The Ammo Economy

Making bullets is a growth business

To many, a particularly startling element of alleged gunman James Holmes' planning was the size of his ammunition stockpile: he had purchased more than 6,000 rounds for his assault rifle, pistols and shotgun. Ammunition, it turns out, is a fast-growing business in the U.S. As of May, there were 1,996 licensed ammunition manufacturers--up 27% from 1,567 in January 2010, according a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives database.

Obtaining the amount of ammunition that Holmes had is relatively easy if you have the money. Depending on the brand, 3,000 handgun rounds cost $630 to $1,770; 3,000 rounds of .223-caliber bullets...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!