“Nobody has ever seen this kind of demand before,” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc., (NSSF) which represents the largest ammo suppliers in the country. “Right now, the plants are operating full-bore to get the product on the shelf.”
NSSF estimated, “that there will be about 2 billion more American-made bullets produced this year over 2008's 7.5 billion. But customers wouldn't know it by the empty spaces on gun store shelves.”
Representatives of Remington Arms, Alliant Techsystems Inc. (corporate parent of Federal Ammunition and other brands) and Winchester Ammunition all told the Times their companies had stepped up production significantly. However, “All three companies declined to say just how much more ammunition they are producing this year.”
Not surprisingly, ammo prices are also very high. Cheaper Than Dirt, an online and catalog sporting goods dealer, was selling .380 handgun ammo for around $12 per box. Today? About $50 a box.
“Ammunition is like gasoline— it's a commodity,” Cheaper Than Dirt’s chief executive Michael Tenny, told the Times. “When supply is hard to get ahold of, prices go up. That's where we are now.”