Cheaper Than Dirt CEO Comments on Ammunition Shortage

Cheaper Than Dirt CEO Michael Tenny Comments on Ammunition Shortage

Cheaper Than Dirt
Cheaper Than Dirt

Fort Worth, TX –-( For approximately the last 12 months, hunters, shooters, and everyone involved with or familiar with the firearms industry has noted a dramatic spike in firearm sales, along with a corresponding rise in ammunition sales. Coinciding with these spikes has been an acute shortage of certain firearms and almost all ammunition. We interviewed Cheaper Than Dirt! CEO Michael Tenny about the shortages to gather some insights on the state of affairs within the ammunition industry.

One thing is immediately clear: the ammunition shortage did indeed begin around the time of the presidential campaign and escalated subsequent election of President Obama. During this time, the industry saw unprecedented volumes of sales in both firearms and ammunition. While the demand has waned to some extent, it still remains significantly higher than in the past.

Tenny commented on the situation saying “With the change in the political landscape, many citizens decided to buy firearms and ammunition before any additional restrictions on ownership or purchasing were enacted. Rumors about increased restriction and taxes on these items drove many to stock up on firearms and ammunition.”

The increased purchasing has centered on high capacity firearms and magazines that had been previously affected by the Assault Weapon Ban. Most of these used the same calibers of ammunition as the military and police.

Tenny had this to say about the shortages of popular calibers of ammunition: “Not only do you have the civilian sales, but law enforcement and the military use many of the same calibers of ammunition. For example, the popular AR-15 rifle uses the same round as the military M16. Many popular handguns use the same 9mm ammunition as the military’s M9 pistol.”

Manufacturers are usually contractually obligated to fulfill military contracts first, leaving the civilian and law enforcement market with whatever is left. They were faced with an increased demand for common calibers from civilians that they could not meet.

Confronted with the fact that manufacturers could not meet the commercial demand, retailers were faced with a dilemma: increase prices to slow down sales, or sell out of the ammunition that they had and have empty shelves and nothing to sell. Not wanting to be faced with ongoing business expenses and no inventory to sell, retailers began scrambling to find ammunition from any source.

Tenny explains it like this: “The increase in demand has many companies similar to Cheaper Than Dirt searching for ammunition to supply their customers, and each is willing to pay more to have stock to sell. This drives the wholesale price up, and the retail customer sees the price increase too. The cost of the components that the manufacturers use to make the ammunition, such as brass, lead, and copper, has also increased.”

So, how long will the shortage last?

Michael Tenny answered “I don’t think demand will slow down to pre-election levels. Ammunition sales have tapered down some from the peak around the election-inauguration period. Manufacturers are working at full capacity around the clock to meet the demand, but no one knows if supply will catch up to the demand any time soon.”

Overall demand for ammunition has risen. Individuals who, prior to the election, did not feel the need to own a gun and practice with it are now new gun owners and add to the base level of ammunition consumption. While stockpiling has slowed, it will take a while for manufacturers to catch up to current levels of consumption.

Tenny explains it thusly: “We’ve seen many first-time firearm owners discover they enjoy shooting, while the avid shooter is purchasing large quantities of ammunition to save money in case of the increased restrictions and taxes. Both are now competing for the same supply along with the military and law enforcement.”

Cheaper Than Dirt! prides itself on being America’s Ultimate Shooting Sports Discounter since 1993. Cheaper Than Dirt boasts over 24,000 items available for purchase through their website and catalog. For most items, Cheaper Than Dirt offers a generous 30 day return policy. For more information, or to place and order, visit or call 1-800-421-8047. Most orders ship within 3 hours.

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CTD chooses not to sell me AR 15 uppers because they are cowards who pretend they give a damn about freedom. Last time I checked most uppers are still legal here in CA. Rather than provide service to all Americans they only perpetuate the ignorace and fears of leftists and libs. Ty CTD. Will never give another dollar to you cowards.


civilians are buying weapons and ammo up because of what the second amendment says,read it and you’ll know that real American patriots are ready to defend the rights the founding fathers gave us when they created the constitution of our great country,i served in the military and wounded and will dye before i give up the liberties and will defend the oath i took to the constitution!! liberals are constitution and gun haters!!!

Joe S.

So you are willing to change colors and patterns for liberty? Why I can almost hear the “bale” of freedom ringing though out that comment !


Cheaper than dirt really?I was in the store in Mckinney Texas they have RACKS full of 22LR ammo,325 count for $115.57 A BOX.That is WORST than gouging,thats a screwing!I understand supply and demand but I bought the SAME ammo at a different gun shop (2 boxs) at $29.99each,and they made a nice profit.So my question to you dirt.Whos the bigger fool, someone who buys this ammo for $115.57 a box or you for trying to sell it for that much?Remember what you are doing,because we WONT FORGET.I and everyone I know will NEVER spend another dime in your store or… Read more »


your right!! i don’t buy from them any more,they are opportunists like some others and they forget all about the loyal customers that buy all the time from them,they really don’t care who they step on!!


cheaper than dirt selling 223 ammo that is worth about .40 cents for $1.50 to $1.90 a round. They are crazy.

Tenring Rob

Try, have bought from them exclusively for 3 years.


i got a jan. catlog from cheaper than dirt and 9mm ammo was 12.19 per box i called to order a 1000 rds and was toldit was now 24.00 a box I almost fainted thats pure bullshit price gouging I sure as hell wont buy anything else from you! assholes!!!

Eric Douglass

So you just go and raise the price of bulk 1000 rd's of 5.56 by 60.00 in 1 day good job.It's not like it's high enough now you go and make it harder to get !!!!!

jim young

Ammo is already falling. It started about a month ago. Now I can not sell 100 rounds of 223 in boxes american made for 6$ a box or 35 a hundred rounds. I have been told 45 acp is still a bit short but it will fall also. I sold a lot of my ammo to the stupid people who think the end of the world is comming. I saw this in the 80s and it never happened. hard times flush the chumps.

Ken Mauritz

I agree with most of what was said. It's even more complicated. Should have added that 7.62 X 39 and even 7.62 X 54R is needed in Iraq by our 'allies' there in their AKs and Dragunov snipers, respectively. But there are historical calibers that are not used in modern guns whose cost has gone up. Like 8mm Mauser, .303 british and 7.62 X 19 pistol ammo. Of course, it will be argued that surplus ammo in warehouses overseas are drying up and that anyone who has these surplus guns is proceeding to stock up. Will if/after the Obama crises… Read more »

J. Bare

What is wrong here is that the shortage has persisted for almost 1 year. Prices have doubled or more, shelves are still empty, all manufacturers
are supposedly running at capacity, and not one new manufacturer has appeared. Seems odd to me that investors have not jumped in , built new plants, and made themselves some hefty profits.

Arny Coballero


Here in America, we call it freedom. If the supply goes down, and people are willing to pay more for ammo, they can. Simple.

The alternative is to have the government regulate the amount of ammunition that each citizen can purchase – to keep the demand low, the supply high, and prices the same.

People who scream Price "Gougeing" (actually spelled Gouging) are much like the people who scream that Guns Kill People. Both are idiots and shouldn't be allowed to vote or own weapons. (or allowed on the internet without supervision)

Larry Rhoads

If ammo was gasoline someone would be going to jail.

It costs very little more or maybe even less since most raw material used is down from last year. Most ammo is up over 100%.


This is all the way from mfg to wholesale to retail to anyone else who handles it.

Roger Valenzuela

"Battle of Jakes" is a very enlightening missive on why there is an ammunition shortage.

Patriots are arming up with liberty teeth!