The Country Is Literally Out Of Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 1 week ago


Every couple of weeks, Eric Rebels will make a two-hour trip from North Jersey to Eagle Point Gun in Gloucester County in a desperate quest to get ammunition to sell at his gun store.

To get a good place on line, he will sleep in his car overnight to be ready when the distributor opens its doors in the morning.

Sometimes, Rebels scores and is able to get one to two cases of 9mm bullets (1,000 rounds per case). Other times, he comes back empty handed.

In any case, Rebels says these days it is his only option. Not only is ammunition scarce, he notes, but he also has more customers than ever before at County Line Firearms in East Hanover.

“There is a nationwide shortage so what you can get you have to go through to get,” Rebels said.

Guns store owners around the state say the confluence of the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest and an upcoming presidential election have created an unprecedented surge in residents seeking to purchase firearms and ammunition. The surge began, they say, when the coronavirus pandemic began devastating the country in March and continued to skyrocket in the aftermath of the protests that followed after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by police in Minneapolis in May.

As of August 12, the New Jersey State Police has received nearly 130,000 firearm applications, topping the number of applications the agency received in 2018 and 2019 combined, according to State Police data. The number of applications this year has increased by more than 137% since last year— with more than 4 months left in 2020, according to the agency.

Michael D. Anestis, the executive director New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, is studying the surge in firearm purchases during the pandemic. “A lot of the purchasing is driven by anxiety,” he said, which is not uncommon in times of uncertainty, adding that preliminary data suggests the demand is the highest it has been in decades.

[ … ]

“There is no product in the country,” said Rick Friedman, who owns RTSP, which operates gun ranges and stores in Randolph and Union. “Until they start producing more and it is hitting the docks, there is just no product to have. It is beyond a dire situation. The country is literally out of ammunition.”

“Right now, getting the guns are hard, the ammo is hard,” said Jack Faenza, co-owner of Garden State Armory. “Everything is hard.”

Excepting reloaders, purchasers of new or remanufactured ammunition have seen the price for reman 5.56mm go from 30 ¢ per round to 60 ¢ per round, and for new ammo from 50 ¢ – 75 ¢ per round to $1 per round or even higher within a few months.

There is still ammunition out there, but you must pay a premium for it.  Pistol ammunition is equally hard to come by and expensive, and even the availability of firearms has been affected.

ARs are in extremely high demand and many brands cannot be found at all, and even some other kinds of firearms are “scarce as hen’s teeth.”  As readers know for a while I had been interested in a Henry Repeating Arms Model X .44 magnum.  Go do a search on these guns and you’ll find that they cannot be obtained.  “Out of stock” is the common heading, and there is no backorder.  And these are lever guns.

So riddle me this.  In a time of unparalleled economic turmoil in the country, what do the people know that would cause them to spend their few remaining dollars on firearms and ammunition at such elevated prices?

Is it imagination?


  1. On August 23, 2020 at 9:04 pm, Bad_Brad said:

    I paid 43 cents a round for 1000 rounds of 45 acp 230 grain FMJ reloads Saturday. That includes an FFL discount. I pre paid 1000 rounds of very rare 9 mil at the same time but they won’t know the exact price until it’s delivered next Wednesday. We’re a Blackout Family and I have a ton. But I’m not shooting any of that. Any Ammo store affiliated with LAX Ammo still seems to be getting it. Just be prepared to bend over.

  2. On August 23, 2020 at 9:33 pm, =TW= said:

    The Country is not out of ammo. That which was on store shelves is now in other hands.

  3. On August 23, 2020 at 9:43 pm, Rudolf Schmidt said:

    Maybe. Or maybe they chose not to keep up with demand. If it costs $1 to make and I used to sell it for $2, but now can sell for $3, why would I dampen my profit margins? The longer the “shortage” continues, the longer their profit margins are sky high. There is no economic benefit for them to ramp up.

  4. On August 23, 2020 at 11:32 pm, Jorge said:

    I’ve got a decent stash of ammo, but instead of shooting it during this nice weather I’ve just been saving it in case it’s needed.

    This is a great time to get serious about dry-fire. Get a timer (shot timer phone app is fine for it) and practice CSAT’s pistol/rifle standards (you can google them easily, or buy the excellent CSAT Way book which has that and more). Ben Stoeger also has some superb books on the subject. With a few minutes’ practice every day you will be amazed at how much better you get.

  5. On August 24, 2020 at 3:30 am, Nosmo said:

    And, speaking of dry fire…’s not exactly the same as dry firing your own handgun – you still need to do that – but a SIRT pistol provides direct feedback with its internal laser(s).

    And Next Level Training (the SIRT pistol folks) have a laser adapter for the AR-15 that does allow using the gun’s trigger that you’re used to. It requires a bit of jiggling and adjusting to get it working right, so it’s not a 10-second snap-click quick switch. But, if you have more than one AR, equipping the “spare” with the NLT laser gizmo is pretty darn useful.

    Remember the “Laser Tag” places ? (some are probably still around). If one can snag a few of the laser sensors, they can be taped to an IPSC silhouette and the silhouettes positioned to simulate a house (or area) clearing exercise with a SIRT pistol or the AR laser adapter. Pro Tips: Use old T-shirts over the targets to make them less quickly identifiable, have someone else position them so you don’t know where they are and make @&$% sure you’re using the rifle with the laser adapter and NOT the live-fire one used to repel boarders. It’s also a good “4 Rules Practice” session.

  6. On August 24, 2020 at 7:44 am, John said:

    To get one statement about Mr. Floyd straight, there is a good chance he OD on Fentynal
    and he had a bad heart. As to the cops killing him, since the first 10 minutes of tape has now been released and the story is changing, let’s wait for the jury.

    My observations on the ammo and firearms shortages: They were getting a bit thin on the ground as the Whuflu scare was ramped up. It seemed that the firearms market was tighter than the ammo supply. Once the Democrats released their mobs and the police were neutered the fear factor came much more strongly into play. Uncontrolled mobs terrify people and ammo demand spiked and has increased because those who were happy with a few boxes of pistol
    ammo in a drawer for home defense from a burglar realize that it is totally inadequate when
    the goblins come to visit in packs.

  7. On August 24, 2020 at 7:56 am, MW said:

    Is it imagination? No! Here’s something else to consider. Gold & silver coins are in short supply with prices for both metals at an all time high. The shop I deal with is out of one ounce gold coins. If you buy, it’s cash only & you’ll pay quite a bit over spot price today. The dealer told me that people are in fact paying cash & buying anything that isn’t a collectable. Also, thousands are cashing in their CDs, closing out their savings accounts, IRAs & 401Ks. On top of that, look at people selling off such luxury items as jewelry or even a motorboat. I would say that there is perhaps an awaking among some that the inevitable is about to happen real soon so let’s be prepared.

  8. On August 24, 2020 at 9:28 am, Jimmy the Saint said:

    @MW: “Also, thousands are cashing in their CDs, closing out their savings accounts, IRAs & 401Ks. On top of that, look at people selling off such luxury items as jewelry or even a motorboat.”

    That tends to happen when a big chunk of the population is out of work for 5 months with no idea of when they will be able to go back, or if their employer will even still be in business. There are already indications that 50% or more of small businesses will not survive – that means a lot of people out of work for the foreseeable future, and far fewer jobs for those who need them.

  9. On August 24, 2020 at 1:21 pm, Jorge said:

    “And Next Level Training (the SIRT pistol folks) have a laser adapter for the AR-15 that does allow using the gun’s trigger that you’re used to.”
    I had one on an old AR, but never got it at the same weight as my regular trigger. Really liked it, unlike regular dry-fire you do have hit confirmation, which makes it a bit more fun and fast, so you practice more often. Used it to test out the various optics I had under a timed sort of trial, found the EOTech always won. Nothing really surprising there, just a confirmation that for 7 yds and under: big windows are better than small ones, big reticles are better than small ones.
    Highly, highly recommend it for AR pistols, whose short LOP can make presentation a bit awkward until you get used to it.

  10. On August 25, 2020 at 9:59 am, revjen45 said:

    A good quality air rifle is a great way to practice rifle marksmanship fundamentals.
    Repeat as necessary.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Ammunition and was published August 23rd, 2020 by Herschel Smith.

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