US Ammo Makers Take Aim at Russia Invasion With Millions of Bullets for Ukraine

By Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.
March 4, 2022 Updated: March 10, 2022

Millions of U.S.-made bullets will soon be in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers, in part because of an Arizona company and a legendary NASCAR team owner.

Fred Wagenhals, the owner of the Scottsdale-based Ammo Inc., told The Epoch Times that he’s honored to donate the ammunition—enough, he said, to “arm 34,000 AK-47s with a clip of 30 rounds in each gun.”

With some irony, the AK-47 assault rifle—known in Russia and Ukraine as the Kalashnikov—was developed in the Soviet Union by a Russian small arms designer.

“As a company, we like freedom. We believe in democracy,” Wagenhals said. “Because of the Second Amendment, you can’t land on one of our shores and try to take over this country because there are too many guns and too much ammunition.”

Epoch Times Photo
The company Ammo Inc. has sent 1 million bullets to Ukraine and expects them to arrive in that country over the next few days. (Courtesy of Ammo Inc.)

Ammo Inc., the fifth-largest U.S. maker of ammunition, is also the parent company of GunBroker.com, the largest online marketplace for firearms.

Meanwhile, Vista Outdoor Inc., the Minnesota-based company that owns the Remington, CCI, Speer, and Federal Ammunition brands, is donating 1 million rounds of small-caliber ammo to Ukraine’s armed forces, a longtime customer of CCI, Speer, and Federal, the company said; Federal and Remington also are selling T-shirts on their websites to raise money for refugees.

“The war in Ukraine has displaced millions of citizens and exposed average people to the horrors of war,” Jason Vanderbrink, president of Remington, CCI, Speer, and Federal, said in a statement. “Supporting the relief effort is a crucial element of the global response and we are proud to do our part. It underscores how critical the Second Amendment is in America and highlights the importance of the ability of American Manufacturers to supply our allies with ammunition.

“We have long supported Ukrainian armed forces and we will continue to do so in this global cause to unite for democracy.”

Ammo’s Wagenhals told The Epoch Times his shipment is already in Europe and expects the bullets to be distributed to Ukraine’s ground forces by this weekend.

He said he got the idea from his good friend, Richard Childress, who serves on Ammo’s board of directors and whose name is immediately recognizable to car racing fans. His team, Richard Childress Racing (RCR), is a six-time winner of the Nascar Cup Series, all with fabled driver Dale Earnhardt, and a three-time winner of the Daytona 500.

Childress said he was inspired by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s response to President Joe Biden’s offer to fly him out of his war-torn country during the ongoing Russian attack there.

“I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelensky said in a heroic stance that was broadcast around the world.

Putin a ‘Schoolyard Bully’

“It’s an inhumane thing that’s going on right now from Russia,” Childress told The Epoch Times. “We got to help them and they need help bad right now.”

He likened Putin to a “schoolyard bully” who is serving his own self-interests.

Last week, the Biden administration reported that it had sent anti-aircraft missiles as well as firearms and ammunition to Ukraine, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the United States was providing $54 million in what he called “humanitarian assistance to those affected by Russia’s further invasion.”

On March 2, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill calling for “additional and immediate defensive security” by the United States to Ukraine. It also called for a ceasefire and full withdrawal of Russian forces.

The bill, titled HR 956, was approved on a 426-3 vote, with only three Republicans dissenting, one of them being Wagenhals’ congressman, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Gosar tweeted that while he supported the Ukrainians, he found the resolution to be potentially dangerous to Americans.

“I will not send constituents to die in another unconstitutional war with no U.S. national security interest,” Gosar wrote on Twitter.

Former US Paratrooper Joins Fight

In addition to the proposed resolution and existing funding, the Biden administration has also asked Congress to approve $6.4 billion to support a U.S. response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Wagenhals told The Epoch Times that he feels the United States and other countries haven’t done enough to help Ukraine and strongly believes NATO forces should deploy its forces.

On March 8, a former U.S. paratrooper from the 101st Airborne Division who has been living in Ukraine, told Fox News in a live TV interview, that he has decided to fight along with the Ukrainian soldiers out of a “moral obligation.”

The U.S. combat veteran, who said he has helped train Ukrainian civilians in combat, called Ukraine some of the best people in the world “as good as any of our friends and allies of America.”

He also called upon help from the United States noting that historically American presidents have always been an arsenal of democracy to their European allies.

“This is another epic time in history and Americans need to show military leadership and courage and stand with their European allies and brothers.”

Wagenhals, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, believes Putin is striking now because he recognizes he has a rare window to escape punishment from the largest military force in the world—the United States—because he knows the current administration won’t use it to stop him.

It’s one of a myriad of opinions among conservatives camps about the Russian attacks on Ukraine with others blaming Ukraine for defying Putin’s historic opposition to bringing NATO closer to western borders.

Many fear that any aggressive allying by world forces will bring on a war that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.

Flood of Support

Wagenhals and Childress both said they have received support from several U.S. lawmakers, including Reps. Mary Miller (R-Ill) and Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), who has been especially outspoken against Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

According to Childress, when they ran into some obstacles in transporting the donated ammunition to Ukraine, Spartz commented “she would carry it to Ukraine herself if need be.”

Miller, in a series of recent tweets on Russia’s invasion, has been especially critical of the Biden administration, stating “none of this would be happening if President [Donald] Trump was still in the White House.”

Wagenhals told The Epoch Times that since announcing the ammunition donation on the company’s website, he has received a flood of support and offers of financial support from shareholders, customers, and complete strangers from around the world who support the sending of ammunition to Ukraine.

One businessman, he said, called to send him a check for $25,000 to help pay for the ammo he’s sending to Ukraine’s armed forces.

Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.