I caught up to Jason Hornady, vice president of Hornady Manufacturing, recently and asked him directly. Where did all the ammo go? Here are a few of his responses.
GJS—What cartridges are you seeing the most demand for right now?
JH—Certainly the world is gravitating toward 9 mm and .223 Rem./5.56 NATO but that said, there is a demand that’s bigger than our ability to produce in everything but dangerous game cartridges.
GJS—Are you having trouble getting enough raw materials/outsourced components to build cartridges?
JH—So far we have been lucky. We have great relationships with all our vendors. We are aware that some people have had issues, that’s not to say that we are not going to have more. We did have the foresight to bring in about six months’ worth of inventory when COVID really hit, which made a huge difference and that’s why we were able to keep running. Had we not done that we probably would be having a hard time.
GJS—What type of increase in demand are you currently experiencing?
JH—We have orders that would be the equivalent to two and a half years of production.
GJS—Have you hired more employees or increased shifts to fill those orders?
JH—We have. The thing is, you can’t build your capacity based around these events. This is the fifth or sixth super event. First one was the Brady Bill and everything sold, then there was a hangover after the Brady Bill. Then there was Y2K, then there was the hangover from Y2K. Then there was Obama one and the hangover from Obama one and then there was Sandy Hook, which is incredibly unfortunate but that sent everything through the roof. Then, unfortunately there were some other events in there. Then you had Obama No. 2.
We have planned for growth regardless of these super demand surges and that’s what we call this, a super demand, not a shortage. It’s very similar to the toilet paper shortage—nobody used more or less toilet paper than they did a year ago, it’s very different because now we have added 7 million new shooters that weren’t there before. But everything we do is for growth that we were planning on, regardless. We are certainly making hay while the sun shines and people are working expanded shifts, but finding people before the virus was a problem and it’s still a problem.
GJS—Any plans in the near future to expand the size of your plant?
JH—Of course. We are always planning for growth. The second you don’t plan for growth you’re not going to grow. We are planning for growth, but we aren’t letting one single year dictate what our plan is.
There is not a supply problem, it’s a demand problem….on March 14th our inventory was completely sucked out of the building [due to pandemic concerns]. Then riots, which scared a lot of people. Then, an election, which got people lathered up and then the party that the gun base didn’t want to win, won. So you have five things all occurring in one compacted year whereas, normally it would be any one of those things that would send people into a little bit of a frenzy.
GJS—Is there anything you’d like to add?
JH—We’re having a great year! We must remind ourselves that this is way better than it was 18 months ago when business was really ho-hum. It’s just, selling this much more should be a lot more fun. Nobody believes that we are doing everything we can and we promise we are doing EVERYTHING we possibly can. We’ve all worked in shipping and now, I’m just trying to stay out of everybody’s way!
Here are more details from the experts who answered the question: Where did all the ammo go?