State Of The 2022 Ammo Market


Part II | The Dealer Perspective

We may be starting to move past COVID (finally!), but supply chain issues continue to abound. Talk to any firearms retailer and you’ll still hear stories of shortages, delayed order fulfillment and products that are difficult (or impossible) to source.

Dealer: 5 Reasons Why Things Are Getting “Easier”

Anthony Puglia, owner of Puglia’s Sporting Goods in Metairie, La., said things are getting easier for him. He cites five possible reasons for this, first of which is he’s placing larger orders than he ever has placed before.

“I think manufacturers may give a little more attention to larger orders,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense for them to ship out a lot of small orders when they have much larger orders to ship out.”

Another reason for the improvement, Puglia noted, may be his affiliation with a buying group.

“We belong to Nation’s Best Sports,” he informed. “It may be we’re getting some orders because of that.”

Third, Puglia has had orders placed with manufacturers for a long time.

“I think things may be starting to get caught up, as far as orders being lined up are concerned,” he said.

Some of those old orders are the ones being fulfilled, leading to the thought manufacturers are finally able to fill orders retailers placed as long as two years ago.

Yet another reason for increased availability, according to Puglia, may be the social and political situation is more stable than it has been for a while.

“We don’t have any crises going on right now,” he shared. “We don’t have any riots, protests, elections or hurricanes going on at the moment. So maybe the demand for ammunition is a little lower than it has been domestically.”

Crucial to his entire supply chain process is the relationships Puglia has with his sales reps and distributors throughout the country.

“I feel like our allocations are pretty good as a result of our good relationships,” he said.

However, Puglia still isn’t able to get everything he would like to have.

“Getting .410 and 20 GA lead shot is difficult,” he shared. “We’re seeing a little bit, but not enough to fill the demands of all our customers.”
Puglia also is having trouble getting what he termed the “more exotic” calibers. This includes anything in such calibers as .416, .500 Nitro, .50 AE, .270 WSM and .300 WSM.

“All of those are still difficult to get,” Puglia said. “A little bit is coming in, but I feel like manufacturers probably are focused on the top six or eight best-selling centerfire rifle rounds, such as 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win., .30-06 and those types of calibers. They’ve maybe put the slower movers on the back burner so the larger calibers someone might want to take to Africa are kind of nonexistent right now.”

“Customers are now shifting gears and going back to wanting ammunition for their centerfire rifles.”

Jim Waldron, Manager Kastle Keep St. Petersburg, Fla.

Contrasting Fortunes

Dawn Westendorf owns We Kick Brass in West Palm Beach, Fla. Westendorf opened We Kick Brass early in the pandemic and had the foresight to place orders for ammunition overseas almost immediately. As of late April, ammunition is much more available than it was a year ago.

“We’ve been buying pallet after pallet for the past two or three months,” she shared. “Prices are still a tad higher than they were at the start of COVID, but they’re not a lot higher.”

She’s no longer having to order ammo from overseas; she’s able to source ammunition domestically now.

One thing Westendorf believes has helped her is her relationships with her sales reps.

“We have really good reps who can get their hands on anything,” she confirmed.

Jim Waldron is the manager of Kastle Keep in St. Petersburg, Fla. He contends a lot of ammunition is still not available.

“I’m seeing some change with 9mm, and I’m starting to see more .380,” he conveyed. “What I’m not seeing is .38 Special or .357 Magnum, which are very popular cartridges down here.”

Other calibers Waldron isn’t able to get include hunting rounds in .243, .308, .30-06 and .270, as well as .45 ACP, .357 SIG and hollowpoints of almost any caliber.

“I think so many people were asking for 9mm manufacturers retooled a lot of lines for 9mm so they could get caught up,” Waldron stated. “Customers are now shifting gears and going back to wanting ammunition for their centerfire rifles.”

Waldron doesn’t expect things to improve any over the next several months.

“I’ve talked to a friend of mine who works at Hornady, and he said they’re about to start making range rounds because the call for them is so high,” he said. “Hornady is usually the only manufacturer I can get hollowpoints from. A lot of people are switching to Hornady because they can get it.”

Hornady Frontier 5.56 NATO

Federal Top Gun (Paper Wad)

A Mixed Bag

In Orem, Utah, Wyatt Harrison is one of the owners of Gunnies. He’s seeing a lot of fulfillment of ammunition he ordered in 2020, but many key calibers continue to be troublesome to keep in stock or get at all.

“What’s particularly difficult is rimmed calibers such as .30-30, .45-70, .357, .44 Mag. and .45 Colt,” he said. “It’s very hard to get those in. We’re seeing very little fulfillment in our network.”

Shotshells, however, are becoming more available.

“So far in April I’ve seen a lot of shotgun shells come in in both 12 GA and 20 GA,” Harrison shared. “However, .410 is still a thorn in our side; it’s disappointing to tell people every day we can’t get .410. We’re also seeing quite a bit of fulfillment in 5.56 and .223, but the pricing is terrible. Customers are really disappointed with where it’s climbed. It’s kind of plateaued, but people really aren’t willing to pay the current price.”

One caliber Harrison has been able to get is .308.

“It’s always been very abundant through the whole crunch,” he shared. “Also 6.5 Creedmoor is in high demand. We’ll have it for a few weeks and then we won’t have it for a few weeks. Then we’ll have it for a few weeks again.”

Harrison thinks manufacturers are focusing on some key calibers such as 9mm, .223 and 5.56. It may account for these calibers being more available.

“We finally have seen some fulfillment in .38 Special in the past few weeks,” he said. “We’ve also gotten some .40 S&W after a big drought there. Most of what we’re getting is domestic ammunition. All the Russian stuff got cut off last year and we’re just selling down what little we have left. There’s a lot of hesitation when people start to buy the cheaper ammunition with steel casing. There’s a perception it’s lower quality.”

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Relationships Still Key

The long and short of it? While things are better, inventory is definitely not at pre-COVID levels just yet.

“I’d say we’re seeing an increase of between 60 and 70% in volume from what we were seeing a year ago,” Puglia said. “Right now, the important thing is to build your relationships with your sales reps and sales managers. And join a buying group. Those two things have helped us the most.”

Four stores, four perspectives — likely mirroring some of what you’ve experienced in your areas. Want to have your voice heard on this topic? Send feedback to