Shortages in the Ammunition and Reloading Industries
By Mitchel Demand
The 1st advertisement for the Sierra Bullets Tech line was in the May 1988 issue of Handloader. In the beginning there was no internet or social media. So, the Techs were answering over 1,000 calls a week. Today the Techs still stay busy answering calls, e-mails, and other means of Customer Service.
One of the most asked questions we get today is about shortages in the ammunition and reloading industry. In the last year because of the COVID pandemic and the rise of violent protest, we have seen a surge in new gun owners to the tune of over 10 million. Just for a moment, imagine what kind of impact that has on an industry that is so highly regulated and running at full capacity before the surge of new owners.
Imagine if every new gun owner bought 100 rounds of ammo. Some did not, but many bought much more. We are looking at 1 Billion rounds for just the new owners. This does not consider the millions of current gun owners or the ammunition bought by the militaries around the world. All ammunition has the same general components, primer, case powder and a bullet. Because of the regulations, it is very difficult to start a new business making or just loading ammo with components from other companies. To say that the demand for loaded ammunition has completely overwhelmed the industry would be an understatement.
Reloaders used to have a leg up on everyone else because they could buy their components separately. They could stock up on their favorite primers, powders and bullets and were immune to the shortages normally caused by political skullduggery. Sorry to say but those days may be over. Because of the ammunition shortage there has been a huge influx of new handloaders and know it is hard to find dies and other reloading equipment that we used to see on shelves in large quantities.
The last issue is the profiteers. They are buying up everything they can get their hands on and reselling it online for a huge profit. I saw 1000 primers with an $800 bid online the other day and the auction was not over. The only way to stop this is to not pay inflated prices for their hoarded goods. Let them sit on their investment so they cannot make a profit. The industry will catch up to the demand. But it is going to take a while.
In conclusion, I do not believe this is the new normal. We will get through this with hard work and innovation because that is what Americans always do. We may never see the prevalence of powder, primers, bullets and ammunition on the shelves that we had pre COVID. But then again, I have faith in us all and hope that one day we will see normal again. In the meantime I’m going to do a lot of fishing.