Ammo Supply Update – September 2016
This is the 3rd ammo supply update I’ve done this year (you can read my February and June updates by clicking the links). As we race every closer to a very uncertain election which will have dire ramifications for gun owners, I think these updates are important, and will become more so over time.
This election is driving me positively nuts. Earlier in the year, when I could see no possible way that the Republicans could lose to Hilary Clinton, my ammo supply strategy was pretty simple and relatively short term – stock up enough ammo to make it for 2-4 months of market instability approaching and perhaps immediately after the election. I reasoned that once the dust had settled and the Republicans reclaimed the White House, reason and sanity would return to the market, and we’d chug happily along at least another four years. Boy was I wrong…
Almost immediately after the Democratic National Convention, Trump began shooting his mouth off and dropped from leading Hilary in the polls to being behind by double digits. For the first time, panic set it for me. Hilary in the White House could conceivably ruin the US gun culture for the rest of my lifetime. Suddenly, my previous surplus ammunition goals designed to get me through a few months of market instability looked like a drop in the bucket as I contemplated the real possibility of having to go four years or longer unable to purchase ammunition.
We also had some events happen in the US during the last quarter which I believe had an additional impact on pricing and availability. The first was the Orlando shooting on June 12th – just a couple of weeks after my last update. Ammo prices spiked almost immediately, but not severely. Previously ample and available supplies of 115 gr. 9mm went up from $199.00 per case to between $204.00 – $208.00. Similarly, .223/5.56 ammo that was found at $299.00 a case went up to $315.00 – prices currently sit at around this level. On the heels of the Orlando shooting came the next blow came on July 1st when California governor Jerry Brown signed into law six different gun control measures dubbed “Gunpocalypse.” Not only did this hugely spike firearm, magazine, and ammunition demand in California, but it sent further shockwaves of panic throughout the rest of the free states with this sobering look at what could happen if Hilary Clinton is elected President. Check out this Facebook post from Dave Spalding of Handgun Combatives:
Despite the panic caused by the above-mentioned events and continued uncertainty regarding the outcome of the November elections, the market is holding relatively steady – reasonably priced ammunition can still be found, along with firearms and so-called “high-capacity” magazines. Sure, there are some shortages – certain firearms from popular manufacturers like Daniel Defense and SIG Sauer may require a bit of a wait to find. For example, 15 round magazines for the SIG P320 Compact (my current primary handgun platform) are currently on back-order from SIG. Fortunately, there’s still opportunity in the current market conditions to buy what is needed – but is it borrowed time?
WHAT HAVE I ADDED TO MY SURPLUS THIS QUARTER?
Here’s a breakdown of what I bought during the last few months since my June update.
Last Update: 10,000 rounds
Currently: 11,000 rounds
I spent more than I had intended or hoped this quarter on both 9mm and .223/5.56, so I hadn’t really intended to buy more .22LR this quarter. But a deal popped up on Cabelas for Federal Automatch, so I ended up grabbing another 1000 rounds of range .22LR (Federal Automatch). As I’ve stated in the past, .22LR is key to my strategy of “holding out” during a period of ammo unavailability – I can augment shooting 9mm in my handguns and .223/5.56 in my rifles by shooting .22LR.
Last Update: 3,500 rounds
Currently: 6,000 rounds
In my last update, I had indicated “5,000 rounds is my goal” for 9mm. Again, the previously unconscionable prospect of Hilary in the White House has thrown that goal completely out the window. I presently shoot as much as 1000 rounds a month (150 a week practice, 100 in a 3 Gun match). I simply cannot afford to buy about 50,000 rounds of 9mm to last four-plus years of a Hilary administration between now and November. But I know I could maintain my defensive skill set by shooting a rationed amount of 100 rounds a month, augmented with 200 rounds a month of .22LR and lots of dry fire. So there is at least some sense of optimism in the supply I have. But of course, I wish for more.
Last Update: 1,000
Currently: 6,000 rounds
Yep, my surplus range supply of 5.56 took a dramatic leap – partially because I actually found a case of American Eagle .223 that I had forgotten about while doing inventory. But I did buy 4 cases of rifle ammo – 2 more cases of Wolf Gold, and 2 cases of Prvi Partizan PPU. I currently shoot less rifle ammo than I do hand gun – 200 rounds a week at best. I also don’t usually shoot any during the coldest months of the year (January and February). So my rifle ammo surplus should go a bit longer than my handgun ammo. So, like my surplus of range handgun ammo, a rationed consumption of rifle ammo could keep me shooting 4 plus years.
In my last update, I talked about buying some additional magazines for my SIG P320 Compact. Once again, the prospect of Hilary being elected means a ban on high-capacity magazines could be right around the corner. So I bought 3 more 15 round magazines, and three more 21 round magazines for the P320 (I use the 21 rounders in 3 Gun competition). I also bought some addition 20 and 30 round Lancer magazines for the AR-15, as well as some 30 round Hexmags for the AR-15. Finally, I bought some additional 30 and 40 round PMAGs (Gen M3) for the AR-15. I have a very solid supply of magazines for all the firearms I own. In fact, if I’ve over-bought in any area, it’s magazines. But if the worst happens, having some excess supply to trade with could be very advantageous.
Gun-wise, I think I’m in pretty good shape. I’ve sold several firearms that I wasn’t using or didn’t otherwise love, and used the funds to go toward acquiring other more desirable firearms while I have the freedom to do so including the SIG MCX, the Colt Competition CRP-18, and the HM-Defense HM-15.
At this point, I think I’ve prepared as much as I realistically can for whatever happens in November. Do I have enough surplus ammo? For certain contingencies, yes. But if the worst happens? Probably not. What if the best happens? Have I over-bought? No, I don’t think so. I think there will continue to be factors which cause fluctuations in the ammo market no matter who gets elected President in November. So being able to go a few months without buying ammunition is definite peace of mind. It will also be nice to know that when I sign up for a training class that I don’t have to worry about what ammo prices and availability will be like leading up to the class. I have more than enough reserve ammo to cover me for any class I’d want to take.
Luckily for Trump, 2 weeks after his post-Democratic National Convention rapid-fire series of foot-in-mouth disasters, the Summer Olympics occurred and gave the Press and the Nation something else to talk about for two weeks instead of “what stupid thing has Trump said today?” After the Summer Olympics, trump steadily began gaining on Hilary by about 2 points a week. At this point, trump is down maybe 6 points depending on which polls you believe. So it’s still very uncertain as to who will win in November. All we can do is pray, and prepare for the worst, which is what I have done and will continue to do. I’ll do a final update in December which will outline my post-election strategy moving forward.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.