Why Is There An Ammo Shortage?

Why Is There An Ammo Shortage?

From new gun owners to long time gun owners, we are all experiencing the struggle of

finding ammunition in 2021. Every day, we are asked “when will ammo become

available again and when will the prices return to normal?” The easy and academic

answer is to refer to the supply and demand curve. However, that does not mean much

to the consumer. The team at Range Time is here to help shed some light on the ammo

shortage in 2021.

In 2020 there were 39,695,315 background checks submitted to the FBI for the purpose

of purchasing a firearm. Each one of those checks can be representative of one or more

firearms being purchased. Also, states like Arizona do not require additional background

checks for those CCW permit holders to purchase a firearm since they have already

undergone a background check for their permit. So the true number of firearms sold in

2020 is well over 40 million. This is more than a 39% increase from 2019. With that in

mind, imagine if everyone purchased 100 rounds for every gun they purchased in 2020.

That is over 4 billion rounds!

The reality that we saw is that many people were buying ammo by the thousands

because of the unstable political climate and civil unrest that we had last year. And on

top of that, add the fact that all of the people who owned guns prior to 2020 were simply

up on ammo and BAM! You have an exponential growth in demand for ammunition. To

make the situation worse, because of the COVID pandemic, there were many factories

that were shut down or running skeleton crews for portions of the year. A reduced

output on top of an increased demand was not helping the ammo situation.

What About The Price Of Ammo?

In the last 12 months, we have seen anywhere from a 3-4x increase in the price of

ammo. This is due to the high demand of a product that there is a limited supply of. At

the end of last year, we saw Vista Outdoors, (which owns Federal, CCI, Speer, Blazer,

and Remington), announce that they were increasing the price of their products from 5-

15% across their ammunition lines. This 5-15% at the manufacturer level will likely

mean a price increase to the consumer that is much more.

The prices of ammo as of January 2021 have skyrocketed, but how long will the prices

stay this high? The real answer is no one knows. The political climate in a highly

regulated industry will have a significant effect on the longevity of the crisis. At some

point the prices will start to come down, but it is unlikely we will see them return to pre-

2020 prices for many years to come, if they ever do. Increasing material costs,

increasing labor costs, increasing taxes, and increasing regulations does not lay the

groundwork for lower ammo prices.

Why Don’t They Just Make More Ammo?

This is a multifaceted problem.

● First, there is a limitation on the raw materials needed to make ammo.

● Second, the cost of starting a new mass production ammo line requires an

enormous amount of capital, plus staffing the plant, and organizing a distribution

chain. Ammo companies learned their lesson after Sandy Hook when they

opened new production lines to meet the demand, and then the demand dropped

off. Companies were left with an enormous amount of capital tied up in these, no

longer needed, plants.

● Third, it takes time to build an ammunition factory and get the machines required

to make bulk ammo and this doesn't happen overnight as much as we all wish it


What Should We Do In The Meantime?

Don’t hoard ammo, that is the compounding effect that we are all experiencing right

now. Every time someone goes out and buys 10,000 rounds of ammo for every caliber

they have, it has a ripple effect. Decide what you realistically need for practice, defense,

or the apocalypse and stick to that plan. The reality is having thousands of rounds

stored up for the end of the world is fairly useless. Find other methods of practice such

as dry fire or shooting simulators like the ones at Range Time in Phoenix, AZ. Be

deliberate in your practice. Gone are the days of shooting hundreds of rounds just for

fun when you are at the gun range. Go to the range with the intent to practice a specific

skill that you need to work on. Or seek professional firearm training. This will be the best

investment you can make as a gun owner. Being able to have a professional help you

become proficient at shooting can prevent you from wasting ammo trying to teach


Train For The Unknown,


Reserve A Lane Rental At Range Time To Practice Your

Firearm Skills Without The Cost Of Ammo!

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