Thursday, April 12, 2012

Federal Departments Stockpiling Ammo Like a Survivalist: 1.0

Hypothesis #1: A Civilian firearm and ammunition purchasing bubble has started in anticipation of a possible Obama reelection. Federal departments are purchasing and arranging contracts for large quantities of ammunition, so that they don't have to compete with civilians in a tight market.

Hypothesis #2: The Federal bureaucracy anticipates rioting, an insurrection, or other large scale conflict within our borders.

Hypothesis #3: Procurement schedules limit the actual amount of ammo on hand the federal departments will have. The large volume of these contracts and orders are just to secure a supply and prices over time.

Through a Facebook link, I learned that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) have placed an order of 1/2-billion .40 S&W rounds. Sounds alarming.
RT America's YouTube channel claims that they report "the other side" of stories. Well, that's good, but I wish their anchor and reporter knew a little about ammunition. They acted like hollowpoint ammo was unusual, and that it couldn't be used for target practice, because it is very expensive. Well, I use hollowpoint ammo in my guns for target practice, because I want to know that it works. Also, hollowpoint ammo has been the standard for law enforcement and self defense for decades. It's debatable if it is appropriate for all applications, but on average it's the go to ammo.

Regardless, RT America reported that the the DHS/ICE order was for 450 million .40 S&W rounds over five years. reports that the order is "Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ)" with a maximum of 450 million rounds, with an initial 12 months and optional additional four years. With that info, we have some numbers to speculate about:

Speculations About First 12 Months of Orders
DHS has approximately 216,000 employees. If a fifth of the contract is fulfilled in the first year, the DHS would have 90 million rounds in the first year, and 417 rounds for each employee. That's enough for each employee to qualify twice a year (2x40 rounds), and to practice 5 times (5x50), and to have 87 rounds to carry around (a little more than 5 standard magazines carrying 15-17 rounds each).

Of course, DHS does not have 216,000 "law enforcement" types. Actually, in the entire Federal government, there are only 105,000 employees "authorized to make arrests and carry firearms in the 50 states and the District of Columbia," according to's article Federal law enforcement in the United States. But then you can lump in the Coast Guard's 50,000 active duty and reserve personnel, for a final figure of 155,000, since the Coast Guard is part of DHS. And DHS could supply all of those law enforcement and military employees with 580 rounds in the first year.

That scenario would require DHS to share ammo with other Federal departments. But maybe that's part of the DHS's ammo plan. Either way, 580 rounds per year for each law enforcement employee is still not alarming. 2 qualification a year (2x40), 87 rounds to carry around, and only about 8 quick practice sessions.

But then I found on The Rant forum a reply by Blue Trumpet showing that here are 151,427 armed agents (including the Coast Guard) under DHS. That's a larger percentage of law enforcement agents in DHS than I expected. If that is true, then you are still only talking about 594 rounds in the first year per employee.

US Forest Service Ammo Order NOT Alarming
There's a buzz about the US Forest Service, too. According to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the US Forest Service just finalized an order on September of 2011 for 326,000 rounds (including 120,000 .40 S&W rounds). That looks like a drop in the bucket, compared to even the first year of the DHS order. US Forest Service has only about 590 law enforcement types. But their order would only give their law enforcement employees about 200 rounds of .40 S&W each, and it would all have to be delivered in the first year.

For the time being, I am no longer alarmed by the massive purchase of ammo by DHS. It doesn't appear that they are stockpile or preparing for a massive conflagration with the American people. It appears to be the normal usage of ammo by a law enforcement entity - large, largely unnecessary entity - but that's a debate for another post.

Hypothesis #1 - Disproved
Hypothesis #2 - Disproved
Hypothesis #3 - Sort of Validated

What do you think? 

Next In Series: Federal Departments Stockpiling Ammo Like A Survivalist: 1.1 

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