The Great Ammo Shortage Explained

| March 6, 2021

Relief is coming. When, is the question.

Fake news hit high tide when cartridges and components vanished from store shelves and website inventories. The tsunami of misinformation drowned out common sense and customer-service lines, with every manufacturer flooded with complaints, many of them conspiratorial in nature. Lizard people are not stockpiling ammo, nor is it Russian malware at work, according to the experts contacted by Shooting Illustrated.

“There are a lot of rumors right now about ammunition and components not making their way to retail that are just not true,” Jason Vanderbrink, Vista Outdoor president, cautioned. “We are running our CCI/Speer and Federal factories 24/7 and shipping products for commercial distribution every day.”

Jason Hornady, vice president at Hornady Manufacturing, concurred, adding perspective to the current demand. “We have orders that would be the equivalent of two and a half years of production,” he said.

SIG Sauer Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Commercial Sales Tom Taylor agrees sales are simply outpacing production capacity. “Demand has far exceeded our manufacturing capability, but we’ve still been able to double our shipments in all categories.” He added, “We have greatly expanded our work force and are running three shifts in our factory.”

Supply and demand, pretty simple. Ammo manufacturers are understandably cautious as this shortage will pass, and they don’t want to be caught with excess capability. Read the entire article here: Shooting Illustrated

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Economy, Guns

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  1. Hondo says:

    Yep. Pretty much the same thing happened with certain calibers (.22 LR in particular) at times during the Community Organizer’s Regime if I recall correctly.

    I also seem to recall the same thing happening with TP and paper towels a few months ago.

    • Hate_me says:

      Yeah, sad, that. Paper towels and TP are among the few products still produced in great quantity in the US, but fear that the borders may close spawned a hoarding of those very items….

      When will people learn to stop taking the news at face value? It’s not a substitute for actual education.

  2. gitarcarver says:

    Colin Noir did an interview with Joe Nosler, President / COO of Nosler concerning the ammo shortage.

    It is worth a few minutes.

  3. The Other Whitey says:

    For my two cents, we should never assume that there’s *no* nefariousness going on. That assumption breeds the kind of complacency that allows totalitarianism to take root.

    However, I think it is safe to say that the nefariousness is just one on a long list of contributing factors, and is not necessarily the biggest one either. The fear of nefariousness (both real and imagined) plays its own role, too.

  4. KoB says:

    Yeppers, we talked about this the other day, think Ex made a post on it, with the video. I don’t see supply catching up to demand anytime soon myself. Leaving the shelves as fast as it comes in, and the purchase of weapons hasn’t slowed any either.

    Now if we could just get some SCUBA Gear and hit all of these locations where the boats sprung a leak, we’d ALL have plenty bullets for the firesticks.

    No matter how much you have, it would never be enough if the supply was to be cut off completely…which is a Clear and Present Danger with today’s political climate. And we all know how fast consumable stores can get…well…consumed. Patch up your boats, girls and boys, ’cause Hurrinado and Tornacane Season is nearly upon us. And we all know that the lakes will flood and the quicksand will bog.

  5. USAFRetired says:

    I remember the early 90s Federal, Remington, and Winchester had their generic brands at damn good prices. A lot of that was because the production for other customers got cut due to the “Peace Dividend”

    Several years back there was a big hullabaloo due to Federal RFP for some multi-award IDIQ CONTRACT THAT had some short deliery times, so that the winners were going to have to build and hold inventory or risk loosing the contracts. If any of the winners of those contracts decide to get out of that market their insurance inventory will hit the market. Similarly if there is a recompete you can expect the same.

  6. M48DAT says:

    Greed, ignorance and hoarding. I’m guilty, got 50+ loaded 30 rnd mags in my war room from a couple of elections ago.

    • ChipNASA says:

      I have enough for today. I’ll never have for tomorrow.
      I got a new shotgun but I can’t bring myself to pay $1.25 for slugs because I shoot exclusively at the range.

      I’ll wait. I’ll pew 22.

      Funny cause I’m spending the evening cleaning, that I haven’t done in the last few weeks.

      I’m also gonna blame my 8 year old daughter.
      She shot last weekend for the first and had the same wide-eyed reaction my son did.
      She loves the PEW.

      Daddy’s gonna have to watch his budget !!!
      😀 😀 😛 😉

      • Hondo says:

        You might want to get a box or two of slugs if you can find them, ChipNASA. Ditto a box or two of buckshot.

        Both are reputedly very effective in a home defense situation. (Do the math on each projectile at muzzle velocity and you’ll see why.) Plus, they typically come in small boxes – 5 rounds each, as I recall – so you don’t have to sink major $$$ into inventory to have some on hand.

  7. Poetrooper says:

    Ol’ Poe read that article in the NRA newsletter and frankly didn’t see where it explained anything that we didn’t know already.

    I’d venture some speculation except that I’m presently engaged in the mature adult behavior of tormenting our young male Siamese with my 9mm bore-sighting laser–gonna run his little ass ’til he drops so he’ll be less inclined to screw with me when I’m trying to go to sleep and he wants to play.

    Cute little bugger loves to play fetch–just like a dog–will bring a toy and drop it at my feet while I’m sitting here at the computer then wait for me to toss it across the room so he can bring it back to me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Guns and ammo still evaporate off the shelves as fast as they arrive out here in deepest Red State land. No change.

  9. 5JC says:

    Ammo makers need to wise up to the idea that there is no excess capacity. Gun ownership has sky rocketed. If they increase supply it will sell.

    • Anonymous says:

      No such thing as “too much” ammo.

    • gitarcarver says:

      It appears that the ammo makers are running three shifts and still cannot keep up with demand.

      They are also facing material shortages and worker shortages due to COVID.

      Companies are trying to ramp up by getting more equipment, but that leads to the question of “where do you put it?” Most factories don’t have empty floor space that the company is paying for without a return on investment.

      Additional manufacturing space and equipment is not cheap. We are talking millions and millions of dollars. To think that a company doesn’t want to sell all it can is ridiculous. The question is manufacturing capacity – not desire.

  10. Old tanker says:

    The one big unknown for the manufacturers as well as consumers is the fed govt actions. Are they going to be successful in banning a category of firearm / magazine / ammunition. In addition will they be successful in putting a hellacious “value added tax” (A misnomer if there ever was one as I have never seen any value added by a tax) to the price of arms and or ammunition. They could also add certain firearms to the nefarious automatic weapons category mandating a halt to ALL new manufacture, a tax stamp on transfer and a national database on existing arms by requiring manufacturers to turn over ALL serial number records.

    These are dark days and while the dems have never been very bright on logical actions they are downright brilliant on means of confiscation, taxation, regulation and general fuck it upidness.

    • 5JC says:

      Currently 22lr is selling for $.15 a round. Buckshot is going for $1.50 a round and .30-06 rounds are nearly $5 each.

      These are all popular cartridges that aren’t going anywhere.

      • ChipNASA says:

        AND I thought that if 5.56 gets replaces by the mythical 6.8 round, then the manufacturers are still going to have to make it because there’s about 47 bajillion civilian gun owners out there with .223/5.56 ARs and such that are going to pay $$$$ for ammo so, are they going to walk away from ammo? No.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not to mention all the foreign military sales– that’s why Lake City/Federal has lots of M193 Ball (seconds) to sell by the ammo can.

          • Quartermaster says:

            ATK is the contractor running the Lake City Army Ammo Plant. They did own Federal, but Federal does not get any ammo from Lake City.

    • Hondo says:

      The one big unknown for the manufacturers as well as consumers is the fed govt actions.

      Even if the Federal government lets well enough alone (a big if), OT, there’s a second big unknown for the manufacturers as well.

      They know there’s a current spike in demand. They know that there will likely be some sustained increase in future demand due to increased gun ownership.

      What they don’t know is how large that sustained future increase in demand will be. And if they guess wrong on the high side, their company could literally be out tens of millions of $$$ – possibly bankrupting their business. As gitarcarver noted above, that equipment and factory floorspace doesn’t come cheap.

      From the manufacturer’s perspective, paying the cost running three shifts to utilize fully their existing facilities makes sense at current market prices. But investing literally millions to add substantial additional production capacity, particularly if they have to build an additional factory? That’s a far dicier proposition.