September 16, 2021
By Keith Wood
No signs of relief exist to address the current shortage of ammunition. Hoarding continues in response to civil unrest, anxiety following the 2020 election, and the renewed threat against our Second Amendment rights. Demand is exceeding supply as dealers often ration what customers can purchase so everyone has a chance at buying some. The situation has even affected the competitive shooting sports and firearms training. I reached out to some of the best in the business for their take.
You might assume that world champions such as Doug Koenig, Rob Leatham and Dave Sevigny would be immune from the lack of adequate supply. That assumption is wrong.
Sevigny responded, “That makes me laugh.” He used to shoot eight hours a week and shoot nearly 25,000 rounds per year. He’s not alone.
Koenig told me, “I’m a Hornady guy, so I put my order in every year. I’ve received some components, but no ammo. It’s tight and I believe it will affect the number of competitors that shoot matches.” Koenig ordinarily shoots between 10,000 and 20,000 rounds a year at this point in his career, which is down from as much as 60,000 he’s shot in the past. Rob Leatham’s numbers tell a similar story.
“I do not have a year’s worth of ammo for everything that I need right now,” Leatham said. “It has curtailed my practice for sure. In the past, I wouldn’t worry about resupply, but now I have to plan ahead. I’m already seeing shooters in my local club be more selective about what matches they shoot as a result.”
It’s not only the high-volume shooting sports that are affected. Many Precision Rifle Series (PRS) matches, which often sold out in minutes during 2019, are pushing forward without full rosters. The training world is being disrupted as well.
“I’ve had to change the way I teach, as well as the way I practice,” Leatham added. “We had a class in December where there were 13 drop-outs due to a lack of ammo.”
Bill Rogers, owner of the famed Rogers Shooting School in Georgia, is facing the same challenge. “Unfortunately, I have had to cancel the first four of my Advanced classes because the students were unable to buy the mandatory 2,500 rounds of ammunition. I’ve had 500,000 rounds of 9mm on order since last August. I was supposed to get delivery in January, but the distributor does not even reply to my emails anymore.”
How do the pros keep their skills in this environment? Dryfire? Airsoft? These have limitations. “The real problem that I have with airsoft is that people think they’re shooting, and they’re not,” Leatham said. “Much of what can be accomplished with airsoft can be done with dryfire. Dryfire is a great way to familiarize yourself with a new gun or holster, but there’s no recoil so it’s not the same. I don’t use dryfire to replace live fire; I use it as an addition to it.”
Other competitors agree. “You can do 80 percent of it, the muscle memory work and dryfiring at home with no ammo,” Koenig said. “To learn how to shoot fast splits, manage recoil and call your shots, though, dryfiring won’t get you there. Do all of the familiarization work at home so, when you have ammo to shoot, you’re not spending that valuable range time messing with your equipment.”
Ammunition won’t become widely available through 2021, so prepare yourself accordingly. The takeaway from the pros is to become efficient with the ammo that you have. We can’t afford to do otherwise.
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