Reader Joe posted a good question and I thought I would share it and my response in case others were curious about the same thing.
What are your ammo inventory goals? How much do you feel is sufficient? I have about 1000 rounds of 9mm, nearly the same amount of 38 special, perhaps double that in 22LR, and just a box or two of 357. I only have one 357 revolver, but since that one will also shoot 38 special, and it is cheaper, I have more of the .38’s.
Do I need to be buying more?
So, the answer to that, like so many others, is…it depends.
Before you start stocking up on anything, beans, band aids, bullets or gas masks you have to decide what exactly it is that you are preparing for. Although the basics like food and water are fairly constant the amounts may vary depending on what you are preparing for. For a hurricane I need three to ten days of food, water, fuel, etc. Based on where I live, the chances of needing bullets for that type of a situation is pretty small and if I do need them the chances of needing more than thirty rounds is infinitesimally small so I really don’t need much on hand for a hurricane which is one of the two primary situations I want to be prepared for.
An economic disaster is even more likely than a hurricane. Whether or not the staggering US debt triggers the kind of economic chaos seen in Argentina, Greece or Cypress there will be tough economic times again at some point (some would say we are still experiencing them and I wouldn’t argue that strongly against them). Just like a hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast, it is not a matter of if, but of when.
Even if the national economy does well individual economic downtowns are just as sure. I was laid of last year. My son and son in law were both laid off this year. Because of the preparations we had already made we were able to get through several months with zero income pretty well.
How does all this relate to ammunition?
1. When I lost my job range time was cut to almost zero. I couldn’t afford to replace the ammo I was using.
2. Ammunition is a durable good that lasts a long time and generally goes up in value at about the same rate as inflation or maybe a little more. So, it is something I could sell or barter if times got too hard.
The last factor, is that ammunition has, at various times and for various reasons, been scarce. That also limited my ability to practice and I don’t want to be caught out again.
My original goal was to have a one year supply of ammo on hand based on how much I plan on practicing. After I reached that goal, I reassessed. I decided that I should have more self-defense ammunition on hand as it is especially subject to scarcity. For example, a big government purchase of my preferred 9mm self-defense ammunition made it impossible to find for almost 9 months. Now I keep more on hand AND have a secondary self-defense round on hand that has been thoroughly tested for accuracy and reliability in all my carry guns (not really an issue with revolvers). My secondary caliber also changed from .380 to .38 Special and I felt my stock of ammunition for my secondary caliber was way too low. During this time my wife also became a shooter, almost doubling the number of rounds we go through per year.
One more thing is that I am a father of grown children. While I encourage them to plan ahead and be prepared as well, I am still their fallback. Knowing that, and knowing that I have more disposable income I keep more on hand than I might need personally. This is true of ammo, food, water, tools, etc.
I sorry, I don’t share my specific stocking levels but, hopefully, this gives you a good idea of my thought process. I’m not saying it’s exactly right, we all have to make our own decisions, but it is how I made my decisions.
I posted on this a little while back if you want to read it over and see if there is anything I forgot to mention here: