Friday, December 7, 2018

Target Sports Prime Ammo Club Review



This is another long development post I've been working on all year.  Back in 2017, I learned about the Target Sports USA Prime Ammo Club.  The Prime Ammo program allows you to pay an up front membership fee of $95 for the year and purchase ammunition at a reduced price with free shipping for a 12 month period.  I was familiar with Target Sports from previous orders placed with them so this new program caught my attention.    

I'm generally reluctant to purchase memberships that require me to spend money now for the privilege of spending more money later.  The membership benefits have to be compelling and offer a significant perception of value to get serious consideration from me.  In my case, I tend to buy one or two boxes of several different loads many times per year when I'm working on gun reviews.  If the Prime Ammo membership could save me money on ammo, that would reduce my out of pocket expense to produce a review.  I decided to take a chance on it.

Target Sports lists 4 main benefits of Prime Ammo membership on their website.  That seems like a good way to review my membership after nearly 12 months have passed.   

Buy ammunition at wholesale level...You will be able to buy ammo at our cost all year long and save
This might be true.  I'm not sure of the exact margins in the ammunition industry so I really can't comment on if you are indeed buying at Target Sports invoice cost from the manufacturer.  What I can confirm is that with a Prime Ammo membership, you will pay 8 percent less per item versus buying the same item without a membership.  Let's walk through an example.

Federal HST 9mm 124 grain +P being sold for $29.99 to any customer visiting the website will cost $27.59 for Prime Ammo members.  That's a straight 8% discount on every ammunition item.  In this specific example that's a savings of $2.40.  What I really liked was the discount applies to ALL items.  Even the items put on special for non Prime members.  The discounts can really add up.

  • Free Shipping on ALL orders...You will receive free shipping on all ammunition orders all the time 
This is true.  No hidden fees or charges.  Order a box of 50 22LR it ships free.  Place an order for 5 mixed boxes of 40 S&W, 22LR, 9mm, 7.62x39, and 25 Auto and it still ships free.  I had 11 orders shipped to me during me this year without a single problem caused by improper packing or ammunition damaged in transit.  Order processing and shipping speed was a bit of a concern in the early months, but it has continued to improve over the last 12 months.  Let's look at my last order in detail.

-  Order placed Sunday 11/18 at 5pm
-  Order delivered Saturday 11/24 12:43pm
   
All orders placed this year were delivered by FedEx.  I think that's great because FedEx delivers on Saturdays and that might mean you can use your ammo on Sunday versus having to wait from Friday to Monday for the next delivery from UPS.  I also generally like the delivery folks and package handling care of FedEx over their competition in our area. 

  • Exclusive ammo deals...Members only email notifications on a monthly basis for members only
I had forgotten about this member benefit until writing up this review.  I get weekly email notification from Target Sports with special sale pricing, but nothing specific for Prime Ammo members.  That said, the same sale items in the weekly email blasts are discounted an additional 8% for Prime Ammo members.  I can't really say if this is true or false, but I'm leaning toward this was a benefit that didn't get implemented in 2018.

  • One low annual fee... If you order ammo online three to fives times per year, the PAM pays for itself!
With so many variables involved here, I really can't tell you if this will be true or false in your specific circumstances.  Let's stick with examples and see how it works out.  Let's say we want to order 5 boxes of Hornady Critical Defense 9mm.  We'll use Midway USA and Target Sports as our two competing examples.

 - Midway ammo total $87.95 + $11.39 shipping = $99.34 total delivered cost.
 - Target Sports ammo total $80.45 + Free shipping = $80.45 total delivered cost.
Single order cost savings ammo plus shipping = $18.89

How much you buy per order, from whom, and how far you live from the shipper all factor into the final delivered price you pay for ammo.  As shipping prices continue to increase, the value of the free shipping component of the Prime Ammo membership should also increase.  If you've previously ordered ammo, you should have a pretty good idea of shipping fees to your area of the country and be able to estimate how many orders you will need to place before covering your up front membership cost.  

The unexpected benefit I received about 8 months after joining was this gift package containing an assortment of ammunition in calibers I had previously ordered.  I'm sure there are occasions when packaging gets damaged in the warehouse.  It appears that Target Sports would rather give away the ammunition than try to sell it as damaged packaging or partial boxes.  Total value estimated at about $33.00 and delivered free.  


As I previously mentioned, it's been almost a year since I started my Prime Ammo membership.  In the next few weeks I'll need to decide if I will continue for another year, or allow my membership to lapse.  The overall experience has been very positive for me so chances are pretty good that I'll renew again for at least another year.  Selection has been good, prices have been declining, and order processing/shipping speed continues to improve.  The only real risk I see to pre-paying for another year is if there happens to be another run on ammo and availability dries up.  That's just a risk I'll have to take and hope that doesn't happen.

I'll wrap this up with a photo of the Target Sports Team that arrived in my email just before Thanksgiving with holiday greetings and their thanks for my membership.