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Agencies Bite Bullet on Expensive Ammo

Posted July 13, 2007

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— The price of ammunition has shot up in recent months because of the War on Terror, forcing local law enforcement agencies to turn to the state for help to remain well-armed.

A case of ammunition that cost the state Highway Patrol about $83 last year now sells for about $137 -- a 65 percent increase. Also, orders are so backlogged that it could take as long as a year to receive the ammunition.

"It's probably one of the biggest price increases we've had," said Al Sutton, president of Lawmen's Safety Supply, which provides bullets for many area law enforcement agencies. "If you're an avid shooter and have bought ammunition consistently over the past couple of years, you will notice a significant increase in your pricing."

The declining value of the dollar against other currencies and a worldwide resource shortage also play roles in the rising prices, Sutton said.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office has had difficulty purchasing some types of ammunition and has put a halt on qualification classes for higher-ranking officers, officials said. But they said there's no threat that deputies will be short on ammunition on patrol, they said.

The sheriff's office also has borrowed some ammunition from the state Highway Patrol.

"We don't mind sharing with the sheriff's department here or other sheriff's department if they run short," said Lt. Everett Clendenin of the Highway Patrol.

The Raleigh Police Department also has had trouble buying certain kinds of ammunition, officials said, but they said they don't expect it will impact any future training courses.

Clendenin said the Highway Patrol stocked up on ammunition to hedge against price increases, but he said higher prices do impact the agency's budget.

"That's somewhere else we have to take money from. That could be shoes or leather gear for our uniforms," he said.

26 Comments

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  • Bat Man Jul 15, 2007

    RebelRabbi I always hope that a Trooper never has to use his weapons. But that is just not the world we live in. The SIG has been a good service weapon so far.All the ballistic test shoots that I have been to so far has proven our choice of caliber is the best for our working environment. The .357 magnum is a good caliber, that is why we chose the .357 SIG. They are very similiar.

  • RebelRabbi Jul 15, 2007

    Well, Bat Man I guess I didn't know you were now using ballistic equivalent. You guys picked an excellent service weapon in an excellent caliber. I hope I AM wrong about the 357 Sig, it's my second choice, 357 Magnum is first if that gives you a clue how far I go back :->>
    Too bad you Troopers don't shot as good as you drive though! LOL!
    Seriously, THANK YOU for the job that you and your folks do. Hope you never have to find out how good that Sig really is.

  • Naughty Monkey Jul 15, 2007

    Awww, they should go back to bows and arrows.

  • Bat Man Jul 15, 2007

    RebelRabbi your numbers are off because we do not qualify with duty ammunition. That rule changed last year. We qualify with ballistically equilavent ammunition. The difference per case of practice ammuntion is only $13.19 per case.

    Hopefully by the time it is for us to change weapons again the prices will have dropped. We just changed weapons last year and with the weapon we selected, with proper maintenance, they should last many years to come.

  • RebelRabbi Jul 15, 2007

    http://www.doa.state.nc.us/PandC/680a.pdf is the Web Page for the current state contract. $327.39 for 1K 357 Sig vs. $292.29 for 1K of 40 S&W both GDHP. 1800 Troopers firing 300 (my guesstimation) Rounds per year? 540 cases per year @ $176,790.60 for 357 and $157,836.60 means a potential savings of $18,954.00. These are hypothetical numbers but if anyone knows the exact gross of ammo used by NCSHP the difference could be acurately calculated. I think saving 10% every year on an agency as large as NCSHP is a justification. I think it would be foolish to switch this soon into the service life but this should be thought of when equipment is updated in the future. God forbid the day when these decisions are made for the street guys by the beancounters, don't give em a reason via faulty logic.

  • applesmith Jul 15, 2007

    SHOOTEM IF YOU GOTUM. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. I HAVE NOT HAD ANY PROBLEMS FINDING AMMO. LAWMENS SAFETY AND SUPPLY IS A GOOD SOURCE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AMMO

  • Bat Man Jul 15, 2007

    RebelRabbi, the difference in state contract price between the .40 and the .357 SIG is not that much. So little that you could not justify switching calibers.

    Also the .357SIG did catch on with quite a few large agencies. Texas DPS uses this caliber and they have over 4000 officers. The caliber has mainly stayed on the east coast, however it has drifted west some.

  • RebelRabbi Jul 14, 2007

    For the record, as a taxpayer I don't mind spending the $$$ on 1st quality ammo, equipment and training for Law Enforcement. The war, the cost of copper and export restrictions have caused this. BUT if you will check 40 S&W is cheaper and works just as good! The 10mm is the best LE round ever developed but it didn't catch on and neither has the 357 Sig. Adopting the 357 Sig was a good tactical decision but a not-so-good logistical decision. It's an oddduck caliber dying a slow, early death. Once the gun is baought it has to be fed ammo, if the ammo is higher comparatively, money is lost in the long run. Do the Math, indeed!

  • Nancy Jul 14, 2007

    "i have always called it a war for oil, no idea what post you are reffering to. It has always been and will always be a war for oil. enough said????"

    nowayeddy - considering we import the bulk of our crude oil needs from (in order) Canada, Mexico, Saudi, Venezuela, how does Iraq figure into OUR oil consumption?

    It never did and still doesn't.

  • Hip-Shot Jul 14, 2007

    I have noticed the price on ammunition has skyrocketed prior to the article, fortunately I haven't had to purchase any because I load my own. The ammunition that I load is much better than factory ammunition, and it is what I use for personal defense: I use handloaded ammunition in my Model 19 and 1911. I have absolute confidence in my work. I'm shooting dime size groups in 30-06 and .308 at 100 yards with the handloaded ammo. Still, reloading components have gone up a little too.

    If I were a law enforcement officer I am not sure I would want handloaded ammunition in a weapon I use to save my life, because I am not familiar with the person who loaded it and their practices. Furthermore, I would not want the liability if someone lost their life in the line of duty because a round failed to go off. The only time I could see LE personnel using handloads would be on the range for practice.

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