Forums / Political & Legal / AMMO SHORTAGE CONTINUES

6 years 6 weeks ago, 2:53 PM

Pkato

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Why are manufacturers still unable to meet demand?

May 15, 2010- by Bob Owens Scan the ammunition shelves at sporting goods stores, your local gun store, or even Walmart and odds are that you won’t find what you are looking for. The most common cartridges are in short supply, and many stores ration ammunition a box or two at a time to spread their meager stock among their customers.

This isn’t new. But why is this nationwide ammunition shortage still happening?

The shortage began no later than 2007, when law enforcement agencies began having problems placing massive bulk orders, their typical purchasing strategy. The Associated Press tried to blame the shortages on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a falsehood that was easily debunked by pointing out that the military has its own dedicated small arms ammunition plant that — running at peak efficiency — was producing a half-billion rounds per year more than the military was using at that time.

Instead, the primary reason for that shortage turned out to be law enforcement agencies themselves, because of a horrifying incident that shook law enforcement nationwide to its core. On February 28, 1997, in North Hollywood, CA, Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu, two heavily armed and armored bank robbers, engaged in a 44-minute shootout with an outgunned Los Angeles Police Department. The two suspects fired more than 1,300 rounds of ammunition, and each was shot multiple times with police handguns. The 9mm police pistol bullets bounced off their homemade body armor. Phillips eventually died after being shot 11 times; Matasareanu died after being hit 29 times.

In response, law enforcement agencies nationwide embraced civilian versions of the military M4 selective-fire carbine as a long arm suitable for engaging heavily armed and armored felons beyond pistol range with greater precision and stopping power. This focus on deploying carbines only intensified after the 9/11 terror attacks, as agencies began preparing to deal with potential terrorist threats as well as criminal acts. SWAT and ERT teams first used these weapons, but they quickly spread to supervisors, and within a few years, officers and deputies. They are now euphemistically known as a “patrol rifles” and carried as a standard-issue long arm in patrol cars around the nation (even on some university campuses).

The widespread use of patrol rifles among law enforcement and the possibility of terrorism meant an increase in range time for many officers using their duty sidearms, and an almost entirely new law enforcement market for 9mm, 40 S&W, and 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington caliber carbines. When combined with China gobbling up core ammunition components such as brass, copper, and lead for their exploding industry, the shortage was simply explained by a massive increase in demand that has yet to let up.

That demand only escalated as a result of the recession and the 2008 election. President Obama is no friend of the Second Amendment, which caused gun owners to stock up on firearms and ammunition in fear that the administration would push for a restoration of failed gun control laws that expired during the Bush administration. The economic instability of the recession and a resurgent acceptance of shooting sports also created many first-time gun buyers, many of whom developed into avid shooters who use significant amounts of ammunition.

As I concluded last February:

Shortages of ammunition and firearms can be expected to continue for as long as it appears our overreaching federal government is a threat to our individual liberties, our economy continues to falter, and our police agencies keep militarizing. It’s going to be a long ride.

Indeed, nearly a year and a half later, ammunition is still in short supply.
Remington, which had not tapped all of their manufacturing capacity a year ago, is now “operating at over 100% capacity at our munitions plant and turning out millions of rounds per day.” A national sporting goods chain is still able to stock Remington ammunition in several popular calibers, but restricts customers to two boxes of ammunition at a time.

Jackie Stenton at Fiocchi USA notes an “unprecedented demand” for centerfire pistol ammunition, which has “impacted sourcing components for all centerfire product, and rimfire products.” From this view, it appears that demand for pistol ammunition is so high that the core components are being pulled into manufacturing pistol rounds, instead of rifle and rimfire ammunition — a claim that empty shelves in all three categories would seem to confirm. Jonathan Harling, a spokesperson for Winchester, confirms that the massive demand is widespread and that they are also “still working 24-7 to meet the demand.”

But by far the most interesting comments about the current shortage come from a pair of less widely known but very respected manufacturers, DoubleTap Ammunition and Silver State Armory. DoubleTap is perhaps best known for their high-velocity defensive pistol ammunition, which has a hefty reputation — and elite prices. They are still “ahead of the curve” and have been able to keep their performance-minded customers supplied. Other manufacturers in the niche market of high-velocity, high-performance ammunition are also able to keep up with demand, no doubt due to the fact that customers will fire hundreds or thousands of rounds of practice ammunition, or “regular” production defensive ammo, for every box of premium defensive ammunition.

But premium rifle ammunition manufacturer Silver State Armory’s Mark Thibodeau had perhaps the most interesting comment, noting that according to their research, the shortage isn’t isolated inside America’s shores.

Our information and research tells us that the increased demand is global, not just domestic, and the demand is still increasing further. The demand for the end product, loaded ammunition, further impacts the availability of raw materials: brass, powder, primers, projectiles. Certain calibers are going to be harder to find than others by virtue of popularity and priority. While the retail consumer may be “stocking up,” that pales in comparison to the consumption of product globally that is the real reason for shortages.

Thibodeau’s insight may very well be dead-on, as supplies of ammunition by foreign manufacturers are also in very short supply.

There is no doubt the demand for key ammunition components such as brass, copper, and lead in the global industrial market may be a large part of the current component shortage, but that still leaves us with millions of rounds being manufactured domestically every day that are snapped up the moment they hit the marketplace.

Where is it all going? Are these hundreds of millions of rounds of domestically manufactured ammunition being stockpiled, or are they being shot as fast as they are purchased? I’m sure someone has the answers to these questions, but they aren’t talking. They’re happy to be selling, and I can’t say that I blame them in the least.

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http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-ammo-shortage-continues/

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
6 years 6 weeks ago, 3:32 PM

CharlesW

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But it dosen't make sense.
I can buy 9s, 40s, and 45s.
But no 38spl or 357 mag.
What police dept is still
using revolvers ? Even
the towns around here with only
one cop has autos.

A little rebellion is good medicine for the government Thomas Jefferson
6 years 6 weeks ago, 3:47 PM

Pkato

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CharlesW

Whatever you thing...I am neither right or wrong...I just posted that information, I didn't write it. The person's name is on it, the author and the link to that actual story per Schuyler...contact the writer if you disagree...Haha! But if you read the article carefully, it doesn't blame just the police...it's a combination according the writer. Overseas being a big consideration...but the police were mentioned more in lines with the .223 for the ARs that more officers are now carrying, thus using more ammo for practice.

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
6 years 6 weeks ago, 4:08 PM

photobear6

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is the womens market. More and more women are buying handguns (maybe because PC has created a bunch of liberal Whimmpy Men) but alot of them shoot/carry the .38's and .380's so I can see why the smaller handgun cartridges are in demand. As for the .357 maybe it's because there is less demand for that round since most police have gone to the 9mm and .40 calibers and they are manufactureing less. Supply and demand.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!
6 years 6 weeks ago, 4:16 PM

Pkato

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I would guess

it is a combination of all things mentioned and also if you asked 10 different 'experts', you would get 10 different answers.

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
6 years 6 weeks ago, 5:35 PM

luckybychoice

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stock at my local

walmart is still Winchester white,23.95 for 100 rounds in 9mm,i used to get 9mm for just under 10 cents per round.

i tried being reasonable,i didn't like it, NRA LIFE MEMBER,USMC VETERAN
6 years 2 weeks ago, 3:35 PM

runawaygun762

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Not as much demand for them. Ammo manufacturers are starting to catch up as people's garages, bunkers, connexes, and off-planet storage facilities have started to reach capacity in preparation for the end of the world aka the second coming of Stalin aka Eric Holder as AG. The manufacturers have to devote their powder and primers to the calibers people are screaming for. let's face it; wheelgunners don't shoot as much as us bottom feeders do.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
6 years 1 week ago, 6:21 AM

aimstr8

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true

so true....

It's been a long hard road. but I'm still truckin!!

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