He said he is tired of seeing misinformation about ammo companies not working to meet demand. This year, his companies have hired hundreds of employees and are supporting American manufacturing jobs.
Although ammo shortages have not been uncommon in recent years, the current one is one of the biggest we’ve seen and lots of rumors have been cropping up, including that production has been stopped intentionally, that all the ammo being made is being stockpiled in secret warehouses, and that ammo makers are only selling their products to certain buyers right now.
Vanderbrink said there have been 7 million new shooters since March, and when you multiply that by a conservative estimate of two 50-round boxes of ammo per person, it amounts to 700 million new rounds of ammo they need to help produce at their three factories – something that is impossible to do in nine months. New employees need to be trained, the raw materials need to be obtained, and there are health and safety concerns for employees in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video showing behind-the-scenes footage of ammunition being manufactured at their factory, ammo can be seen waiting to be packed up and sent to stores. He said they are making and shipping ammo as quickly as possible and feel humbled by the high demand for their products.
Vanderbrink also told American Rifleman recently that since Joe Biden was named the presumed winner of the election, the marketplace has reacted strongly and retailers have been unable to keep inventory of any type or caliber of ammo for handguns and rifles of all shapes and sizes.
Comments that were made by the CEO and Director of Vista Outdoor, Christopher Metz, in a quarterly earnings call indicated ammunition will be scarce well into next year. Although he said that the company has more than a year's worth of orders for ammo in excess of $1 billion, which is unprecedented, the demand is far outstripping supply and inventory levels and this strong demand is expected to continue.
Like Vanderbrink, he identified the high volume of new shooters as one big factor behind the shortage. He cited data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) showing that this year has seen more than 6.2 million new shooters, which is more than double that seen during the previous surge. They are also seeing a broader demographic of shooting enthusiasts with more women and people of color getting involved in the sport(s).
According to Metz, they have already cleaned out inventory in all of their wholesale and retail locations despite producing ammunition flat out for six months. In response, the company has bought the former Remington outdoor ammo factory in Lonoke, Arkansas, and is bringing it back toward full production. They will be recalling 300 employees who were furloughed by the plant’s former owner to join the 400 who are still working there.
Hornsby Manufacturing President Jason Hornsby told American Rifleman: “Ammunition is the new toilet paper.” He said they essentially emptied their building in March and that the company is literally making ammo one day and shipping it the next.
Right now, shooting ranges are sold out and firearm safety classes are backlogged throughout the country. With all the uncertainty of the pandemic and the absolute insanity that we saw across the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death, along with the utter incompetence and sheer unwillingness of local governments to get the protests under control, it is not at all surprising that more and more people want to know how to defend themselves and their families.
Sources for this article include: