Shortages, unavailability and outright “we haven’t had those for a while now” are usually the hallmarks of Something Going On. Usually it takes place immediately before or during a Big Event. Much like trying to buy snow shovels right before a blizzard or bottled water during a hurricane.
The two biggest examples of shortages that I am aware of taking place right now are a) ammo and b) FDF (freeze dried foods).
Anyone who is looking for cheap .223 and (esp.) 7.62×39 can tell you that it’s fairly hard to find at the moment. I have heard many rumours and only a few of them seem plausible.
• AK/AR ammo, like Wolf, is being diverted to fill overseas demand and contracts due to the war (given the huge amounts of 7.62×39 being found in Iraqi bunkers this seems unlikely, although logistically it may make sense to simply order in containers full of ammo rather than try and coordinate bringing it in piecemeal from across the war zone.)
• AK ammo, like Wolf, is being used to fill huge contracts with the US military to be used for foreign-weapons (meaning “AK47”) familiarization training with troops here in the US before they ship out (This seems very plausible to me.)
• The largest importer is tangling with BATFE/other agencies and that’s slowing it down. (Heard one person ‘in the biz’ mention this but that doesn’t explain the lack of ‘no name’ ammo out there.)
• Increased fuel costs have led to prohibitively high shipping costs and that is affecting imports.
Please don’t add your own theory or facts about this…my point isn’t about why theres a shortage. My point is that there exists a shortage for some reason.
FDF is also in the ‘backordered’ category these days…at least as packaged in #10 cans. The guys at Mountain House tell me that after Katrina, product demand spiked and then calmed down a bit but is now high enough again to result in backorders. Cause? Beats me. Im guessing bird flu hype and continued Katrina aftermath.
Will these shortages end? Of course…nature abhors a vacuum and so does business. As long as theres folks wanting cases of FDF and 7.62×39 theres going to be someone willing to fill that need. In the meantime this is an excellent example of why you stockpile this stuff when the sun is shining, the paychecks are steady and all is right in the universe. “Don’t wait until you are thirsty to dig a well”, etc, etc, etc.
I’m doing ok..I’ve got a good stash of .308 and 7.62×39 in the bunker…not as much as I’d like (it never is, y’know?) but its enough to handle anything short of a Somalia-type of infrastructure collapse. Plenty of #10 cans of Mountian House but these shortages definitely make me want to stock up on more when they become available again.
On the other side of the equation, now is an outstanding time to stock up on 8×57 ammo and 7.62x54R guns & ammo. The Mosin Nagant rifles are dealering out for less than $75 each and a case of ammo is cheap enough to get a gun and ammo for less than $125. Order it through Century Arms and pay flat rate shipping for it…a huge savings when youre shipping 70# of ammo across country. These guns won’t be around much longer….the Yugo SKS’ are starting to dry up and the cheap Nagants won’t be far behind. For a little over a hundred bucks you can have a rifle and a case of ammo to stash away.
There are a few goodies that we all need to stock that are impossible to manufacture ourselves or to find multiple sources for… FDF is usually limited to just 2 or 3 manufacturers. Same thing for lithium batteries, quality radio gear, etc, etc. Some items, like knives, for example, are available from so many different quality makers that a shortage of one manufacturer doesn’t mean much to you. If Buck is out, get Gerber, or Becker, or Glock, or Remington, or Cold Steel, or CK&T, or Spyderco, or…. Get the idea? But some products just don’t have that many alternates. FDF is a very good example of that. Batteries are a good example…I like lithium AA batts for my smaller gear but AFAIK theres only one or two brands offering them. I can get alkaline AA from anywhere but lithiums…that’s another story. Im sure if you sat down and thought it out carefully you could think of other necessary gear/products that have a similar bottleneck.
Obviously one of the biggest possibilities when it comes to a shortage is firearms. They can be made unavailable, literally, with a stroke of the pen. Don’t think so? Think about the 1986 prohibition on new machineguns for civilians and where prices and availability went afterwards. Also OEM (‘factory’) parts can be hamstrung almost as easily. So if you don’t have a spare copy of your favorite gun, at least get some spare barrels, springs and other parts…and for Crom’s sake get another couple of magazines, will ya?. Ammo is also an easy target, so to speak…during the LA Riots the local government there suspended the sale of ammo and guns. If you were out of #4 buck for your 870 you better hope the looters will be sympathetic to your plight.
If you really think youre going to be able to buy what you need when you need it you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. When the power goes out don’t expect to be able to wander down to the local stop-n-rob and pick up a pack of Duracells.
So, todays project, mi amigos y amigas, is to think about what kind of shortage would cause you some grief right now and then go out and negate that problem by stocking up as best you can… take the hundred bucks you were gonna use for steaks, beer and a movie this weekend and buy something a little more lasting and a lot more useful….