The impact of the Russian ammo import ban


One of the largest Internet ammunition vendors in the country, SGAmmo of Oklahoma, had this to say in their latest newsletter.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

There has been a lot of people asking me about the sanctions on Russian ammo imports put in place by the US state department this past week and what it means for the future of ammunition supplies. There will be more clarity in several weeks when we can see the publication of a Federal Register notice expected on September 7, 2021. The state department announcement can be seen at this page –

My Russian Ammo Sanction Opinion – First, I hope you don’t ‘shoot the messenger’ and I’d like to pat everyone on the back and tell them things are going to be okay but that wouldn’t be truthful. In my opinion the sanctions are a major game-changer in the ammunition supply chain that is already strained. For the time being and based on what we can see so far, we believe that this will be the effective end of Russian made ammo in the USA as it plays out over the next year or so as import permits expire or are filled to the quantity limits, and in doing so eliminate supply of a huge portion of the ammo in the US commercial market. From what I understand, the USA commercial market consumes around 800,000,000 rounds of ammunition from Russia every year, roughly 800 semi truck trailers worth in a mix of the most popular calibers. For the immediate short term we expect ammo to keep coming in from Russia but I expect the importers to raise prices substantially which is understandable to me given its the end of the lifespan for their business model. The calibers we believe will be most effected are soviet metric calibers like 7.62×39, 5.45×39, and 7.62x54R because there is almost zero available manufacturing capacity for these calibers outside of Russia and what little exists will not make a significant impact in filling the needs of the USA commercial market without Russian ammo absorbing the lion’s share. In addition to these calibers, I estimate that the Russians supplied 30% to 40% of the 223 Rem / 5.56 and 9mm Luger consumed at the shooting ranges across this country, and large portions of the 45 auto, 9×18 Makarov, 30 carbine, 308 Winchester / 762×51, 380 Auto, 300 Blackout and 6.5 Grendel. I see this as a potentially devastating blow to the supply for of 223 Rem / 5.56 and 9mm Luger, where the reduction in supply from Russia will be difficult to make up in the short term for other manufacturers who have already been unable to keep up with demand this past year. Consumers who have used Russian ammo regularly will have to move on from Russian made ammo to those other products made elsewhere and in doing so absorb the supply and prolong recent shortages. Again this is my opinion, based on my knowledge of the industry after 20+ years experience, and how things play out over time could be different. For me, selling Russian made ammo is about 40% of my business, and while we plan to source as much supply as we can from other sources, we do expect this to have a major negative impact on supply for 7.62×39, 7.62x54R, 5.45×39, 9mm Makarov, 9mm Luger, 223 Rem / 5.56 NATO, as well as the other mentioned calibers.

I think some Russian manufacturers will switch their production lines to other countries.  For example, some Wolf ammunition (a Russian firm) is already produced in Taiwan under license, and therefore should not be affected by the new import ban.  Serbian manufacturer Prvi Partisan produces large quantities of Soviet-era cartridges in brass cases, and should not have any difficulty setting up a steel-case production line to take over some of the supply formerly handled by Russia.  South Africa’s PMP produced brass-case 7.62x39mm ammo during the Border War period, and could doubtless ramp up manufacture of that and other rounds to meet US market demand.  However, all those sources will probably cost more in future, to cover the expense of setting up and/or expanding production lines and shipping their product to America.

For now, I can only suggest buying what you can while the going’s good.  I see that Commander Zero snapped up one retailer’s entire supply of Wolf 7.62x39mm at a very nice price by today’s standards, because the vendor wasn’t yet aware of the new restrictions.  There may be more bargains like that to be had.  If you find one, grab it quick before someone else does!

You might also want to consider changing your training routine to reflect the new ammo supply reality.  I’m using a lot more .22LR rimfire ammo for more affordable training, in weapons such as the Ruger 10/22 rifle.  This includes the use of miniature targets at shorter ranges, to simulate the look of standard-size targets at normal combat ranges.  I’ll still shoot 50 to 100 rounds of full-power ammo when I train with my AR’s, but that’ll be fewer times a year.  I’ll make up the shortfall with more readily available, lower-cost rimfire rounds that I can afford to shoot more often.  That way, my skills won’t atrophy.


EDITED TO ADD:  Greg Ellifritz lists “Five Consequences of the Russian Ammo Ban“.  Worth reading.


  1. silver lining: ak prices should plummet. they have been moreexpensive than ar style guns lately. only 7.62×39 i have is a vz58, very good weapon but kind of a novelty as i will forever be a ar15 guy. have plenty of ammo for both so no impact. i would like an old school wood stocked ak though, just to hang in the gun rack. low end ak's have been higher than name brand ar's though.

  2. Weird how this administration blocks American natural gas pipelines but removes sanctions on Russian pipelines then blocks Russian ammunition because sanctions are needed.

    Almost like they have a political agenda. Where's the "Russian collusion" crowd when you need them?

  3. There could be several ways around this, such as the Russians selling the ammo to Prvi in Serbia or to Aguila in Mexico, who then import it here. Sure, it will cost more that way, but it's feasible.

    1. Unfortunately, the ban is written to prevent import of Russian MANUFACTURED ammo. Middle men wont matter if it was actually built in Russia…

  4. I think SGAmmo grossly overstates the problem. Most of the Russian stuff we consume is the cheap steel cased junk. There are many countries and companies that furnish good brass cased ammo in the affected calibers. Those entities will fill in for the loss of Russian ammo. It will take a bit but it will happen. Capitalism works folks.
    I also have doubts about the shear quantity of Russian imports. 800 million rounds from Russia alone. Color me highly skeptical.

    I am also reading hand wringing articles that this ban is really about disarming Americans. Bull feathers. Read the above paragraph again. Russia has a very small economy. Its GDP ranks alongside New York state. This ban will hurt them. No doubt about it.

  5. It isn't about Russia. It's about effing Joe effing Biden giving gun owners and the shooting community in general a poke in the eye any way he can. I expect this to be reversed on the first day of the DeSantis administration.

  6. definitely takes the fun out of everything, but let's not forget that republicans have thus far only paid lip service to backing gun owners. they also fear the the gun owning public and rattle the sabre at any boggy-man they can. watch closely as the 20 year contractor feeding frenzy that was the failed illegal war in afganistan unravels, the pivot will be toward a new cold war era with russia and china.

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