What is the difference in the meanings of these words?


February 3, 2003, 10:20 PM
I hear words like "tactical, practical, & strategic" used quite often. Are these word interchangable? Are they diff' degrees of the same thing? Please explain...:confused:

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February 3, 2003, 10:25 PM
Tactical = I guess it's like unit movement. 10-ring seeks cover behind a tree while shooting at wabbits.

Practical exists in a different plane. Let's say 10-ring brings a .22 varmint gun against a Tiger tank, or a Panzerschrek rocket launcher against wabbits. Impractical.

Strategic = big picture stuff. 10-ring uses demo charges to take out a bridge to stop varmit movement across the Colorado River.

February 3, 2003, 10:55 PM
I'll play, using nukes.

Tactical, ie battlefield nukes. Smaller blast radius, less fallout.

Strategic, ie citybusters. Large blast radius, large fallout.

So tactical is small scale, Strategic is the whole enchilada.

Or what Skunk said :cool:


February 3, 2003, 11:55 PM
Generals are strategic

Captains are tactical

Privates, and sergeants are practical

February 4, 2003, 12:31 AM
strategic - affecting outcome of war. Sometimes campaign.

tactical/tactics - affecting outcome of battle/engagement, or, outcome of what is in view of commander.

practical - affecting the individual/squad/ or moment. Generally applied to what is necessary to 'save your rear' right here and now.

February 4, 2003, 12:36 AM
Let me take a shot w/nukes.

Strategic -- loads and loads of big. long-range ICBMs with MIRVs in bunkers and on subs. The strategy is arms build-up so that if the other side strikes, you have enough nukes left to retaliate. Thus, it is in the best interest of both to never use nukes. The 'Mutual Assured Destruction' strategy. So big nukes are "strategic" only because this was traditionally the US/USSR strategy.

Tactical -- Nukes designed to actually be used on a battle field in support of armed forces.

Practical -- Keeping Iraq from having either of the above options - simply because we can right now.

Or the Gun Control version:

Strategic - Eventually outlaw all private gun ownership by slowly taking away more and more rights so that each generation expects fewer freedoms.

Tactical - Limiting magazines to 10 rounds, calling for bans on "assault weapons", calling for ballistic fingerprint databases, using whatever is in the headlines to move the anti-gun strategy forward.

Practical - Anti-gun politicians and celebrities hiring armed bodyguards to protect themselves.

February 4, 2003, 12:45 AM
They're not interchangeable.

The strategic objective is the overall result desired from the accomplishment of lesser tasks. From strategy.

Tactical objectives are discrete tasks that each contribute to the success of the strategic objective. From tactics.

Chess, checkers, bridge, hearts, football, etc., are all games that involve both strategy and tactics. The strategic objective is, of course, to win. The tactics may involve any number of moves including sacrificing assets, e.g., the sacrifice of a pawn in chess.

Practical is simply the best way to do a particular thing considering the resources available in light of the tactical and strategic objectives. If you run into a BG on your way back from the range and need to use your CCW but you've shot up all your CorBons and only have some FMJ range ammo, the practical solution is to use that FMJ even though you ALWAYS use CorBon in your CCW. Your strategic objective? Survive. Your tactical plan? Shoot the BG. Your practical solution? Use the FMJ you have.

February 4, 2003, 01:07 AM
Blackhawk, thanks, that reply was what I was after. You cleared things up quite well!

Don Gwinn
February 4, 2003, 09:15 AM
There's one more definition. As people grow weary of goofballs want to do everything "tactically" including wearing "tactical" black BDU's all the time, carrying "tactical" knives everywhere and insisting that the only useful firearm must be sleek, black and ugly (in other words, "tactical") the meanings are changing.

"Tactical" is coming to be a synonym for "silly" or "overwrought." A word used to describe the Mall Ninja or your college security guard who wears a black tactical uniform, a USP, six mags, black rappeling gloves, etc. Sometimes used to describe cops who can think of any excuse to bust down a door and see what a real live by-gosh flash-bang looks like.

"Practical" is being invoked more and more as the opposite of "tactical" above. As in "grandpa's thirty-thirty isn't very tactical, but it sure is practical for what I need."

February 4, 2003, 09:30 AM
To add on what Don said,
"Tactical" is a marketing strategy that the firarms industry uses to get us practical folks to spend more money on accessories for our guns and shooting in general.

Detachment Charlie
February 4, 2003, 09:48 AM
cheygriz -- Spot on, mate!!!:cool:

February 4, 2003, 10:52 AM
To stay with your original question, 10-Ring, I would venture that the three words are maybe the most misused in common use today.

As others said, Tactical = how to win the BATTLE;
Strategic = how to win the WAR;

Practical = who knows what that means other than the dictionary definition? If it is about USPSA, it is clearly the most impractical guns and tactics I know. Everything is a game to IPSC (USPSA) shooters. Gameover? No prob, put another quarter in and get another life.

February 4, 2003, 10:56 AM
the meanings are changing.

* * *

"Tactical" is coming to be a synonym for "silly" or "overwrought."

* * *

"Practical" is being invoked more and more as the opposite of "tactical" above. Your observations are correct, but what you're observing is changing jargon, not meanings.

"Cool" and "hot" mean the same thing in jargon relating to people, but their meanings have nothing to do with temperature.

"Bad" and "good" share the same jargon definitions, but they have nothing to do with the characteristics the words describe.

Some slang or jargon comes close to getting institutionalized, like ebonics. As somebody pointed out, "tactical" has been adopted as a marketing gimmick, and as you point out, it's coming to mean silly.

We're going through a phase of wonderment and discovery about guns and SD in general in this country, and if things go on long enough, the jargon used is going to confuse and befuddle etymologists of the future. Defining "tactical" is going to be just as bad for them as "consumption" as a medical condition is for us.

February 4, 2003, 12:17 PM
I guess as brother Art Eatman noted in another thread, "It pays if you have your dictionary written in pencil." :eek: Apologies if I misquoted you, Art. :D

February 4, 2003, 12:21 PM
Person A owns a SKS.

Person B owns a HK91.

Person A feels inadequate and compensates by suggesting the SKS is more "practical." :D

February 4, 2003, 01:17 PM
I hear people misuse 'strategic' all the time.

BTW are gas stations in convenient locations planted tactically or strategically? I consider myself tactical for going to a farther gas station that I may drive by often than going to a more expensive one across the street from work. Conversely, did Shell place that gas station strategically off the freeway?

So would I remain tactical but the Shell station be strategic? :confused:

February 4, 2003, 01:25 PM
Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is a great deal of functional illiteracy in our country today. People hear or read a word and begin to use it without really knowing the meaning. It all started with our Great Society courtesy of LBJ, may he rot beside those %^%#(&&^%%&$&$) terrorist supporting nations...:cuss:

February 4, 2003, 01:35 PM
Generals are strategic
Captains are tactical

Sergeants are practical
Privates are expendable
2nd Lts are dangerous

February 4, 2003, 02:36 PM
tactical=retail plus 20%
Practical=retail plus 40%
Strategic=retail plus 200% (government contract)

February 4, 2003, 02:51 PM
tactical=retail plus 20%
Practical=retail plus 40%
Strategic=retail plus 200% (government contract)

Doodad = retail plus 300% :neener:

February 4, 2003, 03:00 PM
Lord help you if you need a thingamajig, BigG:what:

February 4, 2003, 03:21 PM
:what: I hope I never do, Delmar! :eek:

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