Where have all the primers gone? (2020 Edition)

Seriously? Another reloading primer shortage? Unfortunately, YES. In this story I’ll talk about the “Great Reloading Primer Shortage of 2020”, and give you some ideas regarding where to find them.

Let’s Break Down What’s Happened

Well, this is going to be a familiar story for anyone who’s been lamenting the year 2020. Here’s some high-level perspective on the landscape:

  • COVID-19 has disrupted the global economy, people’s day to day lives and freedoms
  • Like a spark in a field of dry grass, the George Floyd situation ignited civil unrest on a “new level”
  • Americans that have typically been “complacent” on gun ownership have gotten motivated- REALLY motivated
  • A run on guns and ammunition followed (on a new level)

In terms of the ammunition and components industry, this has caused a HUGE ramp-up on ammunition production (reminiscent of the toilet paper phenomenon earlier in 2020). And guess what that did for primers- it has “dried up” the reserves and production output in recent months.

Just like how people have become motivated to own a gun, people have also become motivated to get setup to load their own ammunition. And just like in years past (post Sandy Hook tragedy, …) people can’t load the ammunition they need to (and/or want to) because they can’t get the required components. It’s a huge bummer- and there’s no easy answers in the near term.

What To Do

Are you in need of primers that you can’t find? Here are some things you can do.

  1. Start by scouring the online retailers for primers that are in stock or “available for backorder”.
  2. Sign up for inventory notifications (notify when in stock) via email.
  3. Ask friends and family- we are a community, and many in the community will offer help
  4. Visit your back woods store! Some of these “off the beaten path” shops will have more inventory and less demand compared with the larger retailers

At the end of the day- it’s best to take a long-term approach, and to avoid hoarding and panic buying. If you wait until it’s “too late”, you’ll likely have problems.

Do you have tips to share? Please leave a comment!

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One thought on “Where have all the primers gone? (2020 Edition)”

  1. Gavin:

    I normally agree with your thoughts, methods and data gathering and analysis conclusions but I couldn’t disagree with you more about sellers on Gunbroker. The very definition of a market allows sellers to set their price. If someone is willing to pay that price then a deal is completed (a market exists). If not, the seller either lowers the price or doesn’t sell his/her inventory. This is called price discovery. In a free market, price discovery is critical. It is also the natural way to throttle hoarding and other consumer bad behavior in times of crisis or scarcity.

    If you are a retail establishment you should likewise be free to charge what you want. I do agree that in that case, we as consumers should remember that for a long time if extreme price gouging occurs, however, we really don’t want the government or any other entity to set the price or quantity for anything unless you want to see permanent shortages of, well, everything.

    In free America we don’t have to answer questions like: “how many of those do you really need” or “why do you need that” as a few examples.

    I understand the good intent of your message and it is always tempting to get the government or other controlling entity to make sellers do as you would wish by force or penalty but, would you want some external entity setting the price of anything you own, produce or want to sell?

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