Tag Archives: economics

Will Ammunition Prices Keep Dropping?

The short answer is “yes” and I think the forecast bears some explaining. First, there was massive demand due to civil unrest and Biden winning the presidency making people fearful of more gun control via regulations and executive orders. Second, there was a general concern about COVID and self-defense due to various “defund the police” movements at the same time that crime was increasing due to liberal policies reducing prosecution and incarceration. These factors all pushed existing gun owners to buy both more firearms and ammunition while at the same time creating a very definite increase in new first-time gun owners. In short, this all put demand for ammunition through the roof.

Why did prices increase?

While demand was increasing, factories, suppliers and distribution firms were all sorely short-staffed due to COVID. Making this even worse was the government paying people to stay home which continues to affect staffing levels – a lot of people simply do not want to work. The politically correct term many use is “we are having supply chain issues” meaning the vendor you want to buy from is having a hard time finding raw materials or components causing delayed shipments, higher prices and general uncertainty about what will happen next.

If we look at these two forces coming togeter – increasing demand and shrinking supply, prices went up and availability went down. For a brief while, you could not even find 9×19/9mm Luger FMJ range ammo unless you were willing to pay $0.40/round or more of sites like Gunbroker.

Why are prices going down?

Now over the past year, what has happened? Prices for 9mm ammo have steadily gone down and now dipped well below $.030/round and will continue downwards. Now why can I say that? We’re going to look at factors influencing demand and supply at this point.

Demand Side Factors

These are things that happened to influence whether people buy ammo or not:

First, inflation – the increase in prices you pay – is hitting everyone hard. People are making hard decisions about whether to buy ammo, food, gas, fix something at home, repair the car … in these scenarios, ammo is often put on hold because you can’t drive or eat a case of ammo. This is causing demand to go down.

Second, panic buying is dropping. Gun owners can only panic buy for so long and then they either run out of money to spend or they feel they have enough / are safe enough and then stop. Again, this causes demand to go down.

Third, all things being equal, if ammo costs you a fortune, are you going to frivolously go and shoot tons of ammo at the range or are you going to conserve it a bit more? Or to put it differently, are you going to waste a case of ammo that cost you $300-400 just to have fun or will you maybe shoot a bit less and save the rest for another day? A lot of folks will respond with the latter and not shoot more than is necessary. Again, this causes demand to go down.

Supply Side Factors

Now let’s look at the supply side – what influences groups to sell ammo:

First, the major US ammo makers are running their plants non-stop trying to make ammo. For example, Vista Outdoor, the holding company who owns CCI, Federal and Speer bought the Remington ammunition plant and brought it back online and has it up to speed now. Why are these groups doing this? Well, they exist to make a profit and when prices are high, they can afford to invest to do just that – to make money. This is also why Palmetto State Armory has spent over $100 million to bring their AAC ammo plant on-line – to make money. So what does all of this do – these producer actions increase the supply of ammo in the market.

Second, not only did the bigger firms try to produce more but lots of smaller firms either started or are trying to scale up to to meet demand and make money. Some examples include Ammo Inc , Frontier, Gorilla and Sergeant Major. The result is an increase in the supply of ammo.

What else is going on? Well, importers are bringing in tons of ammo (literally). This includes established brands like Aguila, Eley, Fiocchi, IMI Systems, Lapua, MagTech, Norma, MEN, PMC, S&B, brands of ammo I have never heard of before such as Belom, DRZ, STV Scorpio and Turan. The increased prices created an opportunity that made it worth the time and investment needed for foreign suppliers to make and sell the ammo as well as for importers to bring it in by the container load and this all increases supply.

Fourth on the list, I notice vendors are finally advertising they have primers, powders and other reloading components back in stock. For ammo buyers who want to reload, or get back into reloading, they can which takes some buyers for finished ammo out of the market. This factor is both supply and demand related in a sense so I am just sticking it here.

The Result

In short, demand is contracting/decreasing and supply is expanding/increasing. When this happens, prices go down. To put it simply, you have more ammo chasing fewer buyers and so the sellers begin to compete on the basis of price – whether it is lowering the price of the ammo itself, throwing in free shipping or some per bundle “buy this ammo and get two free magazines” or even some combination.

As of my writing this post, I checked Ammoseek.com and the cheapest 9mm 115gr FMJ ammo in case quantity (meaning 1,000 rounds) is $0.24/round and the most expensive is $0.60/round — the $0.60 listing is from a single seller who appears to be premium pricing their Tula steel case. There’s quite a spectrum of prices for sure – quite a few sellers are offering sup $0.30 pricing. Far from its peak price but also far from it’s bottom before all of this happened.

By the way, due to its popularity, I have watched the pricing of 9mm FMJ case lots for a while now to judge how things are going. When you get into the unique wildcat calibers or obsolete/hard-to-find calibers they are different and my prediction doesn’t necessarily apply.

Government Regulation Risk

At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a huge risk of the government introducing regulations that impact the free market in terms of ammo. The ATF does have a new head and, in general, the current administration openly despises both gun owners and the firearms industry but they don’t have a ton of support for gun control at the moment. Granted they have more after all the public shootings as of late but hopefully it will not increase.

So this is my riskiest part of the prediction – at least through the mid-term elections the politicians and the bureaucrats they control are not going to want to rock the boat or they are apt to put some of the more conservative democrats from areas with large populations with firearms at risk of re-election. There are gun owners in all political parties at this point.


To sum it up, demand has shrunk and supply has increased. Vendors are starting to compete on the basis of price and this is driving down prices, at least for popular calibers, across the board.

We’ll see how my forecast holds up and I feel pretty confident about it.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Will The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Cause An Small Arms Ammunition Shortage in the US?

The short answer is “no, not across the board” but the longer answer bears some explaining. First off the main small arms ammunition used will be former Warsaw Pact calibers such as 7.62×39, 5.45×39, 7.62×25 Tokarev and so forth. The point is that the calibers in the scope of concern is already small – certainly not across all small arm calibers found in the US.

Russia has a large stockpile of Russian made ammunition and plenty of production facilities to make more. Given that the US government decided not to allow new imports of Russian ammunition some time ago and importers finding other sources, this should not be a big factor in ammunition supplies.

Ukraine’s only small arms ammunition manufacturer is the Luhansk cartridge plant. Luhansk did make ammunition for the export and Century Arms sold it under the “Red Army Standard” brand but Century sources from Romania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Poland also.

It is possible that there will be more demand for calibers the Ukrainian military uses and both the government of Ukraine and their supports will turn to the International arms market for supplies should this become a protracted conflict. That might impact supplies and prices if demand increases but supply does not.

In the US, there already is some panic buying as people who are scared/nervous decide to buy more ammo but this is on the tail end of several years of significantly high volumes of firearm and ammunition purchases already – any surge in demand will likely be short lived. Same goes with any temporary price hikes.

In closing, I really doubt there will shortages of small arms ammunition in the United States with the only caveat being that if the conflict drags on and demand in the arms market increases, there might be some price increases but only time will tell.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Online Ammunition Sources

Note, if you haven’t checked lately, ammunition is returning to the online vendors and prices have come down dramatically from their pandemic high. For example, a 1000 rounds of bulk packed CCI 9mm Luger was over $1,000 at one point and now it is available from $299-339 sometimes with free shipping.

Also, if you haven’t heard, PSA is building an ammunition plant as well to open later this year (2022).

Ammo Prices Will Continue To Fall

Okay, I’m a closet economist – I admit it. When I look at the current ammo shortage, you can tell it is predictably coming to an end provided nothing crazy comes out of the Senate, White House and ATFE that is lasting.

Not Our First Panic

For those old enough to remember past panic buying such as with President Obama, the same thing happened. People got worried about not being able to buy firearms or ammo in the future so they started buying everything in sight. When this happens, an interesting and predictable tug of war happens between the demand for ammo and the ability of businesses to sell ammo. Let’s look at it in terms of three time frames – immediate, medium and longer-term.

Short-term – less than 6 months

When a panic hits, there is very little the manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and gun shops can do in the short-term other than sell what they have. What do I mean by short-term? Within about a six month window. They can only produce so much ammo so fast given their labor, component availability and machine capacity. In addition, importers only have so many import orders in the pipeline so the ammo supply starts to dry up. As supply dries up, prices start to go up – you see ammo that was going for $249/1000 rounds start to push almost $1,000/1000 rounds if not more plus it can get pretty hard to find.

In the mean time, as the supply gets limited, people tend to panic even more and buy whenever they can afford, sometimes even if they can’t with credit cards, keeping the prices elevated. Making life even more colorful this time around were COVID causing supply chain problems and the stimulus checks.

The stimulus checks have caused a number of issues. First and foremost, a lot of people don’t see the point in working when they can stay home, collect unemployment and get the stimulus checks. This means that firms who are trying to make equipment, supplies and ammo itself plus firms who distribute and sell it are frequently short staffed limiting what they can produce.

Another impact is that quite a few people take the checks and buy more guns and ammo that further adds to the shortage. I’m less worried about this than I am about otherwise able people getting money paid for by taxpayers – nothing is ever free folks – we the people who pay taxes will pay and probably for years to come.

Now the rush of new gun buyers is also a factor – people are scared. How will they defend their families in an era where violent protests and assaults are deemed acceptably while politicians and activists talk about defunding the police? I applaud law abiding citizens buying firearms for self defense, hunting, target shooting, or whatever their desire is. The fact of the matter is that these firearms reflect a sizable investment for most people and losing them due to gun control will not sit well with anyone — especially when you look at the violence that is taking place. Politicians – representatives, senators and governors – know this because they worry about re-election. The gun control zealots and elites don’t care but that is a different story.

An interesting thing that happened this time around was that ammo never completely disappeared. You might not have found it at local gun stores but you could find it online with a lot of searching and paying some astronomically high prices. Gunbroker sellers were typically an option for almost any type of ammo through the whole ordeal. I’m not criticizing- it’s an observation. People will go to extra lengths to make money.

Another observation is that shooters also investigated alternative brands of ammo as well as methods of training. For example, the training systems that were either a bullet-shaped laser that would trigger when the pistol’s firing pin hit it or even complete subsitute pistols.

People moved to reloading very early on and supplies, notably primers, became next to impossible to find. This created a lesson for many new reloaders – start it when things aren’t nuts and stock up because it is not a guaranteed backup plan.

Medium-term – 6 months to one year

Getting back to the ammo shortage, as time goes on manufacturers continue to output all that they can. More and more import orders are placed drawing ammo from all over the planet including known and unknown brands. Some small ammo producers appear as they can make money but may not survive as prices fall.

At the same time, panicked consumers both run out of money to buy ammo and they begin to calm down. Demand contracts.

The first signs that the shortage is coming to the end is that you will notice more and more websites have ammo available for sale and it isn’t disappearing within minutes of going online. Breadth and depth of options slowly increases but the prices are typically still far higher than before the panic.

Next, the vendors (gun stores, wholesalers and websites) begin to realize that they have a ton of money invested in ammo and better get it sold. This when you start to see tons of emails stating “We have ammo!”. The emails and alerts do generate some sales but not enough. Vendors start having to compete again and prices begin to come down. Ammo that was $1,000/1,000 rounds drops to $749/1,000 rounds and continues to drop.

Somewhere in this timeframe, buyers also started trying substitute brands they would not normally go for. For example, some guys who always declared they would never shoot steel cased ammo started buying TulAmmo and Wolf. In most guns, steel case runs just fine – you never know for sure with any combination of firearm and ammo until you test it. In other words, order in a smaller amount for testing before you go and invest in a case(s).

Longer-term – After about a year

The price drop will continue as vendors attempt to sell the ammo to finance the loans they took out to buy it or to free up working capital to invest elsewhere. At the same time, stores and website have more and more ammo available for sale and compeitition based on pricing starts to heat up again further causing prices to drop until some form of equilibrium is reached – in other words some price that is agreeable to buyers and sellers is reached.

Lessons Learned Thus Far

  1. It was predictable. We knew if Trump lost the panic would set in so people hedging their risks started stocking up starting in earnest in the Summer of 2020.
  2. It’s better to stock up before a panic than during a panic. Buying a little here and there and saving it adds up.
  3. Don’t add calibers during a panic. Finding ammo might be surprisingly hard.
  4. Subscribe to as many vendor sales emails as you can. They would regularly send emails when they got shipments in and are now sending even more emails to move what they have: Brownells, Pametto State Armory, Natchez, SGAmmo, Midway USA, Sportsman’s Guide and more.
  5. Most ammo could be found on Gunbroker in a pinch albeit at high prices.
  6. A lot of brands showed up that people knew nothing about but was actually really good so be sure to search around on the web – you might be in for a pleasant surprise. For example: Aguila, Fiocchi, MagTech, PMC, S&B, and ZQI are all good brands that you may not have previously encountered.


Where are we right now? As of this writing, we are seeing more ammo on the websites and prices have just started to come down off their highs so we are somewhere in the medium time frame. How fast prices will fall is hard to say due to COVID and anti-second ammendment stance by some politicians. I actually think President Biden has limited options because politicians usually follow their own logic but staying in power and making money are certainly drivers for them. People have a ton of money invested in their firearms and ammunition and aren’t going to give them up lightly.

My guidance to you is to buy what you need but hold off on more panic buying. I don’t have a magic crystal ball mind you but I am holding off big ammo purchases. It’s hard to say what will happen past the next 90 days but you ought to take note that the Biden administration is almost five months into power and has accomplished little on their gun control agenda.

My last comment is a big ask for all of you – stay active. Keep reading what is going on, support your favorite pro-2A special interest groups (I like Firearm Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America) and be sure to reach out to politicans to make your opinion known on hot topics — the liberals are trying to push tons of absurd gun control proposals and we cant let those happen.

6/27/21 Update: Prices continue to plummet. You can find brass case Federal 115gr FMJ 9mm ammo for $450/1,000 rounds +S&H – this price point was only for imported steel case in early May. Vendors are bundling things like red dots, scopes or magazines with ammo to try and entice buyers. In general, popular calibers (such as 9mm, 5.56 Nato, 7.62 Nato, 7.62×39, and .300 BO) are surging in availability. Some of the traditional rounds such as .30-30 are still challenged. SGAmmo, one of my favorite ammo suppliers, continues to have more and more inventory available. I’m getting a bunch of “Ammunition Available” emails each day from Natchez, Brownells, PSA, etc.

5/1/21 Update: It seems like I am getting several emails a day from vendors saying they have ammo in stock. I saw my first 20% off sale this past week so we will watch the prices start to drop. I’ve already seen steel cased 9mm at $500/1000 well off it’s peak high. The new round of stimulus checks may prop sales up a bit but not enough to fund all the ammo entering the distribution channels.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.