Wednesday, December 5, 2007


As evidenced by my previous couple of gun blogs, I like guns. What I do not like is the trend towards labelling every gun possible as tactical. Additionally, I hate the huge amount of "tactical" gear that is out there.

Aside from the fact that nerds that want to pretend that they are "operators" buy this stuff by the metric ton, there are some very good reasons why I hate it, and the events in Nebraska today sort of illustrated some of them, which I will get to in a second. Before I flip the rant switch, let me say that there actually is some very good gear out there, and even though it is labelled as "tactical", it is still well made, useful stuff. Maxpedition bags immediately come to mind, as do 5.11 pants.

Now then, let me talk a little about the Nebraska rampage. It saddens me deeply that this sort of thing happens. On a human level, I am sad thinking that 8 people died today, simply because they went shopping at the wrong time. On a more selfish level, I am sad because there are going to be a lot of people who view the gun itself as the problem, and not the shooter. Let me state categorically that I do not believe that guns cause crime any more than I believe that booze causes drunken driving accidents. In both cases you have things that can be dangerous, but when used responsibly are no more dangerous than anything else. I would also point out that it is already illegal to drive when drunk, and it is certainly illegal to murder people. By the same token, it is not illegal to drink, and it is not illegal to own guns, at least in a broad sense.

With that being said, I am staring at my new issue of "Guns" magazine, and inside there is tons of advertisement regarding tactical gear and guns. In fact, on the back page of the magazine, there is an ad for the new Kimber Covert 1911 pistol, with the tag line "Out of sight, Peace of mind". While I have zero problems with the pistol, I have some issues with the wording. If a person that is on the fence about gun control reads this, I believe that they are just as likely to wonder why something like a pistol needs to be "covert" as they are to think "Hey, that's a nice pistol". People active in the gun culture understand that a gun is a gun is a gun, but I am not so sure that the fence sitters do.

Now, I am not saying that the pistol itself is evil. Cops carry Kimber pistols, people compete with Kimber pistols, and Kimber pistols are perfectly suitable weapons for self-defense and pleasure. I wouldn't look down at anyone who bought a Kimber Covert (even though I think Kimbers are horrifically over-priced), and in fact would even go so far as to suggest a similar pistol to anyone who happened to be looking. What I am saying is that perhaps the time has come for a bit of decorum on the part of advertising departments.

A perfect example of what I am talking about is "Extreme Shock" ammunition, the ad for which is posted at the top of this page. Aside from being an extremely stupid advertisement that gun-guys regularly make fun of, the ammo itself borders on false advertisement, at least in my opinion. While I have not personally tested it, this guy has, and if you read his conclusions you can see quite clearly that there isn't anything "Extreme" about this particular brand of ammunition:

Now, for the record, this guy is not a ballistics expert. You can read his bio on his page, and you will see that he has been around the block and has some expertise in the field of firearms training. I think he is credible, but I will say that he is not an "expert".

Anyway, my point is this: Image is everything. If the image that we want is that of wannabe SWAT members running around saving the day, that is the image that we will get, as stupid as that is. I know for a fact that the large majority of gun owners are not wannabe SWAT operators. The vast majority of us are law-abiding citizens (you have to be to legally purchase and own a firearm) that shoot for pleasure or for game or both. The vast majority of us will never have to defend ourselves with firearms, but we will, if we have to. The vast majority of us are just regular, average people that happen to own guns. What we aren't is spree-killers in waiting, ticking time-bombs, or potential crimes of passion.

sigh... I hope I managed to state my position clearly, even though I don't think I did...

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