Are You Prepared For Another Gun And Ammo Crisis?
Back in June of 2013, I wrote about the great Ammo and Gun Crisis – essentially the tragedy of the December 14th Sandy Hook shooting disrupted the firearm and ammunition industries in a dramatic and unprecedented manner. Within two weeks of Sandy Hook, most desirable firearms had disappeared from gun vendors nation wide. Magazines for semi-automatic firearms and ammunition quickly followed suit. Flash forward to today, and we’re still not back to pre-2013 pricing and availability on ammunition and some firearms and magazines. Pre-2013, I could walk into about any Walmart and pick up box of Federal 9mm range ammo for about $11.00, or a box of Federal Value Pack 525 round box for $21.00 about any time I wanted to. Folks, I haven’t even seen a box Federal Value Pack 525 .22lr for over three years.
It’s not all bad news – throughout this crisis, the following has been true:
- I was never unable to shoot what I wanted, when I wanted.
- I never had to pay absurdly inflated prices for any thing gun related (including ammunition).
While it sounds like I’ve made it to this point unaffected by the crisis, keep in mind that it took extraordinary effort and vigilance on my part – particularly in sourcing ammunition at reasonable prices.
Things have been getting steadily better since I wrote my June 2013 article, but as previously stated, we’re not out of the woods yet. .22lr ammunition remains particularly difficult to find at reasonable prices and in sufficient quantity. My three top choices for .22lr ammo to feed my semi-automatic pistols and rifles are CCI AR Tactical, Winchester M-22, and Federal AutoMatch. Of the three, only Federal AutoMatch seemed to be the most obtainable over the last three years. I’ve not seen any CCI AR Tactical in three years (occasionally I received email alerts I have with various vendors when they got some in, but I’ve never been able to respond quickly enough to actually buy any…and I’ve literally responded within seconds of receiving the alerts). Just this week I was FINALLY able to obtain a 1000 round box of M-22. Who knows when I’ll see any more?
I’ve also not been able to find my favorite “defensive” .22lr round (CCI Velocitor) for three years. Hope springs eternal – I keep hearing rumors that this Spring the .22LR supply will finally catch up to demand and loosen up. Mind you, I’ve been hearing that same rumor for the last two years…but I remain hopeful.
In my article from June of 2013, I talked about being essentially caught flat footed by the Ammo Crisis. At the time of Sandy Hook, I had enough range ammo to last a couple of months at best. I had some self-defense (SD) capable 5.56 stored – maybe 1000 rounds. But I had only a couple of hundred rounds of SD 9mm. I had maybe 10 Pmags for my two AR’s and I think I had about 10 magazines for my M&P pistols. After Sandy Hook, I started asking myself “what if I couldn’t ever buy any more?” and I wasn’t comfortable. I had enough guns to last a lifetime if I had to, but magazines and ammunition? Not by a long shot. So I started trying to store up both magazines and ammunition.
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
That’s the big question that everyone must answer for themselves – how many guns do I need if I could never buy any more? How many magazines for those guns? And how much ammo? After some soul searching, here’s what I personally have concluded.
- I don’t think we’ll see any legislation restricting firearms, magazines, or ammunition for at least four years. Obama and his administration tried VERY hard to restrict gun ownership in the US and failed miserably thanks primarily to the NRA (I’m a lifetime member!). As of this writing, Obama is a “lame duck” and isn’t going to be able to do any significant damage for the remainder of his time in office. It’s quite likely his successor will be a Republican and as such won’t be pushing for any gun control legislation. And even if a Democrat should pull out a win in November, given how hard Obama tried…and failed…I doubt the next President will have an appetite for taking on the NRA for several years. So as gun owners, we should enjoy at least 4 and possible 8 years without the kind of threats against our rights as gun owners we’ve seen with Obama in office.
- I don’t think they’ll be coming for my guns in my lifetime. Looking out past 8 years, It’s possible AR-15/AK-47 style weapons could be targeted again, depending on a number of factors. It’s also possible that so-called “high capacity” magazines could again be targeted – as all of were in the now expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. But in terms of a wholesale gun ban, or the government coming after the guns I have? I just don’t see it happening – not in my lifetime.
So the outlook for buying guns, magazines, and ammunition looks pretty rosy, in my opinion, for the next 4-8 years. For myself, there’s maybe 1 or 2 more semi-automatic rifles I might like to purchase, but beyond that, I have all that I need if the ban hammer came down. So that leaves magazines and ammunition in determining “how much is enough?”
Some people try to calculate how many magazines and how much ammo they’d need to defend their homes in some sort of large scale assault – whether that be a “zombie apocalypse,” rioters/looters, or some other armed group trying to do them harm. I don’t fault those who plan for such a contingency, but neither do such contingencies factor into my planning. I’m simply trying to get enough so that I can continue to enjoy using my firearms for practice, training, and competition for an extended period of being unable to purchase more magazines or ammunition. So how much is that?
In terms of magazines, I’m at the point where I don’t need to buy any more, and have perhaps over purchased a bit. Before the crisis, I had maybe 10 Pmags for my AR-15 rifles, and 10 high capacity (over 10 round) magazines for my M&P 9mm pistols. Today I have over 60 Gen 2 and Gen 3 Pmags, and nearly 40 high capacity M&P pistol magazines. For my various other 9mm semi-auto hand guns, I have not less than 10 magazines each: 2-3 for self-defense ammo, 3-4 for practice, training, and competition, and 3-4 spare. That’s a lot, but I think high capacity magazines are low-hanging fruit to be targeted for legislative restrictions.
In terms of ammunition, I really didn’t have much if any surplus or “stored” ammo prior to 2013. I had maybe a couple of thousand rounds of 5.56, and perhaps a couple of thousand rounds of 9mm, and about 1000 rounds of .22LR. But almost all of this was a supply that I intended to shoot. Over the past roughly three years, I’ve managed to store away the following amounts divided into either self-defense (SD) or range:
SD: 5000 rounds
Range: 500 rounds
In addition to these totals, I have put away some surplus shot gun ammo, .380, and a couple of other revolver calibers for a total of about 15,000 rounds of surplus ammunition. Looking at the subtotals, I have nearly all the self-defense ammunition I need, which is quite comforting. What I need now is more range/training ammunition and .22LR so this year I started working on it. My goals here are to have 3000 rounds each of 9mm and 2.23/5.56, and about 10,000 to perhaps as much as 20,000 rounds of .22LR. Why so much .22LR? For one, it’s more versatile – I use it in both pistols and rifles. Secondly, the more .22LR I have for training and practice, the less of the other, more expensive calibers I need. If I could shoot 500 rounds a month of .22LR, I could get by on as little as 50 rounds a month of 9mm or 2.23/5.56 in a dire supply shortage. That lowers my 9mm and 2.23/5.56 burn rate to 600 rounds a year for every year I have 6000 rounds of .22LR available. If I had 20,000 surplus rounds, I could make it over three years without replenishing my stock if the ammo market remained severely constrained for that long.
HOW TO REACH MY GOAL
At this point, I have a pretty simple approach to adding to my stock of surplus range ammunition. I typically shoot about 150 rounds of 9mm a week, or about 1000 rounds every 2 months (invariably weather or life plans will pop up and keep me from shooting ever single week of every month, so the math generally works). So now, when I order a case of ammunition, I split the supply – 500 rounds goes to my surplus supply. This will force me to re-order every month, but I should be able to reach my surplus 9mm goal within 6 months. It may take a bit longer to reach my .223/5.56 surplus goal because I don’t rifle shoot as much as I pistol shoot – once or twice a month during the summer months, but not at all during the winter months. So I figure once a quarter I’ll order a case of .223/5.56 whether I need it or not. With .22LR, it will be a little trickier to predict when I’ll hit my goal because the supply is still maddeningly unpredictable. I should be able to hit my goal by the end of 2016. These days, when .22LR that I want pops up, the amount you can purchase is usually restricted by the vendor. I don’t anticipate I’ll be able to acquire nearly 17,000 rounds by the end of 2017. But I will try. 🙂
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.