Bullets: Rising Prices and Supply Shortages

A year or so back, one of my friends from a previous employer went to work as a sourcing lead for a large defense provider specializing in producing bullets, among other low and high tech armaments. At the time, I remarked to him in casual conversation that his new firm must be relatively insulated from economic ups and downs given that global strife -- or global arms races -- know no recessionary bounds. Heck, as we learned in World War II, conflict is probably the fastest way to drive a country out of an economic slide. And for you FDR sympathizers in the group, don't give me any of this New Deal argument -- we all know that what catapulted the US back on strong economic footing in the late 30s and 40s was good old fashioned war, for the better or the worse (certainly the better in the case of WWII).

But war can also cause supply shortages back at home. According to a recent ABC News story, the prices of bullets are rising and supply is short thanks to the demand of our Federal government (and I suspect other militaries as well). Apparently, "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." Prices are also rising. In one locale in Arkansas, "police now pay twice as much as they did last year for 500-round cases of .40-caliber ammunition." All I can say is that let’s hope that rising prices will also deter criminals from firing their guns as well. Hat-tip: Tony Poshek.

Jason Busch

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