We are all used now to the factory outlet, something that most of us associate with the U.S., well now there is an outlet shop for shooters. The story, courtesy of our friends at the “Shooting wire”, highlights the current ammo shortage and a very American response to this frustrating situation. Sorry it takes up the whole page, but without the pictures the story loses something.
Between The Berms: What Ammo Shortage?
On Saturday I managed to stumble into, well, the Promised Land.
Remember the days before the Great Obama Ammo Shortage when you could find anything, anywhere and in any quantity you wanted? Let’s call them ‘the good ole days’ when ammo was plentiful and prices were such you didn’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy a couple thousand rounds.
For many, those days seem long gone and we’re left in something akin to a post apocalyptic retail landscape where we queue up Soviet-style out front of Wal-Mart, or one of the major chain outdoor retailers, waiting our turn to purchase just the maximum one box of ammunition we’re permitted each day.
Please, sir, I want some more.
You venture into the truly post apocalyptic world of gun shows, where hidden among the aisles of cheap Chinese made knock-offs, and other sundry crap you can’t fathom anybody ever wanting but somehow always seems to be piled high on vendor tables and priced to sell, you find an old box of off-brand 9mm ball ammo costing you $40.
And no matter how many times you ask him, the seller swears it’s brand new ammo – despite the fact that none of the casing match. Is it me, or does shopping a gun show make you feel like Mad Max wandering into Bartertown?
Well friends let me tell you I’ve been to the promised land where ammo is piled high on pallets, there are no lines and, better yet, no purchase limits.
Where is this Shangri-La?, you ask.
Texas, of course. Houston to be specific. 17482-B North West Freeway to be exact.
Tucked in the back portion of a strip mall is the Freedom Munitions retail store where you can just walk in and buy ammo – no waiting. Photo: P. Erhardt
This is the factory direct retail location for Freedom Munitions, the maker of new and re-manufactured ammunition based out of Lewiston, Idaho.
Freedom Munitions sells ammunition online, but as part of their business plan they opened the ammo-only retail location in Texas. The store opened the Monday after Thanksgiving, just in time for the post-election buying spree that turned into an all-out craze after the early December events in Connecticut.
While the buying frenzy hit the retail store hard as it had with all other retailers in our industry, it hasn’t maintained that level. Which is why there were pallets of cased ammo covering most of the floor in Freedom Munitions’ small storefront location.
These are real, honest-to-God pallets of ammo. And before you say anything, this ain’t no fake like that whole lunar landing stunt was. Photo: P. Erhardt
The guys working the store on Saturday were kind enough to let me take some pictures and answer questions about their operation. And thank God they allowed for the photos, otherwise this would be little more than a Bigfoot sighting story for most of you.
This counter just might be one of the happiest places on earth thanks to a steady supply of ammunition from Freedom Munitions’ Idaho facility. Photo: P. Erhardt
At their Lewiston location Freedom Munitions makes or remanufactures a range of ammunition: 380 Auto; 38 Spl; 9mm; 357 Mag; 40 S&W; 44 Mag; 45 Auto, 45 Colt; 223 Rem; 5.56 NATO; 300 Blk; 308 Win; and 50 BMG.
In stock at their retail location this Saturday were five loads of 9mm, four of 40 S&W, four of 308 Win, two of 50 BMG and a load each of 380 Auto, 38 Spl, 44 Mag, 45 Auto and 223 Rem.
There was no restriction on the quantity one could purchase except for loads they were running low on. For instance, the remanufactured 380 Auto 100gr. RNFP was limited to 500 total rounds per customer, but that’s still infinitely better than the one box limit at Wally World.
While other smaller ammunition makers (the ones not named Remington, Winchester, Federal, etc.) have seen their production severely limited by component shortages, Freedom Munitions makes components, and their access to those they don’t make is aided by the fact that they are part of that Lewiston ammo manufacturing community.
A sign up on the wall of their store says they buy range brass – current price is $2.00 a pound – which helps keep them flush with brass for their remanufactured loadings.
Also on the wall under the big Freedom Munitions logo was their motto, ‘Fear the Free.’
Fear the Free, for it is doing all it can to fuel the arsenal of Democracy. Photo: P. Erhardt
After exercising great self control and buying just 500 rounds of 9mm for myself, and watching friends buy 3,000 rounds, I think they need to give serious consideration to changing the tag line from Fear the Free toFear What The Free Will Do To Your Bank Account.
Standing next to a waist-high stack of 9mm will have you all but breaking out in a cold sweat thinking what it could do to your personal finances. Photo: P. Erhardt
With that much ammo piled all around you it’s hard not to get a little lightheaded. The awe and wonder of it is a bit overwhelming and in a John Kinsella moment you ask yourself, is this Heaven?
No, it’s Texas.
– Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network