The Real Reason Behind The Ammo Shortage Isn’t What You Think

In the American east, a panic over gasoline shortages shocked residents recently. The Colonial Pipeline, a 5,500 mile line network that supplies almost half of the eastern U.S.’s gasoline was shut down by hackers. Operations returned to normal within a few days, but gas stations’ availability of fuel remains spotty to this day.

For gun owners, a different shortage has been plaguing them. Ammunition is in short supply, and industry is unable to keep up with demand. Stores are depleted and gun ranges have no ammo for sale either. The only people able to shoot are those who had existing stockpiles before the pandemic, and it’s going to remain that way for years.

Stephen Gutowski of The Reload reached out to several ammunition manufacturers about the shortage issue. According to them, there are several factors impacting the shortage.

Firstly, there is the good news that an additional 9 million first-timers joined the ranks of American gun ownership. The flipside of the surge in new gun ownership, however, is that these newcomers contributed to an already strained run on guns and ammo which happened during the presidential election cycle. A conservative estimate might suggest that these new owners purchased just 2 boxes of ammunition with their new weapon, placing the estimated round count at 900 million bullets sold just to new gun owners.

The second reason for the shortage as well as price increases, is the cost and availability of raw materials, all of which surged as the pandemic affected production of basic elements such as copper and steel.

Industry representatives responded to Gutowski’s inquiries about the ammunition crunch with dismal news.

Jason Hornady, vice president of Hornady Mfg. Co. said that they currently have an order backlog stretching two and a half years out, and he says it will take at least that long before things reach a “slowdown.”

Brandon Wexler, owner of Wex Gunworks explained that many gun owners aren’t shooting at all right now because they can’t afford to replace what they shoot.

Another industry person identified three factors which have driven sales beyond the industry’s manufacturing capacity. They are pandemic-induced safety concerns, an increase in hunting and recreational shooting during the lockdowns, and concerns about new gun-control laws after Biden won the 2020 elections and Democrats captured the senate.

Hornady claims that the industry has been stretched to maximum capacity and improving supply beyond current levels is very difficult. He said that manufacturers aren’t making increases of merely 30 percent, but more on the order of 50 to 100 percent. He said that best case, you can reliably find ammo on a store shelf in 18 months but it’s perhaps closer to 30.

While it’s encouraging that America has recently seen so many new gun owners, they unfortunately will need to exchange their kidney to get a box of ammo.

Author: Kim Hodges

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