Why is There a Massive Ammo Shortage in the United States?

Written By Karl Fluri, Posted on January 5, 2021

This year’s pandemic has rocked the world! But no country seems to have seen as much turmoil recently as the United States of America.

With the belief of many Americans of an impending societal breakdown, it appears as though, along with toilet paper and first aid treatments, there has been an extreme increase in stockpiling of ammunition, that has led to a major shortage.

Rumours have been circulating that the shortage may have something to do with issues in the supply chain. It’s easy to see why, this pandemic has left multiple industries ravaged and with the shutdowns, it is not beyond the realm of possibility to think this may have something to do with the shortage.

Although manufacturers assure us this is not the case, a statement from Jason Vanderbrink, President of Federal Ammunition, reads:

We are running our CCI/Speer and Federal factories 24/7 and shipping products for commercial distribution every day… There are a lot of rumors right now about ammunition and components not making their way to retail that are just not true. There are also resellers outside of our customer base who will always try to take advantage of pricing in times of high demand. 

It appears that manufacturers are running at full capacity. 

Hornady Ammunition also reported that following the panic, which set-in for people in mid-March, the company had their best shipping month on record.

The shortage seems not to be stemming from a drop in manufacturing, but rather a change in consumer buying habits, much as we’ve seen with many products throughout this pandemic. Although, there is a greater storm hitting the ammunition market at this moment, which is why their shortage has hit them much harder and has lasted much longer than other industries.

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Early in the year, we saw gun-control events, primarily located in Virginia, that had thousands of armed protesters in the streets. This increased sales and stockpiling for fear of legislation cracking down on citizens’ firearms rights. 

Then there was COVID, the race riots, and the contentious election along with the possibility of a Democratic presidency. All of these events have fueled the purchasing and stockpiling we have seen this year.

In any year simply one of these events would be enough to cause some sort of shortage, but it appears that this year has really left the market bare and it will take a while to recover. 

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Jason Hornady, vice-president of Hornady Ammunition said in a statement “We’re shipping more than we’ve ever shipped… Stuff we make today, we will ship tomorrow.”

Many are asking why manufacturers can’t simply increase production based on demand, but this is much easier said than done. Increased production requires more infrastructure: plants, equipment, and workers, which are expensive to come by regularly, let alone in a pandemic year when all of these things are in high demand. 

The other issue would be, once the consumer buying habits return to normal, what will become of this infrastructure as the manufacturers will no longer require the increased capacity.

It appears as though unless there is a major change in the market on the horizon, Americans will be stuck with this shortage for a while; so you better make every shot count.

Karl Fluri

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