The Short Answer: Absolutely not.
We have been asked this millions of times this year due to the internet rumor mill being in high gear again, as it was back in 2009.
The Long Answer: Government sales are a very small part of what we do. We are a private company and I am contractually bound (as are all of our executives) from disclosing any sales data. What I can tell you is if we lost all our government sales in a normal year, our day-to-day business would not be changed a great deal. We may need to lay a person or 2 off at the most, but that would be it. Now on the other hand, if we lost even ½ our US shooting market sales, we would be laying off entire shifts. We all see the government as this huge entity with unlimited resources, but their sales pale into nothingness when compared to what the US shooting community needs – even on a normal year. When you factor in the 7 fold increase in retail sales this year and the sequesters reduction in government sales – it is even less of a factor than a normal year. Our 2013 government sales are actually lower than 2012.
I know the rumors about huge government agency purchases along with the shortages makes some people draw conclusions that simply are not the case. Being in sales, I can tell you that a government agency requesting a bid for 2 billion rounds of ammo is a FAR cry from a government agency BUYING 2 billion rounds of ammo. The shooting industry is a fairly close industry and we all know each other pretty well and word gets around quickly. I personally do not know of a single company who has been awarded this bid, let alone one that is working on it. The shooting industry would know it pretty quick. Many companies sell to government agencies and have for many, many years. These small segments of business are not causing the shortages in any way, I promise you that.
When the conspiracy theorists tell you “the shooting industry is lying to you and that all the sales are going to the government,” remember this, the shooting industry is made up of thousands of people just like you. We are in the industry because we love to shoot and hunt. We are at the range on weekends just down from you punching paper, slapping steel or sighting in. Our employees think about the government and the laws that are being introduced the same way you do. Now, picture if YOU worked at one of these companies and saw this kind of thing going on. You would be very upset to say the least. So imagine how hard it would be for the entire shooting industry to be in on some massive conspiracy with the government to not sell to the US shooters. Saying it would be impossible is an understatement, and I would expect my office would be on fire by now. Our people would never stand for it even if we were stupid enough to want to do it.
So what makes more sense, the conspiracy theories or that sales really are that strong and the industry simply cannot keep up? The next time there is a gun show in your area, go for a visit and see how many people are there compared to normal and look at the ridiculous prices they are paying for products. This is the same panic buying that is gripping many US shooters driving them to buy more than they ever have, creating these shortages.
One thing we can do that the conspiracy theorists cannot, is prove it. We do tours all day long and everyone is welcome to come for a tour. The first department you walk through is our shipping department and you will see the millions of bullets lined up to ship that day and where they are going. You will recognize all the distributors names and not see any with the words “Department of” anything in front of them. We invite you all to come see for yourself.