The 2013 Ammo Shortage – How Long Will It Last?

ammo shortageUpdate: As of late August 2013 I have seen the ammo situation improving slightly. If you are willing to go off the beaten path you can find ammo. However, it won’t be cheap. I was able to find plenty of .223, .308, and 9mm but the prices were pretty high. It seems we have a ways to go before the ammo shelf at Wal-Mart will stay stocked. The good news is that the hunting calibers seem readily available. Anything like buckshot, 30-06, .300 Win Mag, and 7mm all seem to be in stock at Wal-Mart. .22 long ammo still seems to be in very short supply though. Also, I am still unable to find any gunpowder. I have seen primers come back, but no powder yet.

As an avid shooter I have been growing increasingly frustrated with the current ammo shortage that seems to be dragging on much longer than everyone expected. With all the talk of background checks and gun bans after the Sandy Hook shooting, gun enthusiasts have been buying every box of ammo they can get their hands on.

With the shortage comes greater demand, which has given birth to opportunists with too much free time on their hands. These individuals will stake out at their local sporting goods stores and wait in line to buy ammo to then resell at gun shows and online forums. My local shooting range buys ammo from a local ammo company, and only allows for purchase of ammo if you intend to shoot it on the range that day.

Pretty much, it sucks. As someone who likes to go to the range regularly, I’ve been forced to cut back on shooting for fear that I will run low on ammo in the future. What makes it even worse is that nothing is being spared from this panic. Reloading components are in extremely short supply. From presses, to powder, to primers. Good luck getting your hands on any of that without a considerable search.

How Long Will The Ammo Shortage Last?

supply_demand

We are on the farthest left point of the demand curve.

In my opinion, this will go on for as long as people are willing to pay ridiculous prices for ammo and reloading components. Simply put, as long as there is a demand. When everyone decides that they have enough ammo and are tired of waiting in line to make a few extra bucks, the supply will slowly increase. It’s supply and demand.

I’ve heard reports of gun powder being able to stay on the shelves at a local shop nearby, so that is a good sign. I wouldn’t really count on it though with the recent Boston bombers using gunpowder in their explosive devices. All it takes is a few media outlets to run a story and panic will be restored. Here is a great article with a lot of quotes from ammo manufacturers about the shortage. Here is a particularly disheartening quote.

“We absolutely are in uncharted territory,” said Larry Hyatt, whose family owns Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C.. “Our store is 53 years old, and we have never seen anything like this. We have had some spot shortages and busy gun times in the past. This is a level (of demand) never before seen.”

Predictions

This panic can only last so long. Eventually people will calm down and stop hoarding ammo. Manufacturers will get caught up on backorders and things will slowly return to normal. I am staying optimistic. The first step will be ammo returning to shelves. The second step will be prices returning to normal. I think that will be the longest wait. As the shock waves of this panic subside, there will be after shocks when prices fall that will keep everything from immediately returning to the level it once was. I’m hoping by the end of the year things will be much closer to normal. That is unless some maniac goes on another shooting spree.

20 Survival/Preparedness Tips From The Pros

survivalIn case you can’t tell by the limited number of posts on this site, this is a new blog. As a way to get to know some of the great bloggers in the survival and preparedness world, I decided to ask the experts for their best tip. See if you can spot the same trend that I see. There are some great tips in this list whether you are a survivalist, a prepper, or both. Whether you are new to this stuff, or are a seasoned pro there is something for you.

I initially planned for this to be around 50 tips, but as I put it together I realized it was getting quite long. So look out for a part two coming soon.

Below I have compiled their tips with links to their websites. Please pay them a visit and see what they have to say. Here are the tips, in no particular order.

Being an educator, I believe in lifelong learning.  Being prepared doesn’t happen once, but is on-going and always changing with your circumstances and situations.  No one can know everything, but everyone can know something and add to it.  It is important to keep an open mind and learn as much as you can.  Equally important is to take the “book knowledge” of preparedness and apply it.  What you learn needs to be practiced, you need to develop your skills.

- Todd @ PrepperWebsite.com

If you want to be fruitful, DON’T MULTIPLY!” (at least in the early going of a collapse) In the early part of my career, I was an obstetrician and I can tell you that a woman who is pregnant is often nauseous, has backaches, and various other symptoms that don’t allow her to be at 100% efficiency.  All this at a time when she needs to be at 110% efficiency!  So make sure you make provisions to prevent against pregnancy until things stabilize; consider natural family planning, which we talk about in the Survival Medicine Handbook and on our website at www.doomandbloom.net as well as just about anything relating to Survival Medicine or Medicinal Gardening.

- Joe @ Doom and Bloom

All solid preparedness/survival plans should start with a Bug Out Bag.  If you don’t have a 72-hour disaster kit in place, start there.  You’ll learn more about survival and preparedness while assembling this kit than almost any other preparedness exercise.  Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.

- Creek Stewart @ WillowHavenOutdoor.com

The number one tip is to invest time into preparedness education.  Education will get you the biggest bang for your buck.

- Tom @ AmericanPreppersNetwork.com

Store extra food….period. As much as you can afford and store. With inflation it is a good investment and when money is tight – or non-existent you can still feed yourself and family. You don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars on freeze dried food. Store more of what you normally eat and build from there.

ModernSurvivalOnline.com

The best piece of advice that I would give your readers is to store the right types of shelf stable foods for your emergency pantry in order to give you adequate nutrition. This will help ensure you have the needed energy to maintain rigorous physical activity, help your body deal more efficiently with stress and help you avoid malnutrition. Some food sources I would suggest your readers stock up on are:

Whole grains such as wheat, rice, oats
Dried or freeze dried fruit and veggies Beans, chia seeds or other high protein sources
Foods that have some fat such as nuts, coconut or plant based oils, etc.

Tess @ ReadyNutrition.com

My #1 tip is to write out a plan, with the full knowledge and realization that it will change. Plan for your most realistic disaster, and then make the plan.

- PrepperPodcast.com

Get sustainable with your food storage and preparedness plan. Think about it. What happens when your store of number 10 cans runs out? It doesn’t matter how much you prepare and how much you stock up. If you start using that food on an everyday basis…. It will run out eventually. It will not last forever. Don’t get me wrong,  freeze dried food storage has its place.  For short term emergencies freeze dried will get you through.  Gardening, canning and dehydrating is a sustainable year after year.

Spend the time learning now. Start small, plant some tomato plants and peppers this year.  Start making your own applesauce or canning tomatoes. Then you can gradually learn and add more foods to your skill set. Believe me this is much easier than a crash course when your food supply for the winter will depend on your ability and knowledge.

- Sharon @ SimplyCanning.com

At Prep-Blog.com, we like to emphasize prudent and reasonable preparedness. Our #1 tip is not to let prepping derail your daily life. If you spend too much time and effort preparing for severe disasters, the result is a change to your lifestyle. We have to balance the changes needed for prudent preparations with reasonable limits so that our lives are about more than mere survival. Enjoy your life and your prepping activities.

- Prep-Blog.com

I would say my number one “Survival Tip” is that someone who is always minimally prepared, is more prepared than some one who is sometimes very prepared.  I recommend always having a way to make fire, a tactical folding knife, a flashlight, a handgun, a multi-function pocket knife or multitool with a saw as a minimum.  Adding some cordage, and a few first aid items goes along ways as well.  But of course the thing that trumps all equipment is personal experience and knowledge of real survival techniques.

- RealitySurvival.com

My number 1 tip is to get into shape. We could go into the weeds of my beliefs or different fitness plans but the endstate is to 1) be able to move on foot light (probably jogging/ running) and while carrying a load for reasonable distances. 2) Be able to lift heavy things. 3) Be able to move your body with individual equipment (fighting load) over and around obstacles. Training should generally mirror these endstates. While I didn’t discuss appearance as it doesn’t matter (function matters, incidentally it also drives form/ appearance) it’s pretty much impossible to succeed by any reasonable measure at #1 and #3 without being at or close to a healthy body weight.

- Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest

The best advice I can offer to persons wishing to be better prepared is to make sure they have their need for water covered. It’s the one thing you won’t survive very long without.You will always need water for drinking, cooking and hygiene purposes. It’s also one of the first items that is in short supply during a crisis. You also need to have a means to filter and purify any water source that may be available. So some basic survival tips when considering the need for water are:

1. Store as much water as possible according to your needs and circumstances.

2. Maintain an adequate system to filter any water resources that are available.

3. Maintain an adequate system to purify any water resources that are available.

- River @ Stealth Survival

Memorize a first step or two on what to do for common emergencies. Keep a reference on hand for the rest.

- Dr Hubbard @ The Survival Doctor

Hmm, a survival tip.  Test your skills and your gear.  Don’t wait until you have to go on an actual bugout and need to use a firesteel, then suddenly discover it’s a lot harder than it looks on the videos.  If you’ve got gear evaulate it.  Test it.  Work with it. Same thing with skills.  If you’re learning how to read a map and compass get out there and use it!  A GPS is great, but when your batteries die and you’re in the middle of the Maine woods you will be seriously screwed if you don’t have a backup and the knowledge on how to use your compass.  Same with lighting fires, or tracking, or whatever. If you put something in your pack practice using it.  Use it in the rain, use it in the snow, use it at night.  Get to know that piece of gear.  If it’s too complicated or too hard to use get something easier to work with

- SHTFBlog.com

Skills are more important than fancy gear.

- SHTFSchool.com

Avoid the hype! – When I first became interested in emergency preparedness I found myself willing to purchase anything with the word ‘survival’ or ‘emergency’ in the title… boy was that a mistake! I wasted plenty of money purchasing inferior products and useless gadgets because someone or some website said I NEEDED it or I was going to die. Fortunately, I never had to rely on any of it. Now I buy quality gear that makes sense and that will foster my ability to survive and even thrive.

RethinkSurvival.com

The five basic human needs are: food, water, shelter, energy and security.  Understanding that and striving to meet those five needs will increase your preparedness and survival in almost any situation.  The importance of an individual need can change from situation to situation, so evaluating them often is a good idea.

- Chris @ Prepared Christian

DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN “SURVIVAL HOBBIES.” Realize that some parts of prepping you will be more naturally inclined towards, and others you won’t, but unilaterally focusing on one thing (guns, camping, canning food) is costing you big in other areas, and doing yourself a disservice.

- Dan @ The Daily Prep

My #1 prepping tip is to START. It can seem overwhelming in the beginning, and analysis paralysis is very common whenever beginning a large undertaking. Just begin taking some small actions every day, you’ll get much farther than trying to plan it all perfectly before getting your feet wet.

- Prepared for That

A good tip is to start learning all that you can about preparedness.  Start with the basics. Set aside a monthly budget to better prepare yourself. It’s also a good idea to make sure you get a life insurance policy. Read more on that topic here.

- Jonathan @ Proper Survival

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

When it comes to camping or hiking there is no shortage of gear to choose from. It’s almost comical at the wide selection of products that all do the same thing yet claim to be different or superior than others. One area I find this happening in is headlamps. Pretty much they are just small powerful flashlights with a strap for your head.

The Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

black diamond storm headlampOne of the highest rated LED head lamps one the market today is the Storm from Black Diamond. It has a price of around $50 at major retails outlets like REI, but you can find it on Amazon for around $40 plus shipping.

The good thing about the Storm is that it is waterproof. It claims to have an IPX7 rating which means that it is protected against water for up to 30 minutes down to 1 meter.

Another good feature is that it has a dimmer switch that allows you to turn down the brightness to conserve battery. There are also red LED’s to use around camp or on the trail to preserve your night vision once your eyes have adjusted to the darkness. There is also a strobe mode for signalling.

The headlamp operates on 4 AAA batteries which provide up to 50 hours of use on high and up to 200 hours of use on low settings. The Storm has a battery indicator light so you don’t have to guess how much juice you have left before you head out.

Uses

A headlamp like this is best used for backpacking or hiking/camping. You will find that any headlamp without a top strap will slide down off your forehead if you start running or bouncing around.

Reviews

Before buying anything I always like to check out the reviews for a product. I read the good and the bad. The Storm had mostly good reviews. The only negative I saw that kept coming up was that it was a little bulky. For $40 I wouldn’t expect this to be very compact. I would expect that out of the higher priced headlamps. Also keep in mind that this headlamp puts out 100 lumens, so yea. I’d be pleased to have this in my bugout bag or on my person when left out in the woods after the sun goes down. For survival gear, I would opt for the all black version. Some reviewers mentioned that there was some light bleed on the lighter colored plastic housings.

One other small gripe some users had was the light control interface. To dim the light you have to press and hold a button. To turn to red mode you have to hold a button for 3 seconds. To get it into strobe mode you have to press the button rapidly.It seems like a pain in the ass to be pressing and holding buttons when you could just turn a dial and be done with it.

Specs

  • Bulb Type: LED
  • Number of Bulbs: 1 HO LED, 2 LED’s, 2 red LED’s
  • Red Light Mode: Yes
  • Max Output: 100 lumens
  • Low Output: 25 lumens
  • Beam Distance: 70 meters on high, 20 meters on low
  • 3 Brightness Levers
  • Weight: 3.9 oz
  • Size: 2.5 x1.75 x1.75

The Preparedness Review – Spring 2013 Edition

the preparedness reviewThe folks over at The Preparedness Review have released the 2nd edition of their eJournal. With the success of the first release (over 14,000 downloads), the 2nd edition is highly anticipated. If you haven’t done so, I recommend downloading and reading the 2nd edition. With so many great contributors it covers a vast field of topics and is sure to have something of interest for everyone. It contains articles from the following contributors.

The 2nd edition is packed with tons of great information from food storage, small game hunting, first aid, bug out bag food, knot tying, bacon making, and more. I recommend giving it a look.

Survival Knives: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

survival knifeSomeone once said that the best survival knife is the one you remembered to bring with you. Some will also argue that a knife is a knife, whether you call it a survival knife or a paring knife. I personally think that a knife is a tool, and there are different tools for different jobs. After all, you wouldn’t use a rubber mallet to hammer a nail even though they are both a type of hammer.

So What Makes a Knife a Survival Knife?

First things first. A survival knife is a knife that your life will depend on. So, to me, this means folding knives are out. Nothing against them, but the last thing you need is for the blade to close on you or somehow malfunction. It must be a fixed blade with a full tang or close to it. The knife must be suited for wood work. Carving, splitting, and even chopping will be required in a survival situation. It goes without saying that you will be (hopefully) using the knife to prepare food in a survival situation. Preferably the blade will be at least 4 inches, but a small blade is better than no blade at all. Overall the knife must be tough. It’s going to get dirty, wet, thrown, and who knows what else. I realize that a machete or hatchet would be ideal in a survival situation, but you usually find yourself in a a situation like this by accident. It could be that you are stranded overnight after getting lost on a short hike and you don’t have everything you normally carry.

The Knives

Schrade Extreme Survival SCHF9

Schrade Extreme SCHF9This is a fixed blade knife with a fine edge. No serration on this knife. The blade is made of 1095 steel and has a full tang construction. The blade on the SCHF9 is 1/4″ thick. It is coated in an anti-reflective coating that is designed to keep the 1095 steel from corroding. Being that it isn’t stainless steel, you will want to occasionally apply some mineral oil to the blade. It has a drop point blade tip which increases strength for all around survival use. You should have no issues batoning the SCHF9.

The handle is composed of two halves of TPE materials. Pretty much it is a mix of plastic and rubber for a durable, yet grippy handle. It is textured with tiny circles to make it grip better when wet. There are a few ridges along the top to provide the thumb with more grip. Notice how the handle is shaped for an ergonomic fit for easy handling and chopping.

The sheath is made of nylon and is lined with Kydex. The sheath has a small pouch that can be removed and strapped onto a vest or belt. In this pouch you can fit some smaller survival items such as a knife sharpener, fire steel, fishing line, tinder, etc.

This knife is a beast overall. The only drawbacks are that it’s not made of stainless steel and requires a bit of maintenance. Also note that the blade has a thick point, so it’s not as good as some other knives at piercing objects. But at $39 dollars, I’m not complaining.

Schrade SCHF9 Specifications

  • Overall Length: 12.1″
  • Handle Length: 5.7″
  • Blade Length: 6.4″
  • Blade Thickness: .25″
  • Weight: 15.9 oz
  • Price: ~$39 (Seriously).

Ontario Blackbird SK-5

blackbird sk-5 survival knifeDesigned by Paul Scheiter of Hedgehog Leatherworks, the Blackbird SK-5 manufactured in the by Ontario knives. This is a fixed blade knife with a full tang. The blade is made of 154CM steel which is a high quality american made stainless steel. This knife has a spear point to provide more point strength which greatly reduces the chance of tip snapping or complete breakage.

The handle is made of micarta and attached to the blade with 3 stainless steel Allen screws. All the edges of the handle are rounded to provide a comfy grip. The handle features a nice and deep front finger groove to keep your finger from slipping and touching the blade during use. There is also a lanyard slot on the handle that is wide enough to slip a two-strand loop of cord through in order to form a girth hitch for easy removal later on.

The pommel of the knife is flat to allow you to easily attach it to a small tree to use as a spear like tool. The SK-5 has a smooth spine and a full flat grind which makes it great for use with fire steel. The sheath is MOLLE compatible for use with vests and packs. It has a belt loop for wearing on the hip. There is a hard plastic insert to protect the user and the blade. The sheath is rounded out with a drain hole to keep it from holding water.

Overall this is a great knife except that it’s price is a little on the high side.

Ontario Blackbird SK-5 Specifications

  • Overall Length: 10″
  • Handle Length: 5″
  • Blade Length: 5″
  • Blade Thickness: .13″
  • Weight: 8.4 oz
  • Price: $~122

KA-BAR Full Size Straight Edge

full size ka-barThis knife is a classic. Having been in use since WW2, it’s still being used daily 70 years later. This knife is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel. Being that this knife is a combat knife, it has a swedge. This is to make it better at piercing and cutting. Some might worry that this could lead to the tip breaking, but even with a broken off tip this knife will still do much of what you need it to do. This is a full tang knife, but the tang is thinner in the handle.

The full size Ka-Bar can come in many different configurations. From serrated edge to straight edge. There are different sizes. You can choose to have a different handle other than the hardened leather oval grip handle. One of the coolest things about the full size KA-BAR is how you can pick one out based on what you will be using it for. You can also choose between a leather or hard plastic sheath. The blade is think enough at the base to be used for batoning, and it has a nice edge for striking fire steel.

Overall the KA-BAR is a bad ass knife that has stood the test of time. You can get one with a leather sheath for around $60. You really can’t beat that.

Full Size KA-BAR Specifications

  • Overall Length: 11 7/8″
  • Handle Length: 4 7/8″
  • Blade Length: 7″
  • Blade Thickness: .165
  • Weight: .7 lb
  • Price: ~$60

Gerber LMF-II

gerber lmf IIThe Gerber LMF-II is the go to knife for many people, and it is said by some that it is the best survival knife you can buy. While that comes down to a matter of opinion (I disagree), I would be happy to have this knife on my hip in the event that I found myself stranded in the woods.

The blade is made of 420HC stainless steel and it keeps an ok edge after much abuse. However, the sheath has a built in sharpener so you can easily bring the edge back if it dulls. This knife has a 3/4 tang and they claim that they made it this way to prevent electric shock when pilot were cutting through live wires.

The handle is made of a molded material and has lashing holes for attaching to stick to make a spear. The butt cap is made for breaking glass, breaking rocks, and hammering. Be warned though, this is not a full tang knife, and users have reported the handle failing while batoning or otherwise putting this knife to a true test.

The sheath is pretty neat with the built in sharpener and MOLLE compatibility. It has a locking feature that lightly holds the knife in place as well as a dual strap system for securing it. The sheath also has a leg strap to keep it strapped down and can be mounted on the thigh or calf.

Overall this is a good knife, but the handle failing keeps me from having it in my kit. Also, Gerber being a huge brand name and likely paying Bear Grylls a fortune means that the customer pays a premium. Calling this knife the best money can buy would be a stretch.

Gerber LMF-II Specifications

  • Overall Length: 10.59″
  • Handle Length: 5.75″
  • Blade Length: 4.84″
  • Weight: 11.67 oz
  • Price: ~$70

Pendleton Cold Steel Hunter

pendleton cold steel hunterAlthough this is a smaller knife, many survivalists carry it in their kit either as their main knife or as a back up. This is a full tang knife. The blade is made of VG1 stainless steel. It is 3/16th’s of an inch thick. The handle is made of Kraton. It has a front finger guard to keep your hand in place while cutting.

This knife has a very sharp edge and is great for cutting meat. With the thin blade and small overall size it might not hold up to heavy batoning. In a survival situation, batoning will make your life easier. I would prefer to have a larger, more sturdy knife if I had to cut up wood for a fire or shelter.

Pendleton Cold Steel Hunter Specifications

  • Overall Length: 8 1/4″”
  • Handle Length: 4 3/4″
  • Blade Length: 3 1/2″
  • Blade Thickness 3/16″
  • Weight: 5.8 oz
  • Price: ~$50