This Is No Ammo Bubble, Welcome to the New Normal

Open for Business
Open for Business
Tom Gresham
Tom Gresham

MANDEVILLE, LA –-( Five years ago I was telling gun makers that this surge in gun buying was not a bubble, but was the new normal.

The history of spikes in gun sales, followed by sharp drop-offs, understandably frightened them away from making big investments to increase production.

One ammo maker told me that the last time there was a spike, they cranked up production, and when the bubble burst, it happened almost overnight, and this company was left with months of production in the warehouse and almost had to give it away.

(Sure wish I could buy it now at those prices!).

Yes, those of us who are into guns are buying more guns and buying more ammo. But, the really important factor is new shooters.

Handgun makers tell us that about a third of their warranty registration cards indicate the guns were purchased by first-time gun owners. This means that the number of gun owners has grown by millions recently. These folks are buying more guns, more ammo, more accessories, and they are potentially (but not automatically) a new force for gun rights.

The gun and ammo companies now get it. Sig Sauer is doubling the square footage of its production facility. Ruger is shopping for a site to build a new factory. This is in addition to their other factories. I’m told that Remington is pumping 30-plus million dollars into its Loanoke, AR, ammo plant.

In chaos is opportunity.
The “chaos” of gun and ammo buying, and the new people buying guns, means opportunity in building our gun rights supporters. It carries the promise of more business for local gun stores. Shooting ranges are booked solid. Hmmm. Maybe an opportunity to add to the ranges, or build more ranges. If there is no good range in your area, perhaps a smart business person needs to build one. There are a lot of empty stores around which could be converted into nice indoor ranges.

Millions of new handgun owners need training. Concealed carry instructors everywhere tell me they are booked out for months. There’s opportunity there, but also in getting some of those folks into real training. (You know that most concealed carry classes are definitely NOT training.) This would seem to be a great time to become an NRA certified instructor.

For anyone with an entrepreneurial bent, these are great times in the firearms industry.

About:In its 18th year of national syndication, Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio airs live on Sundays from 2PM-5PM Eastern, and runs on more than 135 stations, plus on XM (Ch. 165) Satellite Radio. All Gun Talk shows can be downloaded as podcasts at and Apple iTunes, or through one of the available Apps: the Gun Talk iPhone App, the Blackberry Podcast App, and the Gun Talk App for Android on Amazon. The Gun Talk Minute on XM also airs on XM 165, 166, 168 and Fox Sports every day throughout the week. More information is available at

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Like gas, once you start getting 10 & 20X what you use to get for ammo, the ammo makers are not going to want to go back. We cut back on shooting, they cut back on production. It just comes down to pure old greed. That is why I quit shooting at paper, long ago, and saved my ammo for hunting. If you want to teach guns and safety, and the whole 9 yards, hunting is the best way. You have to start with kids and it takes a long time. Unlike shooting at paper, when they pull the trigger,… Read more »


Well,if this is the new normal, with the shortage of 22 lr ammo, and the price more than double, the frustration of all these new gun owners is going to produce a lot of used guns for sale. A friend, new gun owner, bought a Ruger SR9c at a gun show about 5 months ago and has never taken it to the range. Why? The shortage and price of 9mm. IMHO, many of these new gun owners, the gun is a luxury and with the high cost/shortage of ammo, the thrill is gone.