Don't Expect Ammo Shortage To End Anytime Soon

One of the most annoying things happening right now for most gun owners isn’t the lack of guns at their local gun store–that may inconvenience them, sure, but that’s more of an issue for people who want their first gun, not for most people who already have firearms–it’s the lack of ammunition.

The ammo shortage has been one of the big stories over the last handful of months and it’s a topic in all the gun groups on Facebook and gun forums, too.

Well, folks, buckle up. It’s not looking to get any better any time soon.

Director of Public Affairs at the National Shooting and Sports Foundation Mark Oliva said gun sales in 2020 surpassed previous records.

“We had 21 million background checks for a sale of a firearm that is by far the strongest year we have ever had on record. The previous record before 2020 was 15.7 million background checks for the sale of a firearm,” Oliva said.

Oliva noted that in 2020 there were 8.4 million gun purchases from first-time buyers. Moreover, 40% of overall gun sales were from women, and gun purchases by African American’s spiked by 58%.

Oliva said it’s uncertain when manufacturers will catch up to the heightened demand for ammunition.

“We are probably going to have elevated buying that is going to go well into this year, how long that goes on for will really, be dictated by the opening moves of the Biden administration when it comes to gun control,” Oliva said.

So far, though, the Biden administration has been fairly silent. While it’s not reasonable to expect that to continue, it does lead to still more uncertainty.

Further, it wasn’t that long ago when most ammo manufacturers were struggling to some extent. The election of Donald Trump as president managed to alleviate long-held fears of gun control by the gun community, thus ending one of the driving forces that kept gun sales up for nearly a decade. Couple that with huge inventory manufactured because everyone was sure the election was going to go the other way, and you get a recipe for problems.

Gun and ammunition manufacturers suddenly had to contend with little interest in newly manufactured products since there was already a stockpile still waiting to be sold. This forced companies to take drastic steps in order to remain afloat.

When the gun-buying surge started early last year, many manufacturers opted to keep operating at current levels. After all, there was no guarantee this surge would continue. They didn’t want to get caught yet again stepping up production to meet a demand that could evaporate overnight.

To some degree, they’re likely to maintain that thinking. Sure, we’ve got at least four years with this administration in power, but is that enough to maintain that spiking demand?

As a result, don’t expect there to be anyone stepping up to meet the new demand anytime soon. Not unless new companies startup to try to meet the demand, which isn’t nearly as easy as I’d like for it to be.

If you’ve got ammo and aren’t paying through the nose for more, you’re fortunate.