For those within the gun-enthusiast community that keep a weathered eye on ammunition prices, a troubling realization has begun to emerge. Ammo stocks across every type of caliber, for every type of firearm, have been drawn extremely thin over the last few years. No matter if the bullets are for a rifle, a handgun, or a shotgun — or whether it be a .22, a 9mm, a .50-cal, or a 12-gauge — ammunition is going to be hard to come by and priced accordingly.
According to the CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands, the famed gun and gun accessories manufacturing company founded in 1852 out of Norwich, Connecticut, the drought of ammunition that reached a peak in 2020 is not expected to get better any time soon. Meanwhile, prices continue to skyrocket; within the last year alone, the price of 9mm rounds has increased over 1,000%, while .50-caliber rounds have increased over 300%.
Ammo is the Answer
But where does this inflation come from? Why are gun owners being made to fork over many times more money than the ammunition is typically worth? Any reasonable answer begins with the goings-on in the year 2020 for both the United States and the world. Without question, the biggest story of the past year has been the global pandemic caused by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. As the CDC mobilized alongside the rest of the world to find a vaccine, governments required a near-total lockdown of all non-essential businesses and required activities that were typically held in-person to be conducted online or be canceled.
The resultant, near-overnight enthusiasm for guns, gun accessories, and ammunition is something that will characterize this new decade in the firearms community forever.
- Over 1 million background checks were performed by the FBI for gun ownership in one week during the first month of the lockdown.
- Most first-time purchasers bought semiautomatic handguns, outpacing the next-most purchased firearm, a shotgun, 2 to 1.
- First-time buyers identified within every metric of society, across all political, sexual, and gender orientations.
Even businesses like 45 Blast, which opened its doors during this period saw an incredible response to the Canik gun accessories, far outpacing initial sales projections. Ammunition, naturally, is a part of that. Now, the supply chain for the bullet industry is experiencing the most extreme production and distribution trials it has faced in decades.
The Ammo Price Forecast
Anticipating where the market will go, even in 2021 as most businesses are returning to normal, has proven to be extremely difficult. As ammunition shortages have gone on, scalpers have become an ever-increasing problem, marking up ammo boxes to astronomical prices in order to capitalize on the furor; some have reported making a year’s salary in a quarter of the time. This has had a trickle-down effect across digital and physical retailers, many of whom can only keep a product in stock for a few hours, sometimes minutes.
So, what does this mean for the price of ammunition in six months or a year? The answer, for those interested in 45 Blast and our catalog of gun accessories, is an unromantic one: no one knows. The solution seems to keep a close watch on one’s local gun shop and heed what they say. At best, one can hope that the ammo they find there wasn’t repurchased from a scalper.