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American Rounds is Automating Ammunition Sales While Making it More Secure

American Rounds thinks their ARM vending machines can make this shopping list possible.

One popular misconception pushed by anti-gun groups is that it’s easy to buy a gun in the United States. They make it sound as if it’s as simple as drive-through fast food. That’s patently untrue, of course, but its’ a vivid mental image they work hard to drive home. When you’re pushing emotion, not facts, that’s good enough.

A Texas company is taking a twist on their untruth that will undoubtedly have anti-gunner groups fuming for three reasons: 1) this is a real idea, 2) it’s almost that easy, and 3) it actually lowers the chance of unlawful purchases. In Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado, customers at a growing number of grocery stores really can buy ammunition from newly-installed Automated Retail Machines (ARM).

Not a joke. Not a typo. And not a bad idea, actually.

American Rounds is a  Texas company that’s integrating AI and facial recognition systems with proven vending/ATM technology to enable the responsible sale of ammunition via their ARMs. Although they might quibble at characterizing their kiosks a simple vending machines because of their security and purchase verification protocols, a vending machine is the simplest way to think of the American Rounds system. 

American Rounds’ vending machines combine AI and facial recognition technology with identity verification to sell ammunition-responsibly-with no human interaction. (Screenshot from AmericanRounds.com)

According to CEO Jason Magers, the Texas-based company views their ARMs as a more responsible way to sell ammunition than the traditional over-the-counter method. “It takes ammunition off the shelves,” he told me. “That eliminates theft. And the technology makes it virtually impossible for someone to use a false or stolen ID to buy ammunition.”

When he talks about technology, he’s talking about the machines’ capability to verify the authenticity of an ID, then use facial recognition technology to make certain the purchaser is the person on the ID that’s been inserted into the machine. It also verifies the age of the purchaser.

Despite some media reports to the contrary, Magers tells me, the machine has advanced technologies like AI and facial recognition, but it lacks another ability that concerns many 2A proponents: the ability to store the information.  

“Nope,” he told me without equivocation, “our machines don’t have the ability to store a purchaser’s information. They only verify that the buyer is the person on the ID and is old enough to make the purchase. We don’t store, transmit or keep any of that information.”

The ARMs are capable of real-time inventory tracking. It enables them to notify American Rounds when they’re running low on particular items. It also enables American Rounds to see what’s selling where and adjust supplies accordingly.

With so many calibers, bullet weights and other variations, I wondered how many “flavors” the machines are capable of carrying…and how they’d decide which ones to offer. 

“Depending on the mix of ammunition types,” Magers explained, “the machines can have 30 to 35 SKUs. The mix of ammunition types will depend on seasons and local information. When it’s turkey season, the variety of ammunition  in the ARM may be reduced because shot shells take up more room than rifle or handgun ammunition.”

Pricing, Magers told me, is set within five percent (plus or minus) of local retailers.

The purchase experience is essentially a virtual shopping cart. A customer tells the machine the kind of ammunition (rifle/pistol/shotgun), sees the options available, then makes their selections. 

When they’re ready to check out, they insert their identification and it’s verified while a camera on the ARM scans their face to verify their identify. When that’s done, the customer pays for their transaction and the ammunition is placed in a pickup area inside the machine.

So why grocery stores? Because, Magers told me, the idea originated with grocers. In conversations with a group of grocers, they brought up the idea of having additional products to offer customers. Ammunition was one of those products. 

Next time you’re in the grocery, look along the front wall of the store. You’ll be surprised at just how many vending-type machines they already have in place. Adding an ARM only requires a 4×4 foot footprint and adds an item that’s virtually impossible to purchase anywhere else outside traditional business hours. 

As virtually any traveling shooter/hunter will tell you, you seldom realize you need ammo during banker’s hours. Being able to pop into a Fresh Value or Super C Mart (two of the chains currently offering American Rounds machines) while buying ice and other miscellaneous supplies could certainly make travel less stressful.

Word is, apparently, getting around. 

Magers tells me he’s currently running about 10 calls or emails per hour asking for options ranging from buying a machine to franchising. He also says inquires from hardware stores further validates the appeal of the ability to sell ammunition with a reduced risk of shrinkage (the retail synonym for theft) and no need for a clerk to be involved.

Other options under consideration include expanding the offerings on the menu including purchasing items via the ARM and having them drop-shipped to the purchaser, placing advertising on the machine itself, and co-branding the ARMs.

It seems the business model is a classic one: find a need and fill it.

We’ll keep you posted.

6 Responses

  1. Does the need really exist? I would think the hunter etc would be prepared and not be so careless as to wait until the last minute to purchase ammo.
    Not a bad idea, by any means. These machines may be of value on a shooting range or police academy.

  2. This story has certainly been making the rounds (har har, see wut I just did thar) on multiple sites recently.

    But I’ll never use one. Only a fool would pay with anything that deliberately crosses our anti-liberty Guv’s radar.

  3. Plenty of local stores where I am sell groceries and happen to have ammo on the shelves too.
    Maybe I should consider myself lucky that I don’t get why the concept is a thing.
    Though the morning local news did report this like it was something. I’m guessing that means the people who produce and write the news at the big city station have never actually set foot outside that city save to visit another city.

  4. Scanning IDs and using facial recognition…because you know, building a gun registry is against federal law, but helping the feds build/upgrade a facial recognition database of ammo buyers is perfectly fine.

    1. It was clarified that the facial recognition technology is for feature extraction to match against your supplied photo ID. The moment that anyone suspected that the scans were being kept instead of being discarded the company’s reputation would be destroyed and they would go bankrupt. The concept is excellent as, yes, you can run out of ammo at inconvenient times and theft of shelved stock is real.

  5. I think myself to be a typical shooter and the only time I am out of ammo might be when I purchase a new caliber gun from an Individual otherwise, I will have and keep a supply that 20 to 50 more rounds would not be of a great value to me. The only way I could see it as a value is if there is a protracted gunfight outside the store that has the machine and I have expended my EDC mag capacity and my second mag. I live in a small town in Arkansas where the grocery store sells firearms, ammo, hunting licenses, fishing poles, bait and supplies along with Dewalt and Stanley tools plus I can get a pizza, great deli sandwich and all my medications. Pretty much the best store on the planet and they are open till 10:00pm nightly. Others might joke but I’m pretty sure that Jason Aldeen’s “Try That in a Small Town” song was written specifically about the town I proudly live in.

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