by Frank Sharpe

Like anyone, I love a good conspiracy, especially when it suggests something along the lines of dark government forces working at some level to destroy our liberty (or at least blaming them for alar in apples.) Of late, one can’t seem to log on to Facebook or any gun forum without seeing predictions of our impending doom because some government branch has posted a contract bid for ammunition – The latest being the Department of Homeland Security’s bid for 141,000 rounds of “sniper” ammo.

Granted, if I knew nothing about firearms, ammunition or the industry, I’d probably think the sky was falling too. Problem is that I do know a little something about the industry, so I’m less than impressed with the presentation.

Let me break it down for you:

141,000-rounds of ammo comes to 1000-rounds per 141 snipers.

If one considers that DHS has under its umbrella the Border Patrol, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Secret Service, FEMA, and the Customs Service, it quickly becomes evident that they have far more than 141 snipers in their ranks. I tried a quick web search on it and the total number wasn’t something I could come up with, but my guess is that the Border Patrol/ICE has at least that many of its own. The 141,000-rounds are most likely for a single unit of snipers in one branch of DHS. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

In the article, the author tries to insinuate that the purchase of 168-grain .308 is of nefarious origins because other bullets could be had for less money. Yes, others can be purchased cheaper, but anyone who knows anything about long-range, bolt-action shooting will agree that you don’t practice with cheap ammo and then hunt or snipe with the good stuff. You do all of your shooting with the good stuff because you need to gather data on your rifle and ammunition combination. Snipers are introduced into a violent confrontation with no warm ups or practice shots. They need to know exactly what their bullet will do under the wind, temperature, distance, etc., they face when called into action. Personally, I don’t want them practicing with any ammo other than what they would use to brainstem a hostage taker who has one of my loved ones on the end of their knife.

In reality, 141,000-rounds of .308 is barely a drop in the bucket of what they should be burning up in a year. We can all stop panicking about it.

Next… The author also mentions the recent purchase of DHS .40 hollow point handgun ammunition. Federal regulations state that all practice and qualification are to be done with duty rounds. As a trainer, I couldn’t agree more – we should all be training using full-power loads in order to better manage recoil.

As a private citizen, I can’t afford to (what? You either? …Of course, if Corbon wanted to send me 20 cases of free ammo a-year, I’d run it…but I digress.) When it’s our tax dollars, money often tends to be no object with government agencies and the implementation of their regulations. Yes, they ordered around 430-million rounds, but that’s not all at once, it’s to be spread out over 5-years. Also, when you consider that DHS has over 300,000 employees (obviously not all are armed, probably less are than aren’t) you can come up with a number that looks like a bare minimum for yearly practice per agent. Sure, I’m speculating a bit, but on the side of reason rather than fear-based conjecture.

My practical comment to the .40 hollow points issue is this: Do you really think the US government is planning to declare martial law on its citizens and enforce it with handguns? We should be so lucky! The armed population of the United States outnumbers all of the world’s militaries COMBINED! I don’t know about you, but that makes me sleep better at night. Handguns will not win that fight.

Election cycles and legislative threats have caused ripples (and tsunamis) in the ammunition market over the last decade – it’s nothing new. Only recently have the shelves at most gun stores started to look somewhat normal again, well over a year after Sandy Hook. .22 is still in short supply, and manufacturers are still running 3 shifts. Remember, the government buys their ammo from the same suppliers you and I do. And believe it or not, there are some purchasing agents that actually try to plan ahead; especially when they find their shelves bare and re-supply a year out because of the latest panic.

Last year I personally donated a case of 9mm to a local PD because they were absolutely out of ammunition and needed to get their staff through qualification. Government agencies are learning the same lesson we all are: If you don’t already have it, you won’t get it during a panic.

With that in mind, and the 2014 and 16 elections coming up, we should all be keeping our stockpiles high as there are bound to be shortages. So, yes – Have ammo! If you see it, and you can afford it, buy it. But if your motivation to do so is that the government is gearing up to jackboot you in the dark of night, then you’re probably vesting yourself into a whole bunch of needless stress. I’m not saying it could never happen, I’m just saying they’re still not ordering enough ammo.

Next time you read one of these panic-laced articles, web search the agency’s employee numbers and find out how many are armed and what their qualification requirements are, then do the math. You might be surprised at how much sense it actually makes.

Frank Sharpe

Fortress Defense Consultants


10 thoughts on “SHARPE: The Conspiracy Behind Government Ammunition Purchases”
  1. Congratulations on a well-written article. It’s rare to find common sense on these articles. The alarmist complain about HP sots, but they’re mostly unaware of the huge discounts DHS gets. They’re getting .40 cal S&W 180 grain in Federal’s HST for $0.244 per round. That same round costs $1.35 at midwayUSA when they have it.

    The cheapest .40 cal 180 grain I’ve found in FMJ is $0.36 per round at Midway.


  2. Training? Training?

    I’m envious that they can afford to shoot the good stuff in training. From some of the reports I’ve seen from time to time, I think they need more (or better) training.

    NYPD in particular.


    1. They certainly do, over all.

      But when one considers an agency like the Air Marshalls, the numbers are a bit mind blowing.

      The Air Marshalls have 4000 armed agents under DHS. I personally know a former Air Marshal who now works for another three letter agency – when he was an Air Marshall, he was shooting 1000-1500 PER WEEK, with a 300-round quarterly qualification. That is a minimum of 56,000 rounds per agent for practice, and 1200 for qualification per year. That’s 224-million for practice and another 48 million for qualification JUST FOR THE AIR MARSHALS, PER YEAR!

      At FLETC, during training, a PALLET of ammo is placed between every two agent candidates, and they shoot it up over the SEVEN week program.

      I just don’t think it is registering with everyone how much ammo the government goes through.

  3. Cool, we need to be as well supplied since we are supposed to be the unorganized militia. Of course that does not mean that we are to equipped as well to some varying degree but to go the ossosite direction with restrictive laws and regulation is something to consider.

    I agree whole heartedly with the writer, you must shoot the same round consistantly in order to be functional with that weapon and round. However, the typical shot done by police agencies is considerably less than the 600 yard ammo type we are talking about. Most shots are within 200 yards in urban environments. I have yet to see many rural stand offs, except Ruby Ridge and Waco, in the past years. So yes there is a bit of chicken little mentality here. But, I am glad someone is watching the hen house instead of the fox. I am glad that someone is out there digging up this information and getting it out. Some of these internet alternate media sites have uncovered some very valuable information.

    It was one such site that found and broke the Fast and Furious gun running scandal. Obviously these site have their benefits. So don’t shoot the messenger just because he was a bit excited and blew up the information a bit. I dare say that the federal officials who occupy places in government have done less by labeling us homegrown terrorists whith their indicators such as people who want a constitutional government, study the Constitution and think the size and effectiveness of government are way too disporportionate. DHS had every law enforcement gun int he country effectivly pointing in our direction. Above all lets remember Sun Tzu:

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

  4. The problem does lie in the government purchasing said ammo but in the fact an American ammunition manufacturer would sell to the very people who are actively trying to put them and their majority of customers out of business. Those companies have to know full well what those rounds are for. To murder Americans who resist the politicians “new world order” plain and simple. No matter how you try to sugar coat it if it stinks like a turd, looks like a turd it is still a turd. Polite way of saying exactly what I think of your rationale

    1. Well, you certainly told me.

      Back to sitting on your bunker couch while the rest of us keep fighting for our rights.

    2. Some folks thrive on conspiracies, despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary.

      Evidence: 9/11 “truthers”.

      I don’t have much use for those in particular.


  5. Thanks Frank,

    While the numbers are hard for an individual to comprehend, on an agency level it is not so much. I would be the same if we looked at individual expenditures for something like coffee, vs. how much Google spends on coffee for their employees.

    We have plenty of real problems in our government that we need to deal with and the ammunition purchases are just a distraction.

  6. I’m seeing ammo on the shelves again lately, including .40 S&W and 9mm Luger… What I’m still not seeing is .22LR, other than the subsonic stuff that doesn’t work in semi-autos.

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