How Much Ammunition is Produced for the United States Market?

Image courtesy Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-( For the second time in a decade, demand for ammunition has outstripped supply in the United States. The first ammunition bubble was from 2012 to 2017. The next started in 2020.

Ammunition manufacturers have increased their capacity. In the face of increased demand, it has not been enough. Ammunition plants are running 24/7 to make profits while demand is high. Shortages still exist in the United States. Common calibers have disappeared from store shelves. Prices have risen. Panic buying and purchasing for private stockpiles have increased.

Those who purchased a stockpile in the interval between ammunition bubbles from 2017 to 2020 are considered wise and foresighted. At one point in October of 2018, .22 rimfire ammunition was available at 2.5 cents per round.

How much ammunition is being produced and purchased in the United States market?

During the .22 rimfire bubble, the productive capacity was increased from about 4 billion rimfire rounds to 5 billion rimfire rounds per year. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has estimated total ammunition produced for the United States market in 2017 at 8.1 billion rounds. In 2018, the total ammunition production for the United States was estimated at 8.7 billion rounds. The numbers for 2019 should be published in December of 2020.

A reasonable extrapolation puts the amount of ammunition produced for the United States market at somewhat over 9 billion rounds, of which 5 billion are rimfire and 4 billion are centerfire rifle, pistol, and shotgun rounds in 2020.

To put those numbers in perspective, the capacity of the U.S. military to produce small arms ammunition is 1.6 billion rounds per year. 99% of small arms ammunition for the military is produced at the Lake City ammunition plant in Independence, Missouri. From

Over 99 percent of all small-arms bullets (5.56-millimeter [mm], 7.62-mm and .50-caliber) consumed by the Army under its Title 10 responsibility to supply and equip its forces are manufactured at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

Lake City is the last of the World War II ammunition plants still in operation. All the rest have been shut down and decommissioned. In World War II, the U.S. produced 21.6 billion rounds of small arms ammunition per year. Most of the ammunition plants were shut down immediately after the war. During the Korean war, 4 plants were brought back into service. Now only the Lake City plant is operational. From

After VJ day, all small caliber production plants except Lake City and Twin Cities were closed.Years later, the Korean Conflict would only require operation of six small caliber ammunition plants to meet wartime requirements. Five plants were utilized in the Vietnam War and amazingly today‟s production is able to meet requirements of 1.5 billion rounds per year by operating one facility, Lake City with Alliant Tech systems (ATK) as the current operating contractor. Modernization of production lines and new technologies has provided the abilities to meet this mission with a reduced infrastructure. Additional rounds are procured from General Dynamics and provided by NATO forces to meet total requirements. 48

Ammunition manufacturing capacity, for the United States market, is about 9 billion rounds per year. About 5 billion are rimfire, about 4 billion are centerfire.

Small arms ammunition capacity for the U.S. military is about 1.6 billion rounds per year. It is all centerfire ammunition.

Lots of folks are looking for 9mm here are some fast links to check inventory at some of the best online Ammo Retailers.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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As long as there are anti-constitutional politicians and bureaucrats, there will be a need for the 2nd Amendment. These vipers know that all that stands in their way are armed Americans.
Stockpiling ammo is a result of tyranny in our halls of government. The writing on the wall is clear, be prepared or face hardship. A well armed society is the leftists greatest threat.

Deplorable Bill


Arm up and carry on

Elisa Delaurenti

Our ammunition supply chain is seriously volatile. There are no manufacturing facilities for the civilian market here in the U.S. that manufacture smokeless powder. There is a serious threat to our right to bear arms because of narrow, monolithic and federally-controlled manufacture of essential ammunition components, smokeless powder (propellant), primers and cartridge brass. For example, there are only two manufacturers of smokeless powder in the U.S., one plant owned by defense contractor General Dynamics and another owned by defense contractor Alliant Systems (ATK). All other smokeless powder used in the U.S. is imported, and subject to immediate and arbitrary import restrictions.… Read more »


Excellent report. Thank you.


Don’t forget that CRB Obama shut down the last lead mine in the US. (As far as I know)


“There are no manufacturing facilities for the civilian market here in the U.S. that manufacture smokeless powder.” ? From “There are perhaps from fifty to one hundred gunpowder mills in the United States. The principal companies are Du PONT’s, in Delaware; HAZZARD’s, at Enfield, Conn.; LAFLIN, SMITH & BOIES, at Saugerties; the Oriental Gunpowder Company, of Boston, and the Schaghticoke Gunpowder Company, at Schaghticoke. The remaining mills are quite small, and most of them are in the mining regions of Pennsylvania, where they are erected for the sole purpose of making blasting powder, to be used upon the spot… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by jayel
Mike Carbine

There are only 2 modern smokeless gun powder mills in the USA. Not talking about black powder, not BP substitutes, not high explosives, not TNT or what ever you think might make gun go boom.
50% of the US modern smokeless powder needs are from imports, and 1 of the 3 form types is only made outside the US.
This is a very shaky way to start a new WH admin from brand X.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mike Carbine
Elisa Delaurenti

They mix their imported smokeless powder. Those companies do not manufacture their own smokeless powder. Just as here in Montana, many folks think that “Western Powders” manufactures smokeless powder, and they do not. These companies sell their own proprietary mix, made from smokeless powder that they imported.
In 2014, we (MSSA) authored and enacted our “Ammunition Availability Act”. During that process, I researched our total imports for smokeless powder. In 2014, we imported smokeless powder from 21 different countries. We spent $44M that year. We imported 3,206,721 kg that year.

Last edited 2 years ago by Elisa Delaurenti
Mike Carbine

It was this initiative that taught me the situation back under B. Hussain’s admin. Glad you all got it passed.


yeah, and when you have the chief justice of the supreme court writing a dissent against the 1st amendment, you know just how close we really are.


Out of 350 million citizens in the US, we have, 20m illegal aliens, 74m under the age of 18, 6.1 m convicted felons, 3m in jail, and 54m over the age of 65. Without adding in the 54m over 65 that leaves 103.1 million Americans that can not legally own a firearm. Using the figure of 54 million over 65, we can assume at least half never owned or passed on ownership of their guns to family members for an additional 27 million not willing or able to own guns for a total of 130,000,000 Americans removed from the total… Read more »


The larger question should be where is this current production going? If virtually no one (meaning any normal shooter) has been able to get, say 9mm, for 6 months (with a July bulk pre-order I have just extended into next year), who IS getting the current production? Ranges and other shooting venues, with COVID, shouldn’t be consuming massive amounts. New shooters will consume some, but most gun owners (unfortunately) train irregularly at best and would only initially buy a couple hundred rounds with a new weapon. Most individuals don’t, or can’t, pre-order, so that market should be limited. Who does… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by MarkE
Charlie Foxtrot

Ask you local Academy Sports + Outdoors on which days they are getting ammo and then show up in the morning for the store opening. Lines are forming regularly at 4-5AM on mine. That’s where a significant part of the current production is going! That’s why when you show up at 10AM there isn’t any ammo left on the shelves!

Deplorable Bill

Add to that the china virus causing unemployment, ranges being closed for”fire hazzard”, the PRICE of ammo etc. Yes, there are millions of new, first time gun owners but ammo is scarce and when found it is 2x more expensive than a year ago. Obama bin laden was a really good gun salesman then he closed down the LAST lead smelting plant in the U.S. Ammo went up 4x under his watch. It was not a accident. This truely is a plot to enslave America.

Arm up and carry on

Charlie Foxtrot

Ammunition manufacturing in the US uses recycled lead!: Ammunition demand and manufacturing has increased since the closure and ammunition prices went DOWN at the same time under President Trump!


So why aren’t the foreign companies filling the demand?
Russia, (Tula) Serbia (Wolf), Taiwan (Wolf Gold), Mexico (Aguila), Brazil,(Magtech), Sweden (Geco) ,are all still in business.
Israel, Australia and Italy locked down, so their production is down.
Why am I not seeing huge amounts of foreign made ammo appearing on the shelves?
You would think at today’s high prices, the foreigners would ramp up production and make more profit

American Patriot

I bought soo much in 16′ 17′ & 18′ I can ride out the storm for a few years without paying these prices! No way in hell am I paying .75 to a $1 a rd for pmc bronze .223!


We have the modern Jacobins, the New World Khmer Rouge, the American Brownshirts threatening mayhem in the form of Black Lives Matter and the neomarxists. One man’s conspiracy theorist is another man’s sage. The times they are a changin’.


Well done, Dean. Perspective on the issue is critical for both planning and for effective actions to mitigate ammo shortages. if you are a shooter you need to be a reloader and you are best off being in a group of reloaders who standardize on common calibers, agree upon practice loads and work together. It really works. Group buying and group effort is the key to survival in dark times like the Obama regime.


I don’t think that “communal reloading” is something that I would want to have any part of. Probably just me.


I think he might be talking about communal buying, rather than communal reloading. Group buying is a great idea. Group loading is just an ‘accident’ waiting to happen. And by ‘accident’ I mean: a lapse of focus. Which is what happens in a group. Not that reloading is so difficult, but one must stay focused on the task at hand. Not a thing to be done in a group over beers. That’s fishing or football. Neither of which involve explosives. Unless one happens to be ‘fishing’ with dynamite, in which case, again, one is better off without the group and… Read more »


I think his sentence, “If you are a shooter you need to be a reloader and you are best off being in a group of reloaders who standardize on common calibers, agree upon practice loads and work together.”, says what he meant pretty plainly. Nope, no thanks, not for me.


Nor me either. I was just trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. I thought that “working together” might just mean the sharing of components. But likely you have his meaning more correct. The phrase; “agree upon practice loads” makes it sound as if working up loads is some arcane magic that’s not for we mere mortals, rather than just a matter of loading less than maximum powder charges and working up for your individual firearm. And, come to that, ANY standardized loading would loose all the benefits of tailoring loads to a particular rifle, which is one… Read more »

Ryben Flynn

Ammo is the least of my worries. I’ll just leave it at that.


Looks like a fun weekend.


Where did you say your truck was parked?


Hopefully he keeps the car in a cool shady location and regularly rotate his stock. Humidity plus regular hundred degree temperature swings are not good for your ammo. Round here, vehicle interiors can approach boiling point of water.
Unreliable ammo is really only good for practice.


@PS – Glad to hear. Didn’t really think you were that unaware. I was just slow on the uptake, so have about a thousand round a each of 22 and 9 – which are relegated to practice only, due to a period of attic storage. Good news is I’ve had significant failure drill practice :). Doesn’t really change anything since FMJ is really all practice ammo. I’m comfortable with my 9mm FMJ, just wish I’d collected more rifle and defensive pistol ammo.

uncle dudley

Is the shortage of ammo caused by demand because of the unrest of the riots and calls for defunding the police or has covid-19 caused the manufacturer to cut back on production, either way if you didn’t have a stockpile for your weapons now you will pay twice as much or more to buy ammo if you can find it.
The run on ammo is as bad as the toilet paper shortage that people seem to hoard, shows you where their mindset is.


9 Billion rounds? Those are rookie numbers. Ya gotta bring those numbers up!


Has anyone heard what has become of the ammo, and weapons procured during the Obama, Biden admin?

Charlie Foxtrot

The same that happened to the weapons and ammo procured during any other administration!

Elisa Delaurenti

Those scandals went the way of all the others, such as their Fast & Furious scheme. Down into the memory hole. Media making sure of that.

Autsin Miller III

a quick internet search shows 300 million as the most common number accepted as the number of gun owners. If you divide 9 billion by 300 million it gets obvious why there is a shortage. That is lumping all guns and all calibers together but it’s still instructive. Thank you sir for that information.


The number is common because it’s ancient, and was a low estimate when it was new. NSSF estimates 434 million civilian firearms, 20 million of which are MSRs. This itself is a low estimate 1: MSRs are only counted since the 1990s (Any SP-01 or pre-86 M16 just simply isn’t counted as one). 2: These numbers avoid counting firearms built for police and military, but don’t count when they’re surplussed. Every police surplus M&P is uncounted, as are some Glocks, as well as every M1 Carbine, M1 Garand and 22lr training rifle the CMP ever sold. I’m not entirely sure… Read more »

WI Patriot

300 million gunowners…??? The population of the United States is only 328 million…At best, there may be 100-125 million gunowners, with the number of guns at about 300 million…

Ansel Hazen

Which is more than enough. III% of the population is about 10 million people. A reasonable assumption would be that each one has a primary and secondary rifle and handgun. 40 million weapons.

That equals near instant change for this country.

WI Patriot

Your math is all wrong…the III% is NOT of the entire population, but of gunowners…
So to correct your math, 3% of, let’s say, 125mil would be, 3,750,000, and even that number is high, but I’ll give it to you…
Out of that 3%, how many actually know what they are doing, perhaps 10%…??? So 3% of 3.75mil is 375,000…Nice number, will it be enough, never can tell…

Ansel Hazen

The III% is a figure attached to how many people from the entire general population made up the revolutionary forces that kicked the British out of the country. So yes 10 million people, possibly more under the right circumstances.


The latest estimates I’ve seen include (in round numbers) about 420 million guns, in the hands of about 105 million owners. That’s roughly 4 guns per owner. So by owning 2 pistols (1 each .22 and 9mm), one rifle, and one shotgun… guess I pretty well represent an average gun owner. 🙂

WI Patriot

And how much can you carry…??? Guns, ammunition, other necessary supplies…??? It’s NOT all about guns, it’s about AL, food, water, ammunition, first aid, etc…you have to think and look at the bigger picture…AND if you decide you’re going to defend the homefront and not mobilize, that’s great, but then you’re just another body NOT on the front lines, where bodies will be needed…

Dave in Fairfax

I appreciate that you are concerned about how many people can be fielded, but many of us are too old and/or infirm to do much more than bug in. It still takes resources to remove those people from their entrenched positions. A second front, if you will.

Dave in Fairfax

Patriot Solutions,

I’m thoroughly confused. I was referring to his comment about people who weren’t in the field on the front lines. What part of that are you replying to?

Dave in Fairfax


AH! I get it. NO, I was thinking of people who for reasons of age or infirmity had to stay in their homes and couldn’t, physically take the field. A bug-in situation was what I meant by an entrenched position. I hope that makes it a bit clearer.
Specifically, I was thinking of a bunch of us in the 70-ish+ group, who could still aim, but would need help getting back OUT of our PC. %-) For some reason putting it on is always easier.

Dave in Fairfax


I’m in Fairfax, a sanctuary city, NOT my fault-I swear, it’s a “diverse” neighborhood. I have one, maybe two neighbors I can count on among the 50+ houses here.

Ansel Hazen

We get just that from seniors who are fed up and want to do something. I tell them we obviously need supply lines kept open, radio comms personnel, and have even taught a few how to reload ammo.


@WI Patriot – What “front lines”? In event of battle between government and the people, the people who engage in pitched battle will just be the first to die. In guerrilla warfare inside occupied territory, the ability to blend in and remain invisible is key. At any given time, oe only needs to carry necessities for a single mission. Those of you running around attacking governmental forces will also need places to hide and resupply. Anyone patriotic enough to risk their lives can contribute even if they cannot directly fight through communications, resupply, medical aid, and other assistance. Even just… Read more »

Dave in Fairfax

AM3, Since guns in a household may be used by more than one person, it’s inaccurate to assign a number to “gun owners”, gun owning households is a more accurate descriptor. 300M is close to the total population of 350M, so that is an unlikely number. 100M is the number that the antis use as their guess for gun owners. I think it’s unlikely also. I might believe that 1/3 of the households have a gun, but that comes up as an even lower number. Other sources say anywhere from 39% to 50% of households. That still makes for way… Read more »


Hey Austin, I know the point you’re making is regarding the current ammo shortage and I’m not refuting you formula, but if there are 300 million gun owners in the USA, then there is absolutely no way any anti-2A leftist could win any election in this country. The entire population of the USA is estimated at around 328 million, which includes every man, woman & child of all ages. Best guestimates puts around 130 million legal gun owners in the U.S. (based on the 2020 general election results, a large share of them didn’t all vote, didn’t vote for their… Read more »

Autsin Miller III

All really good points by everyone regarding population and I agree 300 million is a dubious number (which is why I referred to the internet info) and thanks, it was only to point out the potential ratio for ammo. I really appreciate Dean going to all that work to help us keep in mind that with all the guns, gun owners, households etc. it really doesn’t take much to outrun the supply.


CJim, I coach a girls’ (age 11-15) pistol team, at a local gun club. Prior to the virus, we went through 2,000 rounds per month in weekly practices… but that’s not possible now, and all 5 team members (including my 2 granddaughters) are highly unamused.


That’s why, once we get the primer supply problem solved, Everybody should reload. I saw a figure (estimated) somewhere that put civilian-stored rounds, including .22 rf in the low Trillions.

Ansel Hazen

Just checked, I have enough primers myself to deal with any communist infestation in my own county. That’s not taking into account any factory ammo I have squirreled away.


Sounds high. I hear estimates of the number of firearms as somewhere around 400-600 million. Many of those are wall hangers or “revolver in the sock drawer” situations – for which owner likely has no more that’s a couple hundred rounds. If there are 100 million firearms for which owner keeps a thousand rounds – that gives us 100 billion stored rounds, short of trillions. Yes there are those with 10k plus rounds, but not enough to make a difference. Looking from consumption perspective – commercial ammo produced at ~9 billion. Assume high volume shooters mostly reload, we can set… Read more »

Mike Carbine

That’s a myth, imo. The “Americans are sitting on 8 trillion rounds”, is absurd. Say for sake of augment there are 150 million gun owners(this is high by 60mill, imo) in the US. That’s 53,000 rounds for every one of those 150 million citizens. Even 3 trillion rounds is 20 grand. Say 19¢ 9mm from a few years ago, it’s $3,800 when most Americans don’t even have $400 in the bank? 53k @ 19¢ 9mm is over 10 thousand dollars, how many gun owners you know have more than just enough for a few mags, or maybe enough for one… Read more »

Dave in Fairfax

Mike Carbine, You MAY be right, but every gun owner that I personally know has a 1K reserve per weapon, assuming that it’s centerfire. RF is more like 5K per. That’s the reserve, not what they keeep around as expendable, which is usually more. As for mags, I don’t think that I know anyone who has less than 3 mags per pistol or bolt action, ARs are counted by the dozen. if those don’t sound like reasonable numbers, you might want to look to your preps. Ryben’s picture showed 11 ammo cans of asst’d rounds. My daughter has a lot… Read more »

WI Patriot

There is more ammunition commercially produced in this country than is available to most militaries around the world…
Low on ammunition…??? Learn to load/reload your own……


Too bad most will not be able to find enough primers to complete 2 boxes of handgun ammo, as 99% of primer production is dedicated to new ammo products.


That is exactly my problem… primer availability. In my state, brass and bullets are plentiful [and, some powder is still available in a number of locations, although reasonable prices are increasingly hard to find]. But primers are completely non-existent! Primers cannot be found anywhere, at any price (even price-gouging does not happen, because there is NO product to be price-gouged).

I have well-and-truly learned my lesson – hopefully, not too late… when/if primers become available again, I will maintain a constantly-level one-year supply on-hand at all times.

WI Patriot

“Too bad most will not be able to find enough primers to complete 2 boxes of handgun ammo, as 99% of primer production is dedicated to new ammo products.”


That’s just not true at all, primers are out there, the prices may be jacked, but they’re there for purchase…IF you’re not willing to look beyond your LGS that’s on you, for those of us dedicated to having “things” on hand, we do what we must…

Mike Carbine

I have a large stock, but they have to be easier to home brew than the powder right? I mean they go all the way back to the 1820s ffs. The modern smokeless powder is not something than can be home brewed in the garage.

Mike Carbine

There are only 2 modern smokeless powder mills in the US. Of the 3 forms of powder ball/flake/extruded only the first 2 are allowed to be made in the US. The USA imports about 50% of it’s modern smokeless powder needs. Even the military fancy sniper ammo uses imported powder. You want to turn a shortage into a stoppage cut the powder supply. Both mills are owned by mega large DoD contractors, the WH leans on a super carrier or fighter program and they will cut a few hundred million in civie sales to save billions in large contracts. Heck… Read more »

Elisa Delaurenti

In 2014, we (MSSA) authored and enacted our “Ammunition Availability Act”. During that process, I researched our total imports for smokeless powder. In 2014, we imported smokeless powder from 21 different countries. We spent $44M that year. We imported 3,206,721 kg that year.


Ammo shortages are the result of often well-founded panic at the potential for the Liberals to rescind our Constitutional rights nationally as they have done in Liberal run states like California. The problem is that far too many gun owners do not see the train coming until it hits them, so they suddenly find themselves without any stocks of ammunition and therefore panic. If you simply buy a little extra every time you buy ammo, soon you will have a nice stock for whatever purpose you want it for, including simply plinking or going to the range.


Uh….better Winchester about ATK running Lake City, ’cause Winchester currently thinks they are running it since 2020 contract..


Now that Biden will be in office we can look for gun and ammo shortages to continue and gun manufacturing protection to disappear.
National registration and gun confiscation will be their top agenda.




You expect a revolution from the very folks who did not vote and refuse to do anything to support our constitution. Only 54% of registered Republicans voted in 2020. Only 43% voted in 2016. Americans will kneel because it is so much easier than standing. The Founding Fathers had no idea that after 1963, Americans would become gutless cowards. Look…Americans refuse to even talk harshly to illegal aliens in the stores. In other countries, they shoot their invaders. Here, we put them on welfare and school their spawn on the taxpayer’s backs. No one complains. The Second Amendment is about… Read more »


tetejaun _ you are exactly right. They are to comfortable sitting in front of their tv’s at home. Yep people are to weak to stand up and fight. We are in a world of COMMUNIST now. Hell, There are hardly anyone standing up for President Trump our President and they are already kissing Bidens ass so who is going to fight. Covid isn’t even a real threat and yet everyone is wearing a damn mask. I haven’t seen not one person in 10 months that has had anything other than a bad cold and I don’t even have a friend… Read more »


I seem to have heard this before… when Obama was in office. Oh, and before that, when Clinton was in office. Oh, and before that…. Just chill out, they’ve got bigger fish to fry than gun owners.
On the Left, they panic every time a Republican takes office that Roe v Wade is “going to be overturned now!”. Has that happened? Trump, two Bush’s, Reagan… Didn’t even come up.
So just chill. This too shall pass.


22Cowboy, I agree with lucky. Obama would have signed any anti 2nd Amendment bill into law that was laid on his desk. He didn’t rally the Democrat legislators because he knew they wouldn’t pass any meaningful bill and it would just make him look bad. They didn’t pass any meaningful bills due to the political backlash after the 1994 “Assault Weapons” Ban. It looks like the climate today is different and that is why the people who control Biden put the most anti-2nd Amendment agenda of all time right on his campaign website for everyone to read. The voters are… Read more »