The bros at Lucky Gunner are a pretty good bellweather of the current state of the ammunition crisis. I’ve worked with them in the past and have bought a lot of ammo from them, and they’ve always been stand-up guys, not the sort to gouge customers. Watching their inventory levels has been a good way of seeing what’s going on with the ammo crisis; especially in 9mm and .223.
One of the interesting things about the ammo crisis is that .45 ACP has been relatively unaffected; I’ve been able to find plenty of .45 ACP ammo, although some of the more esoteric loadings are a bit challenging to find due to the shortage of components. Back to 9mm and .223 though – for a while, Lucky Gunner was out of stock of both. During the early part of the crisis and through most of February, getting rounds was a matter of being the first person to click the link when they updated their stocking info.
Fast forward several months to today; and check out their available 9mm and .223 now. Yes, prices are still high (more on that in a second) but the most important number are the “in stock” amounts. There are plenty of rounds in stock, and they’re from well known, major manufacturers. We can infer from this that for the most part, the people who were hoarding ammo are largely done with their purchasing, or at the very least aren’t willing to purchase 9mm or .223 at those price points.
Of course, those price points are the real sticking issue. There are quite a few shooters who need ammo, but are unwilling or hesitant to purchase 9mm at 80 cents per round for Federal American Eagle. The problem is that those prices aren’t going to come down at the retail level for a while. The major ammo retailers like Lucky Gunner, MidwayUSA, etc have all had to pay an inflated price from the manufacturer/distributor for their ammo. Distributor raises prices to deal with the increased demand, prices go up at the retail level. Which also means that until retailers can replenish stock at a lower price, retail prices are going to stay higher than we’d expect.
So the good news is that supply is starting to return to shelves; by and large the panic is over and people are settling down. Of course, someone should probably tell that to the people on Gunbroker, but hey we can’t win ’em all. Barring another panic inducing incident, I think by Q3 we’ll see ammo prices return to something closer to normal, although I doubt we’ll ever see pre-Sandy Hook pricing again.