I don’t have to tell you that finding ammunition cheap is a difficult task at times. If you’re like me, then you you find that you suddenly have a need for ammo and then hunt bargain sites, hoping to find something in stock. Last year, I came across an interesting solution called Ammo Squared that I’m sharing with you. I’ve been using it ever since, and even increased my ammo purchasing through it- now serving as the bulk of my ammunition buying all together. This is an update to my previous review.
When I wrote about it the first time, I had only used it for a few months. In this update, I want to dig in to what has changed and my observations from a year and a half of Ammo Squared.
This is not a sponsored post. Ammo Squared originally contacted me asking if I was interested in an affiliate relationship. Normally I reject such offers because they come from companies that aren’t really doing anything new or different, and I don’t want to muddy my brand by promoting random stuff.
That said, I do have affiliate relationships with some retailers. By that, it means if you click on my links and go to their site to buy something, I receive a small commission in the range of 3% to 5%. This is of no cost to you, and comes out of their revenue. This is primarily how I pay for the costs of running this website.
Ammo Squared’s offering was so interesting to me that I actually wanted to get on the phone with them and talk through it. I was impressed and excited enough about what I learned that I felt like it just needed to be talked about. This post was the first time I’ve ever done any kind of promotion of an affiliate, and I hope you don’t let that tarnish your opinion. If you sign up through my links below, I receive a small commission and you receive a $20 credit to your account for buying ammo.
Earlier in 2023, they actually did come around and sponsor several episodes of the podcast and I put some banners on the site. I don’t let this sway my views.
If you’d rather type it in or do the copy/paste, then check out ammosquared.com/marksman
Buying Ammo Slowly
Early on in the pandemic, I had a podcast discussion with Justin from Swift Silent Deadly about preparedness. One of the topics related to ammunition stockpiling. A lot of people treat ammo as a “just in time” purchase, waiting until just before any given range trip or competition to buy it.
The problem with this mentality is that it leads to panic buys. When an ammo shortage happens, the tendency for shooters is to go try and buy a large bulk supply to carry us through. Of course, that leads to paying elevated prices.
Justin pointed out that the better way to handle this is to simply buy an extra box of ammo than you need every time and set it aside. If you do this repeatedly, then you naturally build up a supply. This is buying ammo slowly.
Automating the Process
To change the analogy for a second, consider investing. Most reputable financial advisors tell you that it’s a mistake to try and time the market. Nobody ever really knows what’s going on and making accurate predictions is almost impossible.
With stocks, actively trying to “buy low, sell high” often results in worse results than just systematically buying a set of broad index funds every month. This is the impetus behind the latest suite of robotic investors. You deposit money into the account, and let the algorithm use the money to buy funds according to your investment plan. If you make this an automatic deposit, then you pretty much never have to check on your investments unless you need to take some out.
This is how Ammo Squared works. You deposit money into your account, and they automatically go out to buy ammunition according to your desired distribution. Then they store it for you until you want it. In the 18 months since I first started using the service, this financial analogy has only gotten more appropriate given how they have updated their offering. More on that in a bit.
The purpose of Ammo Squared was originally automating the ammo buying process. You set the amount of money to deposit and what mixture of calibers you want them to buy. They use your money, combined with everyone else’s, and bulk buy ammunition at a lower price point. Your account is then allotted a portion of what they bought. When you are ready, you have them ship your ammo to you.
To start off, I signed up for the service myself and set up an automatic deposit of $50 per month. I told them that I wanted 9mm practice ammunition, 556 practice ammo with a rule to exclude green tip (my local range doesn’t allow it), and match grade 22lr. I also told them how much of my $50 to allocate to each category ($20 for 9mm, and $15 each for 22LR and 5.56).
From this first batch, I can see that I was allocated 63 rounds of match grade 22LR, 29 rounds of 5.56 practice ammo, and 52 rounds of 9mm. I also see a breakdown of the average price paid per round. I fully plan on just letting this roll for a few months until I need more ammunition, and then I’ll have them send me the crate.
You have the option to automate shipping your crate as well. You can either do it by a total round count or by total value. For now, I’m keeping it manual and letting ammo accrue.
I understood the value proposition of Ammo Squared almost immediately. Rather than constantly browsing my regular ammo dealers looking for what I could afford in the quantities I needed, I could just outsource it to someone else. There’s a certain value to saving time like that.
Questions and Limitations
But this raised some questions for me. I did a quick Google search to see what experiences others had, or their concerns, and I wanted to address them. So I got on the phone with them to find out for myself.
One of the first things I asked about was ammunition selection. When you set up your crate, you only provide basic details about what you’re looking for such as cartridge, intended purpose (i.e. practice, competition, defense), and any further restrictions like “no green tip,” “brass case only,” or “frangible.”
From there, you cannot control what they buy on your behalf. So if you’re the kind of person who only buys 115 gr PMC Bronze as your practice ammo, then this probably isn’t for you. Since I have a specific preference in my defensive loads, I opted for practice ammo only.
If I need a supply of a specific carry ammo or match load, then I go buy that from my usual dealers.
Since originally writing this, Ammo Squared updated their site to get way more specific about their cartridge selections. On their .223 Practice Ammo page, for example, they show you the market history with low, high, and median prices along with what they’re charging per round. Typically, they’re right around the median price. They’ll also tell you exactly which loadings fall into the category.
In the last year, Ammo Squared dramatically cut back on the number of ammunition cartridge options they support. This was a business decision to cut back on overhead and simply logistics. I believe there’s at least one comment about it, and I understand the complaint for those who were using it that way. If you enjoy exotic cartridges that are hard to find, this definitely isn’t the service for you anymore.
Another question that came up was how they store ammo and allocate it. I understood they have a large temperature-controlled facility for storage, but how is ammo physically allocated?
My real concern was if they did things like your average bank does, where the bank doesn’t actually have all of the cash on hand to support all of their customers withdrawing at the same time.
Ammo Squared was very clear with me that they physically account for every round they buy and allocate it to it’s rightful owner. If every one of their customers wanted their ammo today, then it would be shipped to them.
This also applies if they ever go out of business or cease operations. Everyone who has a stash would receive their ammunition. I also received a question about what happens in the event of a fire or disaster that destroys the storage facility. I asked Ammo Squared and they told me that everything is insured, and the subscriber would receive the dollar value of their ammunition refunded back to them.
Of course, this might not mean much to you if the country falls apart and shipping services cease to function, so if that’s your jam then of course you can either always have ammo sent to you when allocated or buy it elsewhere.
Customer Service and Retention
Since I work in a software company that relies heavily on subscription services, I know how we use renewals and expansions of services as an indicator of happy customers. It occurred to me that I should ask the same thing of Ammo Squared while on the phone with them.
Without going into their business details, I will say that their customer growth and retention rate is extremely high. In fact, they retain nearly 100% of customers who sign up from one year to the next, which tells me that many people find their services valuable.
So who are the ones that are dropping? Well, let’s talk about who shouldn’t be using this service.
Who Shouldn’t use Ammo Squared?
To me, it’s just as important to highlight who shouldn’t use something as it is to highlight why it’s a good thing. And as much as I think Ammo Squared has a really positive product here, there’s definitely some people who probably shouldn’t consider it.
If these statements apply to you, then you probably shouldn’t sign up.
I need ammo today!
This is about buying ammo slowly. It takes about a week after your deposit hits for ammo to be allocated to your crate, and then you have to do shipping. If you need to buy a bunch of ammo today, then you’re better off doing the bargain hunt process at a regular ammunition dealer and buying it that way.
I want a very particular loading for my gun.
Again, this isn’t an option at the moment. I wouldn’t plan on using Ammo Squared to stockpile 135 gr Critical Duty, Lapua Center-X, or any other very specific ammo. This is another instance of being better off going to your normal dealers and buying it that way.
Ammo Squared is very much geared for people who buy common ammo like an average shooters, which is to say they go to the range and buy a few boxes of whatever is available. If you’re OK with that for your practice stash (and I am), then it’s good to go.
I can 9mm for $0.02 CPR cheaper another site.
This is like timing the market. If you’re the kind of person who constantly hits refresh on ammo search engines looking for the lowest cost per round and then pouncing on it, then keep at it. This service is meant to help people who don’t want to spend the time doing that.
So Who Should Consider Ammo Squared?
If you’re like me, and prefer to buy ammo slowly over time in order to build a stockpile- but don’t have a lot of time or brain space to constantly hunt, this is a fantastic option.
I really like the interface and the ease of picking what I want. The cost per round is fair given their service and overhead they have to pay. In all, I’ve switched over to using them for my general purpose ammo stockpile. If I need something specific, say for a match or more JHP rounds, then I’ll go buy that normally.
Sign Up Through The Everyday Marksman
18 Month Update: Ammo as an Asset Account
A few times in this update, I mentioned some of the changes Ammo Squared has made to their business model. It started as an ammunition subscription business, and all of those functions still exist (and have been improved upon). You can still deposit cash and let the system allocate ammo to you in the proportions you want.
I doubled my monthly budget and have been building up 9mm and 12 gauge to go along with the shotgun project.
Somewhere along the way, they changed their mindset. Rather than thinking only in terms of “ammo crates,” they started talking about ammunition as assets to be bought, sold, and traded. That’s where things get interesting.
As long as your allocated ammunition is still in their warehouse and hasn’t shipped, it’s treated like an asset with a value attached to it. If the price of 5.56 has gone up since it was allocated to you, then the value of your assets has gone up along with it- just like investments.
So what can you do with that? Well, first off- you can sell ammo back to them in exchange for cash. Or, as I’ve done a lot, you can exchange one type of ammo for another. For example, I had a bunch of leftover 30-06 M1 Garand ammo from a previous shipment in the account. Rather than waiting for a few more boxes, I traded it for 12 gauge.
Another option is sending it directly to another user’s account as a form of payment.
In all, I’ve found these updates very interesting. I’ve also gotten a heads up that once you have beyond a certain amount of ammo stockpiled in your account, you can convert all of it to be a specific loading rather than the mix of boxes you receive in a normal shipment. If there are any improvements I would like to see, it’s making this process a little more straightforward.
That’s the 18 month update. I’m still a fan of Ammo Squared’s business model and use it a lot. The latest updates could be really useful, especially if you’re ok letting them store large amounts of your ammo stash and giving you room to sell and trade.