All across the country, millions of Americans are on the hunt for ammunition, either for self-defense, target practice, shooting sports or hunting. Sporting goods stores and small mom and pop businesses have had to severely limit how many rounds of ammo a person can buy at one time. Some have even went so far as to limit ammo solely to those who are purchasing a new firearm because of the shortage.
Rumors have swirled through the Second Amendment community, particularly online, about Vista Outdoors, the parent company of Federal, Remington, CCI, and Speer Ammunition. Some have said that Vista Outdoors has ceased manufacturing ammo all together while others have insisted the company is picking and choosing who to sell ammo to.
Vista Outdoors' President of Ammunition, Jason Vanderbrink, decided to address – and squash – the rumors once and for all.
"I am tired of all the hate mail. I am tired of people showing up at our factories. I'm tired of reading the misinformation out on the Internet right now about us not trying to service the demand that we're experiencing," Vanderbrink explained. "... After a year like right now, when we've hired hundreds of employees to support American manufacturing jobs, all I hear is that we're not making ammunition."
The company president broke down the realities of the shortage, something he calls "basic economics."
"Seven million new shooters since March, times two boxes [50 rounds per box], which is a conservative estimate, is 700 million new rounds of ammunition our factories have to help produce," he explained. "That is impossible to do in nine months."
Not only does the company have to find and hire manufacturing employees, but the employees have to be trained and materials have to be sourced. On top of that, the company is dealing with the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic as well.
"So tie all of that in together and you will see we are indeed making ammunition. We, indeed, are shipping ammunition. We're not storing it in secret warehouses," Vanderbrick stated.
The company executive said all three of the plants are producing ammo as quickly as possible.
Vanderbrick stated the company has produced more hunting ammo – especially in 30-06 – this year than ever before. They are doing their best to keep up with demand. The other calibers they are seeing a high demand for are .22LR and 9mm. According to Vanderbrick, the Vista Outdoors has never seen such a high demand for .9mm than they are now
"All of this ammo is sitting here, waiting to be packed up so it can hit the retail shelves," he said.
It should not come as a surprise that there is an ammo shortage. It happens every few years, especially during presidential elections. Look at what happened during the 2012 election cycle. Second Amendment-loving Americans were concerned about the possibility of a President Hillary Clinton. What did they do? Bought guns and stocked up on ammo. The same thing happened this year, in part because of a Biden-Harris ticket, and also because of the pandemic. Americans spent more time outside, hunting, fishing and recreating. And guess what? In order to bag a buck you need ammo (assuming you are using a firearm). Every month we have seen record-breaking new numbers of gun owners. In order for those folks to feel confident in their ability to protect themselves, they are buying ammo and hitting the range. They are also keeping a stash for self-defense.
While it can often feel frustrating to not see ammunition in stock, give these guys a break. They are working hard to meet demand. They are running on all cylinders in the middle of a pandemic that frequently shuts down manufacturing plants and warehouses. This is also a great reminder to be prepared and buy extra ammo so you won't be out when things are scarce.