With hunting season around the corner, ammunition shortages remain an issue, although dealers are seeing signs of improvement.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected inventory levels across multiple industries, and ammunition and firearms were no exception. Scott Sutton, general manager of American Gold Mine, said although ammunition is returning to shelves, it’s still hard to get.
“It’s been really tough,” Sutton said. “Hunting ammo is still not the easiest thing to come up with. We always try to keep some for guns, because it is really hard to sell a gun if you don’t have the ammo for it.”
While people stocking up on firearms and ammunition were at an all-time high while COVID-19 was at its peak, some retail locations had to place limits on how much customers could buy.
James Wymore, store manager at Bullseye Trading Company in St. Joseph, said purchasing limits were set for multiple reasons.
“Some people would buy as much as they could and then just take it home and sit on it,” Wymore said. “We began offering people a discount if they purchased ammo in here and shot it at our range simply because then we knew it was getting used.”
With manufacturing beginning to pick back up after pandemic shutdowns in some states, dealers say ammo is slowly returning to shelves.
“As far as plinking rounds for shooting out here on the range like 9mm, 40 S&W and 45ACP .... we’ve come a long way in getting more and more of them,” Wymore said. “We finally took the (purchasing) limit off of .9, .40, .45, .223, 5.56, and .308.”
While ammo was in a shortage, buyers were not, causing an inflated resale market to spread like wildfire through multiple online platforms with some brands being sold for more than 100% of the standard retail price. However, with the inflated prices found online, some local dealers believe this helped their cause.
“It’s so dang high to order it that way (that) once the locals find out that we’ve got it at a more reasonable price in the shop, then it helps us in a way,” Wymore said.
With the slow return to normal, ammunition remains a highly sought-after item, particularly in some specialty and hard-to-find calibers.
“We’re taking all we can get,” Sutton said. “Ammo is something you don’t turn down.”