How Much Ammo Is Enough?

The title of this post is a trick question. There is no such thing as enough ammo. Seriously. Ask any gun owner who shoots firearms regularly and they will all tell you the same thing: “One can never have enough ammo”.

Given the run on guns and ammo that is going on as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are asking how much more ammo they should acquire? Or questioning whether or not they have stockpiled enough? When things are good some people will land on a number and be happy. When things aren’t good, most people will wish they would have acquired more or had means to acquire more.

So why am I even bothering writing about this? Truth is I started to think similar questions myself last week. Do I have enough? Should I get more? I landed on the same answers I am assuming other people landed on as well. Not enough. And, yes, acquire more. Given supplies aren’t unlimited nor are my means, this got me thinking about how to prioritize what to buy.

Before going further and sharing my ammo priorities and goals, let me just say that I’m not suggesting that anyone should take these as recommendations or even suggestions. Everyone needs to figure out their own goals and priorities based on their situation.

One more thing, in this post I am talking about the good ammo. Not range or practice ammo. As far as the range and practice stuff goes, I like to keep a couple of months worth of inventory on hand. I do this my looking at what courses and shooting matches are coming up over the next eight weeks and make sure I have enough to cover those plus a little more to cover the weekly range trips. That’s about it.

Here are my priorities for the good stuff:

  1. Enough defensive ammo to fill a couple of EDC weapon magazines (or speed loaders)
  2. Enough defensive ammo to fill a couple of AR-15 magazines
  3. Enough hunting ammo to hunt a couple of seasons
  4. Enough defensive ammo to fill a couple of all defensive weapon magazines and speed loaders
  5. Even more ammo (and magazines)!

I keep this list of goals and priorities around so that every time I have an opportunity to pick up a box or two of the “good stuff” I know what to pick up. For me, every opportunity translated to every online purchase of bulk range ammo or every time I set foot in a sporting goods store. Generally, speaking that would mean an additional $20-30 per online shopping transaction or trip to the sporting good store. These habits can make allow one to build up a stockpile overtime without breaking the bank too much.

The idea is simple. At least it seems simple to me. First and foremost, I want to make sure I have enough defensive ammo for the EDC weapons. These are generally on my person from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. This goal can be reached with one (1) or two (2) boxes of twenty (20) rounds for each EDC weapon (yes there maybe more than one) depending on the capacity of the weapon.

Next, I want to be ready for a defensive encounter with in my home. My primary weapon for that is an AR-15. As such having a couple of mags ready to go with good quality defensive ammo makes sense. Assuming 30 round magazines, this translates to about six (6) boxes of twenty (20) rounds of the good stuff.

Now that self defense supply has reached what I consider to be the absolute minimum. I can move on to building up an inventory for other activities that require quality ammo such as hunting loads or match loads (for precision shooting activities).

In terms of my priorities, hunting ammo is next. The goal of having enough hunting ammo for a couple of seasons translates into a single (1) box of twenty (20) rounds.

At this point, I feel like I’ve reached a minimum level of preparedness for protecting myself and my loved ones from an unlikely defensive encounter when times are good and gives me the ability to refill the freezer during the next hunting season.

However, that’s no reason to stop there because things can get bad. Look at any major local or regional disaster as evidence of things being able go bad. With that in mind, my fourth goal is to fill every single magazine (and speed loader) for every other pistol, revolver, or AR-style rifle in the collection. The idea behind that is that if stuff really hits the fan, then there won’t be time to refill magazines and speed loaders so it would be better to have them all ready.

Finally, after all available magazines, speed loaders, clips, reloading strips, and any other accessory that can carry spare ammo is filled. I then shift my ammo acquisition strategy to buy more self defense ammo, hunting ammo, magazines and speed loaders.

I get it. To some this may seem a little paranoid or excessive, but its pretty convenient to be able to simply grab a rifle and a box of ammo when your buddy invites you to a hunting trip at the last minute. Either way, I’m not suggesting people should hoard or stockpile ammunition for the sake of hoarding or stockpiling. What I am suggesting is that there is no such thing as ever having enough ammo, so it doesn’t hurt to have a plan to build up a personal inventory over time without breaking the bank.

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