How Ammo Shortages Are Impacting Local Gun Shops

by Michael Freeman

Hunting and gun enthusiasm has been on the rise for the past few years. That fact coupled with COVID has made ammunition more difficult for everyone to obtain. With shipments being delayed, local gun shops are really feeling the sting and have to find ways to cope.

Fox 11 News reports COVID-19 disrupted the ammo supply chain production, in addition to increased gun and ammo demand. Furthermore, when ammo finally hits stores, it’s quickly snapped up by eager buyers. To combat it, some stores have to limit how much ammo customers can buy. Other times, they have to be vigilant with suppliers to get what they want and quickly.

Steve Gyldenvand helps buy the ammunition at The Reel Shot in Appleton and told the news outlet about the local gun shop’s struggles. “It’s a lot of begging with suppliers, lot of sleepless nights, and lot of small victories when we get the ammunition in.” Additionally, the ammunition available right now is often not what’s in demand. When they do get things in high demand, they receive a very limited quantity.

“The real high demand stuff is limited to one case a time so for hunting ammunition, 10 boxes,” Gyldenvand explained. “Ten boxes don’t go a long way when you’ve got people clambering for it.” He isn’t kidding. Mark Konrad has been hunting his whole life and also detailed the struggle to Fox.

Konrad told the outlet he drove 50 miles just to get the ammo he needed and even switched guns. “I always shoot a 12-gauge shotgun and I just switched to a 28-gauge because there seems to be more ammo,” he informed them.

The Reel Shot, like many other gun stores, tells people to buy ammo immediately when they need it or chance missing out.

Ammunition Companies Knew Last Year Shortages Would Continue in 2021

With hunters, gun enthusiasts, and stores facing ammo shortages, what about the sources? As it turns out, things were so bad last year ammunition companies knew the shortage would last through 2021.

American Rifleman noted comments last year Vista Outdoor CEO and Director Christopher Metz made concerning ammo scarcity during a company’s quarterly earnings call. “We currently have over a year’s worth of orders for ammunition in excess of $1 billion,” Metz said. “This is unprecedented for our company. With demand far outstripping supply and inventory levels in the channel at all-time lows, we see strong demand continuing.”

The company hoped to combat it by purchasing the ammunition factory in Lonoke, AR which was previously known as Remington Outdoor. However, they are still playing catchup thanks to the surge of new gun owners since 2016 and 2020. Metz also stated there were 6.2 million shooters in 2020 alone, making ammo problems much worse.

Nevertheless, purchasing places like the old Remington factory will in theory help balance out the shortage by next year.