September 03, 2021
Although the ongoing ammunition “shortage” is frustrating, we hunters need to understand that all ammunition manufacturers are doing their best to keep up with the current demand. And that’s exactly it, demand is at an all-time high—yet again. Market numbers in the hunting and shooting sports continue to exceed the already heightened predictions most are making. Ammunition companies love making money and they’re doing all they can to provide options for the crowd of Americans that have recently turned to the shooting and hunting sports for recreation.
“Firearm sales skyrocketed starting in March 2020 and set an all-time high record that year, topping out at 21 million background checks for the sale of a gun,” according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). “NSSF surveys revealed that 40 percent of those sales were for first-time gun buyers, an injection of over 8.4 million new owners. That pace hasn’t slowed, and through August of 2021 there were another 12.4 million background checks for gun sales, easily outpacing 2019 and 2018.”
Each one of these new gun buyers needs ammunition, and when you start doing the math, the numbers become larger than imaginable.
If each first-time gun buyer bought 50 rounds of ammunition per firearm—a reasonable assumption—that’s an additional 420 million rounds being purchased. First-time gun buyers aren’t the only ones purchasing ammo either. Millions of other shooters, hunters and self-defense advocates are buying ammunition in higher numbers as the talk of “shortages” bounces around from online forums, news cycles and gun-shop talk. No wonder the shelves are empty, there is multi-faceted demand throughout the industry.
The influx of first-time buyers is changing the market that we hunters have been used to. No longer can you simply swing into your local store to pick up an extra box of 7.5 shot if you didn’t plan well for dove season, and everyone knows this is true, so they are stocking up whenever possible. This hoarding mentality is putting even more pressure on ammo companies to up their production capacity.
Luckily, many ammunition factories are working to increase production and expand their operations; the most notable comeback being the Vista Outdoor purchase of the Remington brand. The household American ammunition company that we all thought was gone for good is back and stronger than ever. Hopefully, Remington and other ammunition manufacturers will help to re-stock the rounds we are having trouble finding.
Until the market catches up with the demand, finding your preferred ammo won’t be by way of an online shopping link or a big-box retailer’s location—instead, you’ll just have to get creative.