Got Ammo?


Got Ammo?

Well folks it;s time again for an ammo discussion. If you haven’t noticed, there is a run going on for the most popular defensive calibers of ammunition. That includes pistol, carbine, and defensive shotgun ammo, especially 9mm, 5.56 and 12 gauge. The demand for ammo during these trying times has driven availability to an all-time low. When you couple this demand with liberal attacks against not just gun rights but ammo as well, you then have the formula for a pending disaster.

It’s time to get informed and stay informed as to the issues and attempts being made to violate your rights and then get involved. I am amazed at the number of gun people that are not aware of anti-gun/anti-ammo legislation in their own states much less at the federal level. While we enjoy the constitutional right to keep and bear arms (under constant attack today), it’s worth noting that the same protection may not be afforded to ammunition. Ponder if you will the prospect of having firearms, but not ammo.

While many folks are surely prepared when it comes to their own ammo supply, I’ll venture a guess that most are not. The question is not just about you, but perhaps generations to come. In my work as a firearms trainer, I find that most civilian students worry with finding just a couple hundred rounds of handgun or carbine ammo just for training. As it stands today, many cannot dig up even 100 rounds for the most basic training. Gun sales are at an all-time high, but the ammo to go along with that gun may be problematic. My suggestion, don’t assume times will always be good and ammo always available.

No such thing as too much ammo today!

The following are some typical ways at gun/ammunition control aside from the current supply and demand issues, and how those controls are sometimes packaged. Early recognition of the signs of infringement is key in making the most of your efforts to educate and influence both friends and elected officials. Take heed; no jurisdiction is exempt!


This claim has been around for decades. In a nutshell, the belief is that lead-based projectiles will poison certain wildlife species and the human race if ingested or physical exposure occurs. The end result is an effort to restrict or eliminate lead-based ammo in certain areas or states. This has been accomplished in some wildlife areas when it comes to hunting. Make no mistake that ingestion of lead can be a toxin and fatal to wildlife, especially birds. But an all-out attempt to ban lead-based bullets is not reasonable. California continues to pursue this avenue of control. 

Public Safety

Attempts to eliminate 5.56 green tip or other “ballistic tip” ammo because it could penetrate law enforcement body armor. In reality most high-velocity rifle rounds have this capability depending on caliber and the rating of the body armor. It is just another way for politicians to keep up the attack any way possible. 


Taxation on ammo is a never-ending method of control including a current tax on every round of ammunition in states such as California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and of course the recent tax of guns and ammo in Seattle Washington and now Oregon and other states following suit.

Background checks to purchase ammo 

Continued efforts about these control methods in states such as California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and others. Many states Attorney Generals, such as in New Mexico are on the band wagon with this. Take the fight to them, vote them out of office. 

Quantity restrictions 

Already there are restrictions on buying ammo via the internet in some states. In addition, some retailers restrict how much of certain calibers one may purchase at any given time. Not long ago the Oregon legislature was considering a restriction on ammo purchase to 20 rounds per month.

Import restrictions

Talk of import restrictions never goes away, a continuing discussion on limiting or banning importation of foreign made ammo in such highly used cartridges as 7.62×39, 5.45×39 and 7.62x54R.


Ammo manufacturers often limit how frequently they produce certain calibers based on the market demand. While this may not be legislative in nature it is none the less a limitation. This means you have better have a good supply of all necessary reloading components if you own a less common caliber. A few that I have personally encountered difficulty in finding factory ammo for are; 218 Bee, 38-40, and 348 Winchester.

So how much ammo is reasonable to keep and store?  Based on today’s availability and demand I would not be opposed to several semi-truck loads! In reality, it depends on what your primary, secondary, or other uses may be. That of course varies from person to person. Aside from fact that many folks are very accomplished hand loaders requiring a good supply of powder, primers, casings, and bullets in their own right, while many don’t have the time or inclination for hand loading.

Here are some examples and reasons to keep building a good supply of ammunition aside from the above-mentioned political control efforts:


This is where things could get interesting. Shooting skills are a perishable skill, though dry fire can take place of live fire to some extent. I shoot on an almost weekly basis, at least with a handgun. That may not be sustainable in tough times (as in current times). I focus most weekly handgun shooting on 9mm to keep it economical. But as we are currently seeing, 9mm ammo has become very challenging to obtain because of demand. No such thing as too much in storage.


We are currently seeing an all time demand and shortage caused by this category. Store several hundred rounds of good quality handgun, shotgun, and rifle defensive ammo. A sub category here would be the battle rifle or fighting carbine, at which point there is no such thing as too much ammo.


For most big game, I could probably get along for quite some time with a couple hundred rounds. But thinking down the road for many years…I would like to have 500-1,000 rounds per caliber of any hunting rifle. Small game means shotgun and rim fire, for which the round count could increase exponentially.


The sky’s the limit. All common calibers and rim fire ammunition is in high demand even now. Imagine over-the-counter availability being gone overnight! In really tough times or during a run on the supply, ammunition will always retain a high trade value. The question is, how much do you need to have for yourself and family versus how much you can afford to sell or use for barter?

22 Rimfire ammo, always a good barter item


If it’s USPSA, IDPA, 3Gun, Trap, Skeet, Silhouette or others, start thinking in the thousands of rounds or even higher for the long term.

It goes without saying that the cost, long term storage, and transportation of ammunition must include planning. Ammunition is heavy! Storage can have its own challenges. Basically, storage should be durable, cool and dry. Military style 30- and 50-caliber ammo cans or the sealed spam cans of ammo make good long-term storage options and assists if moving ammo becomes necessary.

Military surplus ammo cans, great for long term ammo storage

No matter what approach you take, please stay informed and get involved in the political process. Sending emails, calling your congressman and legislators, signing petitions, and contributing to organizations that will take the fight to the highest levels of government are all essential for your voice to be heard.

Times today are very political and therefore unpredictable. Now is the time to plan ahead for your long-term ammo needs. After all it’s not just our immediate future but that of generations to come that may be at stake. Got ammo?







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Terry Nelson is currently a writer for AllOutdoor who has chosen not to write a short bio at this time.

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