My good pal Mark Keefe tackles the great ammo drought on his AMERICAN RIFLEMAN blog this AM:
All the major ammunition companies have increased capacity and production over last year’s levels, which was a banner year. If the ammunition makers are producing more ammunition than ever before—regardless of government contracts—why is there no ammo on the shelf? Simply put, other people are buying it before you do. This is basic supply and demand. When demand is high and supply low, prices increase.
As you know, I believe we’ve stumbled into a REALLY REALLY perfect storm, which includes the drastic increase in domestic demand, the continuing war in the Middle East (and the depletion of our military reserve of ammo), worldwide tensions (major offshore ammo suppliers are pouring their ammo into military contracts), the final depletion of the great Cold War (and WW2) surplus ammo stashes in Europe, China and India competing for such commodities as copper and lead and generally bad juju. I suspect what we’re seeing here is a “readjustment” of the domestic ammo market, which is a nice way of saying that while supply may stabilize (12-18 months from now), the “new normal” of higher pricing is here to stay.
Paul Erhardt in today’s SHOOTING WIRE talks about “panic” and “hoarding” in his own inimitable style on ways to cope with the ammo crisis:
No. 6 – Panic. That’s right. Nothing ever really gets done until you panic and waiting until the DHS armored vehicles start rolling down the street to start is too late. Panic now! And No. 7 – Hoard. Two words: Stock Pile. Maybe that’s one, but whatever, you get the point. When Gideon blows that horn I want to be standing on top of a mountain of ammo, ready to take on all comers.
LOL! Having had a good laugh, I have to say that I actually don’t agree with the current vituperation being heaped on “hoarders” and “speculators.” Remember, I’m a “small L” libertarian at heart and I absolutely believe in capitalism. “Hoarders” are people who were smarter than you, or who saw the writing on the wall when you didn’t, and were willing to commit their funds to protecting themselves and their families. In short, a hoarder puts his or her money where his or her mouth is.
Wouldn’t it be better if everyone had 100 rounds of .22 as opposed to the current situation? “Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!” LOL! Karl Marx’s great dictum on equality of results — “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need,” if your German’s a little rusty — always assumed a world of abundance…there’s plenty for everybody, so let’s spread it around. Sort of like America in the Old Days, or at least the way we remember the old days.
But unfortunately the Age of Abundance has followed the Age of the Dinosaurs into extinction. We now live in an age of constraints and have to adjust our lives accordingly. I remember in the last drought (or, more correctly, the beginning of this drought) there was a post on one of the gun forums from someone who shot a match twice a month, On the way to the match, he would stop at Wally-World and buy just enough ammo to shoot the match. One Saturday morning, there was no ammo on the shelves of his Wally-World. On the forum he was ripping into the damned hoarders and the damned speculators…except that in my readings of the U.S. Constitution, the Bible and Das Kapital, I could not find one single reference to, “You have the [inalienable/God-given/provided by the All-Seeing State] to pick up just-in-time ammo on the way to your Saturday match.”
On the DOWN RANGE Radio podcasts before the current shoe fell, I have been begging people to stock up when the prices dropped…because in an age of constraints, there is always going to be another crisis! I got letters from people who said, frankly, that they didn’t want to spend their money on ammo or components. That is a perfectly legitimate decision, but as with any decision one has to live with the consequences.
Regarding those damn speculators, let’s talk about risks. A speculator in any field places a bet, absolutely no different than you or I walking into the Stop-And-Rob and buying a $20 lottery ticket. Sometimes the speculator wins the bet — prices rise and the speculator is able to sell goods for a profit — and sometimes the speculator loses the bet, and all his or her money. Speculation is an inherent part of capitalism…another word for speculation is “investment.” I invest in a product in anticipation of making a profit somewhere down the line. The market will decide winners and losers!
Heck, reminds me of an Ayn Rand quote: “Run for your life from any man who tells you money is evil. That sentence is a leper’s bell of an approaching looter.”
BTW, here’s Julie Golob’s tips on surviving the Great Ammo Drought: