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Great Ammo Shortage: Big Gun Sales and Hunting Season Mean Fewer Bullets

Ammo Shortage
Ammo Shortage. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The Great Ammo Shortage Just Won’t End – Demand for Ammo Continues to Rise: The global supply chain bottleneck remains a serious problem, one that isn’t likely to be resolved until at least the second or even third quarter of this year, and it will continue to impact the availability of firearms ammunition. That is affecting the current hunting season that is now in full swing in some southern states including Mississippi. Even as supplies of ammunition have returned to near-normal levels in the Mid-Atlantic and parts of the Midwest, sportsmen, and sportswomen in the Deep South must continue to hunt for ammo.

“Right now is hunting season, deer season, and we don’t have any hardly deer shells. Whatever we do get in, is gone within a few days at the most,” Tyler Hancock, who works in the gun department at Pine Belt, Miss.-based Mak’s convenience store, told

What ammunition is available in the Magnolia State comes at a premium. Retailers have reported that hunting ammunition, in particular the most popular calibers, is running about 30 to 40 percent above pre-pandemic prices – vastly outpacing even the record-high inflation gripping the country.

Drop-in Gun Sales, Increase of Ammo Production (But Still An Ammo Shortage)

December saw a sharp decline in year-over-year sales of 21 percent – yet it still needs to be noted that December 2021 still outpaced pre-pandemic levels and was the second-highest final month of the year on record. One factor in the dip may have simply been that it would be impossible for sales to keep the record pace.

Another is that it isn’t just empty shelves of ammunition. Retailers across the country are reporting that many popular firearms are hard to obtain as well. That slowdown could be good news for current gun owners, as it was the influx of strong sales that caused the supply woes that begin in the second half of 2020.

While firearms sales are likely to remain strong in 2022, and could outpace pre-pandemic levels, any slowdown in sales could allow supplies of ammunition to replenish. However, given that the country is gripped in near-record inflation, and there remains strong demand for many of the components used in ammunition production – notably copper – it could be a while for prices to come down.

When Will the Ammo Shortage End? 

Even as nearly 9 billion rounds were produced in 2021, up from 2017’s 8.1 billion, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, the price of ammunition is currently running 200 to 300 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Shooters looking for “cheap ammunition” may be out of luck – especially as the global supply chain bottleneck has impacted the importation of ammunition from suppliers in the Middle East and Asia. In addition, the ban on Russian ammunition means that more Americans will have to turn to the “good stuff” and pay a premium as the lower cost ammunition is simply unavailable.

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.