Hottest Ammo Trends for 2022

Self-defense ammunition still is a hot seller throughout the country, primarily for pistols. A couple of new products have joined old standbys this year.

Hottest Ammo Trends for 2022

Self-defense is a constant, dependable seller for your store. Capitalizing on this fact of life, because it’s not a trend, doesn’t make you a bad guy. If you’re able to provide ammunition, pistols, accessories or other things the customer wants, that’s merely good business, whether it’s for recreation or self-defense at home or away.

There’s no argument about whether interest in self-defense has risen in the last decade. Myriad factors have influenced the increase, including political, societal and legislative actions or events. The pandemic, too, fueled interest in self-defense, with people at home realizing more easily that they are on their own or that law enforcement might not arrive as quickly as they need. Response times vary depending on the city. In 2021, for example, it took 11 to 12 minutes in Colorado Springs. It was 7 minutes for an urgent call to the Los Angeles P.D. and up to 20 minutes for a non-urgent call. In 2019, the range was 5.4 minutes in Nashville to 6.8 in Las Vegas, with Boston in-between at 6.1 minutes.

Five, 10, 20 minutes is a long time to wait, especially with children in the house. Do you hunker in a room and hope The Bad Thing goes away? Or do you prepare to defend yourself? According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in 2021, at least 5.4 million people bought a firearm for the first time. Almost 30 percent of all firearm purchases last year went to new gun owners, based on NSSF retailer surveys and adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System figures. That 5.4 million is down from the 40 percent of a reported 8.4 million first-time buyers in 2020.

Of those first-time buyer numbers, according to the NSSF retailer surveys in 2020, was a 58 percent increase of African-American buyers, a 49 percent increase of Hispanic-American buyers and a 43 percent increase of Asian-American buyers. The NSSF said nearly 60 percent of retailers said these increases were unchanged in 2021. More Americans of all ages, races, genders, political leanings and geographic locales realized the need to defend themselves was great enough to seek a retailer and make a purchase. Those aren’t all that the NSSF’s 2021 survey numbers show, though:

— Nearly 47 percent of first-time gun buyers in 2021 inquired about training, and 43 percent signed up for training.

— Nearly 23 percent of retailers indicated that first-time gun buyers in 2020 purchased another firearm in 2021.

— More than 33 percent of first-time gun buyers in 2021 were women.

— 44 percent of retailers saw an increase of African-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.

— More than 18 percent of retailers saw an increase of Native Americans purchasing firearms in 2021.

— Nearly 14 percent of retailers saw an increase of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders purchasing firearms in 2021.

Ammunition goes with guns. Sell both, of course, along with accessories and with a helpful attitude, and you’ll likely have a long-time customer. Look at that first line above: 47 percent asked about training, and 43 percent signed up for training. That may not count the ones who signed up for range time at their local range. One of my local shops sells new and used pistols and rifles and ammunition for both and has a well-used range, with close and medium ranges for pistols and a 100-yard tube range for rifles. The latter has a camera and screen showing the target.

If you have a range in your store, definitely make sure buyers know about any specials, training and deals on buying ammunition to shoot at the range. If you don’t, perhaps team with a local range and provide cross-promotion, and consider a special weekend discount each month. Think outside the box.


Selling Ammunition in 2022

Self-defense covers a range of possibilities, from shotguns, AR-style rifles and pistols in the home or vehicle to pistols for concealed or OWB carry. Ammunition for each is different, obviously, but you’ll have customers who may want something for one, two or all.

Over the years, I’ve heard that for self-defense in the home with a shotgun, you should use everything from birdshot to buckshot. None of those would feel good, obviously. Taking a load or three of birdshot to the head or chest definitely would get an aggressor’s attention. Buckshot could negatively impact an aggressor more quickly, no doubt. A pistol or revolver definitely could be concealed better in the home and possibly be more easily accessible day or night.

The question for you to find out, of course, is what the customer wants or believes he or she needs. Twelve- or 20-gauge shotgun? They might want a .22 LR, 9mm or .380 ACP pistol, something compact they could also carry concealed. Maybe they have a more powerful 10mm or 40-caliber pistol. If they’re seeking rifle ammunition, the .223 immediately comes to mind as the likely choice. But they may have a PCC and need, or want, 9mm ammunition.

One bit of advice you can offer is that their decision should be based on whatever it is that they can shoot accurately and comfortably, and feel good about the outcome. Ask if they have children or other people in their home. Is their home an apartment or condo, or a multi-room house? Brick construction? New gun owners may not have considered these possibilities before buying or while they’re buying. They also may have heard reports about ammunition shortages. Convey the right information to them about this and, if possible, offer reassurances about your ability to obtain ammo. If they believe you’re able to reliably offer it, they’ll be back.

Here is some of the top and new ammunition to consider this year:

Federal Personal Defense HST is highly regarded as a top performer, and this year, Federal adds two magnum revolver loads. The 104-grain HST for the .327 Federal Magnum and 154-grain load for the .357 Magnum feature high-performance primers, nickel-plated cases and reliable performance.

The new Federal 30 Super Carry is designed for concealed-carry pistols, with a .312-inch bullet that is narrower than the .380 Auto or 9mm but with more energy than the .380. It has up to 20 percent less felt recoil than the 9mm. In gel testing, it equaled or outperformed the 9mm. For practice rounds, look to the Federal American Eagle 100-grain FMJ target loads in 50-round packs. Federal Premium’s 100-grain HST pushes 1,250 fps and is available in 20-round boxes. Also, because the bullet is smaller, the magazines designed for the 30 Super Carry have more capacity.

Nosler is introducing its new ASP Personal Defense line. ASP — Assured Stopping Power —  will be available in 9mm, .40 S&W, 10mm and .45 Auto. They have Nosler’s legendary engineering, with a hollow-point design and skived jacket for controlled expansion. ASP offers subsonic loads for the 9mm and .45 Auto. Reloaders also will be able to purchase these bullets, which is another selling point for you this year. Grain sizes include 115, 124 and 147 in 9mm; 150 and 180 in .40 S&W; 180 in 10mm; and 230 in .45 ACP.

Remington, now part of the Vista Outdoor group, which owns Federal, will offer the new 30 Super Carry in its Remington UMC brand. The 100-grain FMJ 30 Super Carry has a muzzle velocity of 1,250 fps and will be great for practice. The UMC 100-grain HTP (High Terminal Performance) JHP round zips at 1,250 fps and is designed for personal defense.

Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown ammunition features a stacked hollow-point cavity that creates consistent expansion upon impact and deep penetration. V-Crown is available in 12 popular calibers in a range of grain sizes. Practice rounds in FMJ are designed to match V-Crown ballistics, so shooters can transition easily from the range to carry.

Along with the new 30 Super Carry, you’ll see an update in the Federal Punch line of defensive loads. The new .44 S&W Special has been added, with a thicker jacket, skive depth, enhanced geometric design for the hollow-point tip, and updated lead cores. This 180-grain jacketed hollow-point was tested extensively, including with extra-heavy clothing over ballistic gel. It is designed for revolvers and carbines. The new option joins the existing .380 Auto, .38 Special +P, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 Auto.


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