Firearms manufacturers like Midwest Industries are operating at peak capacity. As Storch explains, ramping up production is more complicated than it may seem. “It’s hard for people to understand how manufacturing works. They think you can just flip a switch and the Willy Wonka machine pops stuff out as fast as it can go, but it doesn’t work that way.”
CEO of Midwest Industries Explains Why This Ammo Shortage Won’t End Overnight
The current ammo and firearm shortage has consumers wondering why they can’t find product and why producers don’t simply ramp up production to meet demand. As Midwest Industries co-founder Troy Storch explains, this shortage is different, and the solutions will take time and patience. “We’ve run into a perfect storm of challenges to a firearms manufacturer.” This shortage is a problem of record high demand and the dangers of overreaching to meet that demand.
A Multifaceted Demand
“This shortage is much worse than anything we’ve seen before,” said Storch. “It’s multifaceted.” Ammo and firearm shortages are often the result of a singular event such as Y2K, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, or Sandy Hook. This shortage is due to several compounding events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer riots, a disputed election and uncertainty about future firearm legislation. Unlike past shortages, these events are not the rearview mirror. They are ongoing. Accordingly, the elevated demand will remain for at least as long as the associated uncertainty exists.
The Danger of Overreaching
Firearms manufacturers like Midwest Industries are operating at peak capacity. As Storch explains, ramping up production is more complicated than it may seem. “It’s hard for people to understand how manufacturing works. They think you can just flip a switch and the Willy Wonka machine pops stuff out as fast as it can go, but it doesn’t work that way.” Increasing production means investing in new equipment. “A typical piece of equipment that we use to make our products can cost anywhere from $150,000 - $300,000,” said Storch. Those purchases come with hefty payments that make sense during times of high demand but can be disastrous when demand subsides. As a result, a manufacturer that overreaches to supply at peak demand is putting the company and its employees at risk, and those decisions have real consequences.
Storch knows the dangers of overreaching all too well. “When I was a tool and die maker, I lost my job because they outsourced the work to China. My business partner and I will not put the company in a position where we have to let people go. We’ll do everything we can to retain our employees because we value them. I’ve been laid off, and I don’t like the thought of having to lay people off.” For Storch, that means a steady and conservative approach to ensure his business, his fifty employees and their families will be secure for the long term.
Just like Shoot Steel, Midwest Industries manufactures all of its branded products here in America. For Storch, Made in America is more than a slogan. It’s about people, and its future viability depends on a careful approach to expansion. “Made in America is what we should be focusing on. We should be taking care of our own people.” As consumers, it may be that during this unprecedented shortage, patience is patriotic.