AP: Ammo Shortage Squeezing LEO's


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30 cal slob
August 17, 2007, 04:04 PM
Hope this isn't a dupe, sorry if it is.

http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_wires/2007Aug17/0,4675,AmmunitionShortage,00.html


Ammunition Shortage Squeezes Police
Friday, August 17, 2007

By ESTES THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer
Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than 1 billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments nationwide and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

An Associated Press review of dozens of police and sheriff's departments found that many are struggling with delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition. And the shortages are resulting in prices as much as double what departments were paying just a year ago.

"There were warehouses full of it. Now, that isn't the case," said Al Aden, police chief in Pierre, S.D.

Departments in all parts of the country reported delays or reductions in training and, in at least one case, a proposal to use paint-ball guns in firing drills as a way to conserve real ammo.

Forgoing proper, repetitive weapons training comes with a price on the streets, police say, in diminished accuracy, quickness on the draw and basic decision-making skills.

"You are not going to be as sharp or as good, especially if an emergency situation comes up," said Sgt. James MacGillis, range master for the Milwaukee police. "The better-trained officer is the one that is less likely to use force."

The pinch is blamed on a skyrocketing demand for ammunition that followed the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, driven by the training needs of a military at war, and, ironically, police departments raising their own practice regiments following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The increasingly voracious demand for copper and lead overseas, especially in China, has also been a factor.

The military is in no danger of running out because it gets the overwhelming majority of its ammunition from a dedicated plant outside Kansas City. But police are at the mercy of commercial manufacturers.

None of the departments surveyed by the AP said they had pulled guns off the street, and many departments reported no problems buying ammunition. But others told the AP they face higher prices and months-long delays.

In Oklahoma City, for example, officers cannot qualify with AR-15 rifles because the department does not have enough .223-caliber ammunition _ a round similar to that fired by the military's M-16 and M4 rifles. Last fall, an ammunition shortage forced the department to cancel qualification courses for several different guns.

"We've got to teach the officers how to use the weapon, and they've got to be able to go to the range and qualify with the weapon and show proficiency," said department spokesman Capt. Steve McCool. "And you can't do that unless you have the rounds."

In Milwaukee, supplies of .40-caliber handgun bullets and .223-caliber rifle rounds have gotten so low the department has repeatedly dipped into its ammunition reserves. Some weapons training has already been cut by 30 percent, and lessons on rifles have been altered to conserve bullets.

Unlike troops in an active war zone, patrol officers rarely fire their weapons in the line of duty. Even then, an officer in a firefight isn't likely to shoot more than a dozen rounds, said Asheville, N.C., police training officer Lt. Gary Gudac. That, he said, makes training with live ammunition for real-life situations _ such as a vehicle stop _ so essential.

"We spend a lot of money and time making sure the officers are able to shoot a moving target or shoot back into a vehicle," Gudac said. "Any time we have a deadly force encounter, one of the first things we pull is the officer's qualification records."

In Trenton, N.J., a lack of available ammunition led the city to give up plans to convert its force to .45-caliber handguns. Last year, the sheriff's department in Bergen County, N.J., had to borrow 26,000 rounds of .40-caliber ammunition to complete twice-a-year training for officers.

"Now we're planning at least a year and a half, even two years in advance," said Bergen County Detective David Macey, a firearms examiner.

In Phoenix, an order for .38-caliber rounds placed a year ago has yet to arrive, meaning no officer can currently qualify with a .38 Special revolver.

"We got creative in how we do in training," said Sgt. Bret Draughn, who supervises the department's ammunition purchases. "We had to cut out extra practice sessions. We cut back in certain areas so we don't have to cut out mandatory training."

In Wyoming, the state leaned on its ammunition suppler earlier this year so every state trooper could qualify on the standard-issue AR-15 rifle, said Capt. Bill Morse. Rifle rounds scheduled to arrive in January did not show up until May, leading to a rush of troopers trying to qualify by the deadline.

"We didn't (initially) have enough ammunition to qualify everybody in the state," Morse said.

In Indianapolis, police spokesman Lt. Jeff Duhamell said the department has enough ammunition for now, but is considering using paint balls during a two-week training course, during which recruits fire normally fire about 1,000 rounds each.

"It's all based on the demands in Iraq," Duhamell said. "A lot of the companies are trying to keep up with the demands of the war and the demands of training police departments. The price increased too _ went up 15 to 20 percent _ and they were advising us ... to order as much as you can."

Higher prices are common. In Madison, Wis., police Sgt. Lauri Schwartz said the city spent $40,000 on ammunition in 2004, a figure that rose to $53,000 this year. The department is budgeting for prices 22 percent higher in 2008. In Arkansas, Fort Smith police now pay twice as much as they did last year for 500-round cases of .40-caliber ammunition.

"We really don't have a lot of choices," Cpl. Mikeal Bates said. "In our profession, we have to have it."

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo., directly supplies the military with more than 80 percent of its small-arms ammunition. Production at the factory has more than tripled since 2002, rising from roughly 425 million rounds that year to 1.4 billion rounds in 2006, according to the Joint Munitions Command at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

Most of the rest of the military's small-arms ammunition comes from Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp., which relies partly on subcontractors _ some of whom also supply police departments. Right now, their priority is filling the military's orders, said Darren Newsom, general manager of The Hunting Shack in Stevensville, Mont., which ships 250,000 rounds a day as it supplies ammunition to 3,000 police departments nationwide.

"There's just a major shortage on ammo in the U.S. right now," he said, pointing to his current backorder for 2.5 million rounds of .223-caliber ammunition. "It's just terrible."

Police say the .223-caliber rifle round is generally the hardest to find. Even though rounds used by the military are not exactly the same as those sold to police, they are made from the same metals and often using the same equipment.

Alliant Techsystems Inc., which runs the Lake City plant for the Army, also produced more than 5 billion rounds for hunting and police use last year, making the Edina, Minn.-based company the country's largest ammunition manufacturer. Spokesman Bryce Hallowell questioned whether the Iraq war had a direct effect on the ammunition available to police, but said there was no doubt that surging demand was affecting supply.

"We had looked at this and didn't know if it was an anomaly or a long-term trend," Hallowell said. "We started running plants 24/7. Now we think it is long-term, so we're going to build more production capability."

That unrelenting demand for ammunition will continue to put a premium on planning ahead, said Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who so far has kept his department from experiencing any shortage-related problems.

"If we have a problem, I'll go make an issue of it _ if I have to go to Washington or the military," Arpaio said. "That is a serious thing ... if you don't have the firepower to protect the public and yourself."

___

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Snake Eyes
August 17, 2007, 04:09 PM
It's only a dupe because you and I posted at the exact same time.

Jinx!

(I reported my thread to the Mods, for deletion.)

30 cal slob
August 17, 2007, 04:10 PM
whoa. freaky dude. :uhoh:

strat81
August 17, 2007, 04:15 PM
While choices have gone down, I have yet to see bare shelves at gun shops or Walmart. Natchez and Midway haven't posted messages saying "No more ammo, sorry!" Yeah, bulk .223 is hard to come buy, but there's plenty of other options out there. Same for all other police rounds.

The sky is falling! AP says so! <yawn>

30 cal slob
August 17, 2007, 04:19 PM
wondering why LEO's just don't purchase from somewhere else if their current suppliers aren't making do. :confused:

Chipperman
August 17, 2007, 04:20 PM
I'm waiting for the follow-up story that places blame on the crazy militia-type guys for stockpiling in their arsenals. :rolleyes:

KelVarnson
August 17, 2007, 04:21 PM
The military is in no danger of running out because it gets the overwhelming majority of its ammunition from a dedicated plant outside Kansas City. But police are at the mercy of commercial manufacturers.

So if the military gets its ammo from a "dedicated plant", why would their needs impact commercial and police? Unless it's just about the copper and lead demand...

The Deer Hunter
August 17, 2007, 04:25 PM
Maybe they could switch to calibers the military doesn't use?

Snake Eyes
August 17, 2007, 04:26 PM
Most of the rest of the military's small-arms ammunition comes from Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp., which relies partly on subcontractors _ some of whom also supply police departments. Right now, their priority is filling the military's orders, said Darren Newsom, general manager of The Hunting Shack in Stevensville, Mont., which ships 250,000 rounds a day as it supplies ammunition to 3,000 police departments nationwide.

"There's just a major shortage on ammo in the U.S. right now," he said, pointing to his current backorder for 2.5 million rounds of .223-caliber ammunition. "It's just terrible."


I don't think it's AP saying the sky is falling, I think it's AP reporting what they've learned from police departments and folks in the ammo biz.

And LEO's are affected because they buy ammo from some of the same places that are now suppling the military.

fletcher
August 17, 2007, 04:28 PM
There were warehouses full of it. Now, that isn't the case

Anyone else find that funny?

CarpeInferi
August 17, 2007, 04:51 PM
wondering why LEO's just don't purchase from somewhere else if their current suppliers aren't making do.


At least in my experience talking to the administrative assistant / purchasing agent for a local PD force, departments save a significant amount of money buying through the state approved process versus going out to Wal-Mart, etc and buying ammo. I'd guess its similar throughout the US.

Haven't talked to her for a few weeks (which is good since I do their computer support) but they'd been waiting on .40 S&W for approximately 4 months and were to the point they couldn't supply ammo for training.

FourTeeFive
August 17, 2007, 05:03 PM
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/237/popup/index.php?cl=3741474

What I don't understand is why this is even news. Ammo is available; just look at the ammoman or a dozen other websites. The story is prices have gone up so maybe the departments can't buy as much ammo? None of it makes sense. Yes, prices have gone up but all of us are still able to buy ammo, and lots of it!

Bruce333
August 17, 2007, 05:07 PM
Maybe they could switch to calibers the military doesn't use?It's not just the shortage of certain calibers that's hurting. The increase in price is putting a bite on the budget also. They only have so much money in the budget for ammo, when the price goes up, they have to take money away from some other area of the budget.

We had a local story on this last month. (NCSHP uses .357 SIG)

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1590651/

Raleigh — The price of ammunition has shot up in recent months because of the War on Terror, forcing local law enforcement agencies to turn to the state for help to remain well-armed.

A case of ammunition that cost the state Highway Patrol about $83 last year now sells for about $137 -- a 65 percent increase. Also, orders are so backlogged that it could take as long as a year to receive the ammunition.

"It's probably one of the biggest price increases we've had," said Al Sutton, president of Lawmen's Safety Supply, which provides bullets for many area law enforcement agencies. "If you're an avid shooter and have bought ammunition consistently over the past couple of years, you will notice a significant increase in your pricing."

The declining value of the dollar against other currencies and a worldwide resource shortage also play roles in the rising prices, Sutton said.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office has had difficulty purchasing some types of ammunition and has put a halt on qualification classes for higher-ranking officers, officials said. But they said there's no threat that deputies will be short on ammunition on patrol, they said.

The sheriff's office also has borrowed some ammunition from the state Highway Patrol.

"We don't mind sharing with the sheriff's department here or other sheriff's department if they run short," said Lt. Everett Clendenin of the Highway Patrol.

The Raleigh Police Department also has had trouble buying certain kinds of ammunition, officials said, but they said they don't expect it will impact any future training courses.

Clendenin said the Highway Patrol stocked up on ammunition to hedge against price increases, but he said higher prices do impact the agency's budget.

"That's somewhere else we have to take money from. That could be shoes or leather gear for our uniforms," he said.

hotpig
August 17, 2007, 07:36 PM
I live in ammunition alley so I have a good grasp on what is happening.

Ammunition is a world wide commodity. It is not just the US Government that has ammo contracts here.

Lake City can not produce near enough ammo to fill the Military demand. The rest falls on the other manufacturers.

There is tons of target ammo still out there just simply because of volume. In a year you may see it dry up as well. Right now the shortage is in premium ammo of all calibers. This is because it is not being produced. 223 ammo is in the same boat.

I know I have posted this a dozen times. There are only X many machines to produce ammo in bulk. Most of these machines are filling contract orders. That means some stuff is going to the back burner until things catch up.

The costs are way up but the big problem is supply and demand. I hope in the next two years we see a big turn around and maybe even a drop in the cost of ammo.

Mazeman
August 17, 2007, 07:37 PM
Given the way Lake City (and others) have ramped up production, if we ever start pulling back in Iraq (as the Iraqis take charge themselves), it should be a buyer's market.

hotpig
August 17, 2007, 07:46 PM
We will be sending ammo over there even way after we pull out. If we ever pull out.

jeff-10
August 17, 2007, 07:53 PM
Shouldn't be a problem capitalism can't solve. We need more upstart ammo companies similar to Black Hills.

The Deer Hunter
August 17, 2007, 07:56 PM
Maybe they should all start using Mosin Nagants:neener:

denfoote
August 17, 2007, 07:57 PM
In Phoenix, an order for .38-caliber rounds placed a year ago has yet to arrive, meaning no officer can currently qualify with a .38 Special revolver.

I find this to be odd.

Unless Phoenix PD issues/authorizes revolvers as back up, They have been issuing Glocks since the early eighties!! In fact, they were one of the first departments in the country to issue the, then new, Glock 17!!

I'll ask a Phoenix officer the next time I see one!! ;)

dstorm1911
August 17, 2007, 10:45 PM
well this part is pure BS

"In Phoenix, an order for .38-caliber rounds placed a year ago has yet to arrive, meaning no officer can currently qualify with a .38 Special revolver."

Don't know where he got his info but the Phoenix AZ metro pd doesn't issue ANY revolvers at all, some officers carry their own but the dept issues only Glock 36s for discrete carry by plain cloths officers and Glock 22s as the standard duty sidearm........... he must be thinkin of the Phoenix pd of 1980 cause they went to autoloaders in 1985 with the S&W mod 39 which was quikly replaced by the Glock 17 and the Glock compact replaced all snub nosed revolvers in 2001 right after 9/11 the only ammo the dept uses is primarily all .40 S&W for sidearms for uniformity of munitions.......

I don't have to ask an officer..... I shoot with two of em every weekend out here at our place in Tucson, they are both inlaws.... and BTW ALL of their practice ammo is local remanufactured ammo........ they got zero shortage at all in fact both of em always bring several hundred rnds of .40 with em their dept just gives all the officers as much as they will shoot to promote more practicing by the officers......

Redneck with a 40
August 17, 2007, 11:00 PM
I'm glad I reload, there is no shortage of components.:D:neener:

denfoote
August 17, 2007, 11:04 PM
I don't have to ask an officer..... I shoot with two of em every weekend out here at our place in Tucson, they are both inlaws.... and BTW ALL of their practice ammo is local remanufactured ammo........ they got zero shortage at all in fact both of em always bring several hundred rnds of .40 with em their dept just gives all the officers as much as they will shoot to promote more practicing by the officers......

Thanks for the info. That's what I thought. I've lived in the Phoenix area since 1969 and I don't remember ever seeing a PPD officer wearing a revolver since the mid eighties!!

I may be mistaken, but I believe that PPD disposed of their surplus revolvers through the now (sadly) defunct Mandall's Shooting Supplies in Scottsdale.

flynlr
August 18, 2007, 03:48 AM
I'm glad I reload, there is no shortage of components.
ditto .. so far that is.
oddly enough the 2 calibers I reload are .40 and .223 :)

MD_Willington
August 18, 2007, 10:19 AM
I know ATK is ~3 million rounds behind on their .gov orders, but I don't believe the extreme shortage one bit, in fact I think this is a spin piece to get the public thinking about why a non LEO etcetera can order in bulk, but the poor little agencies can't order in bulk, wah wah wah...

I mean what responsible member of the public needs 200 500 or 1000 round packs of ammo...{/sarcasm

Maybe these guys should get on the stick and figure out where else they can order ammo from around the globe.

hotpig
August 18, 2007, 10:26 AM
It is not in our best interest for Government Agencies to cancel their orders with LE Distributors. If they start buying from our Distributors the civilian ammo market will dry up that much faster.

buck00
August 18, 2007, 10:33 AM
I think we need to just ride this out. Sure we can speculate endlessly, but we have to consider a lot of manufacturers (including those of .223 and 7.62 x 39) are churning out the max production to keep pace with contract demands.

If and when the war ends (U.S. pull out), the level of production would most likely continue at least temporarily- creating a surplus, which would be addressed with price reductions.

dstorm1911
August 18, 2007, 02:12 PM
Denfoote, yep Mendells took the revolvers in as partial trade on the original S&W 39s which were then taken in for trade towards the Glock 17s which were traded in towards Glock 22s and 36s, We had a crapload of the 39s and 22s end up here in Tucson when Jensens got almost all of em in from Mendells on yet another swap...... some plaincloths officers still carried mod 36s J frames up until 2001 when the PPD decided absolutally nothing but .40 S&W and only autoloaders the autoloader thing became mandatory after a plain cloths officer serving a warrant had his revolver disabled when the suspect grabbed the frame/cylender binding it up the gun was taken and the officer nearly killed with it..... officers can carry a revolver off duty if they want or as a backup but primary weapon is autoloader only.....

Criminals are getting braver about grabbing an officers weapon and the revolver was just simply too easy to disable the Autoloader carries more rnds and if grabbed it will still function so....... Tucson has the same policy BTW same guns same ammo HOWEVER plain cloths officers can carry their own autoloader as long as it meets dept. requirements for retention etc... and if in a Caliber other than .40 S&W the officer must supply his own ammo as approved by the dept and maintain a minimum amount etc... many officers here Carry Sigs in .45 acp

GRB
August 22, 2007, 08:05 PM
I have yet to see bare shelves at gun shops or Walmart. Natchez and Midway haven't posted messages saying "No more ammo, sorry!" No they are not saying that, but here is what natchez is saying: 5% - 25% Increase by Spet. 1st

For more info you can go to their page that concerns the price increases @ http://www.natchezss.com/customerService.cfm?contentID=manuIncrease&src=BA481

No I will not print it out here, far too much to print. Give it a click and view it yourself. There are 3 links to letters from major ammo manufacturers on that page, leters that state why and how much prices are expected to go up.

Buy ammo now.

All the best,
GB

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