” explains Keefe. “They’re making more for consumers.” One manufacturer told Keefe that his company’s production is up 33 percent. And with the most sought after rounds being 9mm and .22 LR, it doesn’t make sense to dedicate machines and tooling time to produce small runs of cartridges like the 7x57 Mauser. There are more than a billion rounds of .22 LR produced in this country every year. “I’d be willing to bet that the federal government has not purchased over a billion rounds of .22 LR,” says Keefe.

Consumer Demand
So if production is up, where are our beloved plinking rounds? You might ask your neighbor.

According to Eric Wallace, owner and general manager of Georgia-based Adventure Outdoors, whose annual sales of ammunition top $2.5 million, people are buying more ammunition than ever before.

“The average customer used to buy two or three boxes,” he says. “Now they’re buying 10 to even 15.” And that’s not just hard-core shooters like you and me, he says—that’s first-timers buying cases of ammo. According to a recent study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the majority of first-time buyers (60.3 percent) use their guns once per month or even more. One in five use their guns once a week or more. In fact target shooting is the most popular activity for first-time buyers; 84.3 percent say they use their guns for this purpose. Any way you cut it that’s a lot of ammo going downrange.

Amid this, price-gouging has increased, at least among private sellers. Wallace offers a firsthand account of actions that quite possibly are being played out across the country. He overheard some guys “bragging” about riding to 10 or 12 Walmarts to buy all the .22 LR they could find then posting it for sale on social media sites and selling 50-round boxes for $10 apiece.

Entrepreneurs noticed the surge in gun and ammo sales, and so they opened many new ranges and gun shops across the country the last few years. The result: The increase in retail points of purchase has thinned out the ammo supply from distributors among a now greater number of outlets. “Hardware stores or pawn shops that maybe weren’t even in the gun and ammunition business three years ago all of the sudden want to be in the ammo business because they’re doubling their money on any bit they can get,” Wallace says.

In Manassas, Va., Bernie Conatser, owner of Virginia Arms Co., says at one point his distributors were sending him large cardboard boxes that contained only a single box of ammo. “That happened often enough to where it really stopped being funny,” he says.

The increased competition forces shops to look to smaller manufacturers and distributors for their ammo needs, albeit at a higher cost to be able to offer at least something to their customers.

The Economic Truth
Roiling commodities markets don’t help matters. Annually, every major ammunition maker forecasts demand then forecasts sales based on projected production set against projected supplies of necessary raw materials. But worldwide competition—from China mainly, where until recently new factories seemed to open every month—increases demand for materials needed by every industry.

As a hedge against future price increases for raw materials, ammo makers buy futures contracts in commodities markets. The contracts are essentially lots of raw materials purchased at fixed prices for a given period of time, which allows makers to stay within budget throughout a production year because they can count on fixed costs. But until recently prices in many commodities markets rose more than they fell.

Increased consumer demand leads to increased production, which depletes existing supplies of materials, which forces makers to return to commodities markets to buy more supplies sooner than expected. In recent years, some makers have been forced to raise prices mid-year.

The economic lesson: When demand exceeds supply, supply dwindles and prices rise. Prices won’t fall until supply exceeds demand.

An End in Sight?
None of this goes over well with American consumers used to finding and buying what they want. Still, Bernie Conatser has hope for the future.

He recalled a similar run in 2008: Then he noticed the first things to disappear from his shelves were firearms; magazines went next, and finally ammo. “They typically come back in the same order,” he says: “Guns first, then magazines, then ammo.” Conatser now has AR rifles and magazines to sell. And more ammo, he says, is starting to trickle into his shop in Manassas, Va.

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89 Responses to Where's the Ammo?

frank naby wrote:
September 27, 2014

well as far as I remember,when the US was fighting the wars before Obama there was more then enough .22 ammo. what was said in the article don't make sense . When bush was in office we had no problem with getting it and now we do.

A Fuller wrote:
March 15, 2014

I've been looking for 22 ammo around Baton Rouge, La. Finally found a place called Plant World that advertised all the 22 ammo you want. Called and asked the price and about fell out of my chair. Approximately $12.00 for fifty rounds. Some may call this supply and demand, but I call it price gouging at its best. Since I have rifles chambered for larger rounds for which I can hand load my own cast bullets for a fraction of that inflated price, I didn't buy any of their advertised 22 ammo. Shame on Plant World.

Ken wrote:
December 26, 2013

This article fails to mention that all the govt. rounds ordered appear to be duty rounds, not training ammo. After several years as a LEO, and over 30 years in the Army, and now as a volunteer that helps run the LEO qualification ranges, I can assure you that departments don't buy duty ammo for training - way too expensive. So, when is the NRA going to explain why the federal govt agencies are buying so much DUTY ammo, instead of training ammo?

LE Instructor wrote:
December 17, 2013

Look elsewhere if you want reasonable answers about why there's been an ammo shortage. The charts with this article in the National Rifleman detailing rounds used by DHS agencies might look good in a superficial way. However, it takes only basic knowledge of law enforcement training to see holes in this story the size of the Holland Tunnel. The largest being the authors proclamation that is reasonable that 'only about 1,384 rounds of ammunition' is being used annually by each of 70,000 law-enforcement personnel and 40,000 Coast Guard members. The departments I am familiar with use about 50 rounds per quarter per officer for pistol qualification. I could see that number doubled or tripled for small groups doing extensive training, but this averaged number is beyond absurd. Another commenter has calculated this at 37 rounds for every officer/ coast guard member for every day of the year. It takes about an hour to run a line of 12 LE shooters through a Quarterly 36-shot static target pistol qualification course, so the time factor also precludes this number of rounds being used annually given the daily workload these officers have. This author has failed to give us the answers to the right questions from the right people and is passing along junk information. He doesn't appear to understand when he is being snowed. I understand why arms manufacturers and other don't want to go on record with the truth. However, the NRA owes its members better than regurgitating canned PR responses. When I want to hear this sort of nonsense I'll turn on that liberal cable news network. If government buying is not contributing substantially to the ongoing ammo shortage this article fails to make a prima facie case.

Charles Lang wrote:
November 23, 2013

A half dozen shotguns is all it takes to protect my home and family. I have no problem stock piling 12 ga., I can find it everywhere. Demand and greed, many people I know are in the resale of the supply, another group finding a way to profit, another step in the supply line at this time. Tax collector losing much!

bns454 wrote:
November 15, 2013

How Many Billion Rounds Has DHS Bought ?,How Many Assult Rifles?How Many MRAPS ?,And To Use Against Who? I Think We Need To Find Out.

Freeman wrote:
November 11, 2013

The Republicans are greedy, they keep prices up. Money is their god. Demicrates want you hepless. Until every person votes we are all screwed. I think this story is BS . The gov. is buying and distroying it. Someone knows the truth. It will come out, someday.

Ed wrote:
November 07, 2013

OK, if you buy into short supply of material and high prices for that material. How come I can buy 12Ga. target loads (~$60 per case) and Remington 30-06 core-lokt or Winchester 30-06 soft point ($16.99-$19.99 a box) by the case full any day of the week at prices I paid for it before any 223 or pistol round shortage. I know no one that can find 223 let alone that could afford to pay $599 per 1,000 rds. when they find it. So, if you think people are hoarding 223 then there are a lot of very rich target shooters out there that are not my very serious shooting friends!

Chuck wrote:
November 05, 2013

It seems some econ 101 is in order for my shooting fraternity. As a for profit manufacturer, I have many choices in how to conduct my business. No one will doubt the volatility of the supply / demand issue re: ammo. Panic buying seems to be the norm the days, as the political climate weighs so heavily on our sport. I can react to the buying binge by investing millions in materials, machinery and personnel. Or, I can sit back, not make one more round than I usually do and continue to rake in record profits on the same production commitments as usual -- and not have to worry about all that investment going to waste and ruining my business if the hoarding and panic buying slows or stops. The only way to drive prices down and keep supply up is to just stop buying for a while. when the warehouses fill up and the stuff stops moving, you'll see promos and stock improving. In other words, stop playing their game and start playing ours.

Hans wrote:
November 04, 2013

Another factor that has not been mentioned is the closing of the last lead smelting operation in the country. Ammunition companies located close to the supply of lead, which will no longer be available. PDQ I guess the country's lead will be supplied by China.

Jim wrote:
November 04, 2013

Jon Draper, the author of this article, and a good many of you who commented SURLY STILL BELIEVE IN THE TOOTH FAIRY. Kind of reminds me of the frog in the COLD SKILLET. Have a nice day.

John McCurdy wrote:
November 01, 2013

I have been a member of for 40 years. The article contradicts its self concerning Gov. ammo purchases. If I buy the ammo Co.'s response, they should have investors lined up begging to invest. No memtion of the most obvious reason...straw purchasers from individuals financed by rich anti-gunners. I have proposed that the major wholesalers and the NRA test this by selling ammo to NRA members ONLY, no card no ammo. Didn't even get a response. Many friends have told me they have lost confidence in the NRA, and I'm beginning to see why. WOW!! a whopping 77 responses published. That says it all. As far as the politicians go, if they are in office now, they need to go...Rep. or Demo.'s no difference.

Douglas Hurst wrote:
October 28, 2013

While bullets are making somewhat of a comeback, powder and primer for re-loaders are not. It's almost like antique hunting. The big brick and mortar stores and large online suppliers are out and when people get notifications of product arrivals, they snap them up because it's convenient. You almost have to go hunting at local gun shops and just hope you find something someone has missed. I agree factory ammunition is making a slow comeback. Maybe that's what's eating up all the 'makin's' we re-loaders would like to have.

Ed wrote:
October 27, 2013

Ammo is back...not everyday at WM...but all the gun shops in my area have ammo...any caliber...and my gun range has cases stacked more than knee deep. I just saw 100 round canisters of 9mm, FMJ at WM for $22 and change...and the clerk told me tht she had more to put out...not to mention 50 round boxes of 9mm, 40 cal, and .380 for less than $20 a box. So, if you want it, it's there...it's just not as cheap as it once was. And yes, shooters are hoarding...buying all that WM will put out. And, one thing that I have to commend WM for is that they haven't price gouged...sure prices have gone up...but it's still cheaper to get ammo there than anywhere else...when you can find it. Just my two cents.

Tim wrote:
October 25, 2013

Simple Economics:High demand,low supply=higher consummer prices. Also means more sales tax dollars for the Government coffers.I would not be suprised if there is an excise tax increase in the Obammacare act, because we might get injured while handling a weapon.

Sir Bourbon wrote:
October 25, 2013

I was a reloader in the 80s. When the commies rolled over, in the early 90s, some bullets were selling cheap - 7.62x39 & 8mm. I also bought a lot of CMP 30.06 that was relatively cheap. But, .223 and .308 (7.62x51) were still expensive (by comparison). I bought cases and cases of the cheap stuff waiting for the prices of .223 and .308 to fall. Never did. Moral? 'Buy low and sell high.' But my problem is I buy guns to wear them out, so selling ain't gonna happen! Next time (if ever) you see 'cheap' ammo, but by the case (lots of them)!

Bullseye wrote:
October 25, 2013

Think positive. Over three years ago, I noticed that .22LR firearms were on the shelf in all kinds of flavors. They sold like hotcakes in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia (PRK). Who buys a .22LR? Someone who wants to learn, who wants to teach their wife or kid something about firearms and safety, someone who wants to shoot for fun without spending a lot of money, etc.. In the PRK, most folks have to shoot at a range. All of that means money to people who a short time ago thought they would be going out of business in the PRK. There's been serious effort everywhere to put gun ranges out of business. More people interested in the sport translates to something more significant than just dollars. It translates to public acceptance. We gun-owners are going to get through this ammo shortage with a much better appreciation of our heritage. Things could have gone the other way in the PRK.

West Texan wrote:
October 24, 2013

I can save future readers of these responses some trouble. The basic thought expressed in almost every response is, 'Don't confuse us with the facts, our minds are made up. It's got to be a conspiracy.'

Stephen Chesler wrote:
October 24, 2013

What are the reasonable motives the government would have to curtail the ammunition supply? First, they want to stop the mass murders, which are rare but very newsworthy; second, they are afraid of a serious armed uprising by the People; and third, they are afraid of terrorists in the US having easy access to so much ammo. In the first case it only takes 3 clips of .223 to kill a lot of people, and it's not hard to find 100 rounds of .223 (or 12ga, 9mm, .45,etc) if you are willing to pay $0.75 a round and have a couple of weeks. In the second case, the US military and LE have much superior weapons and ammo (not to mention aircraft, drones, and highly trained men) to stop any massive uprising of the populace. In the third case, see the reasons for the first case. The only other reason is spite and malice towards gun owners. One addition thought is that the Obama Administration has shown a singular lack of keeping any secrets, secret for long. There are always people like Manning and Snowdon who leak secrets. You think that if there really were a Federal conspiracy to buy up all the ammo, there would not be one Second Amendment supporter working in this conspiracy who wouldn't leak this fact.

Frankie Fantastic wrote:
October 23, 2013

I am keeping a list of all the stores that are gouging us and telling me 'tough doo-doo' when I ask why they are overcharging 200 to 400[%] ! I reconfigured my 870 and now use it for personal protection .Hard to conseal? YES! Do the scumbags realize I mean business, YES!!

Mike Muczynski wrote:
October 23, 2013

NRA Life member for last few years. I did hear from a local Wal-Mart employee they expected the situation to be better after the first of the year. Maybe it's wishful thinking... I think any big Government conspiracy could not be keep quiet. In Science, the simplest explanation is usually often correct... that is, folks are just buying more and/or hoarding. WITHOUT PROOF, anything else sound like the' tin-foil hat' talk. For example, where and how are vast amounts of 22LR being disposed of? Around 1637 the Dutch went CRAZY over exotic tulips, (Tulipmania) and at one point, a SINGLE TULIP bulb sold for 10 times the annual salary of a skilled craftsman. Wall Street Dow Jones can lose 500 points if there's the slighest talk of tapering off quantitative easing (Fed printing money). People can act in bizzare ways, and I'll predict that years from now some Socioligist will write a study.

John wrote:
October 23, 2013

Were the government purchases in line with previous purchases? Could the rollout of new laws that have driven up gun sales have also affected ammunition (in New York come April 2014, each box of ammo will have to be sold via dealer, complete with background check)? We know gun owners have been buying up ammo. There are no new answers to the question here.

Bill P. wrote:
October 23, 2013

As the article points out this is an issue with many contributing factors. However the article doesn't hypothesize or do a very good job explaining as to why reloading supplies (brass, bullets, primers, even powder) for handguns such as the .38 Special and .357 Magnum are so scarce when supplies for rifle ammo reloading is plentiful (albeit much higher priced than before). No one at the stores where I shop seems to have an answer other than 'we just can't get it', so the issue is not people buying it up and reselling it. Tampering with the supply at some level seems to be the only logical answer.

Rick Jordan wrote:
October 23, 2013

I don’t buy it. After 9 months I think the NRA could come up with a detailed report with supporting facts and figures, they couldn’t come up with anything. This implies it’s somehow our fault. The part about people shooting more now is bogus, there has been no ammo and at up to a dollar a round or more for even 22 and 9mm people are shooting less this year that last year. You can’t stock pile what you can’t find and with prices up to four or five times last year’s prices for stores or websites with ammo to sell the average shooter can’t afford it and isn’t falling for it. The part about material costs is definitely misleading and easy to figure out in a few minutes. The LME charts (www.kitcometals.com/charts) for lead, copper and zinc over the last 5 years support the modest price increase of 2011 but the material cost has been lower ever since and the supply has never been low enough to drive the cost back up to the 2011 levels. If the manufacturers did deplete their existing supplies bought as far back as 2010 at a fixed price, over time and had to buy more material sooner than expected they would have been able to buy it cheaper. The part about material prices rising more that they fell is also misleading. World demand for materials has been down not up, this includes China.

Robert Meyers wrote:
October 23, 2013

I think the real problem is the .gov is curtailing the import of surplus ammo. Up to Obama electon you could buy all the surplus ammo you wanted at a good price. Now you cannot find any at any price. I am at a loss to explain where the .22 lr ammo is. If it was just hoarding and price gouging the shortage would soon be over as everyone would reach their limit at some point.

Michael A. Hunsinger wrote:
October 23, 2013

I like the article and agree that the hoarders are hurting the consumer but one of my problems is the price you have to pay for the ammo that is available. My friend had to pay $35.00 recently for 5 Hevi-shot 12 Ga. shotgun shells. A box of .32 Special cost me $32.95. OUTRAGEOUS!!

Kurt wrote:
October 23, 2013

I disagree as well. Poorly reasearched on or not investigated deep enough. There have been government directives pushblished, some intercepted and others harder to fined or probably concealled under other procurment projects or covered under the guise of 'homeland Security'. Pretty dissappointed by this article.

Tim wrote:
October 23, 2013

Bogus article. I'm a FFL holder and I have many contacts in the ammo industry. I have a client in New Jersey who I sold lowers to last month and I was advised that they had received several large pallets on a Tuesday and 2 days later the Feds showed up, knew they had the ammo and strongly suggested they sell them everything. including 22 lr and 38 special. He complied as he was worried about having his class 7 license renewed. The article is nothing but spin. There is substantial federal involvement to keep the ammo off the street. If Obama can't get guns he'll get the ammo.

AMMO wrote:
October 23, 2013

Gatta say I agree with the other commenters too. First Nato ammo and pistol ,now .22 really. I like to plink with .22 and the only places will sell a 50 rd. box a day. It cost me 15.00 in diesel to get to a store and I know her personally to get 1 $4.95 box a day of 22's.. thank god I got a stock pile , but don't want deplete it. And i can spend my diesel and go to a range and get a 525 box or Remington. But you have to shoot it there, with a 8.00 fee to shoot. WHAT ????? . I live by the bayou and like shoot out there. STILL LOVE MY NRA.. I'M ATEXAN ALL THE WAY. But I love all my NRA brothers no matter where you live..

Ammo wrote:
October 23, 2013

Hey guy's and gal's, I started 2 years before Obama, I new this would happen, got plenty of stock put up to ride this out, it will end when we go back to an Rep. president. Even though the ammo mfg's are running full throttle , I think the non second amen. and bunch are thinking, with all their all money this the only way to get at us. You know the Mayor, with BILLIONS. Would not in a minute think he's buying an an enormous amount and giving to Police and Military. Are just putting it in a storage facility outside NY. He said he would anything. That was said on DAVID LETTERMAN show. By the way I don't think David l. likes him either .....

Phil wrote:
October 23, 2013

Recently, at my local gun club the local state police were practice shooting. They had buckets of 1000 count ammo of 9mm .40mm .45mm .308 ammo etc. , I was told they have access to this quantity from ammo at any time by one of the troopers. Yet I cannot find 9 mm ammo at most stores. It tells me the ammo is out there but the state regulators of preventing sales to the stores

Mike Garrison wrote:
October 23, 2013

What about 12GA target loads ?

Bill wrote:
October 22, 2013

Those of us who were around in the late 70's have seen it all before. Then it was gas; when everybody suddenly decided they were going to keep their tanks full, gas was impossible to find. When the demand exceeds the supply of any commodity, it will get scarce. There is little point in arguing about the cause of the spike in demand - government conspiracy vs. consumer demand - everyone will believe what they want to believe and ignore the rest. But consider this: to believe the shortage is caused by a government conspiracy, you must believe that the government, ammo manufacturers, powder manufacturers, bullet manufacturers and even the NRA are all lying to us. While I do in fact believe the government is lying to us, I don't see a motive for the manufacturers not to be honest and if you believe the NRA is lying to gun owners then you really need to explain why they would do that.

Rick wrote:
October 22, 2013

I had seen an internet piece about how the Department of Defense was buying up .22 LR and destroying it. When President Obama took office the second time he said he wanted to get some gun laws passed, but didn't think he would be able to with the current Congress. He said, 'In the meantime, there are certain administrative measures I can take,' to paraphrase. I am skeptical about things out there on the internet, but wondered if the 'administrative measures' could include instruction to the DOD to buy up .22 ammo. So I began calling the manufacturers. Olin Winchester hung up on me when they found out what I wanted. I was able to contact a very nice and helpful person at CCI who was only too happy to answer my questions about production output, and other general questions. I then asked, 'Is the DOD buying any .22 long rifle ammunition?' The contact person said, 'Uh. . .for that question I'm going to refer you to our Public Relations person, because we had a meeting so we would all be on the same page about this.' I thanked him and immediately called the PR guy -- for several days. Those calls were never returned. So, I don't know the truth, but this is a huge red flag for me.

Pat wrote:
October 22, 2013

Are you kidding me? Been a gun owner and shooter for 50 years. Also, retired Law enforcement. As they say, 'You can fool some of the people all the time', and 'all the people some of the time', but, 'you can't fool all the people all the time' !

Ray wrote:
October 22, 2013

The 22LR shortage probably has something to do with the proliferation of M16/M4 style rifles chambered in 22LR. It takes no time to Rambo through 10+ magazines and no shoulder pain. The majority of U.S. supply of the 4 major LE/mil calibers (9x19mm, .40, .223, and .308) is under subdivisions of larger corporations, who usually have more profitable fish to fry, which limits capital for increased supply. Less popular calibers are probably on hold. But 1300 rds/HHS LEO is way beyond annual needs. Even the lesser agency numbers are beyond actual annual usage. However, a government agency may contract once for total days of supply+reserve based on a particular need scenario, then for smaller periodic refills as re-order points are reached during actual usage. Or it can contract for a total quantity with a delivery schedule over a multi-year period. If the agencies' rounds/man cited are only a reserve supply fill, or on a 3-5 year delivery contract, it makes sense; if they are an annual delivery, the feds are hoarding. It would be good to get that answer. There is no doubt that civilian hoarding is the main problem but civilian hoarding can only begin at the retailer, and it seems a fact that deliveries even to established retailers with strong distributor relations have been noticeably reduced. So the mystery is not quite resolved. [[]Former Army Ordnance officer]

Gilbertgunguy wrote:
October 22, 2013

Plenty of guns and ammo in AZ. I checked Cabela's, Bass Pro, and Sportsman's this past week. All had plenty of guns and ammo....22, 9mm, .45, .40, 5.56 etc. It is definitely not as cheap as it used to be, but at least you can get it now. I just hope the trend continues. Now that stores actually have some stock, maybe the prices will start to drop...probably wishful thinking!

John wrote:
October 22, 2013

I still can't understand the 590 to 730 rounds per person per year purchased by some of the smaller agencies. Even if each agent qualifies twice a year--which I'll wager they don't--and fire 100 rounds each session, it's still a huge amount left over.

Lazer wrote:
October 22, 2013

I disagree with the writer, as well. I've gotten to know many ammo salsemen and they say the ammo flies off the shelf, but only because they are not getting the supplies they used to from manufacturers. The manufacturers are selling to someone, but it is not the same quantities they used to and not to us. Definitely, badly researched.

Ben wrote:
October 22, 2013

I also don't buy the supply/demand argument. I, too, have been a shooter for over 50 years. It's never happened before. I've checked online... there is no ammo, no components, no brass, no bullets. I've been to Dicks, Cabela, etc.... same story. So you can't buy it online, or in the store and you can't back order it.... However... some, expensive, imported ammo is available. Lapua, Eley, etc. At Dicks and Cabella they say 'It flies off the shelf as soon as it comes in'... but they can't/won't say when was the last time they had any. Definitely bull****.

Robert Hadley wrote:
October 22, 2013

I first say this pattern when Obama was newly elected. Everyone said the liberal would take guns away and the ammo prices took off based on fear that he would take away gun rights. Those who bought in started the price gouge then and it's continued ever since. Our paranoid fears driven by over zealous lefties in the media plays a big roll in the ammo buyout. Don't play in to their hands so easily.

Ronnie wrote:
October 22, 2013

don't understand why we cant find 22 longs

Lee wrote:
October 22, 2013

I have been an NRA Life Member since 1978. If this is the best the NRA can do then we really are screwed. I've been shooting/hunting since the late 50s and reloading since 70. Never has there been a situation like what we are seeing now. The article says people are buying more ammo than they did in the past. How is that possible when there isn't any out there? Duh? How about a real in-depth investigation and some reporting that is more than supposition and the opinions of a couple of people. Come on NRA, use some of that money you spend on phone calls and give us some real help.

homer wrote:
October 22, 2013

Fred, the primer cost of 10000 at 500$ is a nickel, just 42[%] over what they are readily available for.

Mark wrote:
October 22, 2013

Hoarding. Increased sales. Gouging. Fraud. This includes mucking about with import and other laws for the lefty agenda. More people shooting now than ever. Misunderstanding on Law Enforcement qual requirements. LE shoots more than Military as far as qualifications. 1000 rds per man per year is about normal. A 3-5 day pistol school or SWAT school will eat up 1000 rds. Case law dictates LE HAS to shoot more. The case cites in the courts are lengthy. Yes it is frustrating. It is not a vast conspiracy of barbarian illuminati, or free masons, or whatever. We (the gun owning / reloading / shooting community) got accustomed...read SPOLIED... that no one was interested in guns. Manufacturers had to keep their pricing in bounds or we simply would not buy stuff. Now we have to share...so grow up and deal with it. And no I'm not a liberal plant. My grammar and spelling was corrected by nuns with rulers.

remohii wrote:
October 21, 2013

Fred, I believe your figures are skewed. Comes out to 5 cents apiece. Primers available at 35$ per thousand, 350$ per 10000. about a 42[%] markup at 500$

Hugh wrote:
October 21, 2013

I have to disagree with this NRA article also. I have been a shooter for over 50 years and have never seen an ammo shortage like this (ever) which includes several lengthy wars. In my State we can only buy 1 box of ammo per customer a day, (that includes .22) and many of the standard calibers are a rare find. Something definitely is stinking, and it seems to emanate COG.

Ted wrote:
October 21, 2013

Fred, 10,000 primers at $500 is 5 cents per primer not 20 cents (see, I'm not arithmetic impaired!).

Bob wrote:
October 21, 2013

I am simply looking for some 30-30 rifle ammo - hardly a combat round

jim wrote:
October 21, 2013

I was into a local gunstore the other day. Lots of weapons but not much ammo. After 40 years of shooting and reloading,never seen anything like this bullshit.I personally think its collusion between govt and big business. What good are guns if there is no ammo.Govt won't try and take away second amendment rights,they'll just make it nearly impossible to get ammo.

Fred wrote:
October 21, 2013

I don't know how many of you live near a Sportsman's Warehouse but I live near two and it's the same story at both. They get in a nice supply of .22lr (at a regular markup) and there is a line of people waiting to take all they can. If everybody would just take a deep breath and not buy any ammo for a month and then limit what you buy things would get back to normal. Last time I looked some jerk had 10,000 Winchester primers at a starting price of $500.00. Since some of you here are arithmetic impaired that is 20 cents a primer. If any fool pays that he is just contributing to the problem. I agree that while what DHS has contracted for seems like a lot I don't think it's the problem. The reason that reloading supplies are low probably has something to do with the fact that everything they make goes into loaded ammo. But it's still not as bad as some seem to want to think it is. I just checked Midway, and they have 10mm (.40) plated bullets, 1000 for $114.00. If you want to reload, but not with THOSE bullets, well, then that is your problem. (I sure hope I have not started a rush on that.)

Irony wrote:
October 20, 2013

To Tom, who commented on grammar on10/20/13, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Really! '...in the comments below so of make that seem...' or '...but that doesn't know when to use too or too...'. Your 'spell check' wouldn't have caught those errors, either. Sometimes, we just don't catch the errors until it's too late to make a correction. Have you ever really read any of the gibberish written by the '...lot of folks...' you are concerned about? Most of them wouldn't know grammar from their gra(nd)ma.

H robba wrote:
October 20, 2013

With the lack of reloading components available for the sought after calibers (223 and 308) one must point the finger at the Lefties and their commander in chief. Once we eliminate them from positions of power, only then will supplies return to normal levels. The midterm elections are critical. VOTE!

Tom wrote:
October 20, 2013

Guys, please! A lot of folks think we are gun hugging rednecks as it is, but the grammar and spelling in the comments below so of make that seem to be reality! If you don't know grammar, use the spell check, but that doesn't know when to use too or too, here or hear, and certainly not when there or their is correct. I am really embarrassed by the lack of education represented by some of these comments.

Don holder wrote:
October 20, 2013

Good god, what a bunch of uninformed people. One problem with the NRA article is that although the Secret Service is part of DHS and they don't use .40 S&W they use .357 Sig. Some of their training of recruits is done with 9mm Sigs. New recruits first train at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center with 9mm and 12 gauge. If they do well enough there they train in Beltsville/Laurel, MD at the USSS training center where they shoot a lot. It's not like the former military trainer said, 10 rounds for sighting and 10 for score. New recruits probably shoot in excess of 2000 rounds of handgun ammo each as the Sig is their main weapon. They learn how to shoot from a moving vehicle and to shoot at moving targets. They have to shoot while protecting a protected person. They shoot from around barricades. They shoot in a shoot house with simulated hostages and hostage takers. They learn to shoot at night and in dark interiors of buildings. In other words the shoot almost as much as we would like. Do you want your law enforcement to shoot just 20 or 30 rounds a year? Good god they make enough mistakes as it is. Sometimes the bad guys shoot better. That is not a good thing. Another point, the military has to follow the Geneva Convention and use only fmj ammo LEO'S use hp ammo to effect a more positive outcome with less through and through. Don't want to be on the other side of a bad guy in a shoot out.

Neal Nulph wrote:
October 20, 2013

I saw shortages coming back in the 80's, and tried to buy a box of or two each month. But, the current shortage and apparent price gouging is affecting calibers it didn't seem to affect before. Your article explains it and I have to concede were I in their shoes I, too, would greedily produce popular calibers in place of the more exotics. Thanks.

Kimbel S wrote:
October 20, 2013

I am not paying the prices. As an avid clay target and smallbore shooter for 40 years; $50 bag for shot & $90 for junk .22 I quit.

NBV wrote:
October 19, 2013

I think there is a good reason for concern. I used to go to the gun show and find tons of ammo. Chinese, S African etc. Calibers such as 5.56mm, 9mm, 7.62x39, 7.62x51 are not made in a mom and pop operation. They are made in factories capable of supplying armies. We don't see all these imports and I don't believe that it is because too many citizens are hoarding. Only the government can restrict the imports. When was the last time you guys saw 7.62x39 from China? Too long IMO. I think a lot of people hide the truth.

TJ wrote:
October 19, 2013

As long as 'gun violence' and 'gun control' is in the media people will buy every ounce produced, regardless of price. With people buying at inflated prices, prices will not drop. Look at fuel price. If the sellers know we will buy it, why lower the price? We are all guilty.

W leal wrote:
October 19, 2013

I really think someone is blowing smoke up the Americans butt as a young man I swore my life to this great country it still stands

Bill wrote:
October 18, 2013

You may fool the uneducated with an article like that, but you don't and can't fool a seasoned veteran in his 70's. I challenge you on a national television program debate and positively will make a fool out of someone who puts out an article like this one. First of all, are all of those gov. agencies brand new, if not, why was there ammo a year ago. I live next to a Cabeloe's and check in several times a week. I bought Fed. 45 cal 230 gr. a year ago for 15.60 box, now 25.60 per box. I bought 525 box of .22 l.r. for 18.00 a brick, saw today a foreign brick for 92.00 and an American made one for $199.00. There are no Rem. or Win. brand .22 on shelf. Why? What about reloading supplies. A handfull of powder, A handfull of bullet tips. Been that way for months. Finally a ton of .45 cal. 230 gr. tips and 115 gr. 9mm tips. Where are the .40 S&W? The 9mm and .45 are stalled on the shelves so don't give me the crap that the consumers are hoarding. The supply has not changed for weeks. Nobody buying them. Where is the rest of the stuff? Nuff said. Don't try to give me the bull crap.

John Betka wrote:
October 18, 2013

Having served in the military, they allocate 10 rounds of 223 for sighting in a rifle and another 10 rounds for qualification each year, as it was when I ram ranges in the military. You are telling me that federal agencies need more ammo to qualify, that is absurd. I wrote to Federal 12times regarding a letter published in Shooting Retailers, Federal referred them to their Q&A, which does not address the questions of each mfg producing 24 million rds 22lr per day, after 12 emails all of which were not answering the question of where is the ammo, who are you shipping it to, what wholesales are receiving it, because non have stock or seen stock, they now simple ignore my emails and never answer the question. We mfg a lot of ammo but we do not do rimfire, There is not justification for any Federal Agency to have a ammunition requirement like you state, why does HMS have more ammo and weapons than our own military. Someone is blowing smoke and I am not buying it. If our industry is so pitiful that it cannot keep ammunition on the shelf something is rotten in Denmark.

Larry McGovern wrote:
September 17, 2013

Good info. I hope our country will not tolerate the type of behavior suggested by the rumor mill. To many have died and have been wounded protecting the freedoms implicated here.

Troy Minton wrote:
September 17, 2013

Thanks for the article, insight and stats. Re comment, 1,384 divided by 365 is 3.7 rounds per day, not 37 rounds. LE/Gov Agencies uses soft point; Military uses FMJ per Geneva Convention agreements. With the greater production of ammo, I am seeing more defective rounds, have a rod handy to knock a squib loaded bullet out.

John Pitcock wrote:
September 15, 2013

If the author is correct about every DHS officer getting 1,384 rounds a year it means they all need 37 rounds each and every day of the year. Sorry, don't buy that one!!!

jim wrote:
September 13, 2013

I've seen the wholesale price and the retail price in one store. Do they need to make 200[%] profit?

Neil W wrote:
September 13, 2013

I just hope the madness ends soon, Daddy is going broke. I used to get 9mm practice rounds(CCI Blazer) for $8.99 / box of 50. Now the same box is $20.99. The increase in price is unbelievable. Makes me want to change to paintball or spear hunting.

JChris wrote:
September 11, 2013

This sounds logical. So why then is are the federal agencies buying non-nato hollowpoints?

bill craven wrote:
September 11, 2013

It takes about 5 rounds and I know my firearm is dead on!

Tim Killinger wrote:
September 11, 2013

As former Law enforcement, that is a lot of ammo for each Law Enforcement Employee!! Nothing like what i was issued per year!! To include Qualifying.

Dave Tessmer wrote:
September 11, 2013

Good article. I work at the Sportsmans Guide Retail Store. We limit the amount each customer can buy each day so we can serve more customers and not enrich the greedy. I am ever more dubious of what government says and what it does especially since we have an anti gun president and senate.

david carlisle wrote:
September 11, 2013

I have seen first hand what people are doing, some will drive 40-50 miles and buy from every gun shop, walmart then post on Armslist.com. Its hurting alot of ppl, especially me, farmer, wanting to shoot some of the predators on our property. anyway, good read, alot of useful infor. Semper Fi!!

robert crandall wrote:
September 11, 2013

DHS 450 milion rounds is only a couple of billion off.This agency has been hoarding all popular caliber rounds. Yes some stores have been buying low and selling high but not in the huge amounts these gov. agencys have and under reporting the true amounts is deceitful.

Steve Hawkins wrote:
September 11, 2013

Thank You for the explanation. Now i'll shut my mouth,get off the rumor treadmill, and impatiently,and angrily wait for the supply to exceed demand. I have been reloading & shooting since 84. Frustrating to watch all of the pro shooting matches continue, & i cant find a single pound of powder or a case of primers anywhere in the USA.

Jon Mackie wrote:
September 11, 2013

I am having no trouble finding ammo for my Glock 17 9mm in Rhode Island. I currently have 1200 rounds of FMJ and 75 rounds of person defense ammo and plan on picking up more defense ammo as I find it. Ammo stores are running up the price to profit from the social climate plain and simple. That is why I am buying a home defense shot gun this week end. That ammo is plentiful and dirt cheep!

Arthur Brown Sr. wrote:
September 11, 2013

What makes it worse in Alaska is ALL ammo has to be floated up by ship or barge and they only ship by pallet loads!

Keith wrote:
September 11, 2013

This all sounds reasonable. Obama and O'Malley have really helped sell guns and ammunition.

JJ. wrote:
September 11, 2013

This is a 'rehash' of an earlier article. No 'new' information or news. People are still buying, using and maybe saving a round or two, only a few more buyers due to more firearms sales.

James C. Murray wrote:
September 11, 2013

(Please add to previous comment). Shoot what you have hoarded, don't buy from the price gaugers, and let production/supply fill the shelves again, at cheaper prices. Then, everyone can buy a brick of .22 long rifle, at affordable prices. And, don't worry about government, for we will continue to fight for our individual rights, under the Second Amendment.

mary k hall wrote:
September 11, 2013

the Dixie land flea market in Pontiac Michigan has dealer's outside trying to sell 22lr bullet's for $10.00 for 50 round's the same round's I just bought for $2.19. 100 round's for $25.00. 500 for $70.00 these scalper's take their families and try to buy every round they can get and try to sell them at 4 time's the price they paid for them. as far as I've seen no one buy's their over priced round's.

Judith Swanson wrote:
September 11, 2013

It will be interesting to find out how much of that ammo actually makes it to the law enforcement officers.

James C. Murray wrote:
September 11, 2013

Amen. I work at a gun shop, and I know first hand what is going on on the retail sales floor. If everyone would just calm down, ammunition and other shooting supplies will come back to the shelves, quicker. Shoot up the excess that has been hoarded, and let stable production catch-up with the needed supply, at affordable prices.

MHmidhudson wrote:
September 11, 2013

A well-written article. I'm one of the 1 in 5 who use the range at least once a week, and I have had to cut down my range time because I just won't pay more than $25 for a box of 124-gr. 9mm. Fortunately, my local dealer only raised prices when the middlemen---the distributors---did, and now the prices are starting to flaot back to Earth (except for .22LR, that is). This week I bought two boxes of Armscor .357 for $30 apiece, and two boxes of Blazer 9mm FMJ for $22.95 apiece. Hope springs eternal.

Gene wrote:
September 11, 2013

How many federal ammunition depots are there? I know if one in Oklahoma. Are they producing ammo such as the 40 cal. for these government agencies?

Lee wrote:
September 10, 2013

I work at a retail gun store. We have self imposed limits on ammo and reloading supplies, due to hoarding and resale buyers. The worst stories I've heard was the $50 box of gun show 22lr for 50 rnds, and a guy buying primers complaining cause he could only buy 200 of a type per day, and then saying he still had primers he bought during the carter administration.

Shannon Epps wrote:
September 10, 2013

Thank you for shedding light on this !

James Martin wrote:
September 10, 2013

Thanks for shedding some light on this sensitive subject.

jim k wrote:
September 10, 2013

I finally found some bulk 12 gauge at Wal-Mart today$26 4,100 while it wasn't cheap ar brass I took it as a ray of hope. I'll keep lookin. I ain't paying a buck a round for 223 sorry.

Darrell Gibson wrote:
September 10, 2013

So, if my agency only gives me 50 rounds for annual training and another 50 rounds for duty use...am I insufficiently trained or does it seem like the federal officers are getting a helluva lot more than local or county officers get???