America has an unprecedented shortage of bullets

Gun sales in the United States have surged over the last year, with the FBI seeing a 40 percent increase in background checks. It didn't help that Remington Arms also recently filed for bankruptcy, and only recently began manufacturing again under the new ownership of Vista Outdoors. As the Star Tribune explains:

Customers have been loading up on ammunition, driving a 400% increase in Vista Outdoor's third-quarter profits.

In the last year, there have been more than 8 million new gun owners as people have flocked to shooting sports and hunting as a relief from COVID-19 restrictions and as a result of social and political unrest, according to the Firearm Industry Trade Association.

The new owners — plus existing ones — created a surge in demand for all types of ammunition.

Forbes adds:

This was the first quarter where Vista began to produce ammunition through the Arkansas factory that it purchased from Remington Outdoor Company for $81 million in October 2020 after Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in two years. 

Metz said that the Remington factory exceeded results in quickly coming online as the company hired hundreds of new workers. "We are excited to be able to infuse the market with this sought-after brand," said Metz.

The three-month period was marked by a continuing surge in gun and ammunition purchases nationwide amid a frenzied political atmosphere surrounding the election of President Joseph Biden and ex-President Donald Trump's attempts to undermine it. President Biden has an aggressive plan for gun control that contributed to the boost in sales.

The run on bullets resulted in nationwide shortages that, according to Vista, have led some customers to accuse the company of doing it on purpose. 

In the video above, you can see Vista Outdoor President Jason Vanderbrink tried to dismiss rumors that he's deliberately manufactured a bullet shortage, which I suppose is exactly the kind of accusation that an arms manufacturer would be dealing with right now, given the state of conspiracy theories in the world.

Forbes also notes that Olin, which manufacturers ammunition under the Winchester brand, actually reported a loss for the fourth quarter, but that bullet sales were the strongest part of their business.

Now that Vista Outdoors is back pumping bullets out of the Remington factories, things might get back on track. Or at least, there will be bullets a'plenty to buy.

Demand for ammunition drives record quarterly profits at Anoka-based Vista Outdoor [Patrick Kennedy / Star Tribune]

Bullet Sales Are Booming As Vista Brings Remington Factory Online [Aaron Smith / Forbes]

Gun Sales Surged in 2020. So Did Gun Violence. [Matt Cohen / Mother Jones]

Image: Todd Huffman / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)