As the past few weeks have shown, world events affect the US ammunition consumer. Sometimes quickly and unexpectedly. This is probably a good time to talk about having an ammunition management plan...
As I mentioned in last week's "Ammo Update - October 2023" we're seeing prices move higher and inventory levels drop in 5.56/223. That said, this buying panic may be short. Honestly, it doesn't feel like it has the legs of the last one. Primarily because we don't have the factories shut down like we did during the COVID induced 2020 shortage. It is still too early to tell if we will see deeper shortages and higher prices in the near future, or it may fizzle out.
Either way if you don't panic and have a plan in place, you'll be able to weather whatever way the ammo availability wind blows in the future.
I've written about having an ammo stockpile before in great detail. For example: "How Healthy Is Your Ammunition Stockpile" but in this post I'm going to do things differently and present an alternative: a simple approach that anyone can put into play right away (whether or not you are an AmmoSquared customer).
Given the current dynamics of the world and ammo market, we could all use an ammo management plan that is simple that can be put into action TODAY. Let's start!
1-2-3 Knockout Punch for Ammunition Management
If you know anything about boxing you know that each punch has a number. The first two punches are the most common and foundational. They are (1) Jab and the (2) Cross. The third is more difficult, but also gets a lot of knockouts if done correctly. I'm talking about (3) Left Hook (or Right Hook if you are left handed).
In this plan, think about steps (1) and (2) as foundational and something you should do no matter what. Step 3 is the real knockout punch that makes an ammo management plan the most effective.
Step 1 - One OPEN Case
Basic things first, Step 1 is make sure you have some form of a base stockpile of ammo at home. How much, is entirely up to you but one case of ammo at home for your primary SHTF “go to war” long arm (and probably even your primary pistol too) is a good minimum. A case is a good unit of measure. This is the ammo you are actively using for training and practice.
[Side Note: I'm going to assume most of us have an AR15 or AK type rifle in this role. If not, this also applies if your primary long arm is a Battle Rifle, a lever gun, a PCC, a Shotgun or something else entirely. Case size is usually proportional to the round you're shooting. For example, if your primary "go to war" long gun is a bolt action 300 Win Mag, then a standard case size of 200 rounds is appropriate for this discussion.]
So back to my boxing reference, think of step 1 like the jab. It is a good start and better than nothing, but it isn't quite enough to get the job done most of the time. That is where you need a follow-up (2) cross...
Step 2 - One UNOPENED Case
This is where having an ammo management plan, comes into play... Anyone can have a case of ammo at home and call themselves "good to go". Instead, start thinking ahead so you don't draw down your only case of ammo. You probably already do this for common consumables like soap, toilet paper and dog food… Have one you're drawing down and one in reserve. Simple. When you use up your open case, you immediately pull down your reserve case and it becomes your open case.
"Two is one and one is none" is the best way to think about this.
Back to brawling... if you are trying to punch someone out, this is your (2) cross punch and coupled with a (1) jab, it is good enough to get the job done 80% of the time without needing to do anything else.
The only caveat here is that you better remember to procure a new reserve ASAP if you don't already have it!
This is when there could be a hiccup in the plan though. If you go to buy that new reserve case and find yourself in the middle of an ammo shortage or even just a personal funds shortage, you could put yourself in a future bind by not buying a reserve case of ammo when you planned. This is how panics start. If you don't buy that reserve case now, and you draw down your open case, you will eventually be without ammo.
Not a good situation by anyone's standard - except criminals, terrorists, politicians or anyone else that wants to take advantage of you and subject you to their whim.
This is where you need a knockout punch... the (3) left hook.
Step 3 - Build UP while you're Drawing DOWN
For the ultimate in ammo security you should be thinking two steps ahead:
- You have a case you are drawing down for training. (Good)
- You have a 2nd case in reserve to replace Case #1. (Better)
- You are replenishing what you use as you are drawing it down. (Best)
The problem with Step 3, let's be honest, is that its a pain in the ass. If you are shooting weekly (like you should be), or even 2x a month, are you also going to the gun store as often? Probably not. Walmart used to be a viable option but isn't anymore since they stopped selling most calibers. (First they take out all the good ammo then they remove all the cashiers! Booo! Thumbs down Walmart!)
So that leaves two options... one I'm partial to. ;)
If you want to replenish regularly you need to buy regularly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with shopping online or locally every few weeks to replenish what you shoot. This can be done in small amounts or large amount (ie: bulk). It does take a lot of discipline. Where people fail in this plan is that it is tedious. It is more fun to shoot and less fun to shop.
This is where the panic buying seed starts to germinate...
Fail to Plan = Planning to Fail
If people put off buying ammo long enough and THEN (Murphy's Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong) news breaks about violence in some corner of the globe, a virus is spreading, or whatever gets people scared, panic buying starts. People rush out to replenish supply only to find the store shelves nearly empty. They buy everything in sight, probably overpaying in the process, and the next guy gets REALLY panicked when nothing is available. So he is willing to pay even more to get what he needs... a vicious cycle starts.
This could have all been avoided with a plan... and some discipline.
Actually heck, now that I think about it, if you are an AmmoSquared customer, you don't even need discipline! We provide that for you with our AutoBuy and AutoShip functionality. We take care of Step 3 - the "knockout punch" for you. All you have to do is set everything up so you have a backup for your home backup.
Ha! My mama always told me I was smart! Maybe she was right? :)
Having that step 3 in place is really the key to ammo peace of mind. Whether you have the discipline to replenish regularly on your own and/or you supplement with AmmoSquared - you'll be sleeping like a baby when the next ammo panic strikes.
So if you didn't read any of the above and skipped down to the bottom, you're in luck because here is the knockout punch in a nutshell: "Have a PLAN and a BACKUP for your BACKUP."