Shortage of Ammunition Expected to Cost Gun Owners Well Into 2021
American gun owners can expect to pay high prices for ammunition well into the coming year, with firearms industry sources expecting the shortage of ammunition afflicting shooting enthusiasts to persist.
Some of the most commonly fired cartridges of ammunition, such as .223 and 9mm, sell at the cheapest at prices of 60 cents a round, double of the costs shooters paid in 2017-19, when both cartridges were available for less than 30 cents a round.
A shortage of raw materials is the primary cause for the higher price of ammunition. Components such as lead used in the manufacture of ammunition are primarily imported into the United States from South America, and the mining industry globally is still reeling from lockdowns and restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Unprecedented demand for guns is also a driving force in the prohibitive cost of ammo. American gun retailers have sold a historically unprecedented amount of firearms in 2020, with some estimates gauging gun sales to have increased over 70% relative to 2019. Research of the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that 6.2 million Americans became first-time gun owners in 2020, many of them concerned over national race riots and an increase in violent crime.
“We currently have over a year’s worth of orders for ammunition in excess of $1 billion,” said Vista Outdoor CEO and Director Christopher Metz. “This is unprecedented for our company. With demand far outstripping supply and inventory levels in the channel at all-time lows, we see strong demand continuing.”
Vista is one of the largest publicly traded companies that sells ammunition, serving as the parent company of brands such as CCI, Federal and Bushnell’s.
The CEO of Olin, the parent company of Winchester Ammunition, also expects the shortage of ammunition to endure. He told investors that an elevated level of demand would persist until “at least” the end of the year, a factor in the shortage that shows little signs of ceasing.
Joe Biden plans to ban the online sale of all ammunition(as well as firearms), in a proposal he’d be unlikely to successfully enact through executive order. It’s very much possible President Biden could follow in Obama’s footsteps as the most prolific gun and ammo salesman in American history, keeping the firearms and ammunition market in a perpetual state of “panic buy.”