The Soaring Cost of Ammunition

Blame it on politics, crime, the worldwide demand on metals or all of the above. The fact remains: ammunition is much more expensive today than it was a few years ago.

When I originally wrote this article, it was early in 2008. Violent crime was on a downward trend and terrorism seemed to be contained outside of the country.

Nevertheless, there were signs of economic problems and significant political turmoil on the horizon. Combined with rising demand on the existing metal inventories, the ammunition market was ripe for inflation.

Ammo Prices

What I showed at that time was a significant increase from Jan 2007 to April 2008. Of course, that all looks like a mere bump compared to today’s prices.

Prices Today

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how much ammo prices have increased since that time.

So, I checked my notes and made sure I returned to the original company I used for my price comparisons more than a decade ago. Here’s what I found:

January 2007April 2008June 2021
Sellier & Bellot9mm 115gr FMJ$8.97$11.49$39.89
.40 S&W 180 gr FMJ$12.97$15.97**
.45 ACP 230 gr FMJ$13.97$17.97$39.89
.223 55 gr FMJ$6.29$8.97**
7.62×39 123 gr FMJ$9.97$8.78$19.89
Federal American Eagle9mm 115 gr FMJ$8.32$12.97$69.89
Remington UMC.38 SPL 130 gr FMJ$11.06$16.30**
.40 S&W 180 gr FMJ$12.44$18.90$49.89
Wolf.223 55 gr FMJ$2.48$5.97$19.89
7.62×39 124 gr FMJ$2.27$4.59$12.89
** The company does not have any of this ammo in stock at any price.

How many of you – even those that state you would never run steel-cased ammo in your AR – love to have some of that Wolf ammo at less than $2.50/box in .223?


You might be asking yourself what is driving the near-runaway inflation on ammunition prices?

There are a range of reasons that demand increased substantially in 2020 and continues today. Combined with a constrained supply on some metals and other products, supply is very strained.


In 2020, the world faced a significant pandemic. During the year, people experienced shortages of necessities including food, toilet paper and other common items.

Pandemic Prepping Food

Combined with an ineffectual response by the various local, state and federal authorities in the United States, the veneer of safety was pulled away just long enough for people to realize it is a scary world out there.

Some people learned that they are truly on their own in a disaster. As a result, many people sought to improve the security of their families.

Additionally, most global travel was shut down for a period of time. This included shipments of raw and finished goods to and from the U.S.

Chaos in America

Also in 2020, we saw an increasing number of chaos agents take to the streets. Using movements expressing legitimate concerns about governmental overreach (on both ends of the political spectrum), these agents of chaos used these opportunities to attack the history and moral fabric of the country.

Side Note

If you’ve not read the following books, you are behind the curve in understanding some of the chaos:

The Coming Insurrection
To Our Friends
The American Empire Should Be Destroyed
Eurasian Mission (fair warning: this one is in Russian)

People saw rioting in the streets, law enforcement prohibited from doing their jobs, mobs taking over parts of cities and declaring independence and murder rates increasing in many cities.

Of course, this was combined with many governments essentially placing the law-abiding public into a mass house-arrest situation.

“Standard” Politics

As usual, those who wish to consolidate power for themselves are pushing hard for increased restrictions on the private ownership of firearms and other weapons.

An armed populace is the final bulwark against unchecked government power. It’s the whole point to the Second Amendment. It is also the reason why many politicians want to see guns taken away from the people.

With an increase at the national level to restrict gun ownership, people are buying more today as they anticipate not being able to buy ammo in the future.

Increase in Gun Ownership

In addition to long-time gun owners wanting to increase their stores of ammunition related to the above motivations, many people decided to purchase a firearm for the first time.

All of these new gun owners needed ammunition for self-defense and training. This was merely one more source of pressure on the ammo supply.

Final Thoughts

Desperately high ammunition prices are here for (at least) the short term. The problems caused by politics, the pandemic and increased lawlessness are not solved quickly.

As long as they remain, so will the high prices.

Last update: June 3, 2021

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.