DHS 450 million round ammo purchase: Is there something else going on? (update II)

There’s been quite a bit of scuttlebutt going around the internet regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s purchase of 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow point handgun ammo. Mark Levin even addressed this issue on his show and mentioned the original source for the information. The question on everyone’s keyboard is, “Why the hell does the DHS need all that ammo?” This head scratcher, along with other observations and postings, has a fair number of cyberspace denizens wondering if the imposition of martial law is just around the corner. I was marginally attempting to address that issue when yesterday I broadcast-emailed a link to a FOX News story that included this introductory note:

However, the following makes no mention of the 450 million rounds of .40 cal hollow point handgun ammo going to the DHS:

Agencies tamp down speculation over hollow-point ammo purchases
Published August 17, 2012

Obscure federal agencies triggered a firestorm of conspiracy theories this week after they put out orders for thousands of rounds of deadly hollow-point bullets.

But the agencies, most recently the Social Security Administration, are trying to put a damper on the speculation — noting the ammunition is “standard issue” and simply used for mandatory federal training sessions.

“Our special agents need to be armed and trained appropriately,” said a message on the official blog for Social Security’s inspector general office explaining the purchases.

To which I received the following response:

Dennis, any idea how many DHS agents there are?

They are correct that the other orders add up to 500-600 rounds per agent, which makes sense for training. The 450 (million) rounds of 40 S&W seems like a lot more than that, unless DHS is far bigger than I thought.


To which I responded:

Good question. Haven’t got a clue. But if I ever come across the information in my internet travels, I’ll be sure to let everyone know. Main reason I’m sending this stuff around is there seems to be a lot of b.s. floating about that’s got people thinking we will soon be subjected to martial law. Just trying to separate fact from fiction as best I can with limited resources. Must confess I’m having some difficulty dealing with it myself.

I have one correspondent who’s spoken to the office of a Congressman on the Homeland Security Committee and they are aware of the martial law rumors. If I learn the response to that inquiry, I’ll pass it along. If the 450 million rounds issue is naught but conspiracy theorist smoke, maybe the DHS or Congress should come out and say so. Wouldn’t hurt.

Crankin’ some numbers we have:

450 million rnds over 5 years is 90 million per year.
90 million rnds/600 rnds per “agent” = 150,000 agents
Considering all the agencies within DHS, that could be a good number.

So, if to stay qualified they shoot 600 rnds/year, the 450 million rnds wouldn’t be but an ordinary buy. Right? Hmmm. . .

Have a good weekend.

Waking early this morning with 450 million rounds still bouncing in my head, I cooked up the following spreadsheet to test the reasonableness of that 150,000 armed DHS agent number:

Note: All percentages shown are WAGs – that’s military speak for “Wild Ass Guesses”

The reasonableness of the 450 million round purchase over five years also depends on the assumption that all DHS armed agents use the same caliber and chambered sidearm.  I have no idea as to whether or not that’s the case. So, it’s still possible that there’s something “fishy” about all this.


P.S. From Yahoo News we learn that:

Texas Senator Cornyn Demands Answers on Russian Sub in Gulf of Mexico
by Mark Whittington
August 17, 2012

According to the Houston Chronicle, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has written a letter to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, about reports that a Russian attack submarine operated in the Gulf of Mexico in June and July undetected.

Report of Russian attack submarine in the Gulf of Mexico

Bill Gertz, a longtime military analyst, broke the original story in the Washington Free Beacon. According to his sources, an Akula class attack submarine operated freely and without detection in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks in June and July. That the Akula’s presence in the Gulf of Mexico was determined only after she had left the area exposes deficiencies in the United States Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Gertz notes that the Obama defense budget calls for the scrapping of 10 P-8 anti submarine warfare jets that could be used to detect and, if necessary, sink submarines such as the Akula. Shipbuilding has also been drastically reduced under Obama administration defense plans.

Guess we don’t need the aircraft since their Caribbean basing on Puerto Rico disappeared when the Rosey Roads naval air station closed. We have Karl Rove to mostly thank for that. You might also consider that closing the base was the objective of the Vieques gunnery range brouhaha in the first place.

The DHS folks aren’t the only ones we may want to worry about.

Hat Tip: Elaine B.

Update: A personal acquaintance of mine who is in the scrap metal business (buys the used casings from the county) informs me that 800 rounds/person/year is not an exceptional number when it come to maintaining one’s firearm qualification as a law enforcement officer.

Hat Tip: Joe T.

Update II: The NRA quotes Rep. Westmoreland and his rebuttal to the 450 million round controversy:

After receiving numerous questions from his constituents regarding the contract, pro-Second Amendment U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and his staff set out in search of the truth. In a press release, Rep. Westmoreland’s office explains:

If you take the number of agencies that will be using this ammunition – CBP, Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ICE, the U.S. Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, the DHS police force, and all the guards that protect the various buildings these agencies are housed in, and spread that out over 5 years, you start to see that 450 million rounds really isn’t that large of an order. Especially considering it is used for training purposes like firing range and live fire exercises, on-the-job use (though that is very limited), and to shore up their supplies. In fact, there are 65,000 – 70,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS who would be covered under this … ammunition contract. If DHS were to purchase all 450 million rounds over 5 years, then that would equate to only about 1,384 rounds of ammo per year per law enforcement [officer] … assuming the lower estimate of only 65,000 law enforcement personnel at DHS. Considering those agents go through training exercises several times per year, that is not a lot of ammunition.


As most gun owners will agree, skepticism of government is healthy. But today, there are more than enough actual threats to the Second Amendment to keep gun owners busy. With two key Supreme Court decisions hanging by a one-vote margin, the Justice Department deeply involved in a cover-up of a disastrous Mexican gun smuggling operation, and President Obama touting a ban on popular semi-automatic firearms, there is no need to invent additional threats to our rights.

Hat Tip: George F.

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