The past two years saw an ammunition shortage unlike anything before it. Fueled by panic buying during the pandemic, supply chain issues, and an chaotic election, ammunition shortages were widespread and felt for longer than anyone could have anticipated. The unrest we saw starting in 2020 along with the uncertainty of the pandemic created millions of new gun owners - all of whom needed to buy ammunition.
Think about this: it is estimated that 8 million people became brand new gun owners in 2020. If each of those people purchased 100 rounds of ammunition, that equals 800 million rounds of new ammo that needed to be manufactured in 2020 alone.
That said, now in the spring of 2022, things are finally improving. The cost of ammunition has dropped from its peak and more importantly, popular calibers of ammo are once again on the shelves at local shops. Manufacturers are catching up on backorders of the most common ammo (5.56, 9mm and 12ga 00 Buck for example) and delivering pallets to retail and online outlets. Unfortunately, calibers of less common ammo and hunting rounds are still less of a priority for manufacturers and are out of stock in most places.
A major hurdle in the industry to meeting all of the new demand is ammunition manufacturing capacity. Many people are unaware that despite there being dozens of ammunition brands, the majority of US made ammunition (and primers - the real bottleneck) is produced by just a handful of companies. Not only do these manufacturers make the bulk of ammunition that consumers purchase, they also manufacture ammunition for the government. Even though we just saw some of the largest demand spikes and lowest levels of supply, manufacturers still see the ammo market as cyclical and therefore have not prioritized building out new manufacturing plants to meet this new consumer demand. Granted, it takes years to get new manufacturing plants operational, so fingers crossed, the big boys will make those strategic decisions and build more capacity to handle the increased future demand.
To add to the overall ammo shortages seen in the industry, a major supplier of steel cased ammunition is Russia. Steel cased ammunition makes up an estimated 40% of the ammunition sold in the US. Even prior to the geopolitics surrounding Ukraine, the Biden Administration put sanctions on Russian sourced ammunition and firearms. The effects of those sanctions were scheduled to play out over the next few years as permits for importing Russian ammo expire, but the chaos in Ukraine certainly hasn’t helped the situation, and steel cased ammo has once again started to increase in price as supplies dry up.
On top of everything are price increases in basic materials such as copper, brass, lead, energy, labor, you name it. Taking all of this into account and you can bet prices aren’t likely to drop much further and may even rise from here. This will make the ammo you acquire today even more valuable in the future.
Think about this, in 1992 brass cased .223 could be bought for 18 cents a round. This time last year, a typical box of .223 FMJ was selling for $18 - so nearly a dollar a round! Today it has dropped and is hovering around $0.55 a round, but the big question is will the price continue to drop or will it go up over the next year? Nobody knows.
It seems every time we come out of an ammo shortage we think: “Whew, that’ll be the last one!” But as history has shown, something worse is always around the corner.
Responsible citizens know that having ammunition on hand is essential.
We’re proud to say that even though the past couple of years have been rough for gun owners, we’ve helped our customers stay stocked up on a consistent basis. The best scenario were those customers that had ammo socked away with us prior to the shortages. They were able to request it whenever they wanted, and when store shelves were going empty, that is exactly what thousands of our customers did.
Even in the thick of ammo shortages with online stores showing everything “out of stock” and big box stores implementing a 2 box limit (when you could get it), we took orders and filled them as we received new resupplies. We don’t have a perfect solution, because our customers still have to wait for us to get ammo in, but they at least don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops or get up at 4am to stand in line at the big box store. We like to say, “when we get ammo you get ammo”.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to consider the unique service that AmmoSquared provides. With AmmoSquared, you can buy ammo in a way that is convenient for you - a little each month, then get it delivered when you want it. Even though times are getting tough for everyone, $15 from each paycheck, 3 gallons of gas at today’s prices, can really add up! Doing this now will go a long way to help make sure you have ammo on hand for when you need it in the future - ready for the next ammo shortage that is lurking around the corner.