If you want to know what’s going on with the lack of ammunition at the moment, there are few folks with more knowledge of the situation than Jason Hornady. The vice-president of Hornady Manufacturing recently put out a video that helps to put the surge in ammo sales into perspective.
Hornady says that ammunition sales first spiked in March, when the company saw an 86% increase over March of 2019. That, in essence, wiped out the company’s inventory, and they’ve been making and shipping as fast as they can ever since.
“The stuff that goes out today was literally put in a box yesterday,” he explains. “We’ve made one-third more ammunition than we did last year. Unfortunately we don’t have an extra factory laying around or anything else. We’ve got ‘X’ number of people, and we’re certainly trying to add as much capacity as we can.”
Hornady also addresses some of the rumors around the ammunition shortage; assuring customers that there isn’t a government conspiracy to buy up ammo and keep it off the civilian market. Apparently some folks have even suggested that Hornady could be making more ammunition if they weren’t busy making t-shirts, but Jason Hornady patiently explains that the company actually buys their shirts, so there’s no production time being lost by focusing on fashion.
“We understand it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for us too,” Hornady says in conclusion. “Keep shooting, because we’re going to keep making more, we promise.”
Jason Hornady isn’t the only ammunition manufacturer who’s addressing the shortage. A couple of weeks ago Jason Vanderbrink, who’s the president of Federal, CCI, Speer, and Remington Ammunition, also released a video expressing his frustration with the hate mail and claims that the companies aren’t doing enough to keep up with demand.
Vanderbrink had to specifically say that the companies are not storing ammunition in “secret warehouses,” and that ammunition is being made and shipped every day in their factories. He noted that if the estimated 7-million new gun owners each purchased two boxes of ammunition, that would amount to an extra 700,000 rounds that would need to be produced. Factor in the ammo hoarding that’s been taking place for most of the year, and you can understand why the supply simply can’t keep up with demand.
Neither Hornady or Vanderbrink said anything about when they expect things to get back to some semblance of normalcy, but that may be because they simply don’t know. Will the record-setting pace of gun sales continue into 2021, or will sales begin to subside as the country hopefully begins to open back up in the coming months? Will the surge in violent crime lead to more Americans buying guns for self-defense? Will Democrats push hard for new gun control laws, which typically results in a run on guns and ammunition?
We don’t know the answers yet, so it’s hard to predict when the ammunition marketplace will regain a balance between supply and demand. Both Hornady and Vanderbrink insist, however, that their factories are going all out to try to keep American gun owners supplied, so unless there are unforeseen supply chain issues or factory closures because of COVID cases, I think the most likely scenario is incremental improvement in ammo availability throughout the coming year.