The Great Ammo Shortage Means Ammo Prices Will Stay High – Should you buy ammunition now or wait until prices go down?
Inflation on goods and services is here to stay and it is affecting ammo prices. This has some speculating that the prices you pay for ammunition these days will continue to rise in the next 12 to 24 months. With this in mind, some industry spokespersons are calling for gun owners to buy now or spend more later.
Bite the Bullet – Get Ready to Spend More in Ammo
1945 has examined these issues and we shared the following quote that could give you clues about the ammunition environment for 2022. Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, was talking in 2021 to Florida media, but his comments still resonate around the country.
“I would tell people who are holding out and thinking the prices are going to drop that they might want to start looking, to kind of turn a phrase a little bit, to bite the bullet and buy the ammunition that you want now, if you can find it,” said Mark Oliva.
Supply Issues Are Common
There are just too many problems with supply for ammo prices to head downward. The trickle-down effect that usually works – manufacturers pump out the bullets – then distributors make their order and in turn fill orders with the local gun shop – is a process that is not working at the optimal level. Gun stores can’t keep up with local demand and are not making timely orders from distributors. This leads to empty shelves and higher prices for the ammo that is in stock.
What Can Happen When You Buy Online?
Consumers then turn to online ammo dealers. Sometimes they are having success and can stock up – albeit with higher prices.
But online purchases have their pitfalls. Outdoor Life is monitoring gun owner forums to get a pulse on what is happening. They found this quote to be telling.
“Last Friday Target Sports had 9mm Speer Gold Dot and three FMJ Federal Ammunition choices in-stock,” a user recently posted on Lightfighter Tactical Forum. “As I received my text saying ‘in-stock’ I logged on to TS and was able to view the four selections and I put the Gold Dots in my order. As I hit the checkout, all four were out of stock. Maybe three minutes from the time I got the text notification until it was all gone. Unbelievable.”
If you can find out what you want ammo-wise at bricks and mortar stores or online, you may want to go ahead and purchase right now because supply problems are not going away.
What You Are Up Against
This 1945 article outlined what the ammunition industry is facing: workers in the factories are missing work due to the Omicron-variant and two years of the pandemic is hurting manufacturing; demand for ammunition for hunters has gone up; more gun purchasers have entered the market, and only two companies handle all the ammunition brands.
Ammo Scalpers Are Adding to the Problem
Outsider.com said that prices will continue to rise and one of the main reasons is ammo scalpers are out to squeeze consumers and sellers. The site said people are buying in bulk and then selling at a profit to stores, who then mark up the prices for consumers.
Crazy Ammo Prices: What You Can Do
One thing ammo buyers can do is form groups or clubs in-person and online to share experiences and find out who has supplied at affordable prices. You can do this by monitoring various Internet forums or join groups on Facebook or other social media. Ideally, it would be nice to have members of your online group live in various regions of the country. They could then monitor the availability and price of ammunition by locale. The wisdom of crowds may be the way to go.
Also, note that regionality plays a big role in what you pay for ammo. For example, we have several reports in-hand that prices in the Mid-Atlantic states have stabilized and in some cases have gone down (especially for 9mm and .22 LR). Of course, living near a big-box store like Bass Pro Shop which seems to be one of the best sources for ammo these days also doesn’t hurt.
It also may be good to partner with people who load their own and place informal orders with these enthusiasts. This allows you to avoid supply chain bottlenecks and other distribution problems that are facing the ammunition industry.
Since it is the beginning of the year, you still have time to find what you want. It will take some effort and perhaps teamwork to stay on top of this issue. But keep in mind, you may have to dig deep in your wallet this year for your ammo needs.
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.