Within the past month or so, I stopped in my favorite toy store, Bass Pro, to pick up a few boxes of .22 caliber ammunition, with the intent of taking a new rifle to the range and tuning it up for the late squirrel season. I quickly discovered the days of grabbing ammunition for an afternoon shoot are on hold. I did find a box of .223 ammo and proceeded to the check out where I waited behind a gentleman buying over $1,000.00 dollars worth of .38 ammo, presumably for resale. There are many things wrong with that day’s experience prompting a look into this shortage for the benefit of my readers who either own a firearm or know someone who does.
It is obvious that demand has exceeded supply. The question is why. In the days before Covid, about a year ago, supply easily exceeded demand. All was well. Obviously Covid has been an ingredient in the shortage recipe, however civil unrest, often violent in nature, a white hot presidential election and the installation of the party of gun control is in the driver’s seat. Congress and the Presidency are controlled by folks who have never met a gun they liked. Add to this recipe around 7 million new American gun owners and you can start to see the makings of trouble for folks who enjoy firearms, but cannot find ammunition.
Back to my .22 ammunition experience. The makers of this diminutive little bullet tell us that if they stop taking orders today, it will take two years to fill the existing back orders with a price tag of around 1 billions dollars. A thoughtful business mind would conclude that more production is the answer, perhaps building new factories. Not so says the industry. Factories are excruciatingly expensive and current 24 hour production schedules will eventually fill the demand. It is unwise to build new factories to see them out of production in a year or so. We must also remember the shortage is cyclical in nature, as in 2017 when ammunition supplies easily exceeded demand.
Now it starts to get sticky. Manufacturers are starting to raise prices to distributors, logically reflecting the increase in production hours and labor costs. Market savvy folks know that when prices are high enough, folks won’t be stockpiling full combat stores of ammo. In simple terms, prices will discourage hoarding, something new to America on the levels we have seen recently during the pandemic. If you are one of the folks who has a thousand rounds of .223 in your basement or who has built a bunker to store obscene stockpiles of ammo, then you are part of the problem. Buying hundreds of expensive, personal defense ammunition for your 9mm is ludicrous, as the chances of touching off even one shot is incredibly low. By the same token, enough full metal jacket, for the range, makes perfect sense.
Has the new administration ordered the stockpiling of ammunition or ordered production slowed? Have they attempted to slap a high tax on ammunition? Not yet, but stay tuned. They will likely exhaust every effort to somehow make ammunition the centerpiece of their desire to crush the 2d Amendment. The new boss has blank executive orders at his breakfast table, and signs them anytime he can find his glasses. It is necessary, in most cases, to challenge these orders in the courts, and that takes time. Stay vigilant on this sensitive political issue. Boss Biden really has no need to think about running for a second term so he will run over anything he disagrees with.
A good strategy going forward through 2021 is to stay calm, shop for ammo deals on line, don’t buy and shoot that cheap Russian crap, and ease up on those long strings of .223 while on the range with your AR. The days of paying a buck a round for 9mm will likely disappear sometime this year and we can go back to the pastime so many of us love. Support your favorite 2d Amendment advocacy group to the extent you are comfortable and pick up the pen and put your thoughts on paper. Don’t miss an opportunity to teach a kid, or your wife or husband to shoot, safely and accurately.
Have a good weekend!