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NSSF Ammunition Shortage

NSSF Answers Ammunition Availability Questions

April 21, 2009

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NEWTOWN, Conn. - Is the perception that there's a shortage in ammunition accurate? The National Shooting Sports Foundation has compiled a short information sheet regarding the topic.

A media release from NSSF said, "NSSF has received numerous calls regarding shortages of ammunition. Many of these callers have expressed concern that the supply of ammunition is not able to keep up with the current demand.

"To provide the best information possible on the issue of ammunition availability, NSSF interviewed ammunition manufacturers across the United States. Here's what we have learned:"

Is there truly a shortage of ammunition?

The shortage of ammunition is real and is caused by several factors including:

  • A significant spike in consumer demand
  • Law Enforcement demand for training and readiness
  • Department of Defense demand for training and readiness
  • Higher prices from commodities

What calibers are in the highest demand?

The high demand for ammunition extends across caliber lines. The increase can be seen in most handgun, rifle and rimfire ammunition and on certain shot shell products such as buckshot.

What are manufacturers doing to keep up with demand?

In order to help keep up with demand for ammunition, manufacturers are working at full capacity (24/7). It is believed that any ammunition shortage is likely a temporary issue; however, it will take time for supply to catch up with demand.

How long will it take for supply to catch up with demand?

While it is believed that supply will be increasing, the great unknown is what demand will be later in the year. Since there is no way for manufacturers to predict how long consumer demand will be sustained at its current, unprecedented level, it is impossible for manufacturers to forecast the timeline for when the current backlog will begin to improve.

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Reader Comments

This one of the reasons that I got into reloading. However, components are just about as hard to find as loaded ammunition.

try gunbroker.com under reloading section. some of it is high price but you can find quite a few bargains there..

I'm sure ammo manufacturers will catch up shortly. I'm also sure the brass Demil fiasco was inadvertant, the AT Eric Holder blaming U.S. guns for Mexico's drug wars is coincidence. I'm also sure the UN study I read and strangely cannot find now on gun control by controlling primer production has nothing to do with all this. I'm feeling warm and fuzzy, how bout you?

Probably the increase in demand is directly related to the gun salesman of the year's (BO) efforts. I'm tired of going into gun stores and finding the shelves bare of ammo and reloading components. Even Huntington's and Midway are backordered on some things.

I think someone else posting on a different article summed it up best. Barack Obama "Gun and Ammo salesman of the year" lol

BHO and his liftist Croonies are in the possess of making so you will have to have a license to reload your own ammo, Check out WND has had report on it 2 days in a row and they are using the Department of International Law, Organization of American States, Wash. DC. Multilateral Treaties.

I'm reloading, reloading, reloading...Mr.Obama...Call 1-800-AMM-O247...if your body guards and their automatic weapons run out!!! LOL!!!

In God we trust...

I wish everyone buying handguns and long guns were doing it for actual interest in the shooting sports...not because we fear what our government might do in the middle of the night.

The 2nd Amendment is not just for shooting sports, it's for self defense. The shooting sports is just an added benefit. Self defense is a devine right and the 2nd Amendment protects that right, it doesn't grant it.

I attended a gun show over in Fort Worth on the 2nd of May. Wal-mart sells .45ACP Winchester ammo for $30 per box of 100 (30 cents each) - at least they used to. They've been out for a couple of months now. I had the opportunity to purchase the same ammo at the gun show for $80 per box of 100. And that particular dealer was the only one left that had any to sell. I passed it up... just couldn't bring myself to support price gouging on such an important item.

even 22 ammo is getting real hard to get here in calif. and hand gun ammo is almost imposable, but I keep getting any I can and even finding reloaders and getting it from them. Been lucky so far the reloaders are not inflatting the price that much. But everything is getting hard to find.

Went to a gun show in Salt Lake and stood in line for an hour only to be told someone had bought all the primers at the show. Most places are not even accepting backorders on primers. One place I buy from stated they have 50 million primers on backorder. Now powder is getting scarce. Do the reasons for the shortages given by NSSF seem reasonable?

Hey, this brings back shades of deja vu regarding waiting in line at gas staions in Los Angeles in 1972 to buy gas when all the while the tankers were sitting offshore... waiting for the price of gas to get high enough for them to really make a killing.

Your right BP. We are our own worst enemy. People out there are hoarding. Used to be they bought only a couple of boxes of rounds, now they are buying everything in sight and hoarding it away so we can't even recycle the brass.

Copper was over 4$ a pound a year ago when prices started going up, before the election. its now down to less than $1.50, it is the #1 commodity in ammo. The price goudging started over a year ago. Lets look at the reasons given: Police and Military use= we have been at war for 8 years no change in needed amounts so this excuse is BS. Commoditie prices- see above = so this excuse is BS. Higher demand this one is true, to go along with the 30% higher gun sales. I still find it hard to believe that the ammo makers can not over take demand. Will we need Stores to limit sales to X number of boxes until the hoarding dies down? Perhaps a voluntary limit right now would be good. Voluntary being the key.

There seems to be a lot of opinions out there and my fear is that we're being optimistic. I've included a quote I read the other day and I feel it's accurate and timely. "Law enforcement agencies have been rapidly increasing their ammunition consumption because of how they are rearming, causing a permanent increase in demand. Just as ammunition manufacturers began to cope with that increase, a second run, based upon a downward-turning economy and rising fears of laws targeting guns and ammunition, dramatically expanded demand yet again.

Shortages of ammunition and firearms can be expected to continue for as long as it appears our overreaching federal government is a threat to our individual liberties, our economy continues to falter, and our police agencies keep militarizing.

It’s going to be a long ride.

Stock up while you can."

Say, Gerald A, I appreciate your input and advise, but just where would one find ammo so that one could "Stock up while you can?" I think the big problem is that many people are encouraging everyone to "Stock up while you can," and that's what got us into this predicament to begin with. Instead of telling everyone to stock up, why not ask everyone to purchase what they need, and allow others to do the same?

BP, If I were a selfish person, that's exactly what I'd say while I was buying everything I could. I'm sure what you're saying is sincere but are you 100% sure of just how much you'll need?

I thought that I would just buy what I would need and now I wish I hadn't waited because Now here in Commifornia we can't find any 380, 9mm, 38sp,357mag, or 45 acp and .22 ammo is hard to get and is rationed at all the stores. Plus the prices have all gone out of sight. Also alot of Rifle ammo is getting hard to find and some shotgun ammo too.

I was in Reno two weeks ago, picked up a box of .44 spl and two 330 boxes of .22. I am amzed there is no .38 or .357 to be had other than some super high priced personal defense ammo. Reloading is an option only if you can get primers, which are also sold out. You can not even place an order to be back filled on Midway and a couple other sites I tried.The manufatures and wholesalers are going to need to realise that the civilian market is what provides them with a constant income and help us out by putting pressure on those that are price gouging.

If the supplies were adequate, there'd be no price gouging. The manufacturers say they're working 24/7. Still there's a shortage of "everything". Even calibers the military and police don't use. Meanwhile some "clerk" changes the demil code on brass, Bobby Rush is pushing HR45, 18 states are pushing for ammo serialization, Eric Holder blames our guns for Mexico's drug violence etc, etc. Still, the shortage of "everything" is blamed on hoarding. Gun control? Nah! too obvious and risky, just start with the lowest common denominator, the primer. That'll take care of "everything."

Here on west coast of Florida there is hardly any .380 auto to be had. Friend found some Serbian stuff for $25/50. Ordered 7 boxes Cor-Bon DXP only got 3 waiting on rest. Ordered Buffalo Bore "C" and got it within two weeks. Could Ruger LCP have anything to do with .380 shortage? Wal-Mart ammo case is just about empty of all calibers except .17, 10mm and bricks of .40 S&W? I remember a time when .380 ammo sat around so long it changed color and you had to dust the box just to read it!

Have you noticed how many new 380 models were introduced at the shot show this year? and the Ruger LCP sales have been through the roof.

My thinking is this: If the amunition makers were working 24/7 and putting it out on the market as they claim they are, there would be plenty of ammo for all, just as it has been for billions of years. No, I believe the ammo makers have taken advantage of the situation and are sitting back watching the prices climb, and enjoying it all the while. When they think it's high enough, and who knows when that will be, then all of a sudden the shelves will be full of your favorite ammo once again - at a higher price that will never come down.

first manufacturer to get a decent supply of quality defensive handgun ammunition on the market at reasonable prices is the one that will get my business for the forseable future; even if I have to retune every pistol I own!

Hard to know what the truth about it all is. The primer "issue" is an interesting possibility. However, anyone suggesting that others should buy less ammo is just ridiculous. Putting a price on the defense of one's life given future possibilities makes even less sense, but hey....all of you cheapskates just keep passin' it up while waiting on the prices to become more "reasonable"; I'll take a pass on investing in Gold, and just keep right on buying ammunition. :)

Sparks, I think you nailed it. The way the economy is going, gold will be a good investment but guns, ammunition and reloading supplies will be just as valuable as a commodity and infinately more practical. Gold is a good commodity but lousy for self defense. And speaking of prices becoming more reasonable, rumor has it there will be a price increase next year. Remember when everyone was whining about $100 to $150 a case ammo prices?

It's not just a rumor, ammo prices ARE increasing again, and Very Soon. I got lucky, started buying ammo 3-4 yrs ago, and paid for defensive ammo then what folks are paying for most target ammo today. I will own firearms for the rest of my life, so it only makes sense to buy a lifetime supply now before it REALLY gets expensive (or worse).....

Good idea but what's a lifetime supply? I shoot it, I trade it, I sell it and I'm giving some for Christmas. Then I'm buying more.

A lifetime supply will certainly differ from person to person. The first thing that I chose to do was narrow the caliber selection in my concealed carry "collection". Then I committed to buying only rifles in handgun calibers, which was a no-brainer to me, as I just don't see the practical need for range & accuracy out to 500 yards (or more....). Lots of rimfire arms for fun & practice, and as much training & defensive ammo as I can continue to afford in the major calibers which, for me, are mostly .357Sig, 10mm, and .45acp. My .357Sigs all double as .40s, and I've got a few 9s & .357/.38s, as well.

ps: Buying ammo online and in bulk has been a great help. Long live GunBroker.com....lol

I believe a person should have a rifle in a military caliber .223, .308 etc. for ammo availability, with a long reach. Like the quote "There's no possible victory in defense." Gunbroker's a great site but the only new ammo I buy is for carrying because of the legal aspects. Everything I shoot are reloads. I had to get back into reloading when my wife started shooting...lol.


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