All Things SF
By Abner Miranda
I’m going to stick my neck way out there on this article, because there are some things that need to be said. Our industry has an inane fascination with all things Special Forces (SF), and we need an industry-wide comeuppance. It seems that nowadays if your title doesn’t begin with “Former” no one listens to you. I’ve often said that if Eugene Stoner were to try and make it in our industry, today, he would be marginalized by all the SF clownery. I am but one of several instructors, and industry professionals who’ve voiced a rising frustration in dealing with the mindset of “if you’re not SF you’re nobody.” Let me be clear, I am not talking about the hard working folks who’ve paid their dues (Vickers, Haley, Proctor, Spooner, Howe, etc.). I’m referring to the guys who’ve cleaved to a barbaric ethos of total violence that’s meant to sell a warped “lifestyle” to the masses. These people and their sycophantic disciples hide behind online handles, and breed discord.
What we’re dealing with now is a fringe movement of fly-by-night, tactical toddlers who are making a name for themselves by generating vapid media content that offers little relevance to the fight we have here on US soil. These people are confrontational and disrespectful. I’ve witnessed men that I deeply respect being lambasted by keyboard commandos who’ve nothing relevant to share with our industry. Their ubiquitous retort when confronted is “well Former Special Forces Operator so-and-so says…” It never occurs to these people that a lot of what passes for “knowledge” in our industry is nothing more than someone finding a way to sell their product or service.
If your undies are in a bind over what I’m saying you’re probably part of the problem. I’ve sat quietly for the last few years hoping that this SF movement would peter out. Not only has it not, it’s continued to grow, and now it’s reaching epic proportion's of ignorance.
Let's go back to the beginning with a little quiz. How many of you are even aware of when, why, and how our industry began this inane fascination with all things SF? Anyone?
In 1999 Steven Spielberg’s: Dreamworks Interactive released a video game (Medal of Honor) loosely based on his 1998, WWII epic, Saving Private Ryan. Little did anyone know that that one game would spawn a cultural shift that would sweep the world. Before Medal of Honor, video games had always been just games. Medal of Honor offered an experience. Hollywood professionals plied their expertise on this game and created a cinematic experience that the end user could now control.
In response to the growing success of the now franchised Medal of Honor games, Infinity Ward jumped into the mix with their own version of the WWII-centric games with Call of Duty, in 2003. In 2007 Call of Duty took a very risky gamble and produced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Oh baby! Things got hot after that.
For those of us who were already in the firearms industry this was a welcome extension of our, much loved, hobby of shooting. Suddenly we had an online gaming experience that realistically produced the exact adrenaline fix we got on the range. While a video game is just a video game to an adult with a life, it’s an entirely different thing to a child. Online, team based, combat gaming has now spawned a new generation of problematic kids with some serious rage issues. This phenomenon has been fueled by lack of sleep, lack of parental controls, and moral numbing in a digital world that rewards interpersonal aggression, which, coincidentally, is the universal human phobia.
That generation of kids who grew up fueling their rage are now the 20-somethings who are shocked when they don’t get their way. Every couple of months I run into some young upstart who thinks he knows something because he now has an RMR equipped pistol and his starter AR-15. These are the people who are fueling this fascination with SF because they want to live out there online gaming fantasies. The fact that gaming has now become the way to entertain oneself has caused a paradoxical effect where the very things that used to seem absurd, are now acceptable. Our industry-wide ignorance about what is real, and what is hype has now created business models which endeavor to pander to this inane SF fascination.
Then suddenly it stopped at 03:20 on Nov. 9th of this year. Yep that political upset dropped our industry on its head. Those of us on the inside know what just happened, and for the rest of you who don’t quite get it, let me school you.
For months our industry had been spinning-up for what was predicted to be the buy-in of the century. It was suspected that the 2016 political panic-buy was going to rival 2008 and 2012 combined. Then Trump actually beat Hillary…oops! What just happened?
Not only were people not buying in mass quantities before the election, which was weird in and of itself. It got worse, as the day after the election saw orders being canceled left and right. In the following weeks we’ve been watching our industry receding at an alarming rate. Mark my words, this fascination with SF is no longer financially sustainable.
We’re already seeing the signs of financial strain turning to bust. There are going to be companies closing their doors in the next few weeks, and I’m not the only one suspecting that we’re going to have a lot of empty booths at SHOT Show as companies restructure their financials in hopes of surviving.
Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing for our industry. Our childish preoccupation with SF is going to give way too a more pragmatic industry. Product is going to get better and customer service is going to come back as companies have to, once again, earn…our…business!
Now that “We the People” have the attention of the politicians, let’s start working together as an industry that is 2nd Amendment focused. Let’s get back to being America!
As always, God bless you all, get those guns out and practice. Have a good one!
~Abner Miranda is a former Police Officer, an FBI trained Hostage Negotiator, a First Responder, and Spanish Interpreter. He is currently a Firearms Instructor, an Armorer, and a regular contributor to our industry of both written and digital media. You can see more of Abner’s work on his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/daddycop3