If you’ve been to a gun store lately, you probably noticed how threadbare the shelves are starting to look. After months of record high background checks for firearm purchases and soaring demand for ammunition, it’s nearly impossible to find common self-defense calibers or even popular plinking rounds like .22LR. We know that the problem is one of supply and demand, with manufacturers getting squeezed on both ends at the moment. Customers are buying ammunition faster than companies can make it, and the manufacturers are also having an increasingly difficult time getting the materials they need as well.

The result? This could be the new normal for months to come.

Demand for guns and ammo has never been higher according to Firearms Sales Manager Z. Farhat at Green Acres Sporting Goods. Business, he said, is up by about 300%.

“We’re selling at an all-time pace. We have never been this busy, and I think the gun business has never been this busy,” Farhat said.

He said it’s simply a matter of supply and demand.

“We’re not getting any products, so the quantities are getting limited and there is a massive shortage on you know ammo and certain firearms,” he said.

Farhat said the pandemic, coupled with nationwide protests and it being an election year, have created the perfect storm.

“We’ve already been told from the manufacturers mostly like, it’s looking like maybe late third quarter, maybe late fall, and it could be pushed into winter or 2021 until we get a lot of the product,” he said.

There’s an increased demand for ammunition components like copper right now, exacerbated by the fact that other industries are starting to ramp up their own production after months of slowdowns due to the coronavirus. Copper prices set a two-year high a couple of weeks ago, and have been hovering close to those highs ever since.

We did get one piece of good news on Tuesday when workers at Chile’s largest copper mine agreed to a new contract, ending the threat of a strike for the time being. The Centinela mine complex turned out more than 260,000 tons of copper in 2019, and the closure of the mine, even temporarily, could have an already tough situation far worse for ammunition manufacturers.

For the time being, it looks like the scarce stock of ammunition will continue. Manufacturers will keep producing as much as they can while dealing with their own supply chain issues, but consumer demand will ensure that any boxes of ammunition that get to your local store will be purchased almost as soon as its put out on the shelf.

I wish had some great advice on how to avoid the ammunition shortages, but unfortunately most gun owners are in the same boat at the moment. For all of us, patience and persistence are going to be key in the months ahead.