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Have you been to a gun shop or sporting goods store recently? We have to assume the answer is yes, in which case our follow-up question is - have you tried to buy ammo?
Whether the answer to that subsequent question is yes or no, it would be almost impossible for you to notice the bare shelves. Ammo is short, and not just esoteric cartridges, but staples, like .22 LR, 12 gauge target loads, .308 Winchester, and .223 Remington. In the current climate, reloading supplies like power, primer, brass, and even bullets, are also scarce.
Theories abound, but what are all the indicators suggesting as the reason for the ammo crisis, and what can you, a shooter, do about it?
Why Ammo Is in Such Short Supply in the First Place
To be clear - we’re only as good as the information that we’re given, and so we can’t make concrete claims about all of the factors influencing the current worldwide ammo shortage. That’s right, it extends beyond the United States.
However, there are some facts we can introduce into the equation to gain a better understanding of where all the ammo has seemed to go.
In the past two years, gun sales have consistently broken records, both for consistent growth and also when comparing year-over-year figures. According to the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation), 2020 saw a record number of first-time gun buyers. Over 8 million new gun owners were added to a pool of gun owners that account for 40% or more of the population, depending on the source of the survey you trust.
First-time gun owners don’t just buy guns. They buy ammo, too. Add in the fact that current gun owners noticed the uptick in sales and were further concerned by the political climate in the country and shortages in the supply chain, and you had a ripe recipe for panic buying.
Ammo sold in record numbers, just like guns, and throughout 2020, the ammo supply dwindled, even with key manufacturers like Federal and Remington working nearly round the clock to keep up with demand.
Other factors are influencing the shortage. Some ammo producers were hamstrung by staff shortages, especially through the beginning of 2020. Many may still be, but this is only a supposition. Even with many retailers imposing buying limits, demand quickly outstripped supply and the shortage continues to the present time
So, then, the question becomes, what can you do about it?
What You Can Do About It
Until the ammo crisis comes down from its boil and buying patterns reach pre-pandemic (or near pre-pandemic) levels, the best you can do is be conscientious - but there are a few ways you can do so.
For one, cut back on sending frivolous rounds downrange. Unless you’re a competition shooter, you don’t need to be burning brass. Use a bore sighter to get your groups on paper and only fire a couple of rounds to get sighted in. Save those other rounds for the match or the hunt.
You can also get into reloading, provided you can find the tools, equipment, and resources to furnish your hobby. At the very least, you can do your part to ensure you’re recovering a part of the surplus at a time when others are letting resources go to waste or are unable to find them in the first place - that is to say, keep your old brass. Either reload it now or save it for a time when you can. A shell catcher for your AR can help you corral all those spent rounds.
How a Shell Catcher for Your AR Can Help
A shell catcher for your AR, like our brass goat, can encourage your burgeoning interest in handloading, even if today you can’t find the powder and bullets you need to get into the hobby. With a shell catcher for your AR, you’ll be less tempted to let brass lie. A shell catcher for your AR will also save your back, making it much easier for you to corral your old rounds.
Plus, our design is superior. Made of hard, molded ABS resin, our Brass Goat is superior to the designs of other brass catchers common on the market. It will never melt or catch fire, and it keeps your rail system clear. Those mesh bags with wireframes and a zipper on the bottom may look appealing, but in reality, they are impractical.
Our Brass Goat quickly attaches to your lower receiver’s magwell in a matter of seconds without tools and is compatible with a detachable hopper that can hold up to 30 rounds of .223 spent brass.
Even if the only thing you can currently do to combat the current ammo crisis is saving your old brass, it’s better than nothing - plus, you’ll keep your shooting area clear and prevent hot brass from raining on your range neighbors.
Save brass while you’re waiting for the current climate to clear and ammo to become widely available once more. It might give you a great avenue into handloading in the meantime.