Panic buying guns and ammo keeps prices high

The pandemic and civil unrest has led to panic buying of everything from toilet paper to guns and ammo with demand outpacing supply. Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the growing demand and shooters are finding it difficult to find their favorite caliber of ammo.

Due to the difficulties in getting ammo most shooters, myself included, have cut down on the time we spend at the range. The difficulty of finding ammo along with the increase in ammo prices makes it difficult to justify those long shooting sessions.

I’ve also seen a decrease in the number of people taking concealed carry classes due to people saying they don’t want to shoot up the ammo they have. It is understandable that people want to keep the ammo they have in times like these.

Panic buying of guns and ammo started due to the pandemic and civil unrest

Just prior to the lockdowns in spring of 2020 ammo was easy to find for virtually any caliber firearm you wanted. Prices were very affordable on guns and ammo. Consumers had their choice of anything they wanted to buy. Once the lockdowns hit, millions of people ran to the gun store and bought anything they could find.

Forbes reported gun sales increasing over 40% during 2020 with a vast diversity in the people arming themselves.

The rise in gun sales is fueled by first-time buyers, including women, Black Americans and senior citizens. Eight million Americans bought guns for the first time in 2020, according to an estimate from Mark Oliva, public affairs director for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry group.

The growing diversity in firearms ownership is already making an impact on the perception of gun ownership and will make it more difficult for gun control proponents to pass further restrictions. Gallup reports that support for gun control is at its lowest point since 2016.

Due to the increased demand, the once casual trips to the gun store to see the latest gun or pick up a few extra boxes of ammo to shoot has been met with nothing but empty shelves.

Some gun stores have reserved ammo sales only to individuals who are buying a new gun. Other gun stores struggle to find stock of any kind to sell to customers.

Online ammo sales are like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. One of the most popular search terms for Google is 9mm ammo in stock. Many online retailers have been accused of price gouging due to panic buying from consumers.

The most commonly asked question among the gun community today is when will prices return to normal.

The increased demand for ammo has led to a shortage in supply. Ammo shelves at many gun stores are empty due to panic buying.
The increased demand for ammo has led to a shortage in supply. Ammo shelves at many gun stores are empty due to panic buying.

How much ammo do you actually need?

I am a big advocate of having the supplies you need in the event of something bad happening. The prepper lifestyle is something I’ve been a part of for many years, going back to before prepping was a thing. Unfortunately, the reaction by people who haven’t prepared for trouble has become a driving force behind the shortages.

The biggest fear is that people will not have what they need in the event of a major societal breakdown. People who live in cities where riots happened over the summer of 2020 got a taste of that. Police didn’t respond to calls for help leaving citizens to fend for themselves in the face of an angry mob.

Bugging out will limit the amount of ammo you can have.

The amount of ammo you need will depend on the particular situation you find yourself in. Bugging out to a safer location will limited you to the amount of ammo you can carry.

I remember taking to a friend of mine who is a combat veteran from the Iraq war. We discussed the various supplies the troops carried while in the field. A three days supply of necessities with another day in the Humvee was all they carried. Who would know more about the amount of ammo you need than the people who were fighting a war?

The gear you need, including food and other necessities, will make your loadout heavy. The equipment you carry will be impacted by the way you travel. Traveling by car will allow you to carry much more than you could if you were walking.

What can be done about high prices on guns and ammo?

Even with the outrageous prices of guns and ammo today, people are still buying everything they can. Prices will remain high as long as people continue to pay them.

Economics clearly shows that a high demand and limited supply on something leads to increased prices. Low demand and plenty of supply leads to lower prices.

Consumers would benefit greatly if people would stop panic buying and paying the outrageous prices. Once the distributors and retailers see that demand is lower, the prices will begin to fall.

Build your supplies of ammo over time as prices and availability return to normal. Panic buying only works to drive prices up and make it harder for everyone to find what they need.