Ammo Shortage Survival Guide: How to Combat the Empty Ammunition Shelves

by Kayla Zadel

Whether stores are running low on ammo or some are just pulling the product outright from its shelves, there’s not an easy way to say it, but we’re in an ammunition shortage.

Why the shortage you may ask? The pandemic spawned a time of buying in bulk and hoarding certain things. And then there was an influx of new hunters. Individuals couldn’t wait to get out of the house and turned to hunting in the great outdoors. This, and a couple of other factors like Walmart pulling guns and ammo from its stores then reversing the decision, all resulted in an ammo shortage.

Don’t worry though, we’re putting together some ideas on how to survive the shortage of gunpowder and lead.

Search Wide and Far

This seems like common sense, but we’re not only referring to driving miles and miles away to find ammo. We’re talking about looking in places that don’t scream “we sell ammunition.”

Try checking at stores like Tractor Supply, Rural King, and other general stores. Ace Hardware might be a good place to start, too. You might not find everything you’re looking for but at least getting some form of ammo could be possible. says, “Get creative with your searches.” Places like Graf & Sons, Ballistic Products Inc., and Precision Reloading are great options for reloading equipment. They even carry ammo as well. Nosler ammunition and components are sold at the Shooter’s Pro Shop.

There’s also the option of purchasing ammo online if it’s legal in your state.

Quality vs. Quantity

Even though you might be looking for ammo in bulk, it might be time to switch gears and search for quality. Yes, you will end up paying more, but you might be able to find the more pricer options left on the shelf.

Therefore, you get what you pay for, meaning that accuracy and performance will improve, and you will end up with ammo.

Consider Switching Calibers

Going with a not-so-common caliber could be another option. The .22 LR, .223 Rem./5.56x45mm NATO (especially in the AR platform), 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win. and 7.62x39mm, and in handguns, its .380 ACP, 9mm, and .45 ACP are just a few common calibers. As a result, most of these are experiencing a shortage.

However, something like the .22-250 Remington is a great alternative choice. Plus the ammo hardly ever sells out.

Handload Your Own Ammo

An investment is required to start handloading, but it can save you money and grief in the long run. With each cartridge that’s hand loaded, the price-per-round decreases.

Something to keep in mind though, supplies for the common calibers are typically the first to sell out as well. Therefore, we again suggest considering switching calibers to avoid this issue.

Popular propellants are often known to sell out as well. If this becomes an issue consider a high-priced propellant like Vihtavuori or brands like Vectan that are often overlooked.

When Will the Shortage End?

Companies like Browning and Winchester are releasing statements that they’re trying to keep up with the demand.

“Like many manufacturers in the shooting sports industry, we are experiencing extremely high demand for our products. We are continuing to manufacture and ship our high-quality products on a daily basis.” 

Others like, Fiocchi USA is expanding and adding new factories. Some companies are breaking up while others are getting together. Working through these logistics take time, which can also put a strain on production.

Lucky Gunner CEO Jake Felde tells Pew Pew Tactical that the scarcity will continue.

“Unless demand falls rapidly, we don’t envision a scenario where supply catches up before summer 2021, at the earliest,” Felde predicts.

Dave Kiwacka of BarnuaL also believes that wholesale distributors expect the high sales volume to continue until mid-2021. He believes that we could see a “new normal” for gun and ammo purchases.

“If things calm down socially and politically, we may get to finally see what that new normal level of supply and demand looks like,” Kiwacka explained.