An ammunition shortage is forcing police departments across Connecticut to cancel training sessions, borrow from other departments, and even settle for less-powerful rounds, the Hartford Courant reports. “We called a couple of neighboring departments to purchase ammo from them, but they said they didn’t have enough,” said Rocky Hill Police Chief Michael Custer. He canceled a training session when he learned that an order of .223-caliber ammunition for M-16 rifles used by some of his officers was on back order for six months.
From California to the East Coast, police departments are experiencing shipment delays of up to a year for certain types of bullets – those used by the military in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Law enforcement officials say that they have enough ammunition for duty, but that the shortage is affecting how often they train. The likely cause seems to be the U.S. military’s current demand for small-caliber ammunition, which last year soared to more than 1.5 billion rounds, up from 426 million rounds in 2001. The spokesman for one weapons manufacturer blamed the shortage on the increased demand for law enforcement bullets, the increase in the cost of copper, and European suppliers dropping out of the market. Tom Morris, of the New Jersey-based Eagle Point Gun, which supplies ammunition to several police departments, said there is a nine-month wait for the 55-grain full metal jacket .223-caliber bullet used by the military and police in M-16s.