Keeping Knowledge and Expertise Alive

SayUncle posted yesterday that ammo makers are preparing for the inevitable downturn.  It’s a good read, but the main thing that caught my eye is this:

In 1978, there were 318 plants in the United States involved in ammunition production. By 1995, six years after the Berlin Wall fell, there were fewer than 100, according to Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.

U.S. spending for ammunition dropped 78 percent.

“Anytime the industry shrinks, you lose expertise and skill,” said Thompson, who more than a dozen years ago co-authored a study of the ammunition industry.

That’s absolutely true.  The United States currently doesn’t actually need more nuclear submarines, but we’re still building them in large part because once you stop, we lose the expertise that goes into that.  Those people find employment in other sectors, and suddenly, as a nation you no longer know how to make submarines.  Anti-gun folks, who claim to support the military and police being well armed, don’t appreciate the roll that civilian shooters have in keeping these industries alive in times when the military isn’t spending so much.

Alliant also can sell its bullets to the law enforcement and sporting communities, an option not available for companies manufacturing tank rounds and artillery shells.

I can guarantee that the civilian shooter market is much bitter than the law enforcement market.   The value the “unorganized militia” provides in not only keeping people well trained in marksmanship, but in keeping the domestic firearms and ammunition markets afloat and innovating, even during peace, shouldn’t be readily discounted by people who claim to be in favor of military and police having arms, and no one else.

One Response to “Keeping Knowledge and Expertise Alive”

  1. Alcibiades says:

    This was part of the reason the NRA was even founded. Civil War generals were concerned about the poor marksmanship of their soldiers, so they created an organization to promote the shooting skills in the general population.

    However, they have probably failed somewhat in their mission given that many urban centers conspire to limit people’s access to firearms, thus limiting the ability to give them training. And it’s the people in the urban centers that need such an organization the most. Farmers and rural folk are allowed firearms in almost every country, but city-dwellers are regularly denied.