Coronavirus: US ammunition sales soar as public panics

Rising public panic over the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus has seen US ammo sales spike.

Last week said it had seen a 68 percent increase in transactions between February 11 to March 4 compared to normal.

"We know certain things impact ammo sales, mostly political events or economic instability when people feel their rights may end up infringed, but this is our first experience with a virus leading to such a boost in sales,” Alex Horsman, marketing manager at, said in a statement.

"But it makes sense. A lot of our customers like to be prepared. And for many of them, it's not just facemasks and TheraFlu. 

"It's knowing that no matter what happens, they can keep themselves and their families safe."

According to, the calibres that have seen the largest increase include the .40 S&W - up 410 percent - and .223 ammunition - up 194 percent.

Other gun and ammo retailers reported seeing similar levels of interest. Online ammunition site Widener's Reloading and Shooting Supply saw roughly double the normal level of sales in late February compared to last year.

"It's clear our customers want to be prepared in a worst-case scenario," marketing director Jacob Long told American Rifleman.

"For a lot of our families, a disaster plan includes having ammo on hand."

Long says sales of .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO rounds have increased by 2036 percent.

And Danny Garcia, manager of a gun store in North Carolina, said February had been a record sales month.

"Talking with our customers we are hearing the increase is due to both the prospect of a coronavirus outbreak and the pending elections."

It's not just ammunition in demand. Stores across the US also report mass-buying of survival supplies and emergency food rations.