The Russian Ammo Shortage: What You Need to Know

The Russian Ammo Shortage: What You Need to Know

You may have noticed over the past year the serious lack of ammunition available at your local gun shop or even the big box stores. The ammunition manufacturing industry was severely hit with a blow to their production capabilities industry wide, namely the Covid-19 pandemic which was further diminished by the steep rise in first time gun owners. With more people buying firearms and ammunition, the suppliers could not keep up with the demand created with so many current and new gun owners buying up all the ammo as soon as it would hit the shelves, sending prices skyrocketing and leaving ammo shelves completely empty. Adding to that shortage is the banning of importation of ammunition that originates from Russian manufacturing companies. And once domestic ammunition factories return to keeping up with demand, the cheap Russian ammo that used to be plentiful will dry up, possibly for good.

Why Sanctions Were Enacted

The United States State Department announced in August of 2021 that new levels of economic sanctions will be placed on the Russian Federation in response to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent. Using the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act (CBW Act) as its premise, no new importation licenses will be issued once current licenses expire, effectively ending the importation of all Russian ammunition as well as all firearms originating in Russia that had previously been sanctioned. Once these licenses expire within a year or two from the onset of the sanctions, all shipments currently allocated under these current licenses will still be honored and allowed to be imported into the United States unimpeded. However, future imports will no longer be allowed.

American gun owners will not feel the immediate effects of this importation ban beyond what is already being seen in terms of ammo being sold as soon as it’s available. But with scarcity continuing, it will lead to more panic buying, exacerbating the shortage problem. This will continue until all Russian made ammunition becomes even rarer until the stock allowed by current importation licenses finally runs out. The Biden Administration does have the option to revisit the sanctions and remove or continue the sanctions if Russia meets the demands to its government under the parameters set by the CBW Act. With the US State Department’s release of the news, the following conditions were made:

US State Department’s Conditions to Lift Sanctions

“will take effect upon the publication of a Federal Register notice expected on September 7, 2021, and they will remain in place for a minimum of 12 months. The sanctions can only be lifted after a 12-month period if the Executive Branch determines and certifies to Congress that Russia has met several conditions . . . including (1) providing reliable assurances that it will not use chemical weapons in violation of international law, (2) it is not making preparations to use chemical weapons in the future, (3) it is willing to allow international inspectors to verify those assurances, and (4) it is making restitution to Mr. Navalny.”

American Gun Rights Groups Response to Sanctions

There are many groups in America who see this as nothing more than a direct attack on American gun owners. The sanctions impact American shooters the most, especially since the Russian economy doesn’t depend at all on its exported sales of ammunition to the United States. And as we have seen thus far, the ammo shortage is causing massive spikes in retail costs on what ammunition is currently available. Many of these gun rights groups see these sanctions simply as a roundabout way to restrict the current ammunition supply in the United States. This is especially true considering that upwards of 40% of all ammunition sales in America are from buying the once extremely cheap Russian ammunition.

A Future Without Russian Ammo

Whether or not you happen to own a firearm chambered in Russian calibers such as an AK-47 or AK-74, these sanctions will have industry wide ramifications and will be felt by every single gun owner in America. Due to the inexpensive nature of Russian ammunition, and the mass quantities that are sold in America, many ammunition manufacturers were forced by market influence to maintain competitively priced products. Without the cheap Russian ammo to contend with, ammunition prices will expectedly begin to rise and stay elevated long after the current shortage is over, now that foreign competition at such a large scale is effectively eliminated. Even though there are other countries throughout the world that produces these calibers, none of those countries even come close to the mass output of available ammunition like the Russian manufacturers. We don’t yet know if those countries or even American ammunition manufacturers will fill the void in the American market, only time will tell. If this information doesn’t scare you, and you still want to get an AK rifle before they are hard or impossible to find, Gunspot is a great place to secure one now while you still can.

Internal Links: Content Pillars: Ammo, Guns Topic Clusters: Laws & Policies, Rifle Ammo

External Links:

Russia responsible for Navalny poisoning, rights experts say

The Truth Behind the Russian Ammo Ban

U.S. Sanctions on Russia: An Overview

Joe Biden’s Russian Ammo Ban

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