Lake City Ammunition Plant is located on 4,000 acres near Independence, Missouri.
The ammo plant is owned by the U.S. government but has been contractor-operated by Olin Winchester since 1985.
The facility opened in 1941 to manufacture small-caliber ammo for the U.S. Army, and after a brief closure at the end of WWII, has been in continuous operation ever since.
The plant is the largest manufacturer of small arms ammo for the U.S. military, producing billions of rounds of ammunition each year.
In addition to producing ammo for the military, the plant manufactures about 30% of the 5.56 ammo sold on retail shelves.
The reason that the government allows this is because it means the plant can maintain a large skilled workforce that could be needed for future production increases.
In other words, during an emergency, the plant could ramp up production for the military. They wouldn’t need to hire more employees.
Essentially, they would take production away from the civilian market and produce it for the U.S. government.
In late 2023, rumors spread that Lake City was canceling all commercial ammo orders.
The ammo plant released a statement that said, “Joint Munitions Command has not changed its policy regarding commercial production at Lake City. Lake City has not canceled commercial contracts.”
While the plant denied this, it highlighted a scary truth:
If Lake City stopped retail orders, it would have drastic consequences on the price and availability of retail ammunition.
The reality is that the U.S. has been depleting ammo stockpiles at a concerning rate.
Since the war in Ukraine started, the U.S. has sent Ukraine over 300 million rounds of small arms ammunition.
In addition, the U.S. has been sending munitions to Israel, further depleting U.S. stockpiles.
There is no question that conflicts around the world are affecting ammo stockpiles here at home.
And if the U.S. continues to export ammo at a high rate it will eventually lead to a strain on the U.S. domestic ammo supply.
This could cause an ammunition shortage for Americans, along with an ammo price hike.
Considering this, here are a few ways you can prepare for an ammunition shortage.
Have a plan for the range:
Just because there is an ammo shortage doesn’t mean that you should stop training.
Don’t let your skills and training diminish because of lack of ammo.
The goal is to make your range time count.
So, when you go to the shooting range, you need to have a plan and focus in mind.
Work on specific drills and know how much ammo you plan to use.
Make every round count.
This is why I plan my range time, and the drills I want to work on when I get there.
Even if there isn’t an ammo shortage, dry firing is something I recommend doing regularly.
And you should definitely supplement your training with dry firing during an ammunition shortage, since range time will likely be cut down.
There are plenty of dry fire drills that can help keep fundamentals sharp and improve muscle memory.
Additionally, if dry firing isn’t enough there are laser products that make training at home more realistic.
Products like LaserLyte can help keep skills up to par when the shooting range isn’t an option.
Diversify your ammo:
Like anything in life, it’s a good idea to diversify your ammo cache.
If you only own one caliber, you are stuck with the market conditions of the one caliber.
Yes, consistency in caliber is good for your core self-defense firearms, but you should also own guns in a variety of calibers.
Because, if all you own are rifles and pistols that use 9mm ammo, if there was a 9mm ammo shortage you could be in trouble.
Another option is to use cheaper ammo (like .22 cal.) for the majority of training at the range.
While reloading ammo is one more option, it’s not the best – or even feasible – for everyone.
Future ammunition shortages caused by global conflicts could have consequences for the civilian ammo market.
So, keep these ideas in mind next time you think about wasting any ammunition at the shooting range.
You should also have a good selection of drills that you can pull from to tailor your range time in the event ammo is scarce.