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How the Great Ammo Shortage of 2022 Went Global

Ammo Sales
Image: Creative Commons.

From Alaska to Australia: Shooters Feeling Pain of Ammo Shortage: 1945 has extensively covered ammunition shortages in the United States but now the problem is spreading to at least one other country. Australia is seeing empty shelves and high prices, while people in the United States are still struggling for supply options. Shooters in certain states such as Florida, West Virginia, Alabama, and Alaska, feel the shortage acutely and are struggling to find more ammo.

Ammo Shortage: Rounds Are Scarce in Australia

Target practice at a gun club in Darwin, Australia has been limited as of late. There aren’t enough bullets to go around and shooters are worried. The president of the Darwin Pistol Club told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on January 23rd that “When we realized the problems facing us, we did exactly what the Americans have done and we started hoarding,” said Nick Barnard. “Whenever we can get supplies, we buy up big.”

Sometimes the problem is shipping. Australian logistics companies TNT Express and Northline said in August they would stop transporting firearms and ammunition. The large firms did not give gun stores and ammunition providers much prior warning and shop owners saw an influx of farmers and ranchers looking for ammunition.

North Queensland firearms dealer Anthony Pagan told the Australian Broadcast Corporation that he is seeing a spike in demand from ammunition buyers.

“They’re stockpiling,” he said. “They’re trying to get what they need for the coming year because they don’t know, with stock availability and with freight, when they’re going to be able to source the things they need for their day-to-day work.”

Alaska Shooters Are Facing Ammo Shortages

Like Australia, Alaska has remote areas where supply chains for ammunition have been hit hard. And guns are necessary for survival and putting food on the table or for personal protection from bears.

A journalist on guns and ammunition who has reported on the problem, Zachariah Hughes, told a radio station in Anchorage on January 4th that the problem is that popular ammunition is difficult to find.

“There’s boxes on the shelves, but it’s this weird mishmash of, you know, sort of like the leftover Halloween candy of ammunition. Like big cartridges that really aren’t very popular, and then some smaller cartridges that aren’t that popular and some shotgun shells. And if you’re in Anchorage at least, and I think this is probably true throughout the Railbelt, there’s just not a lot on the shelves in stores,” Hughes said.

Ammo Shortage in the Deep South: Alabama Is Seeing Empty Shelves Too

Alabama is another state with many people who love to hunt and enjoy the outdoors. Even teenagers are feeling the strain. Teens who belong to 4H Clubs in communities in the Birmingham area have trouble finding shotgun shells for skeet shooting. Local gun stores have also reported shortages in rifle ammunition such as 7mm magnum, .270, and .243.

West Virginia and Florida Have Slim Pickings

In West Virginia, almost the entire state is focused on deer season in late November. For example, some workers receive paid time off from their employers to hunt. Gun store owners said that popular rifle cartridges are difficult to keep on the shelves and were gone in minutes.

Florida gun store owners report similar problems. Z. Farhat, a sporting goods store manager, said the shortage is hitting gun owners hard. “It’s affected all calibers, handgun calibers, rifle calibers, shotgun shells. I mean everything across the board is dried up,” Farhat told a Jacksonville, Florida television station.

When Will the Ammo Shortage End? 

These shortages are likely to continue the rest of the year. Some blame the supply chain problem. Others believe the political environment that encourages more firearms laws has people hoarding. There is a high demand for guns that drives the need for ammunition. But the scarcity cropping up in other countries is a noteworthy development. Australia has rural areas where logistics and freight companies do not deliver many shipments. The people who need guns for their livelihoods such as farmers and ranchers have to pay the price.

Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.