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Ammunition Whisper

Ammunition Whisper

Research Question: Are gun enthusiasts shooting more ammunition or hoarding it?

Companies Covered: Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Olin Corp. (OLN)

Report Available: April 23, 2014


Blueshift’s initial research shows strong demand for consumer ammunition with increasingly tight inventory, though it remains unknown whether it is because of increased usage at shooting ranges or because of consumers holding on to it out of fear of regulation and rising prices.



  1. With firearm permits on the rise throughout 2013, shooting ranges have seen a corresponding boom as new gun owners look to train and practice. Cities like St. Cloud, Minnesota and Alva, Oklahoma recently opened gun ranges for people to learn and practice gun safety. This has also brought about changes in the demographics of gun owners, including in Florida where women now make up one-fourth of those able to carry a concealed firearm.
  2. The increase in gun owners is also contributing to a continued short supply of ammunition, including the most common bullets such as .22, .22 magnum, and .243, where consumers now line up by 4 a.m. at stores like Walmart to get their hands on their specific caliber needs to support their target shooting of 350 rounds twice per week.
  3. Customers are also hoarding ammunition for fear of government regulations, including a recent run based on concerns the U.S. will cut off the import of bullets from Russia. This fear of pending economic sanctions against Russia, which could cut off the low-cost supply line of 7.62×39 ammunition that is commonly associated and used with the AK-47 and SKS rifles, will lead to a substantial increase in price from buying American ammunition. This is leading to panic buying as if consumers are shooting “4,000 rounds a week when they actually probably shoot 200 rounds a year.”
  4. Blueshift’s Feb. 14 report showed that consumers were buying more ammunition year to year because of supply and pricing concerns, but that only four of 21 sources believe consumers were hoarding ammunition. Only two of those21 sources expected 2014 sales growth in firearms and ammunition to top the frenzied pace of 2013; the remaining 19 forecast a return to “normal” sales trends based on the diminished threat of gun control legislation that sparked last year’s surge. Supply issues, especially in commonly-used ammunition such as .22 calibers, will continue to plague the industry for the foreseeable future.


To gain insight into ammunition consumption and how much is being used, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from independent sources in the following areas: firing ranges, consultants to firing ranges, gun/ammo store executives, wholesalers, supply chain, and industry specialists.


To see other ideas Blueshift Research is currently working on, please click here.