Spencer Seibert shops for rifles at Cody Cartridge and Carry on March 22. Gun and ammo sales have grown significantly with the spread of the pandemic.

Madison Pendley at Rocky Mountain Discount Sports said the store cannot keep popular ammunition on the shelves.

“There has not been a box of 9 mm, 5.56 and .223 on our shelves the last few days,” she said. “We cannot get our hands on any from our suppliers for reorder, so we’re going to be seeing this shortage for quite some time, playing catchup.”

With the COVID-19 outbreak showing no signs of slowing, people are stocking up on everything from bread to toilet paper, to ammunition and firearms.

Pendley said her customers are gravitating toward the calibers used by popular self-defense weapons, especially concealable handguns in 9 mm and AR-15-style rifles in 5.56 and .223.

She’s seeing a lot of first-time gun owners as well, a similar situation to that of Kayla Hardesty at Cody Cartridge and Carry.

Hardesty said while the store still has a few boxes of 9 mm, distributors are out of those popular calibers as well.

The guns both stores are selling match up with the ammo that’s hard to come by.

“We’ve sold quite a few AR-15s and handguns,” Hardesty said. “9 mm, .45, .40.

“More of the self-defense type of guns.”

She recommends first-time buyers in the market for personal protection choose a gun that matches how they plan to use it.

“I would recommend a small pistol, 9 mm or .40, small enough I could handle it,” she said. “If they’re looking for something bigger to put in the truck, and AR-15 pistol is always good.”

Pendley said the first-time buyers are reacting to fears the outbreak could lead to more unrest.

“We see lots of first-time gun buyers that feel like for whatever reason, because of what’s going on, they need a gun,” she said. “People are buying pistols and shotguns at once.

“We’ve had lots of bust days the last week or so, record for March – usually a slow time.”

Both stores still have enough inventory to handle people looking to buy guns, and many calibers remain on the shelves.

Handguns are especially popular among first-time buyers, so with Rocky Mountain out of 9 mm, Pendley said she recommends people buy something that has ammo, such as a .45, .40 or .38, that they can purchase ammo for and practice with.

People are listening.

“We’re seeing other calibers pick up,” Pendley said. “People are saying that, whatever ammo you have on the shelf, that’s what (gun) I want to buy.”

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