Q&A — 07 August 2013

Q&A: Dealing with High Demand for Ammo
BillKempffer BrandyLiss EdSantos
Deep River Sporting Clays
Sanford, N.C.
Director of Human Resources,
Marketing and Advertising
The Arms Room
League City, Texas
Center Target Sports
Post Falls, Idaho


Q. How have you dealt with the high demand for ammunition? 

A. Bill Kempffer, Deep River Sporting Clays

We have operated our range and pro shop together for 25 years with the philosophy that you never give anyone a reason not to shoot. We keep the pro shop stocked with everything a customer needs to be able to shoot—firearms, eye and ear protection, accessories and, most critically, ammunition. The current shortages in the ammunition pipeline, whatever the reasons, has prompted us to implement new policies and stocking behaviors that ensure that we have the ammunition that allows our customers to shoot the sporting clays course, wobble trap and pistol range.

The biggest policy change we instituted is to limit the sale of handgun ammunition to only those using our handgun range and to cap how many boxes can be purchased. Previously, we would sell to the general public. Because the use of our handgun range is limited to members and their guests, and to those taking handgun instruction, this was a reasonable change that was easily accepted. The stocking behavior we have changed is to raise our minimum inventory level to help us with reorders.

Our shotgun courses are open to the public as well as to members. Stocking shotgun cartridges has been less of an issue, so we have not had to limit customer purchases yet. The main issue with shot shells is maintaining a full selection in each brand we carry. Limits on availability have required us to mix up brands in order to offer the broadest range of shells possible.

The ammunition shortage is an issue about which range operators need to keep vigilant.


A. Brandy Liss, The Arms Room 

While the demand has been high and the shortage all too evident we have worked on looking at other avenues and/or resources. We started by looking at reloading options and found that components were not available. We then tried to think outside the box and looked at installing a simulator so that we could still provide a shooting range of sorts to our customers; time and cost are just not our side. Although we still plan to install a simulator, we are starting to see ammunition arrive, so we have put that on the back burner for the moment.

We shop daily for ammunition, exhausting all our resources. If we hear that someone has ammunition that they want to move or that is now in stock, we grab what we can. We have even found ourselves bartering services in order to get ammunition from other ranges that have found themselves with an abundance due to a slowdown in business or just plain luck. We do limit the number of boxes sold to two per customer, and we do find ourselves holding back some ammunition so that we can still conduct training courses like First Shots or Concealed Handgun Licensing where we need to be able to provide the ammo.


A. Ed Santos, Center Target Sports

Like everyone else nationwide we in the Northwest have been challenged by the ammo shortage. Ammo availability is the lifeblood for a shooting range. Operating the range is both a curse and a blessing when ammo is in short supply. As operators we have the pressure to provide ammunition to keep the lanes full, but we have the benefit of leveraging our brass with ammo remanufacturers.

Given the political climate associated with the election year we anticipated the high demand for firearms and ammo, and we stocked up—but obviously not enough. Very early, as we saw the increased demand for all types of ammo, we sold range ammo for range use only (not allowing it to be taken out of the store). As the supply chain suffered we started limiting our sales of all ammo to two boxes, and for a short period we had a one box limit on 9mm range ammo.

Our ammo remanufacturer was likewise desperate for quality brass. Fortunately the nature of our business is creating a steady supply of brass. We were quick to remind our remanufacturer of our access to brass and aggressively worked to develop a mutually beneficial arrangement. Because 9mm full metal jacketed (FMJ) ammo was the most in demand and the hardest to get, we started to trade four 55-gallon drums of mixed brass for 25,000 rounds of 9mm 115-grain FMJ.

In addition to the remanufacturer relationship we continued to talk often with all of our contacts in the traditional wholesale supply network. It is during times like this that we appreciate the relationships we have nurtured with our key wholesalers over the years. All in all we are surviving, and our members have ammo to shoot. The range continues to thrive, and we feel very blessed.

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