Israeli Ammunition Sales to U.S. Gun Owners Increase Ten-fold

Israel Military Industries reports significant rise in orders ahead of expected gun-law reform in U.S.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gun enthusiasts look over Sig Sauers guns at the National Rifle Association's annual meetings & exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016.
File Photo: Gun enthusiasts look over Sig Sauers guns at the National Rifle Association's annual meetings & exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. Credit: John Sommers II / Reuters
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israel Military Industries manufactures bullets for different types of weapons at its Yitzhak plant. In addition to military clients such as the Israel Defense Forces and some NATO armies, IMI has in recent years also begun selling ammunition to be used by civilian American gun owners. The company says that a third of its ammunition sales are to be directed at the civilian market.

IMI’s ammunition sales are performed via six American distributors. Last year, ammunition orders totaled 250 million shekels. Two years ago, the total was much lower, at just 20-30 million shekels. The company says they have been expanding their activity in the market designed for civilian gun owners in the United States. The new deals include sales of 5.56mm bullets which are suitable for weapons like the M-16; 7.62mm bullets used with certain machine guns, sniper files and various types of handguns; and 9mm bullets, primarily for handguns. The IMI-made ammunition can be found on the open market in America, including at some of the big chain stores.

The steep rise in demand for ammunition to be sold in the U.S. is said to be related to attempts in that country to enact more stringent gun control regulations. As policies are promoted that would place more legal limits on guns and ammunition, they evoke a counterreaction from gun owners and consequently an increase in gun and ammunition sales.

This is not unique to IMI’s sales. All weapons and ammunition manufacturers operating in the American market have also seen their sales go up. At the same time, IMI views the cooperation with its liaisons in the U.S. as having the potential to help the company expand its activity there.

“The extent of orders for the civilian market is the result of a strategy aimed at significantly penetrating the civilian ammunition market in the U.S. and around the world, in addition to the military market in which the company is a world leader,” says IMI.

The company’s vice president and managing director of the Small Caliber Ammunition Division, Israel Shmilovitz, says that IMI owes much of its success to the IDF and special forces’ purchases of ammunition. “The joint work with the special forces and the different divisions of the IDF gives the Small Caliber Ammunition Division a significant edge in terms of international competition,” Shmilovitz says.

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