I have been an avid shooter for several decades now, and like millions of Americans, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was unable to afford or even find most types of ammo. I actually ended up moving towards .22LR semi-automatics as it was the only ammo I could find – and it was somewhat reasonably priced.
As we marched into 2021, and we moved from a COVID-19 pandemic to something akin to an endemic state, ammo started to appear more and more regularly here in my home state of Maryland.
While prices were high, if I looked hard enough, finding boxes of 9mm, .22LR, and other popular types of ammo was possible. The prices were insane, but I could find ammo.
No doubt, there was a Great Ammo Shortage for sure, but if I put enough time, I could find the ammo I needed for target shooting.
Fast-forward to June of 2022, and at least for shooters here in Maryland, the Great Ammo Shortage seems about over, at least for the moment.
Thousands of Boxes of Ammo
Last Saturday, my wife and I went to our local Bass Pro Shop outside of Baltimore and we found an entire aisle stacked with what had to be thousands of boxes of ammo.
All of the popular brands like Winchester, Federal, and SIG Sauer were there. See the pictures below, and I am sorry to make my fellow firearms enthusiasts upset if you don’t have this sort of inventory in your part of the U.S. just yet. When I could see that much ammo I literally started running towards the aisle and just stared for a few minutes.
I was also impressed with the assortment of ammo I found. 9mm, .22LR, .40 S&W, 556/223, .45, and lots of shotgun shells were all present. I was also happy to see .38 caliber ammo which has been very hard to find here in Maryland as well.
Sadly, some calibers are still very hard to come by these days. I can’t find any .357 Magnum anywhere and .22 WMR is still really hard to find as well. However, I have to be honest, I am not complaining.
What About Ammo Prices? Coming Down for Sure
So, clearly, supply is improving, what about what it costs to take those bullets home?
Well, the prices were also very reasonable. Now, they weren’t 2019 reasonable, but they did not break the bank for sure.
For example, I was able to get a box of Bass Pro Shop’s house brand 9mm ammo, 50 rounds, for $17.99, not a bad price for sure.
I was also able to get a box of 50-count Winchester .38 caliber rounds for $34.99. Again, not a bad price, but many would consider that expensive. However, I won’t complain was I paid as much as $52.99 back at this same time last year.
Don’t Get Too Excited: The Great Ammo Shortage Could Return
While at least for the moment, supply and prices look to be improving at least where I live just north of Washington, DC, but one store with the ability to buy a lot of ammo nationally does not mean all is well.
Indeed, many local gun and hobby stores in the area in Central Maryland are stacked with ammo, however, as they can’t buy in the same bulk, expect to pay more for sure. Shooting ranges like Heritage in Frederick, Maryland has ample supplies of nearly any caliber of ammo you need, as well as Atlantic Guns in Rockville, Maryland.
Looking out into the future, firearms enthusiasts should be mindful of President Biden’s push for new gun control legislation. While such new laws won’t likely restrict any type of bullet, any sort of news like this always creates a lot of panic buying, driving down supply and of course creating the possibility that prices could go up again.
One possibility is 556/223 ammo that is used in AR-15s could see some shortages, as rumors persist that Team Biden wants to try and limit supplies of this popular ammo.
Bottom Line: The good news is you can find ammo in this part of the country, but what the future holds is unclear. How is the ammo situation where you live? Let me know in the comments below.
Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. Prior to his work in national security, Harry worked in the telecommunications industry for over a decade, specifically for a large Cable Television company. Kazianis has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree focusing on International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of the book The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization.