Ammunition Manufacturers Indicate Shortages Will Continue into Late 2021

by Jennifer Shea

Hunters are facing an ammunition shortage that will last well into 2021.

Vista Outdoor CEO and Director Christopher Metz said during a quarterly earnings call last month that recent shortages may last longer than those in the past, American Rifleman reports.

Ammunition Shortages Will Last Longer

“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.”

Vista Outdoor is a shooting sports and outdoor products company based in Minnesota. It runs more than 40 different brands and subsidiaries.

Metz acknowledged that there was a surge of new shooters in 2016, which also led to low-cartridge inventories. But he said the present shortages are likely to last longer. For one thing, the raw numbers are higher. For another, the current crop of shooters includes newbies from a broader demographic range.

“According to data from the NSSF [National Shooting Sports Foundation], there are 6.2 million new shooters in 2020,” Metz said. “This rate is more than twice the number of new shooters in the former surge. Anecdotally, there is no shortage of reports of sold out shooting ranges and backlogged firearm safety classes around the country.”

He added that NSSF data suggest the surge is comprised of large increases in women and people of color purchasing firearms and ammunition.

Companies Compensate for Surge

“We have cleaned inventory in all retail and wholesale locations,” Metz explained. “Despite us producing flat out for 6 months, there is no buildup of inventory at any of our customers. In fact, every one of them would like significantly more. Simply put, consumer demand continues to outpace our ability to supply.”

American Rifleman traces the shortage in inventory and the increase in demand back to early 2020. But ammunition companies have not been sitting idle since then. In fact, Vista Outdoor has bought a factory previously owned by Remington and prepared it to produce at full capacity. 

In the meantime, hunters will have to use what ammunition they have carefully.