Last month a survey of American firearms enthusiasts found that seventy-nine percent of respondents said they’d cut down on their shooting-related activities due to the ongoing ammunition shortage. The survey, which was conducted by industry research firm Southwick Associates, further found that four out of five consumers had encountered “out-of-stock” situations.
Shooting industry insiders have blamed the shortage on a combination of factors including manufacturing facilities that were shuttered during the Covid-19 pandemic, an increase in the number of first-time gun buyers – but moreover, it has been hoarding that has led to shortages. While some shooters may be stocked up, many others continue to face shortages.
It may not just be a day at the range this summer that could be impacted, but the quickly approaching hunting season could also be in jeopardy this year.
“Everything is difficult right now,” Dave Larsen, manager of Doug’s Shoot’n Sports, told KUTV TV in Salt Lake City. “There’s not a single round of ammo really available at any of the wholesalers.”
While Larsen added that handgun ammunition is currently more readily available than other types of ammunition, specialty calibers are all but impossible to find.
“The big kicker might come in the fall when people are trying to find hunting ammo because it will be very, very difficult to get,” Larsen added.
The story is very much the same across the country. Last summer it was toilet paper and frozen pizza that was in high demand, but while those items can be readily found, ammunition is in such demand some retailers have reduced store hours.
“We’re still not completely reopened, and it has absolutely nothing to do with COVID,” Jeremy Ball, co-owner of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop in Spokane, Wash. told Spokesman.com. “We’re closed 21 hours a week that we’d normally be open because ammo across the board is in short supply.”
More Expensive Competition Shooting
What ammunition has been available has been far more expensive than last year, and that has resulted in shooters scaling back on target training. This has included those who regularly take part in competitions such as sporting clays.
The Washington State High School Sporting Clays Tournament, which was held April 30 at Landt Farms, had multiple teams drop out because the competitors couldn’t find or afford enough ammunition.
Some see this as politically driven as much as pandemic-driven.
“We had a run on supplies during the Clinton and Obama presidencies,” said Mike Furrer a competitive shooter and coach in Spokane. “When the left gets a political advantage, it triggers gun and ammunition buying by people who fear firearms restrictions might be coming. But the current shortage, with another liberal president compounded by all the COVID restrictions and last summer’s riots, is the worst shortage I’ve seen.”
The industry has done its part to ramp up production, but it could still be well into next year until the shortage is fully addressed. Until then, Bambi and other wild life might have been given a reprieve of sorts come the fall hunting season.
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 Amazon.com.