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The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, built during World War II, has long been operated for the federal government by private contractors. Over the past decade, a New York Times investigation found, the site has increasingly produced rounds for the commercial market as military demand has diminished.

The Army says the commercial business is meant to keep the factory in good working order so that military production can be quickly ramped up, while also reducing the cost of its ammunition. The current contractor, Olin Winchester, did not respond to inquiries from The Times. …

By reviewing annual reports, earnings-call transcripts and government documents, and interviewing more than 40 former employees and others with knowledge of Lake City’s operations, The Times was able to determine that the site, in Independence, Mo., had manufactured hundreds of millions of rounds for the commercial market every year since at least 2011. …

The vast majority of Lake City rounds sold by retailers have gone to law-abiding citizens, including hunters, farmers and target shooters. Some are drawn to them because they are made with the same materials and often to the same specifications as the military’s, while others see them as an authentic accessory for their tactical weapons and gear.

But some Lake City rounds have been seized from drug dealers, violent felons, antigovernment groups, rioters at the U.S. Capitol and smugglers for Mexican cartels. They were confiscated from a man in Massachusetts who threatened to assassinate President Barack Obama and from a man at Los Angeles International Airport after he fired at a civilian and three T.S.A. agents, killing one.

— Ben Dooley in Inside the Army Factory That Makes AR-15 Ammunition: 4 Takeaways

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121 COMMENTS

    • Wait until they figure out that bears defecate in the woods. I can’t really say how many different ammo rounds started life as a military round. 30-06, .308, .45ACP, 9mm, how many others? I’m sure it’s a lot.

      • One can certainly argue, with authority, that there is absolutely no distinction between military and civilian firearms development. The two have always been intertwined. The distinction pressed by the left is a new phenomenon used to scare the uneducated. Just like calling the AR “high powered” or “military style”. US v. Miller (1939) SCOTUS opined that arms of efficacy to the military are specifically protected by the introductory statement of the 2nd Amendment for the militia and thus the People.

        • The argument of the state in Caetano was that ‘stun-guns’ were not protected by the 2A because they were not readily applicable to military use… That argument was rejected by unanimous majority to which logic would dictate that the opposite is also rejected. But we just keep playing along with groundhog day.

    • “But some Lake City rounds have been seized from drug dealers, violent felons, antigovernment groups, rioters at the U.S. Capitol and smugglers for Mexican cartels.”

      Here’s the WHOLE POINT of the “article:”

      “…rioters at the U.S. Capitol…”

      Full stop. Demonization.

      And Trump is literally Hitler.

  1. I can only imagine the taxpayer cost to keep LC running without any civilian ammo sales by the contractor running it.

    The left doesn’t care and is more than happy to have us pay that indirectly.

    Bad enough to have one small arms ammo plant for the entire country, let’s make it worse.

    • “I can only imagine the taxpayer cost to keep LC running without any civilian ammo sales by the contractor running it.”

      That’s reason enough to keep LC running 24-7-365, even ignoring the market stabilization effects of the *massive* economies of scale LC offers…

  2. Breaking news: ISIS drives Toyota trucks with retrofitted mounted machine guns!! I’m sick of these libs telling me I can’t say “Happy Honda Days” because I might offend
    someone who celebrates Toyotathon…

    • My grandfather was in the ordinal Toyotathon back in 42-44 as a Marine… Ive really never felt the need to celebrate it again or condone by purchasing one

      • FWIW, my dad was shipped home in a basket after the invasion of Guadalcanal. They put a silver plate where some of his skull used to be, he recovered quite well, and lived a happy life until cancer got him in 1980. Pa rather liked his Toyota Landcruiser. As a Christian, he didn’t hold grudges against the Japanese. Of course, he was a sinner too – he lied about his age so he could join the Seabees when he was only 15. We all have our faults, I guess.

        • I’m a former Seabee , but not a real one like your father…they were the originals, constantly under fire in horrific circumstances. Tough to run a D-7 and fire back at the same time. I’m sure he passed the Can-Do attitude onto you.

    • “Breaking news: ISIS drives Toyota trucks with retrofitted mounted machine guns!!”

      Blame the UN agricultural technical assistance grants for the Libyan ‘Technicals’…

  3. In Viet Nam, the military supposedly fired 50,000 rounds per kill. The Army will quickly run out of ammo if we have to fight the Chinese, who outnumber us 4 to 1. Better build 4 more Lake Citys and get them online. It will also bring prices down and fight inflation, use some money from the Inflation Reduction Act to fund the construction.

    • There are so many Chinese soldiers (2.5 million, I have heard) that it will be IMPOSSIBLE to miss 50,000 times.

      What the army likes to call a “target rich environment.”

      And I’ll bet that was total rounds from all weapons, not 50,000 of 5.56 NATO from M-16s.

      • I suspect that a large fraction of that count came from mini-guns. And some from belt-fed single-barreled machineguns.
        No matter how many infantrymen were fielded they couldn’t carry enough ammunition to make up the lion’s share of that count.

      • War with China?, where are we going to get TV’s, car parts, refrigerators, soap, or a can of shitty mushroom soup etcetera etcetera etcetera etcetera etcetera.
        The secret is out, China already owns US.

        • I’m just using it as an excuse to massively ramp up ammo production. We cannot actually fight them, it would put us back into the Stone Age of Consumer Goods, as you have noted.

    • Chinese population is about 4 to 1 but militarily China only has a strength of about 2 million, US is 1.5 million and if they show up here that number can grow exponentially with over 40% (more or less) of the population owning over 450 million guns (1% would more than triple the military) which includes approximately 16.5 million trained Veterans… An invasion without a widespread nuclear attack first will never succeed in the US, that’s why the fucking Kommie Left is trying to disarm the people but that’s not going to succeed either…

    • MADDMAXX November 13, 2023 At 12:17
      Your comment is awaiting moderation
      To be the “average”, I would have needed to fire 9,300,000 rounds through my M14, my .45 and my little double barrel 12 ga in 39 months… I haven’t fired that many rounds through ALL the guns I’ve ever owned or used…

      Been awhile since I’ve been “moderated”… Wonder what’s wrong with it? Too much math? Missed a punctuation mark? Hmmmmm fuck it, it doesn’t matter…

    • I was there in 68. It was said that 2500 rounds per kill was the ratio. Of course, the kill numbers were imaginary. In our after action searches, when 6 bodies were found, the higher level brass altered it to 26 or such (we couldn’t count right, or they were mostly dragged away). Just to appease the idiot SecDef McNamara and the super corrupt (but not as much as the Bidens) Johnson.

      Part of the problem was the rock ‘n roll mode using the weak M16 5.56 round. I saw Army grunts on the DMZ region (where I was an Army M48A3 tanker) spray entire 20 round mags in the “general direction” of the NVA without aiming. Footage of the Battle of Hue showed the Marines doing the same thing. One wouldn’t do that with the M14 and 7.62 ammo. Hard to control.

      • Argentina and Britain may have a bit to say on the 7.62 spray and pray happening but yeah that would have been with FALs over in the Falklands.

  4. All men are mortal.
    Alice is mortal.
    Therefore, Alice is a man.

    Didn’t these mokes ever take a logic class?

    • That’s why I drive Many Odd Parts Arranged Recklessly or a Jumble of Everyone Else’s Parts.

        • “I believe johnny cash wrote a song about an automobile with a bunch of next parts. Great song.”

          ‘One piece at a time’

        • I could hear everybody laughing for blocks around
          But up there at the courthouse, they didn’t laugh
          Because to type it up, it took the whole staff
          And when they got through, the title weighed sixty pounds

    • OMG ! You’ve just uncovered the next “NYT Exclusive” story. American car manufacturers sold American made cars to dealers who sold them to people who then privately sold them to criminals who used them to commit violent crimes all across America. No doubt about it, all cars must be sold through only registered dealers to keep them away from criminals and those who should not have them. No More Private Car Sales! You saw it here first.

  5. It’s simple actual ‘commonsense’ to keep the Lake City plant running commercial orders when not producing DoD ammo. The workers can have careers, and that means *critical* institutional knowledge is preserved.

    I can easily see them wanting to make it a DoD only plant, and we can’t allow that to happen. LC is most likely the lowest-cost producer of NATO ammo, and that keeps a lid on the wholesale costs of ammunition…

  6. Inquiring minds want to know … how many murderers have eaten at McDonalds?? Where is the accountability??

  7. Wait until they hear about the CMP.

    All these numbskulls think we need to have a “conversation” about guns (and ammo) in this country but don’t know the most basic realities of the industry they want to talk about. Then, to make matters worse, they feel the need to lecture others.

    They remind me of those college freshmen who, having just learned their very first fact about a subject they previously hadn’t studied, assume no one else knows what they now know and try to condescendingly explain huge swaths of academic knowledge to others.

    • “ They remind me of those college freshmen who, having just learned their very first fact about a subject they previously hadn’t studied, assume no one else knows what they now know and try to condescendingly explain huge swaths of academic knowledge to others.”

      Lol Sounds like you had a conversation with my oldest daughter a few yrs ago.

      I do not have a degree. She now has one, and my wife has two degrees and a masters…yet they both come to me to ask how to spell words.

  8. Oddly, @benjamindooley is blocked on X(Twitter) unless you are a follower.

    Never fear! I’ll follow and comment.

    • Looks like he got two articles from his ground breaking research.

      “In recent years, the factory has also pumped billions of rounds of military-grade ammunition into the commercial market,”

      WTF is military grade? He doesn’t know either. It’s just something his editors told him to make liberal use of.

      “Secrecy around the arrangement has helped to hide its scale, ”

      Secret to who? We all knew about it. In this case, “secret” means ill-informed, clueless. Like most NYT readers.

  9. Well “luckily”I haven’t been shooting my verboten AR with all those wicked 556 Lake City boo-lits(I have a few). I guess I could in Indiana aka God’s country🙄🙃

  10. “Some are drawn to them because they are made with the same materials and often to the same specifications as the military’s”, well then, that must be a hair on fire revelation. How much ammunition did Joe leave behind in Afgan land?

  11. In other news, investigative reporters from the New York Times have been “able to determine that” water is wet!

    “Some are drawn to them because they are made with the same materials and often to the same specifications as the military’s.”
    Yeah, right! People only buy that Lake City stuff because it’s cheap.
    The NY Times doesn’t realize that “milspec” means the lowest quality from the lowest bidder.
    Instead of minute of angle, Lake City shoots minute of barn door.

    • Uh, no in part. Their FMJ cartridges may be poor (though they’re not in my experience), LC is some of the best brass available for making target loads.

      It sells for a premium.

  12. No M16s to Israeli citizens
    No AR-15s to Americans.
    No .223 to Americans.
    We call that a pattern.

    • Our government really hates armed citizens anywhere except for various Muslim militant groups. We regularly arm those guys. Then we fight them. Then we arm them again. Then we arm other people fighting them, etc, etc.

  13. They think this is bad?

    Just wait until the Times learns that the Technical Data Packages for the M-16, M-4, etc are publicly available and companies have been using them to make parts for those evil black rifles to Actual Military Specifications!!

    • Or wait until this Mentat discovers that *actual* milsurp ammo (and newly mfgr’d ammo from official government plants) from the US military and those of Israel, Switzerland, France, Greece, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Romania, Yugoslavia, etc., has long been freely sold to American civilians. (If he’s all bothered by Lake City, wait until he discovers what Prvi Partisan is and does. His little head will explode.) Civilian sales to keep military ammo plants running at full capacity (and to reduce the cost of military ammo production) is old news.

      Of course, new ammo production from Israel and from most former Eastern Block countries isn’t going to be available to us any time soon (for Wolf / Tula / Red Army Standard, probably never again), given that all available production and government stockpiles are needed for immediate military requirements. And governmental sales of Greek / Korean / Malaysian / US military ammo stockpiles is now pretty much now a thing of the past. But billions of rounds of the stuff are already in our various ammo piles.

    • And these stellar marksmen didn’t get a single hit on the nearby targets. Must be FBI trained (poor FeeBees couldn’t handle the 10mm – aka .357 Mag – dropped back to the weak 9mm so they could hit the targets in qualifications, at least some of the time).

      • The Not-So Secret White House bag of cocaine cover-uppers have been awfully quiet on how many rounds they expended and where those rounds went ….. no doubt some hit innocent grannys and children a block or two away and those injuries/fatalities are being attributed to random “gun violence”.

  14. How many suicides could have been prevented if the band Black Sabbath was never formed?
    America must stop these rock and role bands Hu come from foreign countries before mommy has no one to abort.

    • That’s my thought too. I kept looking for the Bee byline…

      The Old Gray Karen ain’t what she used to be.

  15. “The vast majority of Lake City rounds sold by retailers have gone to law-abiding citizens”

    But that’s not the headline, is it?

  16. I love the military-industrial complex. It provides all the ammunition I can afford to purchase. Along with all the guns I can afford as well.

    Unfortunately. There are many people who have such crazy hatred for the military industrial complex, in the “gun community”. That they would support the destruction of the small arms industry in the united states. Just to destroy Haliburton.

    Or some other civilian military government contractor, that they have an irrational hatred for.

  17. This NYT article is meant to get a reaction from Biden.

    Watch…Biden will pass an Executive Order banning sales of ammo produced at government facilities to civilians. It’s all part of the Left’s relentless push to make owning and using a gun prohibitively expensive.

    It would be an end run around the complications of dealing with the 2nd Amendment. If they can’t outright ban and confiscate your guns (mainly MSRs) and ammo they’ll limit the supply of ammo to make owning them moot.

    Of course, it won’t work but in their pea sized brains they’ll think they’ve “done something” to promote “common sense gun safety” and to stop “gun violence.”

    • Yes, I think that’s the point. Making it less available or more expensive is still a win in their book. If nothing else, they’d be happy that deplorables would have to spend more money.

    • Not working seems to be part of the plan. Obviously, it didn’t work because it wasn’t strict enough. But the next, further restriction on law-abiding gun owners will help bring an end to America’s epidemic of gun violence.

      • “But the next, further restriction on law-abiding gun owners will help bring an end to America’s epidemic of gun violence.”

        Nope. It will be the one after that.

  18. Same media that cites GVA that there are HUNDREDS of mass shootings each year found that LC ammo was found at about a dozen of them. The clear desperation suggests that they sense they’re on the losing side of history.

    • 270, 3006, 243, 350 Legend, 450 Bushmaster and 22, among others. Since they all can be shot from an AR platform.

  19. It is not as if ammo is being shipped directly from the manufacturer.

    And if Lake City is the only manufacturer of Army ammunition, one has to expect the casings will be widespread.

  20. Lowe’s Home Depot and Ace hardware better beware. over 700 people per year get killed by hammers. not to mention those who are killed in homes in general which contain plumbing fixtures, electrical materials, wood, sheetrock, flooring, etc …

  21. BREAKING NEWS… GOD BEING INVESTIGATED FOR LINKS TO CANCER CAUSED BY RADON GAS!! MORE UPDATES COMING…

  22. With a bit of care, I could likely get by without purchasing another round of 5.56mm ammo for the rest of my life. Although that would likely curtail some of the Sunday afternoon informal target shooting with the grandkids. They’re getting old enough to start on centerfire rifles and lighter gauge shotguns.
    Been buying Government surplus ammo for 50 plus years. Some pretty good and some not worth the brass for reloads. LC has been a little spotty in quality over the years, but not bad in the past decade. Should I run across a case or 2 at something close to a reasonable price, I will buy. Or just continue to hunt brass and roll my own.

  23. Wait till they find out we actually buy it because it’s cheap and that we have ammo in the civilian market far more effective than anything available to the military.

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