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The US Ammo Shortage: How It Started and How It’s Going

Firearm and ammunition displayed

Empty ammo shelves at gun stores and the dreaded “out of stock” banners have gun owners in the US feeling frustrated. The shortage that started back at the beginning of 2020 is still dragging on, even after production has sped up. Ammo has become very difficult to find, and when you do find it, the prices are simply outrageous.

So, let’s talk about the ammo shortage, how it started, and what we can expect from the future.

What led to the ammo shortage in the US?

When COVID-19 hit the world, it had a massive impact on all industries, and the ammunition and
firearms industry wasn’t spared. Many ammo factories had to decrease or even stop production
because of the pandemic, which was the driving factor for the shortage.

On top of that, social unrest in 2020 contributed to the dramatic surge in the number of first-time
gun owners – and people buying guns and ammo in general.

According to research by Small Arms Analytics, 22.8 million new guns were sold in 2020. The FBI has also shown data that indicates that out of all the new guns sold in 2020, 8.5 million were to first-time gun owners.

At a time when supply was already low for existing gun owners, manufacturers had to attempt to
rise to the occasion to supply ammo for the millions of new gun owners as well. Moreover,
because of the shortage and the threat of increasing prices, many have opted to stockpile ammo
when they could find it.

Store shelves are empty due to the ammo shortage.

Another significant driving factor to this shortage was the shutting down of Remington Arms in
early 2020, which is one of the biggest ammunition manufacturers in the US. Vista Outdoors later
bought Remington ammunition factories, which are now running, but the break-in production did
increase the ammo shortage.

More recently, political factors have also contributed to a decrease in ammo availability and an
increase in demand. With the Russian ammo ban and the anti-gun sentiment from the standing
government, people are also trying to buy guns and stock up on ammo before any legislation
bans them from doing so.

Even now, new gun sales are higher than they were last year at this time, and if this trend
continues, we might even break the record for the newest guns sold, which was only set last year.

All of these factors played into creating an ammo backlog that is in multiple billions, and will
probably take a considerable amount of time to recover from.

Ammo shortage on store shelves.

When will ammo be available again?

Now, as the situation evolves and we reattempt a state of normalcy at a time when factories are
running to manufacture ammo, you might be asking, “When will ammo be back in stock?”

The good news is that availability is gradually improving; however, there is still a significant
shortage, especially in many hunting calibers. Common calibers like 9mm, 556, and .308 are
available, but the prices are significantly higher.

So, if you’re wondering when ammo will be back in stock, the answer depends a lot on what you
are looking for, and where you are looking for it. Many “war-time” calibers that are massproduced are widely available, except perhaps 7.62×39, which has become less available after the
Russian ammo ban. Still, even such calibers can be found at some of the larger ammo stores.
Some calibers are still very difficult to find and may not be readily available for a while.

When will ammo prices drop?

For the foreseeable future, it doesn’t seem like there is going to be a significant drop in ammo
prices. The prices might never go back to what they were before the pandemic. Prices at some of
the bigger gun stores are somewhat better, but still, there has been a rapid increase in the costs
of ammo over the last year.

Moreover, according to the experts in the market, this ammo shortage could last a while, and it
could take the market over a year to get back to normal. Still, it does seem like, for now, the
availability of common calibers is improving. The same cannot be said for the prices, though.

Want to learn more about ammunition, concealed carry, and defensive living while waiting for the ammo market to return to normal? Check out our online and in-person concealed carry training classes throughout the United States and get started today.

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