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America's Arms Race: The Secret Very Few Are Discussing.

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posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 12:17 PM

The other day, I came across this interesting article concerning the spike in interest from a search term perspective in ammunition. Moreover, it discussed a very real shortage in the availability of bullets for a wide range of firearms.

The ammo boom is no dud: As gun shoppers are discovering, it's becoming easier to buy a gun than ammunition.

As a growing number of gun shoppers are discovering these days, it's becoming easier to buy a gun than it is to purchase the ammunition for it. Shortages of popular handgun calibers in particular have dealers and customers fuming, and ammo makers have shifted their production lines into overdrive to keep up with the demand. How long will the "bullet bubble" last? That depends in large part on politics in Washington and in statehouses across the land, and the messages that various legislative efforts convey.

Concerns over what the election of Barack Obama portends for gun owners is the main cause for the inflated demand for ammunition. In fact, since last November's election ammunition has been flying off store shelves faster than you can say "microstamping," with sales increases topping 100 percent in many areas. Gun sales ramped up by 42 percent last November, but have cooled off slightly since. From Election Day to now, the monthly sales average for firearms has been about 29 percent higher than normal. February sales tailed off a bit, to slightly more than 23 percent over average, according to sales figures compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Ted Novin, the NSSF's director of public affairs, says that the next report on ammunition sales won't be in until May, but there's enough anecdotal evidence to suggest more boom times for the gun crowd — literally and figuratively. "From what we've heard, ammunition manufacturers are operating at full capacity in an attempt to keep up with demand," says Novin. "Gun owners are worried about taxes being added to ammo, or worried about new laws that will affect the production, and consequently the price, of ammunition. It's understandable; there are a lot of people in power now who have a long history of supporting bills that violate Second Amendment rights."

Follow link for more...

The article continues:

At Mark's Outdoor Sports in Birmingham, Ala., owner Mark Whitlock is nonplussed by what has apparently become a rush to hoard ammo.

"I've seen some strange things in the past 29 years in business but I never thought I'd see the day when I would make one order in one day for more ammo than I sold during all of the previous year," said Whitlock. "I'm doing that, knowing I won't get it, and also knowing that if I did, I could sell it all and be ordering more three days later."

So, ammo sales have doubled in the last several months and it is very possible the number is even higher.

While everyone tends to focus on firearms, this article had me asking more questions about the ammunition itself.

It turns out that:

It is estimated that there are approximately 10 billion bullets sold annually in the United States, and 20-30 billion bullets sold worldwide annually.


If the US sells 10 billion bullets each year, the newest circumstances suggest the number is now potentially ballooning to 20 billion bullets annually.

I don't know about the rest of you, but that seems like an awful lot of bullets to me.

See also, What Stimulated the Gun and Ammo Market?

Here are some recent relevant ATS threads:

Run on Ammunition has stores running out!
Ammunition in short supply??
With ammunition shortage government destroys reloadable brass for a loss
DHS watching your ammo purchases as we speak
Ammo: You Can't Take ALL of it With You
.380 ACP ammo, where has it all gone?

So what does all of this really say about what is happening out there??? Is something really important being missed?

It looks like America is arming to the gills. Am I the only one who finds this trend a little troubling?

Incidentally, for all of you who are thinking about hoarding precious metals or stones in these uncertain times, makes you wonder whether hoarding ammo wouldn't be the better economic play.

[edit on 1-4-2009 by loam]

posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 12:23 PM
This is interesting, considering, I'm a woman that just got back from Walmart 10 mins. ago to only shop for some ammo. I got what I needed, but there were sections of the cabinets empty. I was wondering about that, but didn't ask the sales guy. He seemed sort of "out there".

Anyway, got my .22 and 7Mil's without any problems.


posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 12:53 PM
So do you think there is merit to these numbers?

I keep thinking about the numbers. Even at 10 billion bullets a year, do that many bullets actually get used each year? In other words, I assume some portion do not get used. It therefore implies that some number FAR GREATER than 10 billion is sitting around in stockpiles by individuals around the nation.

That realization blows my mind.

[edit on 1-4-2009 by loam]

posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 01:06 PM
It's true, there is an ammunition shortage in America now. That's a fact. Folks are stocking up for all kinds of reasons. I don't think there's any conspiracy behind the shortage itself- demand has just spiked because of fear of anti-gun anti-ammunition legislation, and other fears about the economy collapsing etc.
It's a troubling sign, but it doesn't mean anything.

Americans are armed to the teeth. This is nothing new- Americans have always been armed to the teeth. There is no reason for Americans to need to use all of that ammunition though, it's just sitting in folks' homes right now. Hopefully it will stay that way. I don't think there is any real danger that all of that ammunition will be needed anytime soon. Most people aren't that angry- there is no major issue that has reached a boiling point, there is no geographic definition to the problems that people are facing.

posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 01:17 PM
reply to post by loam

There are merit to those numbers. 10 billion bullets sounds like a lot- almost enough to shoot every man woman and child on Earth twice? But you have to bear in mind that even in full-blown, rock-em-sock-em civil war (which won't happen) most of that ammunition would not be used. A lot of it would be confiscated, or lost, or destroyed, or what have you. A lot of it is in calibers unsuitable for military use (.22, .380 etc.) And in war, the vast majority of ammunition is wasted- ie: doesn't hit anyone. I can't remember the exact number, but research showed that the number of 5.56 rounds expended to kill a single enemy soldier was in the thousands. That's due to "spray and pray" and jungle warfare, but the number of shots fired to the number of actual hits in war is still low. Plus you have to consider historic casualty figures- the percentage of wounded-in-action vs. killed in action. In almost every conflict, the number of wounded vs. the number killed is quite high- and getting higher with improved battlefield medicine. Off the top of my head, I believe the number is around 30:1 lately.

So 10 billion, or 20 billion rounds is not as crazy of a number as you think. It's more than enough to get things real bloody, real fast though.

posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 01:20 PM
Spend any amount of time reading up on survivalist topics and you will notice that a lot of folks are concerned about ammunition shortages. I have yet to personally hit any in my area but others have reported that the more popular calibers such as 9mm, 5.56, 7.62, etc are all very hard to come by.

The whole 10 billion rounds of ammunition sold is not that impressive really considering when divided up among the estimated 320 million inhabitants of the United States that leaves about 31.25 rounds of ammo per person, little more than a full magazine for your standards M16 or M4. even if only half of the population were purchasing all of the 10 billion rounds that would only bring the number up to 60 rounds of ammo purchased per person (out of 160 million people) per year which is really easy to burn through in a single trip to the shooting range.

posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 01:22 PM
Maybe I've just always been really naive on the subject. These numbers just really surprise me.

reply to post by Helig

Originally posted by Helig
The whole 10 billion rounds of ammunition sold is not that impressive really considering when divided up among the estimated 320 million inhabitants of the United States that leaves about 31.25 rounds of ammo per person, little more than a full magazine for your standards M16 or M4. even if only half of the population were purchasing all of the 10 billion rounds that would only bring the number up to 60 rounds of ammo purchased per person (out of 160 million people) per year which is really easy to burn through in a single trip to the shooting range.

Still at the normal rate, the US accounts for roughly a third of all annual ammo sales around the globe. At the new inflated rate, the number moves to nearly one half.

Like I said, call me naive. That just blows my mind.

[edit on 1-4-2009 by loam]

posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 01:27 PM
reply to post by loam

I suspect that competitive shooters alone count for a large portion of the purchased ammo be they IDPA, Small bore, trap or western in nature. Just sighting in a rifle w/o a bore sight can take a large number of rounds to get from just hitting the paper to accurate enough for long range hunting. A buddy of mine recently purchased a shotgun and to get comfortable with the gun he ended up putting about 50 rounds through it to get used to the recoil and patterning.

posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 02:21 PM
Not only is it in short supply, but it is going up in price.

I have a Steyr M40-A1 that I use 24/7 as a carry weapon that I love which is in .40 S&W.

Pre election madness, boxes of ammo were around $15.

Election madness sent it to about $17.

About a month ago I bought a case at $20 a box.

Yesterday they were $23 dollars a box.

And don't get me started on .223/.556 for my AR-15s, that price has litterally doubled and now military surplus ammo is actually more expensive then factory ammo.

What I do know is when SHTF, I'm going to try trading it as ammo will be worth more than gold.

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 08:27 PM
reply to post by loam


Any updates on this trend? Apparently the same thing is happening in Canada. ...Word must be out. About ...something...

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 08:47 PM
This is a blatant attempt at an "end run" on the 2nd Amendment, IMO... as addressed by this thread, and many others...

I'm so grateful I'd been stocking up on at least a box of .45ACP and .12guage each pay day since the election campaigns began, or I'd be running low for sure by now!

Luckily, I have a .22 slide/barrel rig for the 1911, which allows me to practice all I want... No shortage of .22, so far.

The gun stores around here are limiting ammo purchases in most cases to one or two boxes per day per customer.

I get my wife to walk in seperately and buy her share, IF we can find it.

Hell, even my pacifist neighbor bought herself a "pretty" pink anodized wheelgun.

Yeah, there's something in the air alright.

It's called "Change".

[edit on 15/5/09 by cbianchi513]

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 08:48 PM
"I got no problem with this. I've been stocking up on 25mm incendiary and explosive rounds for my GAU-12 Equalizer in my Lockheed AC-130 "Spooky" Gunship. That thing will kill any target simply by circling it in the air. Yep, lots of ammo stocked away and ready for airborne death dealing in the case of insurgency."

-- Uncle Sam

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 09:07 PM
Ammo is short because of the american wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The average number of bullets used in Iraq to kill ONE insurgent is around 250.000 ... so who's wasting bullets here? In 2005, due to shortages in ammo, the US had to import ammo from Israel.

In 2001, the army used 426 millions bullets... in 2006: 1.5 billion...

The ammo industry were able to improve their production but the whole industry is old, back from World War 2, and only a part of it was modernized... If they want to kill the production, they just have to cut funding for renovation of the ammo industry.

During WW2, there were 34 brand new ammo producing plants, now there are only 14 old and all owned by the government. And of those, only 3 produce small caliber ammo... our ammo. Lake City produces small-caliber ammunition, Milan produces medium- and large-caliber ammunition and Radford produces propellants, powders and medium-caliber ammunition.

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 09:10 PM
I saw on another thread that the issue lay in the manufacture of the primers also, due to a massive contract with the Israeli government... I've tried to chase that one down, to no avail...

Anybody know if there's any validity to that statement?

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 09:17 PM
From an economic standpoint, it looks like a classic bubble. In a few months people will figure out that things are basically unchanged, and everything will go back to normal (well, except the stores will have massive stockpiles of ammo that nobody wants, and it will be sold off at bargain-basement prices).

This will go down as the "Gun Mania of '09" or something along those lines.

[edit on 15-5-2009 by theWCH]

posted on May, 15 2009 @ 09:20 PM
The .223x556 and 7.62x39 is outrageous!

I have a different tilt on it as a gun owner who doesn't think everybody is after me.

The gun and ammo brokers/dealers are out of control!

They are all cashing in and taking part in this hysteria. While nothing has changed about our gun ownership, and in fact in some places like Utah, the gun ownership rights have laxed.

A large part of the scarcity is market driven fear and all the big proponents of the second amendment are cashing in! So much for being a "true American," huh?

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