Procurement Costs of Ammunition Used for Practice and Training Can Be Reduced

Gao ID: GGD-82-40 April 21, 1982

GAO reviewed Department of Justice small arms ammunition contracts for fiscal years 1981 and 1982 to identify restrictive conditions and specifications in large, recurring procurements.

Justice is currently purchasing only new ammunition. The GAO review showed that about $115,000 could be saved each year if quality reloaded ammunition were used for training and practice instead of new ammunition. These savings would be realized without any adverse effect on training program standards, and Justice would be using safe, reliable, and accurate ammunition. Reloaded ammunition is produced on the same machines using the same process and, except for the cartridge case, with the same new components as new ammunition. In reloaded ammunition, a used cartridge case without defects is manufactured to original specifications. A controversy exists among ammunition experts as to the: (1) potential problems and dangers associated with reloaded ammunition; (2) potential damage to weapons; (3) ability to identify production lots which contain problem ammunition for return to manufacturers for replacement; (4) ability of reloaded ammunition to meet specifications; and (5) possibility that reloaded cartridges with cracked cases might cause injuries to shooters. Many law enforcement agencies have used reloaded ammunition without significant problems. GAO found that, if the same standards were required for reloaded ammunition as are required for new ammunition, there would be no reason for more problems to occur with reloaded ammunition than with new ammunition, and Justice could insure quality performance without restricting competition or incurring excessive costs.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Arnold P. Jones Team: General Accounting Office: General Government Division Phone: (202) 512-7797

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