Tactical/Operator Popularity in Firearms


June 14, 2012, 02:17 PM
What do you think has driven the popularity in people wanting to be tactical/operators when it comes to guns? 10 years overseas military, movies, fear that some guns will be banned by the government?

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June 14, 2012, 02:21 PM
What specifically are you referring to? Are you talking about people who want mil-spec equipment, people who want to have all the fancy doo-dads (like red dots and can openers), or people who dress up in tactical pants and wear tactical gear when they're plinking?

June 14, 2012, 02:24 PM
Video games!


June 14, 2012, 02:30 PM
nutnfancy and those airsoft thingys.

June 14, 2012, 02:33 PM
Is it a new thing? Haven't people always gravitated towards "the standard" in weaponry?

I'm no historian so if someone wants to correct me on my facts stated below, please feel free.

I mean, back in the old west there were trapdoor rifles kicking around among the populace as well as the military. When Henry repeaters were used in the Civil War, people then adopted those. People also went for the SA revolvers that the military used.
The 1911 became very popular with the civilian population during the time when the military was still using the 1911 as a primary issued sidearm. It has a huge following obviously.
The military switched to the M9 in the 80s and what do you know, everyone sold their 1911's to get "wondernines."

I think there may be a slightly different emphasis these days only because now we're focusing a lot on the doodads and electronics that we can stick on our guns, but I think the principle is still the same.

Military contracts generate the technological advancements that move the "state of the art" forward. In turn the military adopts the "state of the art" so that they can have the advantage over their OpFors, and then in turn the civilian market wants it because everyone wants the latest and greatest. It's an age old principle.

June 14, 2012, 02:35 PM
I say it's fine. If you want to have milspec kit, that's fine. Guns are on the upward stroke of interest. Call of Duty and Battlefield are influential with the young crowd and frankly, if it gets young people into guns and RKBA, I say it's a good thing.

June 14, 2012, 02:46 PM
As I've written before:

The sweaty-handed junior who went weak at the knees to hold a Model 70 just like his hero Jack O'Conner uses, back in 1950, or to see a REAL pair of Colt SAA's just like Tom Mix used to shoot the guns out of the hands of the men in black hats -- is now the pudgy video-game geek who's dangerously close to spilling his Dr. Pepper on that FN SCAR-17 ... just like his digital hero uses to defeat the terrorists in the game of the moment. Some things really don't change.

Folks have tended to be intrigued by whatever was new, cool, interesting, "best," most accurate, most powerful, or was used by their heroes -- for EVER.

Back in the day it was cowboy guns for fighting off the Indians or the cattle rustlers. Another generation forward and it was 1903s and 1917s for killing the Hun. M1s and 1911s for fighting off the Nazis after that. That M16A1 looked pretty futuristic and COOL back when we were attempting not to have to get out of Vietnam.

Nowadays our common weapons are more ergonomic and capable thanks to "modern tacticool" bits and pieces, so enthusiasts are fascinated by those details.

Nothing surprising or wrong about it.

June 14, 2012, 02:57 PM
I think that some of the cause can be found in our society.
I don't know the exact stats for hunting but I don't believe that the percentage of hunters is as large as several decades ago. We may have more hunters due to population growth but I doubt that the percentage of hunters in the general population is higher. If that is the case then this probably drives people away from the more traditionaly style firearms as they may be exposed to the tactical stuff from tv, service, movies or even games.
We also have many single parent households and I believe that when many of these kids grow up they aren't exposed to fathers that hunt. They probably lean towards what they see on TV when buying a gun. Perhaps they buy a Glock because the local LEO uses them. An AR or AK looks pretty reasonable as a long gun instead of a bolt action .270.
Everyone also likes the biggest and baddest or latest and greatest. This is probably going to be something magazine fed.
I know a lot of new shooters or at least new gun owners. Most of them are handgun buyers and they are heavily influenced by what they see on television. Many are middle aged with limited firearms experience or absolutely no experience. The media and entertainment industry has shaped their choices rather than a male role model.
Just my 2 cents.

June 14, 2012, 03:30 PM
It is interesting to see the switch from people wanting Win 70's and 94's VS Rem 700 and Marlin 336's to now AR VS AK. I do not think it is bad but it is interesting to see a switch in interest from bolt action/lever action hunting rifles to AR's and AK's.

I see a change in interest from hunting clothes, boots, and gear to more of the tactical clothes and gear.

I have wondered if less and less firearm buyers today are hunters than in the past.

June 14, 2012, 03:37 PM
Razor, I'm not a hunter. It just sounds like a whole lot of work to get food, when I can just as easily go to the market and pay the last person in the chain of people who've done that work for me. And yes, as a bachelor, that means Top Ramen and microwavable corn dogs.

My guns serve two purposes: range toys and SD. All of my guns serve both purposes, and I choose them based on what I want for SD.

Some of my choices are "tacticool" in nature, but not based on the fact the military uses X or Y. If I get something the military uses, I get it because I look at what are the features of said gun or device, and how does that fit with what I think will help me in a SD situation.

June 14, 2012, 04:13 PM
I think it is the product of having a generation deployed overseas. You lug around an M4 or an M16 outfitted with an EOTech or some other high-tech optics package, and you do it for 6-15 months at a crack. In the process you develop a sense of familiarity and comfort with the system. When you come home and you head out to hunt deer or pig or whatever, maybe your choice is something that closely mirrors what you had downrange.

Regarding the clothes, I was issued so many uniforms (that were impregnated with permethrin) prior to my deployments that I have a ready supply of camo hunting clothes. Why would I wear-out nice jeans on a hunt when I have a bunch of ABU/DCU/multi-cam trousers that are camoflaged, light, comfortable and repel insects?

So when asked about tactical gear, I suggest it is a comfort, familiarity and availability issue.

Shadow 7D
June 14, 2012, 04:27 PM
BUT less than 1% is effected by the deployments, and I'm including friends and family of service members, so....

TV and video games

June 14, 2012, 04:28 PM
AFDoc, also gotta remember those that don't have the time in the military but still want milspec.

June 14, 2012, 04:59 PM
I do think offering long guns for those not interested in hunting has gotten people interested in owning guns. The AR boom has been great for gun sales and drawing in new gun owners.

I would guess gun ownership is more common than ever but there are less guns bought specifically for hunting.

June 14, 2012, 06:28 PM
I suspect that it has to do with association.

To many, Soldier = potent = masculine. This may pull in others who want to adopt that sense of potence.

June 14, 2012, 07:18 PM
Fear of terrorism, focused and catalyzed by the events of 9/11 have made the population more open to and accepting of the need to protect and defend ones home, and the support of the professionals and their tools who do just that for a living;
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where, regardless of the view of the mission, but seeing and acknowledging the heroic acts of our men and women in the military and;
The exposure via video games and TV of the tacti-cool, whether accurate or otherwise. It's hard to know but I don't think this last point would be of much merit if not for the first two.

Texan Scott
June 14, 2012, 07:49 PM
Skribs, ima go get a tacticooled-out AR-15 airsoft gun, paint my face camo, and shoot me some ramen noodles and microwave corn dogs, just so i can be FIRST in the supply chain. :D

I really don't think the phenomenon is anything new, though... glorifying violence through entertainment media is as American as my mom's apple-pie flavored M1 Garand at a baseball game (serving microwaved corndogs). As long as nobody has a wardrobe malfunction at said sporting event, our moral sensibilities are at ease.

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