More on Ammo Shortage

Some have speculated that the ammo shortage is a result of market manipulation by the government. I think the shortage is a social phenomena largely the same as a run on banks. All it takes is an initial panic to get it started, like say, the government threatening to steal 10% of deposits, in the case of banks, or the government threatening a rash of new, draconian gun laws, in the case of ammo. Once the initial panic buyers clear the shelves, then other people start to join the panic because the shelves are bare. Most gun owners don’t shoot all that often, and tend to buy ammo as they go rather than stockpile. If all those people decide they need to stockpile, because they don’t know when they’ll see another box of .223, the panic feeds on itself. Add to that the fact that you hear a lot of talk of coming civil wars in gun circles these days, and you have a recipe for bare shelves for quite some time. Are the huge government orders affecting the supply? I don’t know enough about the ammo business to speak to that, but it’s certainly not helping the panic.

23 thoughts on “More on Ammo Shortage”

      1. I’m pretty sure the Cypriot government is trying to calibrate such that the home depositors get to keep their money and the Russians bail them out; since there’s no way the Russian Black Sea Fleet is getting down the Bosporus…

        Nor is the Atlantic Fleet coming through the Pillars of Hercules.

        Wonder what is happening in Istanbul, though…

    1. I’m with NUGUN above. This has a high probability of triggering widespread bank runs. If I was a poor sucker in a Eurozone country in bad fiscal shape, the first thing I’d do is take out all my cash and deposit it in the First United Bank of Mattress.

      The only thing that makes me worry less about that here in the US is the US has it’s own printing press that they can use to steal value and don’t have to do it overtly….

      1. The US doesn’t have to get a committee of governments to approve running the presses, and dollars are still considered better than the alternative because we don’t have the economic equivalent of Cyprus able to demand action but not have the clout necessary to stand off such extortionate demands.

    2. Latest is that the cypriot parliment does not have the votes to pass the bailout to the banksters. Lets see if the banksters will let the banks fail. Intersting times.

  1. I don’t think there is any conspiracy by the government to buy up all of the ammo in order to price it out of reach for many civilians. But I do think that’s exactly what has happened since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began.

    Prior to the start of the Iraq war, a 1000rd case of 5.56 mil-spec ammo was usually somewhere around $160. The AK ammo was somewhere around $80. And these prices held steady for a good while.

    But this can only account for price increases. Ammo was always available at the intersection of supply and demand, you just had to pay the price. I think you’re right – a sudden surge in demand, identical in nearly every way to a bank run, is what we’re seeing.

    1. Don’t forget that the other side is buying ammo, too. I wonder how much of the cheap surplus stuff is being bought up by Johnny Jihadi.

    2. Ammo mfgs deny all notions of an ammo conspiracy. Many retailers had been stocking X quantities of ammo knowing they could quickly get more from wholesalers, but sudden, acute demand ended the standard sales/orers rhythms, hence an acute shortage and back-orders that won’t go away. Several ammo mfgs state clearly that contract orders (eg, the Fed) account for no more than 5% of their production/sales.

  2. From the article…

    “Banks, shut on Monday for a bank holiday, will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday to avert any panic.”

    Yeah, staying closed always helps make people think their money is secure.

    1. Coming to a country near you. Hello America, are you ready to give the international bankers more of your money?

  3. My concern is for reduced quality, especially as upstart companies come online.

    American ammo companies have a reputation and tradition of making a reliable product with tight specifications, because they care about their customers.

    If a box of 9 mm hollowpoint from the People’s Republic of Somewhere is underpowered and underweight, how and when we will know? The CDC doesn’t track such information. I’m essentially relying on the few enthusiasts who do testing to run interference for me.

  4. Are the huge government orders affecting the supply?

    Not directly, since they’re not really that huge (especially since the draw-downs in Iraq and Afghanistan have, I think, greatly reduced military usage); but people that haven’t heard the “oh, sorry, we were off by three orders of magnitude on our estimates because nobody can read these bids right” correction might think that that additional drain is there and that might in itself be enough to feed panic buying.

    That said, I suspect we’re closer to the panic buying ending than to it continuing – eventually everyone realizes they have more ammo than they’re going to shoot in the next five or ten years*.

    (* Joe Panic Buyer, that is. Obviously Mr. IPSC or Mr. Three Gun never had that much stockpile to begin with because it’d be a truckload of ammunition. But Mr. IPSC and Mr. Three Gun aren’t the root of panic buying situations.)

  5. I would be very very curious to know how much ammo was bought in prior years? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Etc.

    While I know that the 1.5 billion rounds touted works out to about 3K+ rounds per officer. And most of gunny folk thinks that’s about right for an officer to use in training for a year.

    I also know that numerous instructors, law enforcement, etc. Have declared that many departments do not even expend 500 rounds per officer of training.

    So I do still feel that the 1.5 billion is a big jump up on stock-piling. And from what I’ve read, exceedst the use by the military in Iraq. (If that’s true, that’s kind of crazy. No way I see civilian peacetime forces utilizing more than an active war zone.)

    I’d really love to find those figures.

    That said, I do not believe those orders are the cause of the ammo shortage. As those orders did not account for .38 special and .22LR. No folks…we’re causing the shortage. ANd it’s a good thing. I just wish I had a comfortable amount myself.

    1. I wonder if some of the recent public demonstrations of law enforcement accuracy has some bureaucrats wondering if it might be better if their officers can qualify their duty weapons alongside the Mark.1 Mod.0 #2 pencil. And have ordered up more training time and rounds because of it.

  6. We sometimes see lines like this in news and commentary: “Most gun owners don’t shoot all that often, and tend to buy ammo as they go rather than stockpile.”

    I just wonder how the author(s) could possibly know if they’ve written something that is true or totally false, and since they can not possibly know, why does a respectable commentator write such lines? No disrespect intended, and I am just using the line you wrote as an example of a larger trend that concerns me. As far as I know, there are no detailed surveys of gun owners on which to base a line like that. In fact, if there were detailed surveys, I would not trust the respondents to answer the survey questions honestly, since I know that I sure would not reveal to some stranger anything about my guns or ammo or shooting hobby. But anyway, how do you know that the occasional-shooters are “most” of the shooters? How can you be sure of that? I would think that the plurality of gun owners know darn well what happened when NO’bama got elected the first time around and the plurality of them shoot often enough to take prudent steps to assure an adequate supply. But I don’t have any facts, either. No one does.

    It is like when they say that 40% of gun transfers are done without a background check. Well, come on, how the heck can they possibly know what percentage are undocumented if they are, by definition, undocumented? How does anyone know that undocumented transfers account for anything more than 1% or anything less than 99% of gun transfers? You can’t know the actual answer, since the transfers are undocumented. Yet people don’t just quote those kind of made up numbers, they actually make public policy and law based on them!

    I think a lot of the .22 ammo is being stockpiled as trading supplies, i.e. as an alternative currency for SHTF.

    Lastly, I would say this: Some folks are fond of talking about how the shooters who have stocked up will have “way more ammo than they could ever use…” And, some folks like to even say, “and if there ever was a SHTF situation, you can only use the amount of ammo you can carry with you or pack into your bug out vehicle…” Well, in a real SHTF situation there is no safe place for most people to bug out to, so they will largely have to bug in. And, yes, you will need a lot more ammo than you think you will need. Just ask the people who went through the Balkans war in the 1990’s. Ask them about “bugging out” vs staying put, and ask them how much ammo they needed. For example,

    1. OK, so there are 89 million gun owners in the US. You can find that number from NSSF. The number of ammunition sold to civilians in any given year is about 7-10 billion, though since Obama has been in office that numbers has jumped sharply to about 14 billion. That comes out to about 160 rounds per gun owner per year. For that number to be so low, that means an awful lot of gun owners aren’t buying much ammo.

      1. OK, that makes sense to me. I was not trying to pick on you guys as much as trying to use that line as an example of the things that get asserted without factual backing. In this case, I think your conclusions are sound.

        1. It’s mostly that I don’t have time to source every assertion I make. I usually try for the big stuff, but I don’t have time to source everything.

  7. Have friends in immigration enforcement in Miami.. They say all ammo from outside country is sitting in port and they are told from supervisors and well above the no ammo is to be released from port. There is enough ammo in Miami alone to resupply all stores in the et cost and most of the Midwest. The conspiracy theory is not conspiracy. The government may not be able to stop you from buying a gun. But they can regulate the ammo and they are by buying it up and taking the production and controllling imports. This isn’t conspiracy it is fact from people in government higher then you and me.

  8. David is absolutely right. This is not a conspiracy theory. The commies that are running the government have completely created this shortage. Under the guise of “national security,” DHS, FBI, even the IRS for God’s sake, have made massive purchases of ammo, and I guarantee the manufacturers that deal with the govt. must give them “first rights to purchase” as part of their contract. Hence the government is “legally” removing all ammunition from the hands of us commoners. They know they can’t constitutionally win the fight against the 2nd Amendment, so they are using their unconstitutional end run tactic to make guns worthless paperweights.

  9. The Hunt brothers were successful at monopoly on the silver market–bring prices from $5 to $50, so a little Presidential slush funds coupled with Bloomberg and a few other concerned individuals, could easily with pocket change redirect shipments for destruction and blame the paranoid consumer, all while very successfully pursuing Dianne Feinstein’s stated plan, to “dry up the supply.”
    Is it dry yet? Naah its all the consumer’s fault.

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