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The Great Ammo Shortage of 2021: Will It Ever End?

Great Ammo Shortage of 2021

Amid the nearly two-year-long coronavirus pandemic, the ongoing inflationary pressures and a shortage of certain goods due to supply chain issues undoubtedly have wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy.

But in recent months, it appears that ammunition supplies have become highly vulnerable as well—as everyone from regular citizens to police officers and deer hunters are feeling the shortage.

And as more people are deciding to buy guns, it seems that there aren’t enough bullets to meet the fast-rising demand. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated that about 8.4 million people purchased a gun for the first time last year. In addition, federal background checks for firearm purchases surged 40 percent last year to a record of nearly forty million, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Dan Marcon, the owner of Marc-On Shooting in the village of Lake Hallie, Wisconsin, recently told Wisconsin Public Radio that he generally sells an average of around six handguns per day. In contrast, before the pandemic, he would sell anywhere from five guns a week to several each day. He now claims that some people are purchasing new guns just because there’s ammunition available for them.

“We have .308 ammo, and we have twelve gauge. So, guys will come in and buy a $300 to $400 shotgun because they can buy slugs,” he said.

Marcon has also seen a surge in interest for his training courses for new gun owners. “There’s a ton of people that we teach to shoot that are people (you) would not think carry guns, whether they’re soccer moms, stay-at-home dads—they’re people that never touched a gun before,” he added.

Ammo Shortage Caused from a Material Shortage?

At least part of the ongoing ammo shortage can be blamed “on the production of electric cars and the U.S. Mint making more coins,” according to Axios. Chris Metz, the CEO of Vista Outdoor Inc., which operates four U.S. ammunition plants, recently told the news site that the company is in direct competition with those specific industries for copper and other materials.

“Raw material costs aside, Metz said ammunition availability should be better in the not-too-distant future because a plant in Lonoke (in Arkansas) that makes Remington ammunition is back in high production mode,” the site writes. “Last year, about four hundred fifty people worked there. Now it employs one thousand fifty. It’s running two and sometimes three shifts a day, six days a week and management is looking to fill another one hundred positions.”

Ammo Shortage: Conspiracy Theories

Moreover, the ammo shortage has prompted rumors and conspiracy theories of gun dealers or manufacturers hoarding ammunition.

“It’s no big conspiracy at all. It’s simply there was eight million new shooters, and the new shooters want guns and ammo,” Pat Kukull, owner of Superior Shooters Supply, told Wisconsin Public Radio.

“That started it. And, then with the riots that went on in the (Twin Cities) area, that self-defense (gun purchases) went way up. It’s just a perfect storm,” she 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.

Written By

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.



  1. CrippleB

    November 23, 2021 at 10:06 am

    I’m not sure where there is a shortage anymore. I can walk into Big5 and their shelves are full.

  2. Anon

    November 23, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Sure there is ammo now. But it is still up 100% in price.

  3. William A Atkins

    November 23, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    If the ammo is being produced where is it? It has not been available online or on the store shelves in Alabama. The manufacturers are making these claims but it’s not making it to the store shelves. Explain where is it, who is getting all this ammo, if you can find a box of anything it’s 3 times the price. Answer please,who is getting all this ammo?

  4. Chris Dillard

    November 23, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    There’s no ammo shortage and there never has been. There are plenty of every gun show.

  5. Larry Valadez

    November 23, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Not shortage ammo still live more
    100% but too high price $$

  6. Ted

    November 24, 2021 at 6:01 am

    If there’s no conspiracy then why is there pallets of ammo for sale on eBay in Australia that originated here that they (Australians) won’t sell to U.S.? Why is there no shortage outside the western hemisphere? Why is there no reloading component’s or equipment? Why is there no black powder component’s available? These so called new shooters aren’t buying flintlock to defend themselves. Even archery equipment is “out of stock” in the U.S. pellet guns on back order. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck it’s a duck I’m tired of being told that we’re not being intentionally disarmed because it’s as obvious as a witches nose wart we are.

  7. nihlistic

    November 30, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    40% of the ammunition sold in the US came from Russia. The current president banned ammunition from Russia. Not conspiracy. Fact.

  8. bobby

    December 30, 2021 at 4:22 am

    You people have heads in the sand. They think by saying there is not shortage it makes it true.
    There has been a shortage for 2 years. I can’t get primers to even reload with.
    Try to buy 45 colt ammo. If its in stock its 1.50 to $2.00 per shot. I could reload it for 30 cents oh but there are no primers.

    Let me try. There is no primer shortage i can walk in any Big 5 and buy them for $30.00 per 1,000 just like always.

    Ok I will try tomorrow to see if this works. Just type it and magic it will appear in the stores.

  9. Timothy Mauldin

    January 3, 2022 at 7:32 am

    This article doesn’t answer the question it’s title asks. So when will it end? When can I buy primers from a retail store at a fair price?

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