Ammunition Shortage Update

     A few weeks ago I was in a Dick’s Sporting Goods and noticed that, while the ammo shelves were not as well stocked as they were a few years ago, there was a greater quantity and variety than last year. I surmised that the increase in the ammunition supply has been the result of two things. First, ammunition manufacturers had taken measures to increase production early on and second, gun owners are starting to relax again and not buy up all the ammo they can find. But what were the causes of the shortage in the first place? My thoughts when I last posted on this subject were that ammunition hording caused by unfounded panic was primarily to blame. In an article in the January 2014 issue of American Rifleman (I assume the same article was printed in the NRA’s other monthly magazines as well) titled “Why We’ve Had an Ammunition Shortage” by Frank Miniter, the shortage was caused by a variety of factors.
     One element that seemed to have eluded most folks who cared to comment, myself included, was that many shooters and hunters have taken to semi automatic firearms, and with a semi-auto it is a whole lot easier to shoot a bunch of ammo at the range. If you are going to burn through several dozen rounds in a brief shooting session you will likely end up buying more ammo. Another factor I hadn’t considered, and am greatly encouraged by, was the increase in the number of gun owners in recent years. According to Miniter’s article the number of female gun owners has increased 46.5% since 2001 and the number of gun owners in America has surpassed 100 million, and is expected to increase. More gun owners means more demand for ammunition.
     But it seems to me that the biggest cause for the shortage remains panic and greed. Many gun owners still seem to have a hording mentality. As Steve Hornady, President of Hornady Ammunition stated “…People walk into the store, they don’t see as much as they want so they take everything they can get. The next guy who comes in can’t get anything, so he panics… (American Rifleman, January 2014, p.123)” This sums it up quite well.
     So what are ammo manufacturers doing about the shortage? They have added more employees, more shifts, and more machinery and equipment to increase output. This response is very promising for gun owners and the shooting sports, not simply because it means more ammunition for all of us. Hiring personnel and buying new equipment are not cheap. It would not make sense to incur this expense if it were not worth a long term investment. But with the number of gun owners growing, the future looks bright for all of us who love to hunt and shoot.
     So what has the general experience been for gun owners? Have you had a hard time finding ammunition in your neck of the woods? What are everyone’s thoughts and concerns regarding the ammo shortage? Please feel free to post your thoughts and comments.

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