Retailers and their customers are feeling the impact of concerning supply chain issues in the sporting arms and ammunition sector in Canada and our industry is not alone.
Global manufacturing and shipping are experiencing significant hurdles as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in workforce shortages and ongoing shutdowns. In the sporting arms and ammunition category the manufacturing shortfall is also impacted by a shortage in raw materials, including brass and steel, and increased demand in the U.S. domestic market for firearms and ammunition. All of these factors are dramatically affecting the availability of firearms and ammunition available for export to Canada.
While Canadian distributors are working tirelessly to secure allocations for the Canadian market, it’s proving difficult. Some distributors are reporting being sold out of available product allocation for up to 12 months. Canadian importers are doing their best to fulfill retail orders by spreading imports evenly among retailers even if it’s only part of the full order. Here’s a sample of the response CSAAA received from its distributor members when asked about their supply chain.
Greg MacIntyre, Graywood Sporting Group
Ammunition specifically is an issue with production, manufacturing has had to realign due to COVID shut downs. We are now expecting a post-election surge in demand in the U.S. which could further cut exports to Canada. We expect Canada will still get an allocation, but it might be reduced with the combination of slowed manufacturing and increased demand from U.S. domestic consumers. Winchester will never starve Canada, but it might be slower. Fishing is also being impacted. On the fishing side containers are six months+ in planning as opposed to the typical 3-months.
Spyros Chryschou, Stoeger Canada
From our perspective, very little of our inventory comes via the U.S.; most comes direct from our European factories, which for us are sister companies. While the factories had either temporary shut downs or reduced capacity due to COVID, which put them slightly behind, they for most part have caught up. Demand in Canada is quite high and continues to put a strain on supply. The challenge globally has been logistics and moving freight. Many carriers have stopped or are limiting freight amounts and some, like Turkish airlines, will not carry guns at all. Additionally, the cost of freight has doubled and tripled in some cases. Going forward the U.S. demand will consume global supply and so, for reliable delivery, we need dealers to place bulk orders up front so we can commit the factories to Canadian supply. Otherwise we get put into a queue, which makes delivery unpredictable. With Biden looking at moving into White House, we expect the situation to continue for the next few years with COVID compounding situation.
Linda Conley, Bowmac Gunpar
Supply is going to be an issue. It’s a concern and it’s not just our industry. Supply chains are the number one concern for a lot of industries. A lot of the manufacturing was shut down and we’re staring to feel that now.
Steve Corlett, VISTA Outdoor
During our statement to our shareholders this month, we announced we are sold out for a year at this point due to U.S. demand. There are 6.8 million new shooters in the U.S. since the start of COVID in March. We just acquired Remington, but they haven’t been producing for six months so there’s currently nothing in the supply chain yet for that brand. Factories continue shutting down due to lack of employees and even raw materials are hard to get. We’ve got a year’s worth of sales on the books so any new orders get added on the end of that list. Canada is on an allocation basis, with new imports being divided as best we can among retailers.
Luc Larocque, Bell Outdoors
There are shortages in the market right now. The biggest issue is a shortage at the manufacturer level of raw materials. That’s what we’re hearing. We are still delivering to Canadian retailers and we are sharing our allocations as best we can. But it’s grouse season up north—good luck finding any 410 ammo out there. It hasn’t been pretty that’s for sure. There’s no indication from manufacturers on when production will scale back up.
Len McBride, Cariboo Outdoor
Vendors are starting to quote us on how long out orders will be delivered. Some firearms are a minimum eight weeks out, black powder six weeks out. It’s absolutely brutal. The firearms business in the U.S. is up 75%, I heard they’ve sold 18 million firearms; that doesn’t leave a lot left coming into Canada. The demand there is eating into our supply. We’ve got tons of orders coming in but a lot of empty shelves.