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How Joe Biden Made the Great Ammo Shortage Even Worse

Great Ammo Shortage of 2021

The Great Ammo Shortage: Made Worse by Joe Biden’s Russian Ammo Ban? – According to a recent research study from The Insight Partners, the small caliber ammunition market will continue to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, yet the market is still projected to reach $10.2 billion by 2028, up from just over $6.2 billion in 2021. It is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.5 percent during that same period.

CBC Global Ammunition, NAMMO AS, Remington Ammunition, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation, BAE Systems Plc, Elbit Systems Ltd, FN HERSTAL, Winchester Ammunition, and Denel PMP are among the key players that were profiled in the small caliber ammunition market study; and they collectively account for a significant market share.

Covid-19 had a significant impact on the growth, however, and until the outbreak, the defense industry was experiencing substantial growth in terms of production and services. The pandemic affected ammunition and assembly line manufacturing all over the world in 2020, while disruptions in the supply chain also temporarily slowed production.

That has impacted both the civilian and military markets for ammunition globally. And, yes, that means an ammo shortage all across the country.

Joe Biden’s Russian Ammo Ban

Another factor in the supply of commercially available ammunition in North America was the U.S. State Department’s announcement in September that Russian-made ammunition would be banned for importation. Officially labeled as an expansion of sanctions in response to Russia’s alleged violation of the “Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991,” industry experts warned that stateside gun owners are the real victims, not Moscow.

Russian ammunition, which is usually steel-cased, has long been seen as an inexpensive and reliable alternative to higher quality American-made ammunition.

However, despite the ban in September, imports have not been completely halted. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, ammunition from Russia is still able to come into the country in certain instances.

“Working with Congress, NSSF has learned that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will honor all Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Form 6 permits approved on or before Sept. 6, 2021 and allow the import of Russian-made ammunition and firearms even if they arrive at a U.S. port on or after Sept. 7, 2021,” the NSSF reported. “The new State Department policy will only impact applications not yet approved by Sept. 7, 2021.”

Prices for Russian-made ammunition have been steadily on the rise, however.

“We have seen a 15- to 20-percent increase in retail prices since this order came to light, obviously the consumers out there are worried about being able to get ammo in the future – as they should be,” Charles Brown, president of MKS Supply, an importer of the Russian-made Barnaul ammunition, told the National Rifle Association’s Shooting Illustrated this month.

The NRA publication also cited ATF estimates that the total number of Russian rounds arriving in 2020 was around 765.5 million, while Mexico was second in terms of imported ammunition at around 600 million rounds.

“Opinions vary on what percentage of the market those cartridges represent,” Shooting Illustrated added, but Brown suggested it accounted for as much as 40 percent of the total commercial ammunition market.

The NSSF said its figures are considerably different. Mark Oliva, public affairs director at the trade association explained, “Our best estimate on Russian ammunition is that it comprises between four and eight percent of the total ammunition market.”

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.