> TEOTWAWKI Blog: 'Firearmageddon' - 6 months later



'Firearmageddon' - 6 months later

We're just a little over 6 months since the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook, and the despicable politicizing of those events to push forward an ineffective gun control legislation.

At the Federal level, the gun control legislation failed to even make it through the Senate, let alone the House, but several states have enacted their own gun control laws.

With the failure of legislation at the national level, the gun banners have calmed down. Congress and the media have moved onto new topics--immigration, the Zimmerman trial, etc.

Gun owners who were prone to panic buy went out and bought their stuff months ago. I'm sure there are many who are kicking themselves for overpaying on many things and looking at credit card bills they're not happy about. The "gun budgets" of many have been blown for the year.

Manufacturers have had some time to get caught up, and many have. PMAGs, for example, are just now becoming readily available for pre-panic prices - $11 to $15. Availability of AR components is coming back to normal, too, though components from specific manufacturers may be hard to come by as they work through year-long back orders. But, for the most part, availability is starting to settle back in.

Ammunition is still notably lagging behind. When the panic first set in, I wasn't overly concerned about ammo - none of the gun banners suggested banning ammunition - so people freaking out and buying up mass quantities didn't make intuitive sense. But, with folks buying new guns and magazines by the truckload, the ammunition supply got hit hard. And when people noticed that availability was starting to dry up, panic buying set in there, too.

Several government agencies put in abnormally massive ammo orders at around the same time, too, which may have contributed to the rapid decrease in supply.

Ammunition in most calibers is available, at least through online retailers, but prices are still typically well above where they were, pre-panic--50% to 100% higher, in fact.

The prices/availability of ammunition are slowing demand for other shooting items--most folks aren't interested in buying more mags and accessories if they can't afford to feed their guns in the first place. The reports I'm getting from some in the firearm accessory industry are that things are unusually slow.

In fact, we will most likely see something that is referred to as the "bullwhip" effect by supply chain nerds. Here's how it works: suppliers are hit with high levels of forecast demand ('Firearmageddon'/the Great Panic). They work overtime, add shifts and invest in components and machinery to get massive amounts of product onto the market. But, if that level of demand isn't quite as forecast, they can end up flooding the market with excess product.

I think we're still a ways off, but I'm betting we'll see some of this in the 2nd half of the year, and the associated fire sales that go with them. Add that in to the folks who are looking to dump the ARs they paid $2000 for and then never shot, and there will likely be some pretty good deals to be had.

Ammunition will continue to be the question mark. Availability is starting to come back, so now it's a matter of waiting for prices to settle down into more palatable ranges. They are getting there--it's actually exciting to see prices gradually coming back down to earth.

Interested to see how things are progressing in your neck of the woods!


  1. Guns availability is pretty good. The local stores have plenty of AR's and a variety of other military pattern rifles. Cases are full of pistols. You might not be able to get the specific brand/ model of gun you want but can probably leave with something pretty close. Prices of most guns are around 110-120% of old prices.

    Mags are getting better. I would say the supply is a trickle. They generally have a couple of most things. Noteably PMAG's and Glock 9mm mags are back in stock more days than not. Prices are $13-15 for non window PMAGs and $28-30 for factory Glock 9mm mags. Pretty close to old prices for brick and mortar places.

    Ammo is however still a sad face. The only stuff you can reliably get any day at normal prices are shotgun and hunting rifle ammo. 7.62x39 and .308 are consistently available but at pretty high prices. Bulk type PMC, etc FMJ .223 is pretty regularly available at .55-60c a round. Handgun target ammunition (9mm particularly, then .40 and .45 in order) is not consistently available. Twenty two is a big sad face at semi sane prices. The places playing that one strait (vs silly prices) aren't getting much in plus what comes in is leaving fast.

    If you put in the time to regularly hit stores you can find stuff at decent prices. Got a couple boxes of 9mm fmj for $15/50 and a hundred rounds of CCI Mini Mag's for $9 the other day. Late last week a BCG I ordered came in (6 month after the order).

  2. AnonymousJuly 02, 2013

    Locally for me, ammo is still difficult to come by, as are reloading supplies. Locally, and nationally apparently, 22 Long Rifle is still very difficult to find, and pricey if you do.

    Some additional thoughts (lengthy, I apologize)-

    One observation the ammo shortage allowed me is that perhaps having weapons in the most common and popular calibers is not always the best strategy. The commonality of these calibers is appealing in that one should always be able to find ammo. But the downside of their popularity is that they are also the first to be sold out and hoarded.

    Don't get me wrong, 9mm, 40 S&W, 223, 7.62 x 39, .308, etc are great calibers to have firearms in, but some diversification is also good. I think it might be worth considering some alternative calibers that are relatively common but more immune to panic buying. For example, .38 Special, 357 Magnum, 30-30, 30-06, 30 Carbine, 7.62 x 54, and 45 Long Colt seemed to maintain availability at least somewhat better throughout the last few months. These calibers may not always pass the Wal-Mart test, but since most are chambered in revolvers and manual action rifles of one sort or another (30 Carbine being the obvious exception), they aren't as eagerly stockpiled.

    The other insight the ammo shortage gave me is the utility of reloading. Although it has been hard to find powder, primers, and bullets as well as loaded ammo, even having a little can go a long way. One pound of powder can load many hundreds of pistol rounds. Also, casting your own bullets boosts your ammo self-sufficiency. In terms of economy, loading pistol rounds will stretch powder further than rifle rounds. Therefore, a pistol caliber carbine and handgun combo that you are capable of loading your own ammunition for is a good way to keep shooting through a panic market.

    The final thought I have on this is that such a panic market might actually precede a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation if the nature of the meltdown allows enough time for gun owners to "stock up". So planning accordingly is likely a wise idea.

  3. I still prefer to go with the common calibers. That is what is produced in the largest amounts. The reason you can find the odd ball calibers is because most people do not use them. Now what would happen if a few people see the odd ball calibers on the shelf and decide that is the way to go instead of common caliber. The supply of odd ball calibers would dry up quicker than what we saw with the common calibers. The bottom line is supply and demand. The odd ball calibers just are not produced at a level on the common calibers. There are over 2 billion rounds of .22lr produced every year a lone and it still in short supply. I would like to know how many rounds .45LC are produced a year. Over at Midway USA all .45LC is out of tock with no backorders. Just something to think about. Stockpile the common caliber, learn to reload, and heck throw and odd ball caliber in there if you can afford it, but do not depend on it a your primary.
    30-06 limited stock at midway most out of stock. cheapest 20.49 per 20
    .30 Carbine mostly out of stock what the so have 20.99 per 50 not bad.
    .38 none in stock
    .357 out of stock
    7.62X54 in stock 199.99 for 880 round tin. Stock up!!

    With all that said. I order the ammunition for my department and made my first order in April 2013 since October 2012. I received the full order within 2 months. The order I placed in October 2012 was received within 30 days. The reason I get my ammunition so quick is I pay the shipping. Most LE agencies select the drop option from the manufacture because the receive free shipping. This can delay delivers by 6 to 9 month according to my term contract vendor.

    1. AnonymousJuly 03, 2013

      I definitely agree about common calibers for primary usage. However, I think some of the calibers I suggested retain slightly better availability because they aren't used in high capacity weapons (again, excluding 30 Carbine). This is a big influence in consumer buying habits. Having to fill a stash of 15, 17, 20 and 30 round magazines requires a lot more ammo on hand than topping off a lever action or revolver, and people buy accordingly. Although maybe I'm just a fan of the old-school and looking for elaborate justifications...

      Also, as much as I love Midway, they seem to have struggled more than others in keeping ammo and components in stock. The alternative calibers I suggested were largely based on what I saw available in brick and mortar gun shops, in terms of loaded ammo and reloading components. For example, one local shop had bulk 30 Carbine bullets and .357 SWCs all winter and spring. Bulk .224 bullets did not make an appearance until recently, and then only sporadically.

      A corollary with some of the calibers I mentioned is that they are amenable to loading with gas checked lead bullets near factory velocities. With a gas checked lead bullet, you can load a 30/30, 357 Magnum, or 30 Carbine to about the same velocity as with a jacketed bullet.

      Anyways, I agree, keep those ARs, AKs, nines and 40s as the primary guns, but consider having a lever-action and/or revolver to reach for when the supplies get tight. And reload!

  4. Anon

    I was not hammer you, I do believe there is a limited place for the non-common calibers. I keep a 30-30 jut for that reason.

    I have seen the argument on other preparedness and firearm forums telling people to get away from the common caliber firearms in favor of non-common because that is what is left on the shelves in Walmart and other big box store.

    We as preppers buy in good time just for the reason of Firearmageddon. I have bought no personal ammunition since before December 2012. Why because I had been buying regular in the good times and I will again when things settle down. This is why we prep!

  5. 3rdman,

    I, too have avoided buying ammo since Dec 2012. The availability in Texas has been nil. Luckily, however, I bought pretty heavily before the panic. I've found that I've been able to shift my focus to other gear, mostly MOLLE surplus, camping gear, and cast-iron cookware (which I'm loving). I also joined a Costco store and started storing grains, beans and rice, which I can now buy in bulk. I'll likely return to the gun preps and the range, when prices come down, but I'm feeling better rounded, with a fresh outlook on my prepping.

  6. Today I checked Walmart and they were stocked with .223/5.56 at prices of about .40 a round in bulk. I've only been at this since post election so can't compare the price to pre election rushes BUT none of the Walmarts have had ANY .223/5.56 for over a year so that's promising. Now when 9mm and .22lr come back I'll be happy! I'm moving to a smaller town that has a decent gun shop and they have had .22lr at a 6 box limit every time I have been in for the last 2 months. and some 325 boxes (limit 1) both run about $24.00 (6 boxes of 50 or one box of 325) . Things are looking up!