Monday, August 26, 2013

The latest lowdown on the Ammo Shortage of 2013

All conspiracy theories aside, the National Rifle Association has come up with the best explanation yet for the on-going shortage of sporting ammunition.
Which, by the way, does appear to be easing. At least in parts of the country, including here in Northeast Ohio.
Anyway, the NRA's detailed account of the present ammo shortage situation appears in the
September issue of the organization's “American Hunter” magazine.
It's two pages worth of details are found in the magazine's “Firstlight” section and is written by Jon Draper, the “American Hunter's” assistant editor.
Some of what Draper writes has been covered in the recent past here and by me.
Among the parallel themes is how ammunition manufacturers are pouring out all the stops to produce more fodder for the firearms owned and used by the nation's civilian hunters, competitive shooters and plinkers.
Another point emphasized by the NRA piece is the lack of any evidence of some kind of government conspiracy intended to deny the American public access to ammunition.
I will repeat this so as there can be no doubt: No such government conspiracy existed or exits now, period. End of discussion.
In fact, the “Firstlight” piece notes that the “see-see-see” finger-pointing at the Department of
Homeland Security's goal to buy 450 million rounds of .40-caliber pistol ammo over the next five years is totally bunk.
Even more so, I'd say, than the musings of the Flat Earth Society or those who know for certain that Neil Armstrong never stepped foot on the moon.
The reason being, the department consists of no fewer than eight agencies with a total of 65,000 armed agents. Among the agencies: the Secret Service, the Immigration and customs, Boarder Patrol and others.
These agents not only carry weapons fueled with ammunition the personnel are also required to maintain proficiency with their firearms. That work requires more than dry firing of their handguns, obviously.
Yet Draper goes on to explain a couple of other reasons I hadn't thought of which makes perfect sense as to why a shortage developed. Including in this group is hording, which I've covered a time or two before as well.
Consider that with a high demand for ammunition of all calibers (and gauges, come to think of it) as well as bullet weights, the most popular ones are going to get top billing.
That means you'll find ammunition makers dedicating their machinery to producing more 9mm Luger rounds and less time cranking out rounds of .32 ACP.
Makes perfect, logical sense.
So does the fact that gun owners are not content with walking into a Walmart, a Gander Mountain or a Cabela's store and being happy buying a 50-round box or two of whatever.
Oh, no, they're buying much, much more.
Like one of my older brothers who now possesses no fewer than 5,000 rounds of .22-caliber long rifle ammunition.
Draper's story also quotes the National Shooting Sports Foundation as saying that today's first-time firearms buyers are using their weapons at least once a month instead of just plinking every now and then at a gun range.
Then the story goes to note that as the shooting sports have attracted more participants the more businesses that cater to these shooters have come on line.
The translation of this details implies that ammunition makers must now supply a limited product to more outlets, thereby reducing the inventory that each business has on hand.
Lastly – and this reason was an eye-opener because of its far-reaching implications - there is the question of what's called “commodities,” or the raw materials needed to build a round of ammunition.
Copper, brass, steel, lead, tungsten, bismuth, plastic, and the chemicals needed to make gunpowder and even a host of other unrelated products are all highly desirable and much sought after. And not just by United States companies, either.
Emerging economic powerhouses like the Peoples Republic of China and India are in the same raw material commodities race as are the businesses across town from Any City, USA.
Make the wrong projection of how much of what metal you'll need over the next several months to make “x” number of rounds of ammunition and either you are out of luck or else you have to try and find what you need on the spot market.
Such concerns are what keeps chief financial officers awake at night and sales of Maalox also in high gear.
So go ahead and believe the government, the Obama Administration, or greedy American corporations are behind the ammo shortage.
Shoot, blame little green men from Mars or their counterparts at the Department of Homeland Security if you wish.
The truth is far more complex and much more challenging to cope with than many firearms owners are willing to accept.
And though these gun-slingers may be satisfied believing in the unbelievable, in the end they won't come any closer to finding that 500-round brick of .22-caliber CCI MiniMag ammunition.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


  1. All said, I find it odd, wasteful and inconsistent on both sides. First why use hollow point for target practice at 25%+ higher cost over lead, plated or full metal jacket. Second is that in 1 year the US gov purchased more DHS ammo than it had in multiple years combined. Third why would the US gov hord millions of ammo while the local police cant even purchase any and I quote "The gov will protect you" with what batons and tazers??. Sorry but Obama gave Mexican terrorists machine guns and then holds out on ammo for any local PD in urgent need. Look I am a NRA life member but I have learned whatever the gov said, I believe the oposite and it has never let me down. Oh and the economy is just fine!!!!!!

    1. Ive heard this argument over an over, but its fact that many agencies practice with the ammo they will carry...for tactical and practical reasons. Do I trust the Govt to tell the truth all the time? Of course not. But not everything is a "conspiracy"....The most plausible logical answer is usually the best.

  2. There's really two prongs on this fork.

    A. Where did all the ammo disappear to INITIALLY? And...
    B. Why has it STAYED GONE?

    As far as the answer to Question A, I got the stupid idea to buy a gun for my Mother in Law last Christmas. She was moving to Florida and lived alone. I thought it would be a good idea and a nice gift. I bought the gun at a Cabela's. I had a 50 minute wait to get to the gun counter. I bought my third-choice gun for her because the other two were sold out. I had a three hour and thirty minute wait for a background check, and was told (20 minutes after the store technically had closed) the FBI computers had broken. Come back tomorrow.

    This is a long-winded way of saying, "A lot of people all bought guns at the same time." For whatever reason... A lot of people bought guns at the same time and most all of them bought ammo for their new gun.

    While I was waiting for the gun counter, I noted that there were more than a hundred boxes of .380 auto. When I came back the next day at lunch for a second try at the background check; three boxes. Have rarely seen a box since.


    Answer B: I have a 70 minute drive to the Conservation Range I favor. I don't get in the truck without 350 rounds (Seven Boxes). It isn't worth my time to go with any less than that. If the wife wants to go (and she always does) that brings me to 14 boxes of ammo for an afternoon at the range.

    When there was zero ammo, there was zero trips to the range. When there was a little ammo, I was not only buying up for a fourteen box trip to the range, but I was buying for the NEXT trip to the range as well. So I became part of the problem. I was buying all I could find, whenever I could find it.

    Now that cheap 9mm is back on a regular basis at my Cabela's (Still no .380), Instead of keeping 1000 rounds of it on my ammo shelf, I'm trying to keep 3000 rounds on my ammo shelf.

    Technically this is hoarding. Or it was until I hit the 3000 rounds of supply mark, shot 350, and immediately replaced seven boxes.

    QA. WHY DID IT DISAPPEAR? Answer: A butt-load of people bought guns at the same time.

    QB. WHY DID IT STAY GONE? Answer: Because the lack of availability of plink for the range lead to an increase in how much shelf space schlubs like me were willing to devote to those pretty green and red and white boxes.

    Every shortage has a saturation point. We're just about there. .380 was the last caliber to come back to the shelves in 2008. When Cabela's can keep a box of .380 on the shelf for a whole week until the next Friday restock... it's officially over.

  3. P.S. I definitely thought the government purchasing was making things worse. Then I learned how often the various LEA agents had to qualify with their pistol and how many rounds they spend practicing and testing for those qualifications.

    That's a lotta frickin' bullets.

  4. I really hope that I do not know any people who went out and bought 1000, 2000, 3000, 10000 rounds because they got scared. These people are A-holes and they are ruining the shooting sport when you can't go out and but a couple boxes of ammo to practice.

    1. If you had been one of the ones who went out and bought 1000rds or more ypud be one of the ones with ammo to shoot when the shortage occured. And heres a hint-it will happen again esp when the Dems take the house and strengthen thier hold in the Senate after 2014. i get sick of the unprepared bashing those with forethought to stock up as "evil horders", its just common sene to have ammo on hand ahead of timewhen we KNOW the shortages are going to get more frequent and worse as time goes on. As far as Im concerned the "a-holes" are those who bash other gun owners for ong the prudent thing an stocking up. Im not a "a-hole" because I dont pass up opportunities to stock up my ammo so you have the convienence of walking in walmart and picking up a cple boxes to have fun.

    2. Damn Right!! Most people who are bitching and moaning at this point are those who were not intelligent enough to realize what was going on around them Myself included to an extent. In Dec. of 2012 I went to my local walmart and bought 6, 550 boxes of .22 along with others. I paid attention to what was going on and knew what would be the first things to go. Looking back now I am kicking my self in the ass for not buying it all. As it sits I am scared to even go out shooting due to the fact that once what I have is gone well that's it no replacements. What really chaps my ass is those who don't own a gun or would even consider one and they are running on the stores to buy it all up tripling the price on it and selling it back to everyone else. Don't get me wrong I don't have a problem with someone making a small profit but to take advantage of people who actually have a need for it is what I call an asshole in my book. Those who don't prepare, takes everything the media and your govt. tells you as the truth and bitches, moans and calls you an asshole because you prepared and they didn't. Well that's what we like to call a ZOMBIE.

    3. Check out . Hundreds of thousands of .22 LR ammo going for triple rate. This is where the .22 LR ammo is going.

  5. I personally don't have a problem with people wanting to "stock up" on ammo. But there are those of "US" gun owners that can't get there "Hands" on ammo simply because all "you" people have already purchased it all.

  6. P.S. If it takes 7 - 50 round boxes to " Qualify " with your " Weapon" then I suggest you take the time to "learn how to shoot".

  7. PPS, I must apologize sincerely for that last statement. It was very rude of me to state this. I was merely upset at the fact there is hardly NO ammo for the rest of US gun owners to even get the chance to practice with or even go hunting. It is very nerving at the least that OUR country has come to this. I am a firm believer that WE need to take back OUR Country.

  8. What a bunch of paranoid loons.
    Next thing they'll be saying is the government (IRS) is being used to persecute politial opposition.
    Or that the government willingly sold guns to criminals south of the border to create stricter laws here.
    like they say a sucker born every minute or polyezniy idiots.