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What the ammo shortage means for Metro Detroit police departments, private citizens

Police officers not getting enough live practice

Local police departments concerned over shortage of ammunition
Local police departments concerned over shortage of ammunition

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – Gun Shop owners and police in Metro Detroit said they are facing a massive shortage of ammunition.

“Some civilians have had better luck than police departments,” Taylor police Chief John Blair said.

Blair said the department tests its officer’s firearm proficiency three times a year, but because of the ammunition shortage, one test had to be canceled. The COVID pandemic also cut down on officer’s range practice.

“The officers don’t have enough trigger time and we are always concerned where those rounds go if we do have to fire that weapon,” Blair said.



The shortage is believed to have been caused by multiple factors. In 2020, gun owners started stockpiling ammunition during COVID, and many people purchased new guns. Remington, a major manufacturer, shut down production and filed for bankruptcy.

The FBI did 9 million background checks for new gun owners in 2020. In just two months this year, they did checks on nearly 9 million more.

Mike Barbour owns Top Gun Shooting Sports in Taylor. He said he believes ammunition is scarce because of demand. He said new gun owners don’t have enough ammunition to practice to learn how to handle their gun. He said range time is down 50%.

The Local 4 Defenders reached out to other gun stores across Metro Detroit. Action Impact said you cannot buy ammunition from them unless you are purchasing a firearm or completing a CCW. Target Sports in Royal Oak said they have no ammunition. Oakland Ammunition said they haven’t had ammunition for the past five or six months.

At Top Gun, Barbour said they don’t have any 9mm, 38, 40, or 380 ammunition for the range. He said the lack of ammunition is a rare occurrence.

Ammunition is also scarce for other Metro Detroit police departments. Harper Woods police said they had to wait nine months for their order of 9mm ammunition.

“Friends of mine not in law enforcement, they actually had more ammo than we had at one point,” Harper Woods Public Safety Director Vincent Smith said.

If your police department is low on ammunition that means they can’t do live training. The ammunition shortage also means there are new gun owners who haven’t had ammunition to practice with.

“You don’t want an accident or someone to be untrained if they did have to use their firearm for self-defense,” Barbour said.

READ: More Local 4 Defenders coverage


About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.