For much of the last year, another of the numerous shortages plaguing the U.S. economy has been that of ammunition, along with those of lumber, fireworks, gasoline, and other goods brought about the strange conditions of the pandemic.
Due to a massive amount of demand for guns and ammo, brought about by extra money to spend on guns from stimulus checks, pandemic boredom, fears about social unrest, and worries about new gun restrictions, ammo has been harder and harder to find of late. This has had such effects as police having trouble finding ammunition for training exercises, and hunters also not being able to obtain the ammo that they need.
“On certain products, we are certainly seeing backlogs that stretch out two years and beyond,” Brett Flaugher, president of Winchester Ammunition, told The Reload earlier this spring. “For those who shoot 9mm and 5.56 ammunition, which are both in high demand, it’s very uncertain how long it will be before people will consistently have ammunition readily available…
“We have certainly experienced unprecedented demand for all categories of ammunition over the past year—rimfire, centerfire rifle and pistol, as well as our shotshell products,” Flaugher told The Reload. “Over the past year, we’ve seen more than 21 million firearms sold, with over 9 million to first-time gun buyers. This is an incredible number.”
There have also been reports of hoarding of ammunition amid the shortage, including one from WATE last September.
“Our guys will sit online and work with our manufacturers, and as soon as they see ammo available, they’re hitting buy. It goes that quick once it’s available,” Brian Phelps, executive director of the South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance, said in that report last September.
There were also eight million new gun owners last year, and while factories have been operating at top capacity for months, it still hasn’t been enough to meet demand- and that might remain the case for as long as a year or longer.
The latest report about the shortage comes from West Virginia, where a local news report from WV News has found that supply remains short, including in that state.
“The state of the industry right now, it’s a little unsure,” Christopher Price, owner of Price’s Gun shop and Gunsmith of Anmoore, told the TV station. “I don’t believe they ever can take our guns, but they can make ammunition hard to find.”
“All of 2020 and now 2021 have been record-setting years for gun sales. There have been a myriad of things in our society that contributed to these uptick in sales,” Alex Shay, event and membership coordinator with Defense In Depth of Morgantown, told the newspaper.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.