Academy Sports + Outdoor Rationing Ammo, Handguns, Rifles and Rifle Mags

I’ve pulled the Geico firearms-related cancellation story; it didn’t pan out. Meanwhile, we’ve been holding off on this post until we had evidence. And here it is. Academy Sports + Outdoors is now rationing ammunition, rifles, handguns and rifle magazines. (MSR magazines are no longer available online.) A helpful customer service rep confirms that the policy is in place “until further notice.” Which will be a while; there’s no end in sight to the post-Sandy Hook sales surge.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

69 Responses to Academy Sports + Outdoor Rationing Ammo, Handguns, Rifles and Rifle Mags

  1. avatarscottlac says:

    Any gun store who still has anything for sale either limits the quantity or jacks up the price. Either way it’s rationing, either by quantity or by price point.

  2. avatarSkeev says:

    I thought you pulled the insurance article due to the fact that the marker cross outs were see through.

    I’m surprised they’d ration it, it makes just as much sense from a business point of view to sell it all in one day as it does to sell it over the period of, say, a week.

    I guess it can be seen as nice gesture to us to make sure everyone gets some, or some might see it as a ploy to not allow people to stock up before something goes down.

    • avatarmountocean says:

      Also if people are coming in every day to make a small purchace there’s a better chance they’ll buy something else.

    • avatarAharon says:

      The more customers who can find any of the ammo they want and do place an order there is also the potential for those same customers to order additional non-ammo products too. Limiting bulk buys (or hoarding) helps establish new customers since inventory is still available and keeps existing customers who will at least get a portion of the ammo they want.

    • avatarCharles5 says:

      Rather than catering to the handfull of customers that are lucky enough to walk in the morning they restock, they are trying to service as many customers as possible. I don’t much like rationing, but one box of ammo is better than the empty shelf I usually find.

      • avatarMichael says:

        Our local Academy imposed this limit because the employees who stock the shelves and man the gun counter each morning noticed that “the same six guys” were getting there before the store opened and buying all the ammo. Then a couple hundred customers, now termed “ammo zombies”, would trudge in throughout the day, look at the bare shelves, and then trudge back out. They said the decision to limit was made, even before corporate issued a blanket policy, so that ammo would be made available to more customers and “not just the same six guys who apparently don’t have to be at work early in the morning”.

        I, for one, am glad they’re doing this. We’re also seeing welfare people make it their full time job to buy low and sell high as a way to keep this new income off-the-books and away from the eyes of DHS.

        Heck, a guy in Texas said he bought several hundred rounds of 9mm from a kid through Craigslist. The kid showed up in his Academy polo.

        • avatarJustice06RR says:

          That is good to hear. It pains me to go to my local big-box store on restocking day only to find out it has been cleaned out by the first few people that bought all the ammo.

          Thats a policy I can support, at least for the meantime as we wait for supply to catch up to normal.

    • avatarjwm says:

      Plus, in the eyes of the customers you’re trying to be fair and supply as many as possible. Creates goodwill amongst the customers.

  3. avatarWilliam says:

    Taking guns away is a tedious process; the government instead is buying up all the ammo, and hardly anyone has figured it out.

    • avatarJoshinGA says:

      Better get your tinfoil hat ready, the black helicopter is circling with its death ray frying your brain as we speak. Move move move!

      • avatarensitu says:

        You obviously don’t live in Kalifornia, where they are already using drones

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          What you don’t realize is that many of those drones are being built by private citizen maker-types who are pushing the edge of the price/performance envelope.

          I personally know one guy who has a “drone” (retrofitted large RC plane) with automatic GPS waypoint guidance, onboard cellphone for telemetry and control, and multiple cameras including one which streams live video to the control station.

          It’s not just rifles where civilians have firepower equivalent to the state these days…

  4. avatarJeff says:

    I don’t have a problem with this. At least they’re not raising prices.

    Skeev, the local Academy (in a town of about 25,000), sells out every day even with rationing. At least that gives others a chance to buy some ammo. I got there one morning at opening only to see the guy in front of me buy all the .223 they had.

  5. avatarJakeIN says:

    I was limited to 100 rounds of 7.62 the other day at my local army navy store.

  6. avatarSome guy says:

    This isn’t such a bad thing I think. Maybe I am off base here but this would probably help reduce some of the out of stock issues that have been going on lately due to panick buying.

    • avatarjustin says:

      Not really, I went to my local Academy on Sunday and and saw those signs and they didn’t have a single box of any of those calibers.

  7. avatarRandomhero says:

    This isnt a bad thing. They are still normal price. What this solves is the hoarders and LGSs hitting them up for stock. My coworker went in last week and was told a single person bought everybox of 9mm that was delivered that day. And ive heard reports of LGSs somehow having stock of Academys Monarch brand of ammo on their shelves but at double the Academy price.

  8. avatarAharon says:

    Two weeks ago, Cabelas had limits to two boxes on certain calibers and boxes of ammo. This limiting buying quantities is nothing new.

    • avatarMikeP says:

      Same here … Cabela’s had limits not only on ammo, but powder and primers as well. Still out of primers, though, and most powders. :0/

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      And speaking as a non-hoarder, I’m glad to see it.

      Makes it a lot less worthwhile to drive 4 hrs to the Cabela’s just across the border in NV, but if I’m nearby on a ski trip anyway…

  9. avatardolemike says:

    thats been going on for about a week here in dallas. i went in one day and the shelves were reasonably stocked, the next day i come in and they were pulling ammo off the shelves

  10. avatarOK S. says:

    I was wondering when they would get around to it. It was always disappointing to get over there at delivery time and be a few places back in line just to see the first couple of people buy out that day’s stock. Of course, one morning I bought up all the 9mm Critical Duty–all six boxes of 25ea.

    • avatarCharles5 says:

      A couple weeks ago, I ordered 600 rounds (12 boxes of 50, 100 for my Dad, 500 for me) of 9mm Critical Duty online when I saw an ad say they had just got a shipment of 400 boxes in stock. 30 minutes after I placed the order, their website said out of stock. I should receive my order today.

  11. avatarJSIII says:

    Little known fact, Cabelas was rationing before all of this began. The manager on duty had the ability to limit purchases to (5) boxes of ammunition as he or she saw fit. I would purchase 10+ boxes all the time but the policy was/is there.

  12. avataraaronvan says:

    LGS was rationing 223/556 to 100 rounds per. LGR was only willing to sell you one 9mm box of 50 and only for range use no over the counter sales

  13. avatarChris says:

    The ammo limit doesn’t bother me too much. It will piss some people off but others will be happier. My local range did this so they have ammo to sell to allow people to use the range.

    The 1 pistol per 7 days thing is garbage. I understand the AR-15 limit, not that it would matter, but knock that back to one per day too if you are worried about stock.

    • avatarST says:

      What retailers are trying to do w/ the waiting period is maintain their stock level.

      My last purchase was in 2012 right after the balloon went up, and when I did the owner of my local gun store leveled with me about his situation. Put simply people are buying up everything he’s selling and his distributor is backordered until the Second Coming like everyone else at the moment.
      Just because he’s a dealer doesn’t mean squat; he has to wait in line like us Joe Schmoes, so if he sells all his merchandise he can’t re-stock. If he can’t re-stock , he can’t make any sales. No sales means no revenue.

      • avatarDirk Diggler says:

        certified pre-owned (ie, used) is not so bad. I only bought two guns new and the others have all been used bought off gunbroker or armslist. . . . . just saying. Better deals (possibly), no sales tax and there is availability.

      • avatarChris says:

        Selling 100 items in 1 day or selling 1 item a day for 100 days shouldn’t matter. Money will be made either all up front or over time.

        I get why they are doing this, I’d rather deal with the very few customers who can’t buy 10 guns and 20,000 rounds than deal with a dozens of angry customers telling me they will never shop here again for never having anything in stock.

      • avatarBob says:

        Which means he should jack up prices to what the market bears for his own survival. Which means fewer people who aren’t really in need purchase, which means more people who really do need, get product.

        “Greed”, “price gouging”, (the pricing mechanism, in general) works. The free market works. Too bad so many vilify vendors who simply let the market work for all.

    • avatarLTC F says:

      The pistol thing depends on where you are. At my local Academy (Cedar Park, TX) has any gun you want in stock, as long as you want a bolt action rifle in .300 Win Mag or .17 HMR. They’re pretty much sold out of everything else, including shotguns and lever guns.

  14. avatarMatt in FL says:

    The nearest Academy is 2 hours from me, but I appreciate them doing this. I prefer this to the “price rationing” method.

    I wonder how they’re keeping track of the “per day” part. That would mean they were keeping a list, and that probably sets some people’s tinfoil alarms off. If there was one local to me, I’d stop in, buy my three boxes, sign my name, and come back tomorrow. I don’t believe that the store manager is part of some vast government conspiracy to track gun owners.

    Edit: The above comment applies to ammunition. I’m not thrilled about the 7-day rationing of the actual guns, or even, for that matter the 1/day rationing of magazines.

    • avatarmountocean says:

      I was just starting to wonder about their records, too but you beat me to the post. Like you said, it’s likely a pen and paper list, but even still it’s likely they’re keeping it at the end of the day.

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        “. . . it’s likely they’re keeping it at the end of the day.”

        Why do you think this? If I was the manager (or the cashier for that matter), pitching that list in the trash would simply become one more step in my “closing up for the night” checklist.

        • avatarmountocean says:

          Depends on the size of the store, I imagine mom and pops would toss it, but in chain stores I always assume they keep all the records they can, espicially if it’s a franchise-wide policy. It’s just as easy to fax that list to “corporate” as it is to shred it. That way they can market directly to you based on your shopping history. Just like Amazon recommending products I might like, or Fred Meyer’s giving me coupons for stuff I have bought in the past.
          Now if it’s an electronic list I’d be shocked to learn they don’t keep it. Not something I’m worried about, but I expect I’ll have to start worring eventually so I might as well get some practice in.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      My experience is that this is more of a “don’t be a d!ck” rule. Most people are basically honest and won’t come back on a second visit to get around it. The ones who do are likely to be remembered by staff, or if they slip by, to constitute a sufficiently small percentage of buyers that the overall effect is still positive.

      Besides, if you come back too much later in the day, everything is likely to be gone anyway. Self-correcting problem for the sneaky guy who just has to buy more than the limit.

  15. avatarLance says:

    Better save up RF!

  16. avatarPaul W says:

    Good! Maybe I’ll be able to buy some 9mm or .357 now.

  17. avatarT. W. - Texas says:

    My wife works at an Academy in Texas. Not going to give details because the employees are not allowed to talk about the firearms and ammo department at all outside of work and I don’t want her to get in trouble.

    She told me they were fixing to do this last week because our local store has not been able to keep anything in stock. I personally know a few people that go every morning with he sole purpose of buying out any stock they get, particularly highly sought after ammo and magazines), then reselling it at higher prices. This move I think is an attempt to curb all the people buying up all the stock and reselling it as well as all the other reasons that people seem to be mentioning in the comments.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      “. . . employees are not allowed to talk about the firearms and ammo department at all outside of work . . .”

      Can you expand on that? Is it a recent thing due to the rush, or is it (has it) just been company policy?

      • avatarT. W. - Texas says:

        Not sure if its a store by store policy or a corporate one. The reasoning I heard from this store though is that there have been people hanging out back of the store early in the morning banging on the doors to the Big Rigs when they are delivering merchandise and they trying to buy the stuff right off the truck from the driver. (keep in mind, the store was not even open at the time.)

        Because of this, they aren’t allowed to discuss the truck schedules or anything else that would allude to when they may or may not get shipments of firearms and related merchandise.

        I suppose the other reason is because they don’t want employees giving out false or exaggerated information about stock levels and sales, though I do understand that firearms of all types, not just ARs, and ammo have been flying off shelves.

    • avatarBob says:

      I talked to the Walmart guy at the Walmart gun counter a week ago and he said his friend is a manager at one of the central TX Academy’s.

      He said 40 people were waiting for the doors to open and he chuckled at the sight of a bunch of fat old white guys literally running to the gun section.

      They didn’t bother putting the new ammo on the shelves, they just spread it on top of the gun counter and it would all be gone in a flash.

  18. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    I started buying ammo in quantity around October. Glad I did since you can’t find squat. I go to Cabela’s everyday after work just to see . . . . even been buying .45acp, and my (new to me) S&W hasn’t been delivered yet.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      There are people buying ammo in calibers for which they don’t have guns. True story.

      • avatarDirk Diggler says:

        Yes, but fortunately, I had planned to buy a .45 and just got the tracking number showing delivery to my ffl tomorow. :-)

        It pays to plan ahead. I have considered buying .40 S&W or .44mag just because those are next on the purchase list. Cabelas (outside STL) did have availability for those calibers as of yesterday. Everything else was .22 that they neatly arranged to make the shelves look full.

  19. avatarMike in NC says:

    I see the rationing as a good thing given the current situation. It means that stores are actually getting some new stock rather than spinning their wheels spreading boxes of .17 HMR, 30-30 and .410 shot shells to fill-in otherwise empty shelves.

    Question for RF and TTAG writers: Seeing only one SHOT show report here on TTAG from any manufacturer (TulAmmo), was that the only report you could extract from the show floor?

  20. avatarJonathan says:

    In San Antonio last weekend, the hunting dept guy at Academy (a real jerk if I’ve ever met one), told us that if you want any ammo from them, then you need to show up no later than midnight, camp out in line until the store opens and *maybe* you can buy some if the nightly truck brought any.

    Now, I’m all for price rationing, because it properly reflects scarcity and works to allocate to its most productive use. I actually wish Academy and Walmart would let prices rise. That would discourage horders from camping out and hogging the ammo. Even better, allowing retail store prices to rise would eliminate the arbitrage opportunity whereby jackwagons camp out, horde up, then go sell it online at the current market price. While that does at least introduce the ammo to the market, instead of some prepper’s closet, it still stings paying the high prices and knowing some opportunist, uncommitted to the industry is making a dirty one-time buck off other gunowners; perhaps some who need ammo for defense, not plinking.

    It’s overall a lousy situation, but I’d say some combination of legitimate retailers letting shelf prices rise a bit more, coupled with per customer limits, might be the least bad way to address this temporary short supply issue. I say that Academy is generally in the right direction here on ammo.

  21. avatarChad says:

    At least they used the term ‘Modern Sporting Rifles’ on the signs and haven’t stopped the sale of them completely.
    I understand the frustration, but it’s the buying public that has caused the issues with ammo. The government isn’t buying it all up, the public is. If people would stop the panic purchasing and hoarding, there would still be planty to go around.

    • avatarChris says:

      I haven’t seen any MSR’s in stock near me since 7:00 am on Dec 17. Kicking myself for not grabbing the last DPMS.

  22. avatarKCK says:

    It is a bad thing that the demand has been created and by whom and why but there it is.
    I can’t tell if the original story was mater of fact or a condemnation.
    They are not withholding the supply, they are distributing it. Rationing is to keep from running out. I’m sure that they sell all of their shipment.
    My local Farm store (Farm&Fleet in WI) has always had very reasonable prices compared to Cabelas and Gander Mtn. And they would often have sales. They wanted to spread the good and better to many. Theyalways had purchase limits, way before this mess.
    As in the comment above, if the get cleaned out by 6 or 60 whats the matter. Are they being accussed of withholding? I made a planned purchase the day after Xmas. I sit with 2 mags ( one was a cheap expensive one) and 60 rounds. If a retailer wants to give me ( a first timer with no inventory) at least a chance to buy some ammo that would be nice. A lot of us as we all know just bought their first and are a little short on fuel for these machines. Give us a chance thankyou.

  23. avatarKvjavs says:

    A local gun store here in NE Illinois is rationing their ammo too. Only 2 boxes per customer.

    I didn’t see any other notices. I did notice they are selling $40 used USGI mags that are banged all to hell without any Magpul followers though.

  24. avatarDon says:

    During a temporary shortage like this I would much rather be rationed by quantity limit than rationed by price gouging. It is simply a way to address a blip in demand during lagging supply that retains value for value.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      +1000

      Being able to buy one 500-box of 22LR beats the hell out of a lottery ticket (i.e. random store visit) that may or may not result in 2500 rounds of 22LR.

    • avatarWLCE says:

      it is certainly another alternative to raising prices. i actually agree with what academy is doing if they have a problem with a few people buying then trying to resell it for higher.

  25. avatarMike says:

    Academy Sports in Franklin, TN also had the sign up this morning but the only ammo they had was 3 boxes of 45.

  26. avatarBob says:

    Yes, I’m a broken record, but I believe in education and truthful reality. Pick your video here on just how “price gouging” actually helps all the right people and helps solve the problem that created the shortage.

    I do have one possible caveat, however. Since this is a political market disruption, some of the natural pricing mechanisms may either not work to solve the original cause of the problem, or not as quickly.

    But it would have worked to help the small LGS’s that are now screwed by no inventory to sell and no surplus income from not “gouging”.

    And it would keep people like me who don’t need any more ammo from buying it anyway. Which I’ve done. A lot of people like me have. Those poor first time gun buyers who can’t find any ammo but would gladly pay double…

  27. avatarAlex _Q says:

    Thats good, they need to start rationing the ammo, i am tired of these paranoid douchebags that buying up the whole entire store its very selfish.

  28. avatarJake F. says:

    I was surprised it took them that long to start rationing, we didn’t until last weekend at the store I work at. We have had folks line up outside at 6am on the days we get trucks in, open at 8, and be sold out by 9. Its been a crazy few weeks.

  29. avatarBen says:

    My LGS has been doing this for weeks (along with raising prices). But at least if you want to go shoot, you can still get a box or three of just about anything including 5.56. I don’t have a problem with it.

  30. avatartootalltrucker says:

    I for one appreciate the Academy Sports and Outdoors policy. I certainly prefer it to other stores and sites where you either do not know what days deliveries occur and/or they jack up the price. Unlike some other sites and stores, they have kept prices at close to old levels and you know when the deliveries occur so you know which mornings to go and see what is available. Just this morning I went to AS&O and bought a brick of Winchester 22LR, 525 rounds for $21.99. Also a Remington bulk box of 250 rds of 45ACP for $108. That is 4.2 cents per round for 22LR and 43 cents per round for 45 ACP. Try to find that price online somewhere today. Certainly they have built loyalty with me, as I had not used them previously but now buy my guns there and other outdoor and sport needs. Cheaper Than Dirt and Target Sports USA will never see another dime of my money.

  31. avatarlarry says:

    I say good,I was tired of not being able to buy any ammo at all, im not hoarding.go to accademy 30 min before opening and there is 6 or8 guys waitingto buy it all up and sell online twice what they paid for it. Then you got the panic buyers who were buying guns who never even

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