Crimson Trace

February 8, 2013

Shortages Aren't Limited to You and Me

Yesterday, while emptying a briefcase from a trip several months ago, I came across a pair of firing pins and springs I'd overlooked. They were Colt 1911s and finding them gave me the same rush of pleasure I had when I found a $20 bill in an old wallet. Found gun parts today are like found money. No one has enough of either.

The point of my sharing the find with you is to point out that in today's high-demand world, anything that can be used on a personal defense handgun or the ubiquitous AR-platform is in demand. Yesterday, Frank Brownell's "Web Bench" to their customers addressed the shortages of guns, magazines and other parts and explained that the heavy demand for guns is keeping manufacturers from making components and parts available. When the world's largest parts and accessories dealer recognizes the shortages, they're genuine.

Two more examples of the shortages came yesterday as well.

Renowned trainer Larry Vickers sent out an email explaining that because of ammo shortages he was doing two things in his training classes: 1) recognizing the shortages and lowering round counts for students, and, 2) allowing .22 conversion kits and guns to be used in training.

Vickers explained that he could allow both because his training emphasizes accuracy, not hammering ammo all day long. OK, it's still safe to figure 400 rounds per day for a lower round-count shooting class, but I've gone through considerably more ammo than that a day in classes.

And the Scholastic Steel Challenge sent an email you can read in today's news section praising two ammo makers who stepped up to set-aside 9mm ammo for SSC competitions.

In a time when .22 long rifle ammo is being advertised locally as being "on sale" for only $129 a brick (limit 2 per household) and 50-round boxes at $12.99-$17.99 (limit six boxes per person), I totally understand. The same sale offered .308 (7.62x51) 200 round belts for only $199.99...the bargains made my head swim.

Seriously, the shortages are beginning to impact everyone, from trainers and competitors to TV shows getting ready to go into production. TV producers are finding that ammunition is not just tough to source, it's scarce.

So mere mortals like you and me shouldn't feel like we're simply unfortunate enough not to have a reliable source for ammo.

Hopefully, supplies will get better, not worse. Just in case, we're going to be talking-a lot- in the near future about workable ways to get quality practice and cut down on your ammo needs. I'm already using lasers, sensors and more dry firing than I've ever done, and found it's been helpful...but I have a lot of room for improvement.

Unfortunately, as Rob Leatham puts it, "there's no substitute for recoil when it comes to training." If someone had a reliable way of simulating recoil, I think it would be today's equivalent of a better mouse trap. The world would beat a path to their door.

In yesterday's Outdoor Wire, we shared the information on two ways readers can help with the establishment of trust funds for the families of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. If you're not familiar with the story, the two were murdered last Saturday by a veteran they were trying to help who was suffering from PTSD.

Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Photos courtesy of Craft International.
Chris Kyle was known to many shooters as the man called "the most deadly sniper in the world" based on his performance during four tours in Afghanistan as a Navy SEAL. He documented those tours in his best-selling "American Sniper".

Both men leave behind young families -and a host of friends and admirers wanting to do something to help out.

Here are two ways:

The guys at have created a memorial shirt for Chris and Chad and designated the profits from each ($10/per shirt) to a pair of trusts established for the Kyle and Littlefield families. You can see the shirt logo and click on a link directly via our ad section beginning in today's Shooting Wire.

If you want to donate to the Kyle and Littlefield families directly to a trust, you can learn more about the trusts established for them on The Craft website . From there, you can follow the instructions for donations via credit card, check or wire transfer.

The Craft, incidentally, is the company founded by Kyle to provide SEAL-level quality and training to the civilian world.

As always, we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd