DHS to buy millions of rounds of ammunition, again

Photo by mr.smashy via creative commons

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2014 — The last decade has seen increasing reports on the arming of federal agencies, the militarization of local police forces, and the alleged hording of ammunition by government agencies. The Bundy ranch standoff highlighted the levels that the government is willing to go to enforce regulations and intimidate the public.

Other reports claim that stories about the Department of Homeland Security buying over a billion rounds of ammunition are false, or that the contract was to be spread over several years. Public concern with the issue has died down.

But the story is back. It seems that the federal government is not finished buying ammunition.

In at least three separate posts to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the federal government has placed bid solicitations for over 270 million rounds of ammunition over the next five years.

The smallest volume bid, posted by the Department of Justice, is for 46,000 rounds of .223, 4,750 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot, and 95,000 rounds of 9mm.

The next highest volume bid, posted by the Department of Homeland Security, is for 4.8 million rounds of .357 ammunition a year, with 24 million rounds total in the contract.

The highest volume bid is again posted by the Department of Homeland Security, for 50 million rounds of Smith and Wesson .40cal ammunition, for a total of 250 million rounds over duration of the contract.

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That is over 270 million rounds of ammunition.

These amounts are absurd. DHS has roughly 160,000 armed agents, including the Coast Guard. At the rate the DHS is purchasing ammunition, over the next five years they will have roughly 1,600 rounds of ammunition per armed agent. This does not include the millions of rounds already purchased under previous contracts over the last few years. The exact ammunition stockpile of the DHS is unknown.

These bid solicitations come at a time when the United States is attempting recovery. Tensions between the government and the people are high, the majority of Americans believe the government is too big, and that it oversteps its power.

At the same time, the government is increasing its size, they are training new agents, they are ordering more guns, and they are buying more ammunition.

Violent crime is down in the United States, and has been going down for years. Expanding the Department of Homeland Security in terms of agents and assets seems to be unnecessary in the face of a safer America.

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We are trying to recover from economic turmoil; the recession hit many people hard. The government is in massive debt, they are cutting benefits to the military, they have cancelled White House tours, and they are threatening to shut down roads if certain funds are not rejuvenated. Yet the government sees no problem in spending millions on ammunition that it does not need, for agents it does not need.

What does the Department of Homeland Security do? They keep us safe, and they assist in hunting down terrorists. But according to the White House, al-Qaeda is on the run and radical Islamists are not a threat, so this acquisition seems excessive.

The DHS already has many millions of rounds stockpiled. Just as the government tells civilians all the time that they do not “need” a 30-round magazine, the government does not “need” 200 million rounds of .40cal ammunition, especially when we apparently don’t have money to fix roads or fund Social Security, or continue to provide the promised benefits to our veterans. It is also possible that they are attempting to create another ammunition shortage. The .357 and .40 rounds are very popular for self-defense, so that’s plausible.

This will not be the last of these purchases; no doubt the DHS will claim that they need these rounds for training purposes, they will explain that they really do need this ammunition because they train year-round, and they will explain that everything is alright, and there is nothing to see here.


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  • Jeffery german

    I don’t trust the government,,, excluding the military and police force, with a BB gun.

  • AlexisJaime

    The rounds are to use against us, not al-Qaeda. The government wants a revolution so they can squash the uprising and enact marshal law and do AWAY with the Constitution. It could also be to artificially inflate the prices of ammunition by limiting its availability to the public.

    • TNUGA

      DHS has been buying less than 1% of the ammo made in the US for the past two years. All of us gun owners have been causing the ammo shortages by purchasing so much. BHO is still the cause of the shortages, though. His repeated call for more gun laws sense us to the stores to buy more guns and ammo. The result: empty shelves.

      • AlexisJaime

        Where is your source for the 1%? I’m not saying it is incorrect because frankly I don’t know, but it does seem small. That being said I do agree that the fear the gun grabbers created probably does affect supply more.

        I will probably do some research later today on supply and demand of the ammo industry in the U. S.

        • TNUGA

          Not a problem. I was duped on these numbers last year myself, and It wasn’t until I did some independent research that I discovered how wrong the numbers were. Most of these rumors started at Infowars, BTW.

          The most accurate summary of DHS purchases can be found from the audit that the GAO did. It was released on 2.12.2014. and the summary can be seen at the link below. It shows that DHS purchased 96 million rounds in 2012, and 84.4 million rounds in FY2013.

          (moderator held the links. Google: “DHS ammo GAO” for the link to the report)

          From reading ammo industry reports and the annual reports of ammunition makers, I surmised that 2012 ammo production was 9 to 12 Billion rounds. I later found reports from the National ShootingSports foundation that indicated that 2012 ammo production was 10 billion rounds, so I deem that to be pretty accurate. 96 million is a little less than 1% of that number. NSSF also shows that all of us civilian gun owners purchased at least 8 Billion rounds in 2012. FAET tax reports indicate that the civilian number increased 48% in 2013, That’s the cause of the shortage.

          2012 Ammo production quote:

          ( for the link, google the paragraph in quotes below)

          “Traditional ammunition represents 95 percent of the U.S. market and is the staple ammunition for target shooters, hunters and law enforcement, with more than 10 billion rounds sold annually.”

          Hope this helps, I do my homework, I back up my statements, and when i get fooled like i did last year, I own my mistakes. Feel free to ask any questions.

          So, to summarize, DHS purchases about 180 million of the more that 20 billion rounds made in the past 2 years, and their purchases have been going DOWN.

          All of us gun owners purchased 8 billion rounds in 2012 and that number increased by around 48% last year. You tell me what cased the shortage!

          Ask any questions. i’ll be glad to provide sources for you.


          • AlexisJaime

            Thanks for the reply. I will google it and do some of my own research.

          • TNUGA

            Very good idea. Please let me know what you find, especially if you find anything that conflicts significantly with what I stated, OK?

      • Richard

        Electing BHO has been the best thing for the gun industry.

  • 4theLord

    This ammo will come in handy when BHO declares Martial Law.


    What an inept attempt at “reporting!”

    DHS has not purchased “billions of rounds.” In 2012, they purchased 96 million rounds, and 2013 was 84.4 million rounds. They purchased about 650 million in the past 6 years, for an average of 109 million per year.

    Conor should take a closer look at the solicitation for the 40 cal S&W. It says”

    “The purpose of this solicitation is to achieve price savings over the current 40 SW duty ammunition. Resulting award will be used for training/qualifications only, not for duty use, and will be used as a direct substitution in lieu of procuring like quantities of duty ammunition.”

    People have commented that DHS contracted for up to 90 million rounds of .40 caliber S&W in hollow-point, and that is correct. It is a 5-year contract, with a total of 450 million rounds possible. Most local, state and federal LEOs carry hollow point on duty. it is a superior round for stopping a target.

    While some naysayers offer senseless complaints about how HP causes more damage to the target (isn’t that the objective if you have to fire a shot?) the only valid reason for them not to use HP would be the cost. For most of us, HP does cost more. The 40 cal Federal HST round that DHS buys under this contract sells for $1.35 per round and higher at civilian outlets, while Federal’s FMJ round sells for around $0.37 per round.

    While that is a significant difference, it ignores an important fact: DHS has received some incredible price breaks with their strategic sourcing. DHS is paying a hair over $0.24 per ground for the same ammo that we would have to pay $1.35 (and higher) even at discounters. They’re buying JHP cheaper than any FMJ I’ve seen, and Federal is paying the FREIGHT!

    In my opinion, this solicitation is simply a way of answering the “hollow-point” critics out there. As the solicitation states, it is an attempt to obtain significant savings over the current ammo they buy, and this contract (if they ever find a suitable bidder) will reduce the amount of HP purchased on the 450 million contract by a like amount. DHS is already in the option years of the 450 million contract, and is not obligated to buy a single round on that contract from this point on.

    By the way, this solicitation was initiated in 2012, and, so far, there has been no bid that would have provided significant savings over the price that DHS already gets. Apparently, no one has submitted a lower price in the time this has been out there. The raw materials for a 180 grain 40 cal cartridge will cost the same, regardless of whether it’s FMJ or JHP. The difference is that ammo makers can get a higher price from civilians for HP because of the emotional need to have the best we can get for our protection. As a result, ammo makers spend marketing dollars on HP and make much higher profit margins on HP.

    They have already cut their prices to the bone on stuff they sell to DHS. They even print their cartons in black and white to save costs. Sounds like somebody’s trying to be a fear-mongerer just like Infowars!

    • LetsTryLibertyAgain

      I’m a free market guy. Why would an ammo manufacturer sell ammo to the DHS for 24 cents per round, when they could sell it through distribution for a retail sale of anywhere close to $1.35 per round? Even factoring in the distributor’s markup and the lowering of the retail price very slightly when that extra 1% of ammo is sold on the open market, you’d have an ammo manufacturer like Federal supposedly selling JHP to the federal government for 24 cents (with free shipping!) when they could sell the same ammo to US gun owners and making a lot more money. Or more likely, they’d make less JHP and use the equipment to make FMJ to sell to us for more profit than they’re making selling JHP to our government. Unless there is some sort of collusion, the laws of economics would supply the higher paying consumers with the product before selling at a lower price to the others.

      In other words, I can see fulfilling any existing contracts, but why would an ammo manufacturer enter into a new contract to sell to the government for less when they’re running at peak manufacturing volume and selling all they can make in the open market at much higher prices?

      As much as I hate to see these prolonged high prices, I love to hear that gun owners are buying ammo, shooting some and stashing some ammo for later.

  • Sandra Leigh Olson Rogers

    They are buying up ammo of the calibers that most people have in order to thwart citizens rights to bear arms & obtain the correct ammo. Then they will kill as many of us as it takes to execute their coup ‘de ‘tat & establish martial law & dictatorship.

    • TNUGA

      “They are buying up ammo of the calibers that most people have in order to thwart citizens rights to bear arms & obtain the correct ammo.” That’s hardly the case since DHS purchases less than 1% of the ammo made in the US.

      Our shortage has been caused by the market segment that bought 80% of the ammo in 2012. That segment increased their purchases by around 48% in 2013. THAT’s the cause of the shortage!

  • Richard

    Here is my prediction why Homeland Security needs so much Ammo and weapons..

    When interest rates go up on the $18+ Trillion national debt, and the government defaults on the national debt, a horrible stock market crash and depression will occur not just in the USA, but world wide. The US government wont be able to pay the EBT/welfare benefits, and those are the first people that will be rioting, looting Wal Mart, etc. Millions of people will descend on Washington DC and cause chaos, because the country is now officially broke. Lower class people are desperate to survive.

    Then you have the big banks that will fail because they were all leveraged up at low interest rates. Then derivatives market collapses, and everyones savings deposits are confiscated by the big banks. (The big banks can legally seize your deposits under the Dodd- Frank Act. )Depositors are considered unsecured creditors. The FDIC does not have the resources to save millions of depositors. So now you have millions of people with $0 in their bank accounts and no way to pay bills or buy food. They will be the next group to riot.

    This is a scary scenario to think about but it is a real possibility. DHS needs all those weapons and ammo to try and restore civil order after the US economy collapses and the dollar is worthless.

    The caveat to this scenario is that a major war, or new technology could change all of this.