Breaking Down The Biden-Russian Ammunition Ban With Real Numbers

Red Army Standard Ammunition 7.62x39 FMJ Boat Tail Round
Red Army Standard Ammunition 7.62×39 FMJ Boat Tail Round

WASHINGTON, D.C.-(Ammoland.com)-The Biden Ban on the importation of Russian ammunition has caused much confusion within the gun world. AmmoLand News has reached out to multiple sources in the firearms industry on and off the record to clear up the confusion and to understand the real impact on American shooters.

Biden claims to have ordered the ban in response to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader and Putin critic Alexei Navalny. Most gun rights advocates argue that Biden used the poisoning of Mr. Navalny as an excuse to enact backdoor gun control since Russian arms and ammunition imports to the U.S. account for less than 1% of the entire Russian economy.

First, know that the ban on Russian imported ammunition is not immediate. The prohibition on issuing of new importation permits will not go into effect until September 7th 2021. That does not mean no more ammunition will come into the country as of that date, but just that new ammo import permits will no longer be issued. Existing importation permits for ammunition and arms are good for 24 months, meaning any effect to the supply chain will take about two years for the gun owners to see. There are approximately [rough estimates, no one actually knows the exact number] 1.5 billion rounds of Russian ammunition currently in the pipeline to be imported over the next two years.

According to the global small arms and ammunition research group, Small Arms Analytics, in 2020, companies imported 770 million rounds of ammunition from Russia. The total number of imported rounds of ammunition from all sources is 3.5 billion. That means Russian ammo accounts for just over 22% of all imported ammunition to the United States.

It is harder to get a total number of domestically produced rounds. Still, it is understood in the industry that companies import 25% of the ammunition sold in the U.S. All industry sources AmmoLand News reached out to agree that Russian ammo accounts for between 5% and 8% of total ammo sold in the country. The number more accurately is between 5% and 6%. Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer of Small Arms Analytics agrees with the number AmmoLand News obtained.

“Russia has been the U.S.’s largest external ammunition supplier for 16 years running,” Brauer told AmmoLand News.

“While the total number of rounds in the U.S. market is not known, it is likely that Russia supplies about 5% of the U.S. market. The impact will not be immediate as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service apparently will honor existing import permits even if shipments arrive after the U.S. deadline.

“Despite the circumstances, it is perhaps helpful for U.S. shooters to learn that a very substantial part of U.S. ammunition supplies, or parts thereof, come from overseas. After Russia, the next four top suppliers in 2020 were Italy, Mexico, Turkey, and Germany.”

5.45x39 Ammunition
5.45×39 Ammunition

One of the calibers that will be the hardest hit will be the 5.45×39 round used in AK74 type firearms. Almost all 5.45×39 ammunition comes from Russia. Several sources outside Russia produce the round, but none import to the U.S. or have plans to import to the U.S. because most of their rounds are sold to Eastern European militaries. The 5.45×39 A.K. variants make up less than 10% of the total A.K.s in the country.

The tooling cost to produce 5.45×39 ammunition would be prohibitive. It would be hard for companies to recoup the cost of retooling their machines to produce the round. Also, that would mean making less of another round that sells better in the U.S. Right now, the demand for the round would not justify the investment. The demand is up now because of the Biden ammo ban, but companies worry that demand will drop.

However, under new leadership, the Biden Russian ammunition ban can be easily reversed. It is only a political sanction. Companies worry that if they retool for rounds such as 5.45×39 and the embargo is lifted they will have to against mother Russia’s higher production rates. Then they would have wasted money since they would not be able to recoup the cost of producing the tooling.

One silver lining is that it would not take an act of Congress to restart the importation of Russian ammunition. If Republicans are successful in the next Presidential election cycle, the new President will have the power to remove the sanction with a stroke of a pen.


About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

Subscribe
Notify of
16 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jason_A
Jason_A
9 days ago

John, “The total number of imported rounds of ammunition from all sources is 3.5 billion.” “It is harder to get a total number of domestically produced rounds. Still, it is understood in the industry that companies import 25% of the ammunition sold in the U.S.” In December 2019, NSSF estimated “8.7 billion rounds… were produced in 2018 for the U.S. market.” I previously assumed this number includes domestic and imports, but if it’s really 3.5 billion imports in 2020, and 25% of ammunition sold that suggests total ammunition sold in 2020 is 14 billion rounds. (11.5B domestic, 3.5B import). Do… Read more »

StLPro2A
StLPro2A
11 days ago

and…backdoor UN Arms Treaty implementation.

Last edited 11 days ago by StLPro2A
Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
15 days ago

SPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAMSPAM

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
14 days ago
Reply to  Henry Bowman

Bite me Henry!

PAF145
PAF145
16 days ago

Lets look at another fact-Biden is a puppet of all of this country’s largest enemies,he will do anything that assists them.

Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
15 days ago
Reply to  PAF145

In other words, TRAITOR!

BillyBobTexas
BillyBobTexas
16 days ago

I guess the remaining question wasn’t addressed…. Is shooting these steel casings ‘bad’ for your gun? Either for everyday, repetitive use, or just to have a pile of it for the Zombies…?

Finnky
Finnky
16 days ago
Reply to  BillyBobTexas

1) Steel cases can be a bit hard on your extractor – which is a small replaceable part. 2) Steel cases do not stretch as well as brass thus do not seal as well. Gases and carbon blow by resulting in a touch more cleaning. If you switch back to brass without cleaning chamber carbon can result in stuck case. In my 9mm required hammer and a rod down barrel to clear it. 3j Mose steel cased ammo has bimetallic bullets. The harder jacket WILL wear rifling out of barrel faster. Few ever shoot enough handgun rounds to wear out… Read more »

swmft
swmft
16 days ago

build an upper for your ar

GeniusJoe
GeniusJoe
16 days ago
Reply to  swmft

Buy an AK

Montana454Casull
16 days ago

Ilegitiment Clownshow Joe Biden can eat shit and bark at the moon as Americans who are prepared already stocked up on Russian ammo. Some even have a nice supply of Chinese ammo from the past. Those who really are prepared have steel core armor piercing ammo in stock at thier houses. Your beating a dead horse idiot clownshow Joe Biden. Russian ammo will be here on American soil for many years after you are in the nursing home drooling all over yourself which is most likely going to happen within a year or 2 .

Mikial
Mikial
16 days ago

He already drools all over himself, and he probably doesn’t know he isn’t in a nursing home already.

JimmyS
JimmyS
16 days ago

You continually making this situation about Joe Biden is absurd in the extreme.

He is exhibiting signs of mid-stage dementia. He is nothing but a spokesmodel. Stop demonizing the spokesmodel, and focus on the product and its actual producers.

gregs
gregs
16 days ago

hopefully he will make it through his 4 years, we don’t want commie-la in office running as an incumbent.

Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
15 days ago
Reply to  gregs

With commiecrats rigging elections, what does anything matter?

If the founders were alive today, they would piss on everyone here and already be slotting tyrants and other assorted domestic enemies of liberty!

Docduracoat
Docduracoat
17 days ago

Companies have two years to finish the import of their already approved permits. Most will finish bringing in their million rounds way before that time. Your numbers for the Russian total contribution to the total ammo market are meaningless. As you said, the Russian contribution to the 5.45X 39 market is 100% 7.62X 39 Steel-case ammunition is at least 50% Russian if not more. The millions of SKS and AK 47’s are almost exclusively Fed a diet of of steel case ammo. While Romania imports some military surplus x 39, and Serbia sends us PPU and Igman, all the wolf,… Read more »