As gun sales continue to rise, gun manufacturers are warning that an already lengthy ammunition shortage is not going to end anytime soon.
During the first five months of 2021, the number of background checks conducted by the FBI on gun purchasers was up by 6.8%. That continues an upward trend from 2020, which saw a record 39.695 million backgrounds, which was a 40% increase from 2019.
Gunmakers are benefitting from the increased interest in guns, with Smith & Wesson reporting better-than-expected profit as their sales were up by 67% during the last quarter.
While gunmakers keep turning out more and more guns, ammunition makers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith said that he believes gun owners will continue to have a hard time finding ammunition.
The scope of the ammo shortage was revealed in an April survey conducted by market research firm Southwick Associates. They said that 75% of the 1,800 people who were surveyed reported having issues buying bullets. That is down slightly from 2020, when 79% of respondents reported seeing empty shelves when trying to buy ammo.
The lack of ammunition is changing the habits of gun owners, who are spending less time practicing at the range and planning fewer hunting trips.
"At some point, demand will certainly soften," said Rob Southwick, President of Southwick Associates. "However, frenzied purchasing and empty shelves often fuels further increases in demand. We do not see demand softening in the near future."