Ammo Prices on the Rise – But Why?

If ammo prices are leading you to consider a second mortgage, you aren’t alone. Worse, many JSD Supply customers report their favorite shooting sports supply stores meet their customers with barren shelves or only have obscure calibers for guns that haven’t been produced this century. While gun control laws play a part in ammunition issues many gun owners are facing, the problem is more complicated than a simple tale of government overreach.

This Is Why Bugout Bags Were Invented

In order to understand why ammo prices are skyrocketing, you first have to look at the conditions gun owners are living in. While we’ve faced similar rough challenges before, it’s hard to argue we’ve seen a combination of the extent these conditions have reached all at the same time. 

  • Increase in Crime – While the official government statistics show a decrease in the crime rate, the population continues to increase, keeping the raw number of crimes committed more stable. Aside from these national numbers, smaller regions and municipal areas have shown spikes in crime that reflect challenges faced by both citizens and the law enforcement agencies intended to protect them.
  • Social Turmoil – The right to assemble and protest is a long-standing American tradition, but our nightly news is increasingly filled with images and video where that right has spilled over into chaos and bloodshed. These are increasingly accompanied by calls to defund the police, and while some simply mean a reform of the way emergency responses are managed, other actors are calling for the literal abolition of the departments meant to protect the average citizen.
  • Political Concerns After a series of contentious elections, the importance of our second amendment has never been more clear. At the same time, the push for stricter, more invasive, and increasingly restrictive gun control laws continues to gain momentum.
  • Pandemic – Finally, we face a global virus outbreak that has affected almost every sector of every society around the world. This has led to uncertain social and economic conditions as leaders, healthcare providers, and common citizens struggle to find a balance between their personal safety and their rights to live their life.

Effects On Shooting Sports

While these conditions didn’t directly impact your ammo prices, they helped create the market conditions that are sending your per-bullet price through the roof. 

  • There are more gun owners than ever. – The National Shooting Sports Federation announced that 2020 saw a record amount of gun sales–over 17 million–including five million to new gun owners. That’s a lot of new weapons to buy ammunition for, and those 5-million new owners didn’t have the luxury of an existing ammunition collection that might overlap with the firearm they purchased. 
  • There were manufacturing, importation, and logistics nightmares. – Faced with an unprecedented pandemic, factories shut down, trucking companies were faced with driver shortages while also having loads prioritized as essential which may have bumped ammunition down in precedence. International trade with foreign companies for both completed ammunition and the raw materials American companies need to make quality ammunition domestically were impacted by federal policy. These difficulties left manufacturers struggling to put out products and retailers struggling to get products onto their shelves. 
  • There was panic buying! – It seems like every election season when the topic of gun control laws is brought up, every market hiccup, and every time there’s social unrest, there’s panic buying. Add in a global pandemic exacerbating those conditions, and the same market forces prompting you to make back-alley deals for toilet paper are causing people to grab everything with a primer off the shelf.
  • The aftermarket was opportunistic. – As if rising ammo prices at the cash register weren’t high enough, a cottage industry of buying and reselling ammunition sprang up. Far beyond just giving your buddy on the range a couple of bucks so you don’t have to drive back to town for a box, this saw full-on ammunition scalpers selling ammo in quantities that rivaled established businesses. Even if you don’t buy ammo from the secondary market, they bought the ammo that could have gone to your favorite gun store to be bought off the shelves, contributing to the shortage at retail locations.

Managing High Ammo Prices

Ammo prices are up, the pandemic is still hanging around, and the new administration has already announced a slew of executive orders amidst a call for stricter gun control laws, but there is some hope on the horizon. While we still face many of the challenging conditions that led to the ammo shortage, life is slowly returning to normal as governmental agencies, corporations, and citizens work to return to normal operating conditions. Jason Vanderbrink, CEO of Federal, CCI, Speer, and Remington, released a video highlighting their unprecedented production levels, a sentiment that’s been echoed by Jason Hornady

So if the supply side of the equation is recovering, what can you do on the demand side to help lower ammunition prices, improve availability, and make sure you have the ammo you need on hand?

  •  Buy what is needed, not what is greeded. – If you need range ammo or defense ammo, buy it. But we both know you’re not taking that safe princess out to the range anytime soon, so do you really need more than the couple boxes you have for it “just in case?” The difference between stockpiling and hoarding is all a matter of timing.
  • Count your bullets. – Make sure you know what you have on hand to prevent over-purchasing. Just like you would count your rounds and decide on the best shot in a tactical situation, now is the time to keep track of your boxes and plan your shooting accordingly. 
  • Avoid the secondary market. – Once you have a firm grip on your need and your buying habits, sticking to purchases from legitimate ammunition suppliers rather than aftermarket purchases will get a lot easier. 

The Bottom Line

While ammo prices are likely to remain high for the near future, with production continuing to ramp up, it falls to shooters like us to fix the market from our end. There is a balance between protecting those you love and preventing other gun owners from doing the same. We’re proud to provide the parts and kits you need to make your own home defense solution legally without the need for an FFL transfer. Get your 80% lowers and parts kits from JSD Supply today.