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The Gun Safe

Is the Great Ammo Shortage of 2021 Really Over Now?

9mm Ammo
9mm Ammo Up Close.

Good things come to those who wait – and for shooters, that means ammunition is starting to be available again. Sort of.

While it is unlikely that the shelves will soon be packed, at least for now boxes, of ammunition are not impossible to find and the great ammo shortage may finally be coming to an end.

The reason is that after months of record-setting sales, firearms sales have dipped.

The gun industry still has reason to be happy – even as May 2021 saw sales of 300,000 fewer firearms – roughly 16.8 percent – from the same month last year. However, with roughly 1.4 million guns it was still the second-best May on record according to data from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF).

“The May 2021 number of about 1.4 million firearms is the second monthly decline recorded in the first five months of 2021,” said SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer. “Nonetheless, the overall firearms sales pace thus far this year clocks in at nearly 9.2 million units compared to 8.7 million units for January to May 2020.”

Yet, even with even this slight dip in sales, along with ramped up production by manufacturers the supply of ammunition is finally catching up with the insatiable demand. That should be good news to shooters, and even some of the most popular cartridges can be found and aren’t selling out as quickly as just a few months ago.

“From what we’ve seen, manufacturers are able to deliver products within reasonable timelines,” the purchasing manager at ammo retailer told last week. “However, once we list the products online for sale, they are gone from our inventory very quickly. In recent weeks, we’ve been able to keep popular calibers like 9 mm, .223 Rem., and .45 ACP in stock for longer periods of time.”

However, the purchasing manager warned that customers looking for specific bullet types or less-common calibers will need to remain patient until manufacturers catch up with demand in the market.

“We’ve never been a company that’s comfortable with taking orders for products that we don’t physically have in stock,” he added. “We do however routinely place backorders with manufacturers on their products. It’s safe to say we currently have more products on backorder from manufacturers than we have with products that are in stock.”

The ammunition supply in California may also increase – as there were fears that the new legislation could have added an 11 percent tax. However, last week the California Assembly failed to pass a bill that would have raised the taxes on handguns, rifles, precursor parts, and even ammunition.

While the tax would have applied to retailers and not consumers, a legislative analysis of the bill said retailers would have passed the costs on to the buyers. The Assembly Appropriations Committee estimated the new tax would have generated $118 million per year, with the money going toward gun violence prevention programs and research.

The majority of the Assembly’s 80 members actually voted in favor of the bill, but as it would have created a new tax it required a two-thirds vote to pass. It fell five votes short, and that included multiple Democrats from moderate districts, where the tax increase was a tough vote for them.

According to FoxNews, California already imposes a fee of $37.19 on gun sales, which includes a fee for background checks.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.