Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Are You Ready for the Shortage of 2012?

I'm sure it's not going out on a limb here to say that readers of this blog probably share my interest in guns, shooting, and reloading.  I wonder if we all get the same email newsletters?

First off, did you all see this? It's an infographic put together by showing gun and ammo sales statistics.  I can put a small version here, but it will be hard to read.  Go to that link to see it full sized.
There's a side to the numbers that's a bit foreboding.   Everybody talks with some happiness about the record gun sales on "Black Friday", breaking a single day, all time sales record.  And we talk about the record Christmas surge in sales.  There's only a couple of publicly traded companies in the industry, and both Ruger (up 510% since Obama took office) and S&W are reporting very nice growth. And for some time now, there have been many reports that women shooters are increasing in numbers at a faster rate than men.  I don't want to speak for everyone, but I see all of this as fantastic news.

The other side of that is the word out of Shot was that manufacturers of both guns and ammo are running at capacity and can't keep up.  In the Brownells newsletter, they reported:
Quantities of .223 and 5.56 that seemed to manufacturers at the SHOT Show like they should be plenty for the year are depleted already. Another great friend of ours had an entire warehouse of 5.56 go out in ONE purchase order!
An email from Buds Gunshop said they have broken their single day sales records three times in February.  That was last week, so three times in three weeks?    

Now consider that a few weeks ago, Keads ran a review of a Dry Fire Tools, including a Laserlyte trainer.  I think I caught it on a link a few days later, and by the time I decided to shop for one, every place I tried was out of them.  I did an "email me when they get in" option, and it all arrived yesterday, but is the traffic from our group of gun bloggers big enough to clean stock out of all the dealers? What does that say about how deep inventories are?

Shades of the '08/'09 shortage?  I was one of the '09 newbies so I'm hardly one to talk, but it's widely said that the increase in sales really picked up in the summer of '08, once folks saw the turd running against "the chosen one" and saw the handwriting on the wall.  Don't know about you, but I'll be keeping an eye on gun sales as we go through the campaigns.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that all of the folks who sent me these emails are businesses and they stand to benefit if we all say, "gee, I'd better stock up before it gets really hard to find again".   On the other hand, as far as I can see, their prices are not being jacked up - in fact, a lot of it is "on sale" - and the fact that prices aren't what they were six years ago can be adequately explained by the devaluation of the dollar/inflation thanks to our glorious  

I think a reasonable approach is that if there's something you've had your eye on, you ought to seriously consider grabbing it while it's available.  I'm not saying to make up a list of every gun you might ever want, not that there's anything wrong with that, just any particular gun you might have been watching the prices on.  Any holes in the ammo supply are worth a look, too.  Finally, I really see no way we don't keep seeing serious inflation, same as now (11%) or worse, going forward, so nothing is going to be getting much cheaper for a while.


  1. I'm actually going to get rid of one of my pistols. My son's buddy is going to buy my Sig P226R, and my son will get most of the ammo (less 2 boxes to give the buyer) I have for it.
    I'll take the funds and get another 1911 pistol. This cuts down on the calibers I have to "stock", gets rid of a very nice pistol I don't enjoy shooting, and gets me another one that I'm very comfortable with.
    And the best thing is it's worth a couple of hundred MORE than I paid for it!

  2. I'm hoping to be able to get a KSG before things get out of hand, once they start shipping. Certainly don't need it, but it looks like a delightful tool with those double magazines.

    I got the same email from Bud's, but Ammoman (good prices with free shipping) still stocks most of what you'd want if you are short any of the calibers you use. Not an issue for me.

  3. Any ladies out there looking to make a first time purchase...I highly recommend a 357 magnum, Smith and Wesson J frame, snubnose. It fits your hand, it's a revolver making it easier and safer to understand and use, it's lightweight for shooting a decent caliber, and you can use .38 special ammunition (which is a lighter, less expensive round) for practice. Be sure you know the laws for gun ownership and use in your state. AND practice, practice, practice!!!
    You don't want to be the good guy laying dead on the floor while the bad guy runs off with your gun to use it on another good guy.

    1. The nice thing about the snubbies (I own two Taurus versions of the S&Ws - a good bit cheaper, and work just fine) is that they can be fired from inside a pocket, without pulling them out. A shrouded-hammer design is best, so the hammer doesn't snag.

      A lot of us who worked as peace officers would stick one in a jacket pocket. We could discretely have our hand wrapped around one without anyone knowing, while we determined whether or not there was any threat. Much faster than drawing a concealed pistol.

      This one can be fired single-action (with a cocked hammer), if you need a bit more accuracy at a distance:

  4. Excellent advice, Pam. The only thing I'd add is that for anyone who is bothered by or doesn't want the recoil of 357 Magnum (which is, in a word, awesome), a heavier S&W J-frame, like the Stainless 640, is an excellent alternative.

    I would rest easier if every woman in my life carried one! Mom, sister in law, daughter in law, niece...

  5. I've bought 4 pistols this year already along with ammo and reloading components. I've just had this sinking feeling for a while that things are going to get a lot worse in the near future. Guess I'm not the only one...

  6. LA - Good to see you again. Are you saying 4 pistols in the last 8 weeks? This year is only 8 weeks old, right?

    That's ambitious. The Vulcan salutation "live long and prosper" seems to go here!

    1. Indeed, in January I bought a Ruger SR40c (my new CCW) and a Kahr CM9 (for Mrs. Leveraction, since I'm going to be doing some pretty extensive travelling this year). Then in February I picked up a FNX-40 and a CZ75b in 40 as well. I guess its pretty obvious that I'm quite smitten with the 40 S&W. I blew the whole gun budget up front this year to beat the crowd, and even if the shortage never materializes I've still got a bunch of new excuses to get out and shoot more. =)