The consumer price index, which measures a basket of common products as well as various energy goods, has surged 5.3 percent from a year earlier and 0.3 percent from July. A month ago, prices rose 0.5 percent from June. The 5.3 percent annual increase still keeps inflation at its hottest level in roughly thirteen years.
“There comes a point when you say, ‘I’m not going to buy it,’” Jeff Williams, a range instructor at the Westside Pistol & Rifle Range in New York City, recently told Forbes. “Every time you pull the trigger, it’s a buck and a half.”
Mark Fiacable, who runs FloridaGunSite.com, told the news magazine that ammunition prices for some calibers have surged as much as four-fold in recent months. For example, boxes of nine-millimeter rounds were selling for $12 pre-pandemic but that surged to $40 to $60 during the peak. Meanwhile, a box of .380 caliber rounds that are usually only $15 were going for $50 to $60.
Popular calibers like .38 and .380 are “very, very difficult to get, if you can get it at all,” Fiacable said.
He, however, admitted that “supplies are getting a little better and prices are starting to come down a little bit, but they’re still higher than they were pre-COVID.”
It appears that demand isn’t going away anytime soon. According to Smith & Wesson, more than ten million people have purchased guns for the first time during the pandemic. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported a high number of monthly background checks that will likely surpass last year’s annual record.
“The increased costs of raw materials, shipping, warehousing and distribution are costs that are being passed along to the customer,” Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the gun industry group the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Forbes.
“That’s coupled with the basic laws of supply and demand. Demand for firearms and ammunition is continuing at an elevated pace and the increased demand means prices have climbed,” he continued.
According to retailers, people should keep in mind that firearms aren’t as vulnerable to inflation like bullets.
“There absolutely has been significant price inflation at the retail level for ammunition, though less so for firearms,” said Rommel Dionisio, an analyst for Aegis Capital, per Forbes.
“The shortage of ammunition in the U.S. had resulted in dramatic price escalation—as well as rationing, for example limiting customers to a certain number of boxes to be sold per visit—since last year,” he added.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.