Stockpiling Ammo For SHTF – How Much Is Enough?

Stockpiling ammo for SHTF - How much is enough?Many preppers invest a lot of their hard earned money in stockpiling ammo. This practice is widely spread and is considered a safety net in case it hits the fan. Answering the age-old question of “how much ammo is enough?” is not easy and the following should be considered.

Most of my friends often ponder when it comes to buying ammo. Should I buy 100 rounds or 1,000? This is one of the questions I often hear and is soon followed by another: “How much do you have?” These are all questions both beginner and experienced shooters ask at some point. In my experience, these looming questions have a multitude of responses. However, is there really a correct answer for them? I believe there is and here is my opinion on the entire ordeal.

Just like your car operates on gas, your firearm is of no use if you don’t have enough ammo for it. With increasing scares about ammo shortage, stiffer legislation and all sorts of crisis hitting us every day, people are starting to stockpile. Having enough ammo is always a concern and for the preppers out there with a military background, it becomes a constant burden.

Ammo as a long-term investment

Since the government is trying to regulate firearms and ammunition, those who invest in ammo see it as a long-term investment. Doing so while the opportunity is still at hand is no different than investing in the stock market. If you remember the .22LR ammunition shortage from 2008, you probably have an idea of what I’m talking about. Back then the price surge made it almost impossible to get your hands on it and it showed us that the gun market can be highly unpredictable.

I’m not debating here about the reasons behind the high cost of ammunition and how it continues to rise year after year. I’m just pointing out that people should buy now before there’s a reason for prices to surge. Hoarders and media propaganda will influence the cost of ammo and buying as much as you can right now is the logical thing to do.

Related article: A prepper’s cache, an aid during harsh times

Ammo is a precious commodity

Every shooter needs to watch this!No matter how you look at things, ammo is a valuable commodity and we often forget about this. Since ammo requires raw materials to be made its value will only increase in time. Lead, copper and aluminum, just to name a few are resources that will become depleted at some point. The rise in materials cost will trigger a surge in the price of ammo. Since your bullets consistently increase in value, you should cash in on ammo if presented with the opportunity.

Even more, during a prolonged crisis, you could use your ammo for barter. Yes, I know that this is a delicate topic and many people advise you not to trade ammo at all. Most believe that you will give others the tools to hurt you if you trade your ammo. However, if you live in a trust-worthy community or if you are part of a survival group, bartering with ammo should pose no danger to you.

Ammo in numbers

People ask me to give an exact number when it comes to storing ammo and I find this quite funny, to be honest. The reason behind my amusement is that there’s no definitive formula to calculate how much ammo you should own. Some people say that 1,000 rounds of each caliber are enough, while others can go even further. I personally know people that have more than 10,000 rounds for each caliber and they still don’t feel covered.

The point here is that every individual’s needs are going to be entirely different and you can’t make a proper comparison. What works for others isn’t necessarily going to work for you. Even more, there are a few factors that will influence the number of ammo you plan to stockpile. Factors such as the living area, population density, level of training and purpose of use are all things one should consider.

Ammo for training

I’ve mentioned above that the level of training plays an essential role in storing ammo. In fact, you need to spend some time training with your weapon of choice if you don’t want to waste ammunition. It is a no-brainer that an accurate shooter will exhaust less ammo. Therefore, if you know how to shoot, you will not need 10,000 rounds to hit your targets.

The downside of training on a regular basis is that you will exhaust a lot of rounds to get to the point when you no longer miss your target after emptying your clip or magazine. Even more, an experienced shooter knows that a certain quantity of ammo is required to keep those skills polished.  The bottom line here is that you should stockpile enough ammo to feed your training sessions without running too low on your SHTF reserve.

Related reading: 5 Guns Every Prepper Should Own

Buying ammo the smart way

Seeing that stockpiling ammo can have a massive impact on your household budget, you need to shop smart. A great way to do so is comparing and choosing the best rifle caliber for your situation and buying what works for your budget. Having only one main cartridge is a great alternative to just buying them all. Getting used to one round and its ballistic aspects will also help you to become a more accurate shooter.

You can save a lot of money if you buy in bulk. If that’s not possible, you can buy a few boxes of ammunition every paycheck you get. It may take time to build a serious stockpile, but it won’t affect your way of living and you won’t cut back on your comfort.

Look for deals online and take advantage of gun shows every time you can. I’ve used these two methods to buy cheaper ammo and I guarantee it really works to save a buck or two. Pay attention to the market and inform yourself if you want to save money. Take a look at the news, read magazines and join forums or newsletters from your area. It should be easy enough to understand the signs of a possible national ammunition shortage.

Another thing that I’ve often seen, even in my network is people spending a lot of money on “funny rounds,” as I call them. They buy all sort of ammunition that’s new on the market just for fun, from incendiary shotgun shells to “zombie rounds” or hollow bullets. While I can understand the excitement of trying something new and out of the ordinary, I can never understand doing this while you’re on a tight budget. The temptation is always there and I recommend controlling yourself unless you have money to burn.

My advice

Ammunition will always be in demand and it becomes invaluable during a SHTF scenario. You can never have too much of it in my opinion, but you shouldn’t have tons of it if you have other priorities. You can’t eat bullets during a famine and going Rambo style to get supplies from others will not work for long. When stockpiling ammo, it merely comes down to how much you can realistically afford without impacting your way of living.

You should be able to stockpile ammo while still being able to live within your means. Start slow and steady and if you stay constant, you will have a serious stockpile in no time. Remember to keep on buying, but also to keep on practicing if you want to use your ammo wisely.

Other Useful Resources:

Find Out What’s the Closest Nuclear Bunker to Your Home

Survival Lessons from the 1880s Everyone Should Know

Learn how to Safeguard your Home against Looters

This ONE THING Can Help You Terminate Your Store-Bought Dependency

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us



13 thoughts on “Stockpiling Ammo For SHTF – How Much Is Enough?”

  1. Finally an argument on the subject of stockpiling ammo I can get behind.
    Some will chime in that you must have tens of thousands of rounds per caliber then multiply that by the number of firearms you have in that caliber.
    Personally, I cannot disagree wI the that mindset either but one must consider when enough is enough. If you must leave one location that has become untenable for any number of reasons, how do you realistically expect to transport all of your stocks to a separate location?
    I’m not advocating a person or group NOT stockpile gobs of ammo but you need to have a comprehensive idea of moving it if you have to get out of Dodge on short order.
    As mentioned in the article, each individual must decide how much is enough but it would be foolish to not think about what to do if you must leave as I mention. Surely you don’t want to have to leave a significant portion of your stocks behind for a potential adversary to find and be able to use against you.
    That said, you obviously want more than just a basic load out for if you dont, how will you be able to resupply when that quantity is depleted.
    Another way to save money and create stock without busting your budget is to consider reloading.
    Done properly and using proper components and load data, reloaded ammo, when cared for properly, is just as viable for any typical use as a factory load. If you are worried about your reloads surviving a rain deluge and feel comfortable shooting only factory ammo in a serious encounter, then use the reloads for your practice ammo. Constructed to factory specs it will function identically to factory ammo but at a lower cost, allowing you to buy more factory ammo if that is a concern.
    But all in all, no one quantity determination will be the same for every person or group.
    The important thing to remember is to HAVE enough ammo to take care of business.

    • A couple of years ago I ran into just such a scenario . i live in the mountains and a fire was burning all around the town I live in. While I never had to evacuate I knew I might have to so focused on getting my guns and ammo along with the wife’s jewelry ready to go. ( insurance will only cover up to a certain point on these items ) I was amazed at how heavy my ammo supply was when put all in one place and came to the conclusion that if I was going to have to ” bug out ” I better have a trailer next time.

    • I find the best answer is, how much can you carry when bugging out? Ammo and weapons are heavy. Take up space in your bag and you may hike long distances. Buying ammo just to have it is not smart if you have to leave hundreds of rounds behind for your pursuers.

  2. One way to look at the quantity of ammo you should have on hand is to consider how much is allocated for law enforcement annual qualification. For example, a Border Patrol agent must qualify with three firearms, semi-auto pistol, M4 carbine and 12 Gage shotgun. I believe each agent is allotted 500 rounds each for pistol and M4. Practice above and beyond that allocation is essentially at the agent’s own expense. My own practice is to maintain 1000 rounds for each caliber that I use extensively (three different calibers). I operate on the premise that this quantity has nothing to do with SHTF situations and assume that it doesn’t exist. In other words, the ammo stocks that I maintain for SHTF do not rely on whether I have practice ammo on hand.

  3. The “ideal” count of ammunition varies based on usage. For a round used for big game hunting or long range shooting, a number in the 100s might be adequate, where for defense ammo, the number would be more better if it were in the 1000s. In the good old days, when .22 was cheap and plentiful, 10s of 1000s was desirable.

    The article discusses “how much” to store, and the “economics”. It completely ignores the practical aspect of “how” to store your stockpile, which is a factor. Ammunition stocks take up a certain amount of space, they are heavy and a slight bit of a fire hazard and clash with most decors. Plus, improper storage (heat, moisture and especially petroleum fumes) can deteriorate their reliability. And then there is “rotation” (you want to use up the oldest stuff first); if you just add new stuff to the top of a pile, getting to the old stuff becomes quite the chore and probably won’t be done. While not as critical as with food stocks. age can affect performance and reliability.

  4. It’s not a question of how much, you should always double what you think you may need and then go back and double that, the best quote I ever heard is one is none and two is one, the real problem is storage improperly stored ammo won’t last a week properly stored it can last forever, I have shot ammo left over from WW2 with no problems, I reload and have ammo that I reloaded over 40 years ago and still shoot it though that supply is almost gone, yes fresh may be better and you should rotate your ammo just as you rotate your food supply.

    • There are a lot of good articles about preservation of ammo available on the web. The number one killer is moisture. A distant second is prolonged, “high” heat. I store a very large quantity of various calibers in locked cabinets in my garage, which is in the Southwest desert. Summer temperatures can exceed 115 degrees, but even that is not sufficient to affect the viability of the ammo. Of course, I also rotate my stock, but some of it is up to 15 years old and shows no negative affect.

  5. You are absolutely correct. I based my assertion on the likelihood that few, if any, people would store their ammo in close proximity to flammable petroleum liquids or vapors – particularly inside their own dwellings. Prolonged exposure to moisture (as in the case of extreme humidity) is a wider ranging issue that seems innocuous and is often ignored. In the case of buried ammo, exposure to moisture in inherently unmonitored and insidious in effect. I should have included these qualifiers in my original statement. Thanks for pointing out the issue of petroleum vapor. It will hopefully inform and motivate people to avoid that dangerous practice.

  6. I do not think there is such a thing as enough. Every time I see a sale, go to a gun show or a yard sale, I pick up some. Also buy up powder and components that I keep available for reloading . Go out to local firing ranges and pick up brass left by shooters, clean them up in a tumbler, deprime, etc. and use them as well. The valve has also opened for .22s and know one feller has over 100,000 rounds stockpiled. Sounds like a lot but only 200 bricks worth, not even a pallette.

  7. The biggest question are you going to be able to replenish when shtf and be close enough to do so, if you have to leave your house with all the other equipment you have to haul how much can you move, if you have time to stock your vehicle great if not one rifle one pistol, what can you Carrie 10 and 10 ?….

  8. Having bought (X quantity) over the years in surplus and cheap bulk, I’m now at the point where I replace what I use in practice with equivalent amount of quality Self Defense ammo. Doing so isn’t increasing my stock, but is improving the quality.

  9. May I reccomend also beginning archery practice and learning how to fetch arrows? If you know how to make your own arrows and have usable wood accessible it’s a utility you can continuous restock in a shtf scenario that would also call for bullets


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