High demand for firearms and ammunition during the early months of 2013 have led to a visible scarcity on the shelves of gun shops around the country. While American manufacturers are increasing production to keep dealers stocked, foreign ammo makers are making the best of the opportunity. According to the Daily Caller, data from the Department of Commerce show that imports of ammunition had nearly doubled in the first two months of the year. Over 457 million imported cartridges arrived in American markets during January and February, along with 24 million shotgun shells.
“Just as American-based manufacturers have been working hard to meet the demand, foreign companies saw the increased demand and increased their shipments as a result,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Mike Bazinet told Outdoor Hub. “It’s a situation of being responsive to the market.”
Business is going so well that Philippines-based Armscor International, which owns the Rock Island Armory brand, will be expanding its production facilities inside the United States.
“We are thrilled with the demand for our Rock Island Armory branded products in the US,” said Martin Tuason, CEO of Armscor International and Rock Island Armory. “Our new facility will give us the opportunity to increase production and reduce delivery timelines. This marks our third facility in the United States and represents a critical progression in growing our markets in North America.”
Armscor International announced earlier this month that it will be building a new factory in Pahrump, Nevada to anchor production for Rock Island Armory products.
Despite the high number of imports and the already increased production by American manufacturers, store owners are still finding it hard to keep customers happy.
“Ammunition is in short supply at retail,” Bazinet said. “We hear from consumers and we hear from law enforcement that they are experiencing these shortages in popular calibers, as expected. We have been in touch with our members, some of whom are manufacturers and they tell us they have been working their facilities very hard, often 24 hours, seven days a week to meet this demand. ”
Manufacturers like Hornady have added equipment and personnel at their plants in order to ramp up production in a safe and controlled manner. While experts differ on when the shortage will end, Bazinet was optimistic about the light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s a classic supply and demand imbalance that eventually will abate, and we have heard reports that it is easing in some areas,” he said. “For the time being it is a reality out there.”