When the owners of Ark-La-Tex guns in Gilmer, Texas got the good news that they were going to be getting a large shipment of ammunition delivered to the store, they decided to spread the word on the store’s Facebook page. They were hoping to let their local customer base know that they could finally pick up some 9mm or .223 if needed, but when it comes to ammo availability these days, nothing is local.
“We drove up to the store this morning, the parking lot was full of people. We didn’t know what was going on, we thought the building was on fire. Probably 50-60 cars in the parking lot,” said store co-owner Les Green.
“When they came in they stormed over to the ammo and waited in line wanting to get thousands of rounds but you got to limit people,” said co-owner Logan Green…
“We had people that traveled up to 600 miles, furthest was someone from Orange Texas near Corpus Christi to get buckshot. We’ve had them come from Austin from san Antonio. It’s incredible how far people will go to get ammunition,” Les says.
600 miles for buckshot? I’d say that’s crazy, but honestly, if I was completely out and I knew that I could get some there I wou… nah, I still don’t think I’d drive 600 miles, at least not yet. Ask me again in a couple of months and I might give you a very different answer.
The ammo shortage is almost entirely due to an unprecedented demand, according to manufacturers. Companies like Federal and Hornady are operating at full capacity, but as Jason Hornady recently explained, it’s still not enough at the moment.
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.”
It’s going to be quite some time before the ammunition situation finds some market equilibrium, which means we can expect to see more sights like the crowd outside of Ark-La-Tex Guns in coming weeks. In fact, if Joe Biden decides that gun control is going to be one of his first priorities, those long lines may become so common that they’re not even newsworthy anymore.