Panic Buying: It’s Right Around the Corner

Have you ever had a gut feeling? One of the kind that was gnawing away at your stomach lining, and just wouldn’t let go? Yeah, me too. Several times, that gut feeling literally saved my life.

I hope I’m wrong. In fact, I pray that I am. Nevertheless, I have this sickly feeling that we are about to see major Panic Buying kick off in a big way again.

What got me thinking about this is a conversation I had with a couple of friends. We were talking about ammunition, and my good friend was kind of on the fence as to how much he wanted to stock up on 5.56mm rounds for his AR-15. He doesn’t have much ammo for it now.

I strongly urged him to not delay and stock up now. In doing so, I realized that I’d been reading the writing on the wall without actually realizing it. Suddenly, that writing on the wall hit me like a ton of bricks.

Why Panic Buying?

As I write this, there is one word: Elections.

I’ll add the caveat (and give myself a little wiggle room) that this could change at any moment. That’s right, Mr. Murphy (of Murphy’s Law fame) reserves the right to throw more feces into the game whenever he sees fit.

Oh, you want a for instance? Okay. Remember Covid? Yeah. Me too. Don’t think it won’t happen again.

Empty ammunition shelves.
Remember the days of Covid? This is what ammo shelves looked like at most gun shops around the country. Could it happen again? Elections and other major events can cause catastrophic results in the supply chain. Don’t wait for the shelves to look like this before you decide you need to stock up. (Photo:

At some point in the future, some new cataclysm (real or imagined) will strike again. When it occurred in 2019 and for the following couple of years, people who never, in their wildest dreams, thought they would — ran out and purchased weapons of all types. And ammunition for those weapons.

Why? Because none of us had ever experienced the feelings of that time period. We were suddenly told that we couldn’t even go to church. We were told how to shop, and when and where we could travel. Businesses were shut down and even lost. Food was flying off the shelves.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “No One Is Coming To Save You”? Remember the first time you felt that? I mean, really, truly felt it in your heart? Suddenly, you felt the need to be able to protect yourself and your family. If you’re working without backup, it’s all on you. And if you don’t have the means, you are royally screwed.

People rioting.
Widespread rioting drove home the fact sometimes we need to be able to protect ourselves. This realization convinced people who would have otherwise never armed themselves to go gun shopping. (Photo: iStock Photos)

People suddenly wanted to get that means, and quickly. These were the first-timers who decided it was time to buy their first weapon(s). Except that there weren’t very many on the market to be had because….panic. The shelves of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard were just about bare.


What I’m about to say comes from prior experience and my crystal ball. If I’m wrong, sue me. And I hope I am wrong. But I don’t believe I am.

The Presidential Election is coming up fast as I write this. Oh, it’s Spring time right now, and we’re about to blissfully enter summer. Cookouts, picnics, swimming pools, and all manner of fun and games have ensued. Life is good and it’s an exciting time. The elections seem far off.

But we all know how fast time flies. Before we know it, the winds will blow cold. This November, the elections will include candidates for the House of Representatives, a few Gubernatorial seats, Attorneys General, Secretary of State, and Supreme Court, among others. Will all of the drama wait until the November election? Not on your life. We’ll hear more rumblings as 2023 progresses, which will begin to jangle peoples’ nerves. That’s for 2023.

When 2024 arrives, things will be ramping up more, and as the year progresses, it will reach hotbed status. The 2024 election is going to be a massive, emotional issue for people. Look for the heat to turn up on gun control issues, which really amp up panic buying. As the election draws nearer, people will be hitting the gun stores more often, stocking up on ammo. As that progresses, there’s every chance that ammo (and guns) will be in short supply again.

In the Meantime

Do we really need an election to turn up the heat on gun control issues, though? No. It’s happening right now, with some of the mass shootings. The politicians are getting the most mileage that they can from these terrible events, and calling for more gun control. People who don’t have one figure that maybe they should get that semi-auto that they’ve been wanting before they’re banned. Those who have do have a few ponder buying a few more before they’re banned. AR-15s and AK-47s are among the most popular platforms focused upon.


I spoke earlier about the first-time gun buyers going wild with the realization that there might be no one to rescue them when it hits the fan. They were snatching everything off the shelves that they could get ahold of.

So how about we enthusiasts who had the foresight to prepare ahead of time? Certainly, we were in a much better boat than someone just starting out on this venture.

Ammo boxes.
Firearms enthusiasts typically are better stocked with ammunition than those just starting out in the venture. That said, people are always asking, “How much is enough?” (Photo: Jim Davis)

But how about those who compete and who train a lot? They go through a high volume of ammo. And during the Great Ammo Shortage, that really put a crimp on peoples’ shooting habits.

Then there were those of us who simply wanted to put more away, growing our nest egg. After all, our weapons offer security, and we realize that, without bullets, they’re not very useful.

You’ve likely heard the idea that you can never have too many guns, bullets, or magazines. And all three were in decidedly short supply. Not to mention reloading supplies such as primers and powder, among others.

So even we firearms enthusiasts were affected by the shortage. Quite a few of my gun friends didn’t really have a sufficient stock of spare ammunition saved up, and so they too were scrambling to buy ammo and had to pay exorbitant prices.

Strategies for Stockpiling Ammunition

Behold, hear the good news! We’re in prosperous times! Magazines for AR-15s, AK-47s, and other platforms are cheaper than ever before. Ammunition prices have come back down to earth, at least for some calibers. Ammo is quite a bit higher than in the Pre-Shortage days, but it’s better and more plentiful now.

I highly recommend a strategy for stocking up right now, before the craziness hits again. Do it while the ammo and magazines are on the shelves. 

How? Buy a little bit each week. A magazine or two, a few boxes of ammo. It does begin to add up in a short period of time. And you won’t go broke doing it.

Two boxes filled with ammunition.
Stocking up on some ammo each week will eventually add up over a short time. (Photo: Jim Davis)

Sure, if you can afford to buy ammo by the case, by all means, go ahead. There’s nothing like having 1,000 rounds arrive at your doorstep. It makes you feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy! Same with magazines — you can buy ten packs of magazines. Buying mags and ammo in bulk is appreciably cheaper than buying in small quantities, but it obviously requires a higher initial expenditure.

Maximize Your Training

When you go to the range, make each round count as though a life hangs in the balance. Don’t just leisurely blast a 30-round magazine downrange with no training goal and then admire your handiwork.

Set goals and have a plan. Maybe it’s concentrating on reloads. Or controlled pairs of shots. Or shooting on the move. Using cover. Whatever it is, concentrate on specific skills. And you don’t need a full magazine to do these things; a couple of rounds is often enough. You can conduct quality practice and training without going broke.

And speaking of that, don’t overlook the .22 Long Rifle. You can fire a hell of a lot of shots with the .22 and not go broke doing it. It’s a great training aid that allows a lot of shooting on the range.

Beyond that, the .22 can get us by in a pinch for defense or hunting, as well. It’s an often-overlooked caliber. Or I should say, it was overlooked; during the shortage, it was also flying off the shelves in huge quantities. Suddenly, the .22 had come to the forefront in popularity.

What Ammo To Buy

It really depends on your needs and what you have or want to obtain. For many, the aforementioned AR or AK magazines are a good idea, as well as 5.56mm and 7.62x39mm ammo. Maybe 12 gauge if you have one. Naturally, .22 Long Rifle is a solid staple. Rounds for hunting rifles such as .30-06, 6.5 Creedmoor, .30-30, .270, and others are always a solid bet.

Getting these items now can help you relax when times get tight and anxious.

Magazines and ammo.
Buy ammunition and magazine while they are readily available. Doing so now gives us peace of mind when these items are not available or the price is sky high. (Photo: Jim Davis)

The Future

Though none of us know the future for certain, we can take an educated guess at what’s coming. The elections will certainly play a big role in people’s behavior. This isn’t a presidential election year, but some important elections are coming up soon. And the big election next year will be here before we know it. From this point on, things are going to become increasingly tense on that front.

We saw the Perfect Storm that elections and Covid created last time. Is such a thing coming again? Will there be another pandemic or similar disruption? In my opinion, it’s nearly guaranteed.

The good news is that next time it hits the fan, we can be a lot more ready than we were the first time around. We can add to our stash a little at a time.

The key is, don’t wait. Start now!

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

Sign Up for Newsletter

Let us know what topics you would be interested:
© 2023 GunMag Warehouse. All Rights Reserved.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap