Will There Always Be Adequate Ammo for Your Favorite Handgun Caliber?
Terry Nelson 09.23.19
I have long stated that any person that enjoys shooting on a regular basis should lay in store a good supply of ammunition in the event of a rainy day. That rainy day could be the result of a run on the ammo supply (over demand) as we have seen over the last few years, new legislation/taxation, a restriction on purchasing ability as seen currently in some states or a decline in manufacturing for whatever reasons to mention but a few.
As to a decline in manufacturing one need only look to certain rifle calibers that are now only commercially manufactured every few years such as .218 Bee and .348 Winchester. Granted those calibers have seen a decline in use over the years but still have their following.
Point being aside from all the possible reasons for your caliber to become hard to get some may just flat be going the way of the Dodo.
As for common pistol calibers that are not likely to be on the threatened and endangered list (unless by legislation) 9mm has to be at the top followed by .45 ACP, .380 ACP, .40 S&W, .32 ACP and .25 ACP. Revolver cartridges like the .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt are no doubt around for the long haul. I realize there is other calibers you may deem common but these appear to be the base line.
Moving on to handgun cartridges that may not be long for this world and have seen a large decline in use by government and civilians alike;
I believe it would be fair to say that the .45 GAP (Glock Automatic Pistol) is certainly on the threatened and endangered list. It was developed in 2002 specifically for Glock and was a shorter case length than the .45 ACP. This cartridge initially had some acceptance by the law enforcement community but it faded quickly. It may have also had a following by the concealed carry markets because of compact and subcompact models produced by Glock. Most law enforcement agencies using the .45 GAP have now replaced it with the 9mm. In the many years I have instructed firearms both on a civilian and government level I have seen a pistol in this cartridge on the range only twice. If you own a handgun in this caliber you may want to increase your ammo supply on hand.
This cartridge is essentially a bottleneck .40 S&W case necked down to .357caliber. Developed in 1994 the .357SIG was intended to replicate the performance of a .357 Magnum in a semiauto pistol. I have carried this cartridge as a duty pistol during my tenure in law enforcement. There is little doubt that it is a hot and flat shooting pistol cartridge. It seems however that due to wear and tear on pistols and the issue of recoil for some shooters that the 357SIG has lost its appeal for both the public or private sectors. While this ammo is still readily available there is limited interest by civilians much less use in the government sector. In several cases I am familiar with, law enforcement has traded their Glock or S&W M&P in the 357SIG for other models in a different caliber, usually 9mm. The dealers taking these guns in on trade have been stuck with them for months being unable to find interested buyers. It is however a very viable handgun cartridge but you may not always be able to run down to the local gun shop and find this ammo on the shelf.
Ok I will have to admit that this cartridge has seen a resurgence of interest and use in the last couple of years primarily in the hunting community. Prior to that it looked to be on the decline and who knows where it will end up in the long run. The10mm (.30 Remington parent case) was designed in 1983 by Jeff Cooper and had a following by the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. Since, it never gained significant popularity, and there has been minimal demand for the ammunition for at least the past thirty years. As mentioned, it has gained some popularity among handgun hunters recently most likely due to production of the Glock Model 40 long slide chambered in 10mm. But, as a serious carry pistol, the 10mm has few followers. It remains to be seen if this cartridge will stand the test of time.
Other handgun calibers that may or may not stay around for the long haul include the .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .38 Long Colt, .38 S&W, and.38 Short Colt to mention but a few. Understand I am not disparaging any of these calibers, only pointing out that if you own a gun that shoots them, you may wish to lay in a good supply or become proficient in reloading your own cartridges.
Most folks who have a pistol caliber or revolver for that matter that they enjoy shooting and intend to keep, have taken the necessary steps to have a long term supply of their favorite cartridge. If however you are on the road and far away for your precious supply of ammunition perhaps you may want to consider the following;
John Farnam once wrote in one of his weekly “Quips” that a criteria he considers important when selecting a carry gun is will it pass the Walmart rule. In other words when times are hard or you are in an immediate need for ammo, can I walk into a Walmart and find a selection of ammunition (or any at all) in the caliber I am carrying if need be? Well we just learned the answer to that question; Walmart will no longer sell handgun ammo, not to mention .223 or 7.62 x 39.. a thought provoking concern to be sure.
Moral to the story, take heed and keep a good supply of any caliber, be it handgun, shotgun or rifle that you intend on using now and into the future.