As anyone who’s read The Last Psychiatrist understands, advertising is the sincerest form of psychology because the livelihoods of everyone involved depends directly on the accuracy of the assessment. The advertising agency / client feedback loop is nearly instantaneous and completely unforgiving, and therefore the manner in which the products are hawked to a particular demographic is a harsh and sometimes magnifying mirror.
So what does recent firearm advertising say about us shooters? I took a quick browse through a few of this month’s gun rags and saw a couple of themes. Hit the jump to have a look!
So in case you didn’t notice, it sure looks to me as if almost every seller of ARs and even slightly related equipment is selling them at SWAT teams, the military, private military contractors, or people who fancy themselves to be, but are not.
NB: I AM NOT CLAIMING THAT IT IS NOT YOUR GOD GIVEN RIGHT AND EVEN DUTY TO OWN AND ENJOY SUCH THINGS FOR WHATEVER REASONS YOU MAY COME UP WITH. If you’re going to accuse me of only-ones-ism or calling for the restriction of the 2nd Amendment in any way, you have preemptively missed my point and you are going to contribute nothing useful to this conversation. Please close this tab and go back to commenting on YouTube.
The runaway arms race of military and police legitimacy probably achieved critical mass in the open-enrollment firearms training market, where relevance to uniformed service became a shortcut to a convincing marketing pitch. If it’s good enough for SEAL Team 6, it’s good enough for me, right? Well, what if what’s good for Operators Operating In Operations isn’t good for the rest of us? Have we considered that perhaps much of the gear, doctrine and technique only works for those guys because it’s their job to practice them every day, and they put them into practice with a bunch of other guys who also practice them every day, with each other?
In particular, I’m going to point out the preemptive prophylactic (I refuse to use the t-word) reload, where one switches out and retains a partially expended magazine for one that’s full, while there are still hostiles around. This makes sense in the military setting, as you can count on several friends nearby with fully loaded rifles looking in the same direction to keep the baddies from taking advantage of your temporarily useless rifle. In the civilian context, which I assume the vast majority of my readers are preparing for, and the vast majority of firearms customers are as well, one cannot count on ever having backup and thus you should not only put off reloading until you are convinced that all is clear, if you have an empty mag you should probably toss it and not waste time finding a place to stow it. Yes yes, I know in various disaster scenarios we can’t assume FedEx will be delivering fresh PMags straight from Brownells etc etc, but this is rapidly getting into prepping to fastrope from the space shuttle territory, and for the current domestic situation, tossing your empties (or even lightly loaded partials if you have more full magazines available) is the smarter play.
I also don’t wish to say that there’s no lessons to be learned from the .mil side of things, they benefit from a harsh and demanding crucible and certainly they learn plenty from us! But at the same time, we can’t substitute their conditions and requirements for our own. As always, mission drives the gear train, not the other way around. If you start buying and training without rigorously defining your requirements, you will spend a lot of time and effort on the wrong thing. And for the same reasons, successful military use is of course a worthwhile selling point. But how many of the above manufacturers can actually claim that?
But not all is MOLLE cosplay camp and deception in the advertising world! I found a few ads that were pleasing, realistic, and yet still managed to be aspirational without convincing the user they only need to buy this gun to unleash their inner Tier Zero Operator. Needless to say, I liked them a lot and hope to see more of them in the future.
Here we have three ads strangely devoid of militaristic gear and camo, just featuring skilled shooters wringing out their guns and enjoying them. Wouldn’t you like to go to the range and have fun like them? I know I would.
Did you notice what these ads all had in common? Yeah, me too. Chew on that for a minute, guys.