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Ammo Sold Out Nationwide with Future Supply Unknown

Firearm retailers are struggling to meet the public’s need for ammunition. What's selling and when will ammo supplies return to normal?

Few could have predicted the volatile 2020 timeline that has resulted in ammunition supply shortages across the nation.

America is a country seemingly divided in the wake of COVID-19 fears, polarizing political partisanship, civil unrest, and concerns relating to mass unemployment and the potential loss of small businesses.

Consequentially, firearm retailers and manufacturers are reporting record surges in gun and ammunition sales.

Gun Purchase Chart
Gun sales from 2000 to March 2020. Image courtesy of The New York Times article, “About 2 Million Guns Were Sold in the U.S. as Virus Fears Spread.”

The people stocking up on tactical supplies are not just gun enthusiasts or survivalists, but also first-time customers who are making long trips for rifle- and handgun-caliber ammunition, only to discover that supply chains have run dry.

Public Relations Specialist and self-professed “gun guy” Roy Hill has never seen demand quite this high in his almost-9 years with Brownells, a leading supplier of firearm accessories and ammunition.

On the Brownells website, only 2% of their handgun models and roughly 3% of their rifle models are currently in stock.

With these numbers, it’s only inevitable that the company’s most popular handgun, rifle, and shotgun ammunition options are likewise sold out. 

The Brownells retail store in Grinnell, Iowa (pre-pandemic).

Unfortunately, Hill is uncertain as to when these products will be available again:

“Lots of companies in the industry are slammed. For example, if Company X is inside a state with strict COVID-19 lockdowns, it’s hard for Company X to manufacture any products, much less keep up with this very high level of demand. And if Company X also supplies components or parts for Companies A, B, and C? Well, the challenges just multiply.”

Hill foresees that demand will remain high as Americans advance into one of the most contentious and pivotal election seasons in this country’s history.

But he advises customers to keep checking the Brownells website, as the company is constantly working with vendors and suppliers to meet this unprecedented national demand.

Lucky Gunner Banner
Many online retailers, including Lucky Gunner, are doing everything in their power to keep shelves stocked for customers.

Lucky Gunner, one of the first online ammo shops to offer real-time inventory tracking, has reported similar stock issues.

“People are interested in defending their homes right now,” explains Anthony Welsch, the company’s Director of Marketing. “We’re seeing demand up across the board, but in terms of volume, calibers like 9mm and .223 are especially hot. We’ve also seen a ton of interest in 12 gauge—particularly buckshot, which seems to suggest home defense is top-of-mind for folks buying ammo right now.”

The purchasing team and warehouse staff at Lucky Gunner are working long hours and weekends to meet this record-setting demand for ammunition. 

Shipments are delivered multiple times a week, but, as Welsch reports, items are sold out within an hour of being restocked on the company’s website.

Do you accept ammo as payment?
Remember the good ol’ days?

When asked about the future, Welsch examined the relationship between public anxiety and ammunition shortages:

“I think it’s going to take the public at large to feel more comfortable before demand for ammo slows. Right now, between the pandemic, civil unrest, and the upcoming election season, there is a lot to feel anxious about. I’m not sure any of us are qualified to say when those nerves will be eased.”

Parting Shots

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During these challenging times, you can rely on us to keep you updated on industry news as significant developments continue to unfold.

If you’re new to the tactical community, and everyone is at some point, we invite you to utilize the free resources available on our website.

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60 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    Its not just ammo but guns of all kinds that are out of stock, even guns in oddball calibers.
    Just for giggles I was looking for a 338 LM and no one had one.
    People are literally panicking and buying everything. My dream rifle is a bolt action in 6.5x55 swed , and nothing..

    Chill out people it's going to be ok it might take a bit, it's not the end of the world..

    Getting back to ammo especially 9mm it's out there but the price has almost tripled.

    December 27, 2020 5:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    When this article was written, you could still find a lot of ammo. You were paying .70c a round when you should have ordinarily paid .30, but it was there. Even now, at a local tactical store you can find off brand 9mm at $700 for 1k rounds. Outside of that, the ammo is now gone. The last to disappear was your traditional rifle rounds. There is no way federal, Hornady, and Winchester cannot do better. It’s not COVID or demand, it just isn’t being sent to the stores anymore. You can pay out the nose for most rounds on federal website; with limited and sporadic availability. I have been watching for a long time, and we are being kept in the dark.

    December 9, 2020 7:32 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      You nailed it!

      February 27, 2021 8:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Keith W McGuire

    These are all damn lies. There is no fricking way that stores are losing ammo of the shelves for a whole fricking year. We are being lied to. I have been checking non-stop along with many of my friends and all we get are the same damn excuses. An investigation needs to be conducted to find out where all the ammunition is being kept hid. The politicians are behind this. The damn democrats are behind this.

    November 26, 2020 9:42 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Agreed. No reason why it is so hard to find calibers like 6.5 creedmore, .243, or 30-06. No doubt they sold out what they had, but there is no excuse these calibers are so limited. Most people cannot buy 1,000 rounds for $2,000. So why are these rounds not becoming more available. It is not hunting season. It seems like they just aren’t being produced; at least unless if you are not the government.

      December 9, 2020 7:38 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        It is not hunting season causing the problem is what I meant.

        December 9, 2020 7:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm stocked, but you could see this coming once the American ammo was depleted, then the foreign ammo depleted, now folks are staring at ammoseek.com with new ammo gone in 30 minutes. Production shutdowns and delays. It's nice that the industry is making money, can invest in growth and innovation, and the Trump Slump is over.

    August 4, 2020 9:02 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Plenty available in bulk. Shipping is taking up to two weeks, however. I have plenty 7.62x39. 5.56, 9mm and 6.5 Grendel in my kit and stockpile.

    July 31, 2020 1:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Where is it available?
      For awhile I felt confident in having a small amount of fresh ammo, I no longer feel that way. Can you help me find some good bulk hp 223 ammo?

      August 16, 2020 7:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    gluttony is a sin. hoarding is a mental affliction

    July 31, 2020 6:21 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tommy Barnes

      Being prepared is smart

      August 5, 2020 12:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Gluttony means eating more than you need to stay alive, I'll bet you do that. There's no telling how much ammo you will need to stay alive. People that hoard ammo aren't taking chances.

      September 5, 2020 9:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I say the biggest reason for ammo shortage is the boomers retiring. they are the biggest segment of the population. they have inherited money SS disability pensions and made good money selling a house they lived in for 35 years and they seem to be gluttons. . on top of that you have the internet where a couple of clics 1000 rds at your door.
    they are not satisfied with shooting here and there. I hear them brag that they fire 1000's of rds a week. this never happened before. I started seeing shortages around 2005 when a lot of them retired. these old guys keep saying we have to get young people shooting but how can that happen when a young guy cant get ammo?

    July 31, 2020 6:19 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Billy S Benson

      Sounding a bit bitter eh? I'm an instructor and it's important for me to have ammo. I'm no horder but I have been involved in the gun business since before Obama. After the Obama years I vowed to not be personally out of ammo for myself or my students. Don't blame us Boomers for your inability to plan for the future. Every election cycle brings ammo shortages now. Buy it when you can.

      July 31, 2020 9:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This shortage is cyclical. I've seen it since I began shooting in the 90s. Every election cycle this happens. This year it is compounded with some obvious extra factors - riots, civil unrest, covid, plus the election all at the same time. There are many, many new gun owners buying ammo as well.

      Because of this craziness I have always kept a backstock of ammo. I buy large quantities when it's cheap because I've seen way too many ups and downs over the past 30 years.

      I'm not a boomer, but placing all the blame on a single factor is incredibly narrow minded.

      August 1, 2020 9:50 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Greg H. Walker

        Being a Boomer who worked hard all their life and didn't sell the house for big bucks, didn't inherit lots of $$$, who can't afford to shoot a thousand rounds a year, little lone a thousand a week, who wasn't able to put tons of money into retirement savings, etc. I agree wholeheartedly with insinity. SPQR70AD sounds like a spoiled little brat who doesn't have a clue about my generation and who frankly doesn't care to know the truth. He, as is so common in America today, only seeks to blame others and be divisive.

        August 2, 2020 8:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Don't do business with Lucky Gunner. I tried to order from them a couple of months ago and when I went to check out it gave me some message saying they couldn't fulfill my order at this time, even though it clearly said it was in stock. I sent them an email to ask what the problem was and got a reply stating that they were only shipping to certain locations. They are based in Tennessee and my state borders Tennessee so it's not a distance thing, they are just deciding who is worthy of getting ammo.

    July 31, 2020 5:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike B

    I don't get the entire ammo hoarding thing, I mean the stuff doesn't go bad so one you have 1000 or 2000 rounds for you AR and maybe 500 to 1000 of your pistol caliber so what's the point of paying double or triple to get more in the middle of a pandemic or some other crisis? The gun rush I get to a point - I know several people who purchased their first handgun (some without telling their significant other) because they feared for their safety with all the talk about de-funding police and protesting (rioting/lawlessness) going on, so is some of the ammo rush these new owners stocking up? You only need to arm up once so maybe with every crisis we get a more heavily armed America which is not a bad thing.

    July 31, 2020 4:16 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Wish I read this earlier. Saw 9mm FMJ at a favorite online seller for $17.99 and thought that seems high. Looked at other places tonight and see hotel mini-bar prices of $50 for the same thing.

    July 30, 2020 6:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Buy only what you need, it's not the time to stock up. Prices should drop after Nov. 3rd.

    July 29, 2020 10:11 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      If you're trying to squirrel away ammo for the impending SHTF you're too late. You should have been hording a year ago..

      July 29, 2020 11:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kevin Sweeney

      Depends who wins.

      July 31, 2020 3:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I've ordered ammo a couple of times in the last several weeks and haven't had a problem. Like @Gospelofjon said, check ammoseek.com. The prices do seem a bit higher lately but there seems to be plenty out there.

    July 29, 2020 6:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Sallier

      Try to find 45 ACP fmj range 230 gr ammo

      July 29, 2020 9:09 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        There seems to be plenty on Ammo Seek
        I don't own a .45 so I don't know what prices normally are for it but there seems to be plenty of stock. Some sites show purchase limits and Bass Pro shows "Potential Shipping Delays" but there seems to be plenty of sites without either.

        July 30, 2020 4:34 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Ok, done. What now?

        July 30, 2020 6:51 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean John

        bigdaddyunlimited has had Wolf WPA steel-case 230gr FMJ 45ACP at 13.99 a box and Wolf steel-case 115gr FMJ 9mm at 10.99 a box with no tax and ten-dollar shipping. Right now they have Wolf Military Classic .380 ACP 91gr FMJ at 10.99. Yes they charge a monthly membership, but if you regularly buy firearms, ammo, and gear, it easily pays for itself.

        August 17, 2020 11:24 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I recently bought a surplus gun via auction with an orphaned cartridge and I was watching the ammo supply the past few weeks prior to the purchase. It was generally in good supply and pricing. However in the past week something happened and ammo got drained from many suppliers and now I'm in a little pickle. Now I'm left going to a gun show this weekend hoping that there are some vendors there that aren't aware that this orphaned ammo is in short supply and that their pricing is based on what they spent months ago to acquire it.

      July 29, 2020 11:55 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Justin W

        what area are you in that's having a gun show right now? feels like pretty much everything in my area has just completely halted.

        July 29, 2020 2:16 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          We are having a show here in Palmetto Fla but I wont be going they were too high last time I went for ammo and most of them it seems made their's at home to sell so not sure how to tell if its home made or manufactured ammo. I am new to guns and getting the ammo for this 9mm is too hard, I wont be carrying just keep around the house since I cant go and practice I don't feel comfy carrying it.

          July 29, 2020 8:04 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      @bob OMG I went there and the prices are unreal! Forget this CCW and practicing with this gun the gun stays home and I keep praying I never have to bring it out. On another note I see Russian and Turkey and some other countries ammo is cheaper then my Winchester and Remington ammo that I am used to but never used wolf or tula so not sure they will be good in my Taurus and 38 special.

      July 29, 2020 8:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin Sweeney

    Do you know why suppliers can't keep up? Is there a brass shortage? Gun powder?
    The shortage has been going on for months.
    Remember under Obama, the TSA, IRS and others bought 10' of millions of rounds?
    Maybe they would be willing to sell some back at a profit.

    July 29, 2020 3:01 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Copper mines in South America where most of our copper comes from are shut down. The lead mines in South Missouri just reopened but were shut down for 3 months.

      July 29, 2020 11:06 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Bierman

    I would have thought that the production of ammunition was now mostly an automated industrial process. If so a pandemic would not explain the shortage. The ammo I’m seeing for sale is Russian made. CEO’s making millions of dollars couldn’t see the demand coming but the Communist oligarchs could?

    July 28, 2020 8:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David Boerboom

      Things that make you go, Hmmm..?

      July 29, 2020 12:56 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Marcus Aurelius Tarkus

    We're playing for keeps now. Practice when you can, but conserve. Maintain all equipment that you have in ready working order, with sufficient feed stocks.

    Stay on top of things. Brace for high prices and disappearing inventories. Money is not the object at this point. Local merchants may currently be a better bet than online sources. Patronize the former--face to face--and they're more likely to accommodate you. Cash transactions, whenever doable.

    July 28, 2020 8:14 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Bob S

      I tell all my friends, only shoot HALF of what you buy, keep the other half for times like these!

      July 29, 2020 8:17 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Marcus Aurelius Tarkus

        Bob, good advice. I'd say, shoot only a quarter to a third, at most. Replace as quickly as possible. Then go back to the range. Lather, rinse, repeat.

        July 29, 2020 8:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Juston Williams

    I'm really glad for having a couple obscure calibers around my town like 38 super I had my local store order those and no one else buys them!

    July 28, 2020 7:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Len C

    Being a newbie to a free state (KY)(moved out of the commie zone of NY) I've bought several firearms since my arrival but my goodness trying to get ammo is tough.

    July 28, 2020 6:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve Hamilton

    I had no idea this was coming, so I'm not claiming I'm any kind of prepper or even very perceptive. However, I've been stocking up on 5.56, 300 AAC, .45 and 9mm for a couple of years. I'm glad I did. Basically, I got lucky. Thanks for the good articles and advice here.

    July 28, 2020 5:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Richard Williams

    I wish I had the same problem as the gun stores. I have several handguns that i want to sell but not sure where to sell them. did enjoy the newsy article

    July 28, 2020 5:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kevin Sweeney

      You can sell at your local gun range. They usually sell used for a cut of the price.

      July 29, 2020 3:06 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Go to Armslist...you can choose your state/city and post there. Like Craigslist, but for guns

      August 3, 2020 6:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dexter Winslett

    I bought very, very much pre spring. Saw this coming.

    July 28, 2020 5:15 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ixo Valdes

      Me too. My buddies thought I was crazy but I started hoarding FMJ and HP and I'm glad I did.

      July 28, 2020 8:05 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Satchell

    The problem is all the people going to the stores and buying all the ammo then reselling it online at inflated prices. This is the exact same problem we had with .22 ammo a couple of years ago.

    July 28, 2020 5:03 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      @David Satchell where are they selling them on line? The only ones I see selling are stores on line and some of them have jacked up the price so high for 1 box of 9mm or 38 special I'm about to regret getting this CCW and gun. Every store I click on is sold out of 38 special and 9mm and those that are selling well Its a shame they can gouge and not be taken down.

      July 29, 2020 8:13 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    The Sheep Server(YouTube)

    Glad my ammo will arrive today xD

    July 28, 2020 7:43 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      @ The Sheep Server (YouTube) I'll bite where did you get the ammo being delivered?

      July 29, 2020 8:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    daryl hawken

    What is the status of stock for reloading supplies?

    July 28, 2020 6:49 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Frank Russo

      Soros does NOT own those firearms companies. Get your facts straight before posting on a firearms website.

      July 28, 2020 5:02 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rico Addams

      Actually even worse. All of the manufacturers are holding on to everything, To make factory ammo.

      July 28, 2020 8:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Bob S

      took me 3 months to get some 45 230 grain FMJ's from precision delta,
      supposedly my 6.5 120 grain Speers are to arrive today from Speer.
      I got some Hornady 123 ELD's 6.5mm from powdervalley in about 2 weeks.
      Primers are getting hard to find again. I'm in Phoenix metro.

      July 29, 2020 8:21 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Thanks Danielle!
    Enjoyed the article. Would enjoy reading about where firearms inventory is going right now- distributors, box box retailers, local gun stores. Any preferential treatment on who gets new firearms between the channels?

    July 27, 2020 8:07 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I recommend checking ammoseek daily. I have gotten all the ammo I have needed over the past few crazy months. It’s higher priced than usual, but it’s out there, just don’t tell anyone.

    July 27, 2020 7:14 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Well you just did tell. Sooo...

      July 28, 2020 4:15 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David Boerboom

        >>>> Zooooom!

        July 29, 2020 1:00 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        I want you to be able to find it. My guess and I hope I am wrong is that most people don’t read what is posted on this website. The won’t know about our secret.

        July 29, 2020 9:39 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          @Gospelofjon your funny.

          July 29, 2020 8:15 pm
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