For over a year now, hunters, outdoorsmen, and Americans looking to provide some home protection have been struggling with the ammo shortage. Their magazines and chambers have remained empty as gun and ammo retailers have had some difficulty keeping their shelves stocked. There are a couple of theories floating around the firearm industry that try to explain the nationwide ammo shortage. However, in the end, they all point towards frustrated customers, retailers and distributors alike.
- Ammo manufacturers are struggling to keep up with increased demand
- Monopolization of industry leads to fewer supply availability
- Strict regulations prevent more domestic distributors from developing
- Some companies have begun to move to more gun-friendly states
The Supply Just Isn’t Meeting Market Demands
To put it simply, right now, demand is way higher than supply for ammo. In fact, according to FBI data, there was a 41 percent increase in gun ownership from 2019 to 2020. Additionally, the industry saw 8.4 million first-time gun buyers by the end of 2020. As a result, the industry is struggling to keep up with the influx of orders for common rounds like .308, .30-06, .270, .223 and others that are ideal for hunting and home defense.
Another component that is hindering the industry is the potential presence of a monopoly. Techli stated that there are two firms, Olin Corporation and Vista Outdoor, that own the majority of popular ammo brands. This lack of diversity in ownership may lead to a monopolization as the industry relies on just two parents companies to produce the nation’s supply of ammo.
Not to mention, most U.S. distributors’ ammo supplies come from overseas. This means the supply chain is even longer, increasing the time it takes for a case of bullets to reach the hands of firearm owners. Of course, the ultimate solution to this problem would be to have more suppliers within the country. However, stringent state regulations and high operation costs prevent this from happening. Some companies, like Smith and Wesson, have moved their operation to a more gun-friendly location, and this helps speed the process some, but really, the issue starts with the source of raw materials.
How Can Firearm Owners Combat the Ammo Shortage?
For those that just can’t wait four months for their next case of rounds, the best solution is to start making bullets on your own. Home bullet presses are becoming increasingly popular among gun owners, as it decreases your dependence on retailers to provide your ammo. Just keep your brass casings and you’ll be able to keep providing your own rounds.
But if you don’t already have the necessary materials, you might still be waiting for the next shipment.
The best advice we can give in the meantime is to use your rounds sparingly, keep all your brass and start saving for a bullet press.