INDUSTRY NEWS: Layoffs At Howell Munitions & Technology

In yet another sign of changing times within the firearms industry, an anonymous source contacted TFB with the news that Howell Munitions & Technology laid off an unknown number of employees for a temporary two-week period. Apparently employees were also given the “option” to find employment elsewhere.

After years of around-the-clock production schedules to keep up with overwhelming demand, companies are starting to feel the effects of a stabilizing ammunition and component market. For everyone involved, let’s hope the industry’s softness is short-lived and has minimal impact on companies and employees alike. Consumers may be hoping for lower prices but may eventually face sacrifices in new product releases as research and design funding gets funneled towards daily operations and expenses.

Temporary Layoffs at Howell Munitions & Technology:

LEWISTON, ID – An unknown number of employees at Howell Munitions & Technology have been affected by a “temporary two week shutdown.” According to a letter written yesterday to those employees who are affected, the shutdown will run from today through March 13th due to a “softening market.”

“You will be contacted by your supervisor with exact details regarding your return,” President Jansen Jones says in the letter.

Jones added that if the laid off employee wishes to terminate their employment or find other employment, they are to “contact us so we can end your employment relationship at that time.”

According to its website, Howell Munitions & Technology specializes in the development of ammunition, components, loading machinery, and Original Equipment Manufacturer production.

Attempts to contact company officials were unsuccessful.

From the Howell Munitions & Technology Site:

Howell Munitions & Technology specializes in the development of ammunition, components, loading machinery and Original Equipment Manufacturer production. Using state of the art processes developed in Lewiston, Idaho, Howell Munitions & Technology and its brands achieve success by a commitment to quality, personalized service and a dedication that is unmatched in the shooting industry.

Companies owned by Howell:


As evidence of changing times, an article published three years ago showed the strength of the industry as Howell expanded it’s manufacturing capabilities.

That’s just one of the trends fueling demand for guns, ammunition and accessories — products that are an increasingly strong part of north central Idaho’s manufacturing sector, said Dan Dorman, a Lewiston-Clarkston Valley banker-turned-bullet-maker.


LE – Science – OSINT.
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  • Federal Cartridge recently announced layoffs as well. 110 employees were effected.

    • raz-0

      It makes me wonder if these changes are due to actual current conditions, or preemptory moves to stay ahead of the predicted curve.

      • Calavera

        Market Darwinism: Likely preemptory. Business owners (competent ones) watch the markets and legislative horizon for changes, and stay proactive. The slow and stupid ones get eaten.

        • Dave Y

          I agree, although ammunition and component pricing has been coming down recently, the shooting community is still buying like gangbusters.

          • Sunshine_Shooter

            The core community IS buying like gangbusters, but most of the money in the industry doesn’t come from core members, but from the people who don’t care for ARs until they are told they may not be able to buy one. Those people put the most money into the market, and those people aren’t fear-buying.

      • “The challenging retail environment we experienced in our first and second quarters worsened in our third quarter following a slow hunting season and the national elections. This resulted in the need for increased promotional activity to support sales and maintain market share. We have also seen increased inventory in our retail and wholesale channels.”

        • raz-0

          That’s vista outdoors/federal they have a much broader exposure to retail issues than just ammo.

          Still sounds like they aren’t getting buried, just preparing to weather a storm. Or they could be putting a cheerful face on it.

          The howell situation is more interesting because it is a much more narrow focus on ammo and components, and not much else.

  • codfilet

    The current political situation is only a momentary respite. You should still be buyin’ it cheap, and stackin’ it deep.

  • A.WChuck

    Crossing my fingers for Freedom Munitions to stay open and producing. My go to for range fodder.

  • TechnoTriticale

    Some of this might be due to surge staffing during the reign of the recent First Gun Salesman. Workforce re-balancing would be expected.

    Some might be due to the buyers being spent out, plus less panicked, so even the steady-state staffing needed next year is too high at the moment.

    In other cases, the Board of Directors are incompetent, and the present market won’t support that, at all. One of the formerly notable firearms brands comes to mind.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Good Point. The market has been under a temporary boom. The conditions of the last few years are not “normal.” You might instead see this as the market returning to “normal.” I use the word normal carefully because while there was certainly an unsustainable boom in the market, more people have become gun owners and overall normal sales will certainly be higher than before the scare.

  • Sam

    Until I can walk into ANY Walmart and find at least a half-dozen types of .22lr stacked up with no limits, THERE IS STILL AN AMMO SHORTAGE! Here in VaBch, every time any Walmart gets any supply of .22lr, the usual crowd shows up and buys all of it to resell at local gunshows with a 30% markup… YES, this is still happening. Sometimes I get lucky, mostly with Federal Automatch 325rd boxes (which one of my kids can crush through in a couple hours). Most of my LGS’s are well-stocked with .22lr, but I’m not gonna pay .10cents a round for the stuff there no matter how much I love supporting the little guy. Ammo companies, take notice… RELOADING is cheaper and every time there’s a shortage, more and more guys get into it. All of my hunting ammo is factory stuff, but I haven’t bought any 9mm or .223 range ammo in years, but I’ve loaded thousands and thousands of rounds. However, I can’t make my own .22lr and would gladly store 50k rds and shoot a couple thousand a month if I could buy it a couple thousand a month at Walmart. Manufacturers, TAKE NOTICE… MORE .22LR!!!

    • mazkact

      It will happen eventually. Major players in Rimfire have not accepted Wally’s low ball offers yet. Wally will only pay so much for a bijillion cases of .22 and that is why we still have not seen it a Wally’s.I quit looking for .22 there years ago, not even a place in the cabinet for .22 in any store around Houston that I know of.

  • Phillip Isherwood

    I’m doing my part, buying as many as I can afford to help get the suppliers through the slow patch