Even back in March of last year, when the first stay-at-home orders were issued and gun sales started surging, I don’t recall seeing any stories about people camping out in line outside of gun stores in search of ammunition. If you had ventured to the Academy Sports + Outdoors in Lake Mary, Florida late Sunday night and early Monday morning, however, that’s exactly what you would have seen.
Fox 35 in Orlando reports that folks were in line hours before the doors opened at 9 a.m., and when a local reporter asked why they were waiting in the dark for the store to open, every response was the same: Ammo.
“I think we all believe Biden is going to take it away from us too,” David Godkin said.
It’s difficult to find ammunition, especially 9mm. Stores across the country are sold out. Some gun enthusiasts looking for it know when and where they have the best chances of finding it.
“I just come here on Monday. Tuesday, I go to Buena Vista. Wednesday, I go to East Colonial. Thursday, Buena Vista. Friday, East Colonial. Sunday, I go to Millenia,” Godkin said.
He is an avid hunter and marksman who uses about half of what he buys each week and stockpiles the rest. Right now, he said Academy Sports will only sell three boxes of ammunition to each customer. He was about 10th in line and wasn’t able to get exactly what he wanted.
Who would have thought that in 2021 buying ammunition could amount to a full time job? Almost every gun store owner has similar stories of customers lining up and waiting for hours in the hopes of getting their hands on ammunition. Ron Perkinson, who owns Volusia Top Gun in Lake Mary, says business has been incredibly busy for almost a year, but the past two weeks have been “a zoo.”
“When Trump had mentioned a peaceful transfer of power, whatever exactly it was he said, seems like it’s been even more crazy than the crazy it was,” Perkinson said.
He estimated that his business has been up another 100%. Ammunition is the biggest seller at Volusia Top Gun. Due to supply and demand, his suppliers have raised their prices so he has had to raise his too. A small box of 9mm ammunition that was selling for $14 maximum at this time last year, is now selling for $37.99 and he can barely keep it stock. He has had to limit the number of boxes he’s selling at times.
“I could have done 300% more if I had the inventory. I’m turning away a lot of people just for lack of inventory,” Perkinson explained.
That’s probably going to be the case for some time. Ammunition manufacturers, including Hornady and Federal, have been doing their best to explain the manufacturing limitations to gun owners on social media as conspiracy theories have begun to pop up claiming that the government is buying up all of the ammunition and creating a shortage.
Jason Vanderbrink, the president of Federal; CCI; Speer; and Remington Ammunition, says none of those theories are true. Instead, it’s a simple matter of supply and demand, and even running at full capacity the ammunition manufacturers simply cannot keep up at the moment. There is no inventory on hand; every box produced is shipped out the next day for sale, and most industry experts think that will remain the case over the next several months.
Is there hope of relief on the horizon? Eventually, sure, but for now the most optimistic take I can offer those standing in line for ammo is that at least the weather will be getting warmer soon.