We demurred on posting the above YouTube video of Chris Costa quasi-lasering an audience in Japan with an Airsoft rifle because, well, ho-hum. The gunblogosphere didn’t share our Costa-related ennui. The gun guru’s antics went viral amongst the four rules set. In retrospect maybe we should have joined the critics’ chorus, what with our ongoing Facebook campaign to shame models displaying poor trigger discipline (and little else). Anyway, Mr. Costa felt obliged to respond to those who saw this as a major WTF moment. Here’s this morning’s Facebook mea culpa . . .

Recently I had an excellent opportunity to travel over to Japan in support of their Airsoft community, and While I was there our hosts had asked that my trip mate, Jimmy Hendrix and I to participate in a few rounds of indoor and outdoor Airsoft games as a show of support for the Japanese players. In conjunction with the games, our hosts had also requested that we attend several events for the airsoft community that provided us with an opportunity and venue to partake in Q&A and photo session with the fans.

Our first major event of the trip was a welcome party with roughly 500 fans (and I mean fans). There was entertainment, and electric bugaloo to get the crowd pumped, not to mention half naked girls on stage with one girl using a whip on another girl, which to us was a bit different for a public event. During our pre-show briefing my hosts had requested that I speak at the show, answer questions from press in attendance, and provide a photo op demonstration at the end for the fans. Initially I wouldn’t agree to do the photo op demonstration (ironically, hesitant for the very reason this entire issue has exploded into Costagate). Frankly, I thought the idea was a bit lame, and the runway setup was slightly out of context and a bit over the top for my liking.

Unfortunately my reluctance had greatly offended and disappointed my very kind and conciliatory hosts, which of course was the last thing I had wanted to do. They explained that nobody gets to shoot in Japan, and that an airsoft event like the one I attended is the closest they will have to firearms ownership. I was told, “They see pictures of you, Chris Costa shooting. This is their chance to be the one to get the photo.” They talked more about the fans, about how most of them will never get to fire a real gun, how most of them will never get the chance to do any firearms training that we get to experience here in the United States. They talked about how much it would mean for the people, and fans attending this party to be able to take their own pictures of an actual gun trainer in person.

Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t take myself that serious. I recognized and knew that safety measures were in place and that the fans new what to expect. I thought, what would Kenny Powers do…and in the immortal words of Bill O’Riley, I said to myself, “F$&k it, Well do it live” lol. So the next thing I knew, there I was up on stage and a little worried that my host were wrong about these guys wanting a photo shoot. The next thing I noticed-the crowd went nuts. Never would I have imagined something that simple being that big of a deal. Albeit I was hesitant, I never imagined that a 36-second clip of a 3- hour event would be taken so out of context by people who weren’t at the event or understood what was happening. Did I expect my friends to rag me later, hell YES; that’s why they are my friends, but all I ask is that you please don’t take the fun away from our community. I don’t know why the Airsoft community would hold me in this regard. Maybe its all the Magpul DVD’s over here in Japan. To my kids I’m nothing more than their dad. People we read about together and hold in high regard are MOH recipients, and as you may recall, you can watch a clip of me on YouTube reading about one of my hero’s, Master Sargent Roy Benavidez.

Let us understand and not forget that our future generations play video games like COD, or MOH and progress from there by buying Airsoft weapons for simulated war games. Coming to Japan has helped me gain a better understanding of why they are so dedicated, or what we would call fervent, about the airsoft industry. This is their lifestyle relative to our lifestyle of us carrying real weapons and protecting our families. Picture an America with no weapons, and no second Amendment rights. For us this is unthinkable, and would certainly hit on a level we couldn’t imagine or comprehend, not only because of the way our country was founded, but because of the lifestyle and freedom we can exercise as our right to protecting our family and community.

The Japanese have Airsoft and that is it. They play our LAPD, DEA, FBI, NYPD and branches of the military because they think those guys are awesome. Same as you I’ve cracked a few jokes in the past over the very people that want to be like us, to have our rights, and to be allowed to own and carry weapons.

I could agree I’m probably not the best person to send here to represent America and the gun community. However, just because something is new to me, I’ve never been one to back down or quit. I’ll try something new. I may fail and make mistakes, but that’s how I get better. I feel we’ve done a lot of good over here. We’ve changed the way they approach the game of airsoft, and I’d like to think we’ve built a bigger respect for what they like about us and our freedoms when it comes to guns.

My parting thoughts are this: If Airsoft manufacturers could develop a gun that could survive normal abuse, I believe it would eventually find its way into Armed Defense for citizens, law enforcement, and military. This could further provide additional opportunities for force-on-force training which could be a huge benefit. I appreciate all my friends and industry partners for all their support over the last week while I was in Japan. I’m getting ready to head home my body is not in it’s 20’s anymore, that is for sure. I was happy that no one out ran me……so that one is for me.

Very Respectfully,
Costa

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110 Responses to Costa on “Costagate”

    • I don’t even almost understand any of this. The safety crew has clearly jumped the shark if it isn’t okay to point an airsoft rifle — a toy designed specifically for people to shoot at each other for fun and game — at or near people who desire exactly that. This is the most ridiculous crap ever.

      • Well, truthfully, this is not a whole lot different than all the idiotic comments about Chipotle guys posing for a photo-op with their rifles…rifles clearly not loaded, not pointed at anyone and very, very, very clearly staged and posed.

        One of those photos had cops nearby that were not alarmed by the posed shot. Yet even that fact did not stop the myriad of comments about with such fun tidbits as “they have their hand on the rifle, I’m taking them out.”

        Yep. We can be our worse enemy sometimes…

        • Fair enough. 😉

          On a serious note, though, liberty is not supposed to just apply to the cool kids.

      • In airsoft there are some basic courtesies similar to normal guns. Don’t point your gun at your teammates or at people without eye protection, and keep the finger off the trigger until ready (I have witnessed younger kids have a negligent discharge on a teammate before the round even started because they failed both of those).

        It’s a great way to teach gun safety in a stressful yet safe environment and I can absolutely understand why people on the airsoft and gun side would be uncomfortable with the photoshoot.

        • Absolutely. I’m a gun owner and a hardcore airsoft player (I have over 2 grand worth of gear and actually went to a day game with 68 players this last weekend), and it makes me uncomfortable for exactly that reason. The four rules of gun safety are heavily respected by the airsoft community as well. As to the OP’s comment, it’s an issue because those people he was pointing at WEREN’T players.

          The rule of “don’t point your weapon at something you don’t intend to shoot” applies to airsoft as well as firearms, the difference being that you DO intend to shoot members of the opposing team (who are likewise armed, wearing eye protection, and will shoot back). The sport of airsoft already gets enough shit (and genuine hostility by the guys at AR-15.com, which is ironic since their main issue seems to be that airsoft players put useless shit on their guns, even though I’m certain the average arf.com user has several pounds more tacticool shit on their guns; since they don’t carry them for hours at a time), and antics like this don’t help the sport gain the legitimacy or respect it deserves.

          On the other hand, this is a man who is well known for his firearm-related stuff, who was in Japan to support the sport of airsoft. That’s a big deal. Broadly speaking, the type of gun guy that he is is usually the first to shit on the sport, tell us all to get real guns (because airsoft guns and firearms obviously serve an identical purpose….idiots), and say we don’t have the balls to enlist with the military, so we dress up in BDU’s and run around with fake guns to pretend like soldiers (not true at all; I have NEVER met an airsoft player who was pretending to be a soldier, and I say that based on their own perception of what was happening, NOT how they were dressed). His support means quite a bit, so even if I roll my eyes at the video above, I’m still appreciative he made the journey to the other side of the world to show his support for a sport that is too often regarded as pathetic and childish.

    • Yah, the video looks awkward as hell. But, exactly, who cares. It puts food on his kids’ table, more power to him. What each and every one of us would do to put food on our kids’ table? accept low pay, low praises, kiss ass and take it up the… and act like you like it.

      Take the money and run is right. Good for him.

  1. Who is this,,,,,guy? Never heard of him. As for muzzle sweeping the crowd, I have seen federal level LEOs at gatherings/conferences/whatnot do it so many times it is pathetic, not to mention officers and senior NCOs in various settings while in Army.

    The level of ineptitude I see on people’s youblube videos is comical, in a sad and pathetic sorta way. And many of them claim to be “experts”.

    • “Who is this,,,,,guy? Never heard of him. “

      Look him up; seems like a good one to have on our side, especially the “don’t take things so seriously” part.

      • Did look it up. No wonder so many people have such a hard time with proper and safe firearms handling, seeing as this is considered a “pro trainer”. On a firing line I was running I would bounce him so hard he would draw a spark.

        • On the firing line, you are handling live weapons.

          One would think a professional with Costa’s credentials would know the difference between that environment and posing for some shots with a toy.

          This was not some random thing. It was staged. Everyone there knew what was going on.

          Or…do you also think that movies and plays should not depict people pointing guns at other people because that is violating the four rules?

          The rules are in place to secure safe handling and prevent accidents. It does us little good to get married to the rules themselves and lose sight of the purpose and spirit behind them.

          Blindly following rules without thought is a form of dogma.

        • I had no idea who this guy was till this was posted. I then checked his youblube videos. He puts himself out there as a firearms expert and yet acts like a clown, doing all manner of unsafe sh*t and excusing it by throwing out the disclaimer “I don’t take myself too seriously”. Really?!?!? People here at TTAG go insane because someone open carries a weapon in public, screeching&wailing that they are destroying the image of “people of the gun” and yet this idiot gets the full court press of public defense. Just f**king sad and pathetic. No wonder we as a nation are in so much trouble.

        • It’s an airsoft gun. NOT A FIREARM. Seriously. Next thing you know we’re gonna get mad at the kids pointing “pop-tart guns” because they’re breaking the 4.

        • Are you banned from youblube? Or just can’t figure out how to find people’s vids? When you claim to be a firearms expert and trainer you should behave accordingly, or is that too complicated a concept?

        • @2hotel9, me thinks thou does protest too much…..you really ought to walk away. You sound like you have some serious jealousy issues working in your noggin.

        • So, you aren’t capable of informing yourself. Okey dokey, then. Ain’t there some cops in Albuquerque whose a$$es you need to be kissing?

        • @2hotel9, I was out in my garage the other day and noted I was missing a tool. Well what do you know!? I believe I just found it. The 2hotel9 tool.

        • Ahhh, aren’t you a special sort of little retard. I’ll be sure to laugh when to report of you shooting yourself in the face comes across the line. Maybe your hero Costa will be there to further f**k up the situation.

        • @2hotel9, oh I assure you goober, Costa is not my hero. But you are a special kind of turd. Yes indeed.

  2. So what did he do wrong, exactly? He muzzled somebody with a toy gun? Haven’t we all done that while playing cops and robbers as kids?

  3. I’ll offer this…
    If we’re going to demonize CC for the clip and his description/depiction/explanation of events, then how much hate needs to be rained down on every one of these pictures and the persons who enabled them?

    https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1600&bih=752&q=people+holding+guns&oq=people+holding+guns&gs_l=img.3..0l2j0i5l8.792.7522.0.7712.43.22.14.7.8.0.168.1693.18j3.21.0.msedr…0…1ac.1.60.img..2.41.1863.KkRqeqA8fig

  4. It’s a toy, not a real firearm. Don’t flame- I get the concern. But I am sure Costa didn’t point it right at some kids eye with his finger on the trigger. Let’s not be ridiculous, the whole point of airsoft is to pretend you really are shooting each other. I used to run around with my friends playing war with aisoft guns. Now I’m an adult and carry a real gun.

  5. Oh. Please. Of all the worthless crap to dredge up on the Internet this is some of the silliest I’ve seen. Costagate? Over an airsoft gun?

    Count me out.

    Good coverage, though. Not trying to flame or detract from TTAG at all.

  6. “They play our LAPD, DEA, FBI, NYPD and branches of the military because…”

    What, the don’t like playing the BATFE too?! I wonder just how much the firearm-otaku over there really follow american gun trends and happenings.

    • “What, the don’t like playing the BATFE too?! ”

      The Japanese don’t like LEOs who stomp kittens to death for fun.

    • Playing as the BATFE would be awesome. You could just go to wherever the other team is before the match and confiscate their guns. Then shoot them unarmed! Undefeated!

  7. Ah, the internet. The greatest medium to date to allow self important individuals to anonymously criticize others in order to feel better about themselves.

      • Now that was an instant flashback to the ‘ole “It must be September…” insult when college freshmen first got their Usenet accounts from their school and made instant a-holes of themselves.

        rec.guns was a newsgroup back then that was a fun read until it got to over 500+ posts daily.

    • Welcome to the internet. Here is your customary red bull and anime themed body pillow. Please enjoy your stay and mind the gap.

  8. best part:

    “…Never would I have imagined something that simple being that big of a deal… Did I expect my friends to rag me later, hell YES; that’s why they are my friends, but all I ask is that you please don’t take the fun away from our community…”

  9. Him muzzling the crowd still rubs me the wrong way, but I did not and do not complain about it. I kind of got the gist of the event there in Japan, having long understood the civil rights situation and culture over there.

  10. Good grief!

    If the four rules applied to airsoft guns, that would pretty much take all the fun out of playing with airsoft guns, wouldn’t it?

    • No. No it wouldn’t, and here’s why. The rule about never muzzling something you don’t intend to shoot? That applies to airsoft just as well, the difference is that you ARE intending to shoot members of the opposing team. Believe it or not, the 4 rules are actually very well minded in the airsoft community (well, maybe not the one about knowing your target and what is beyond, because the ammo is plastic BB’s and the most any gun will shoot is a bit over a hundred yards). Honestly, I’ve seen better safe handling of the weapons at airsoft games than I have at shooting ranges. The community does a shockingly good job of policing itself on that.

  11. I thought people were making fun of CC for the stop, drop and roll HSLD dance-monkey moves he was pulling on that catwalk, not for the toy gun muzzle sweep. I don’t care about the muzzle sweep either, but an adult man acting all tacticool with a toy gun just looked silly.

    • I taught my son to handle airsofts exactly the same as a real weapon. Too bad that offends you, just take solace in the fact my kid will never “accidentally” shoot you.

  12. Ha! This is a scandal?

    On one side of the coin firearms are serious business. On the flip side we mustn’t take ourselves too seriously. The people who are upset about this are taking themselves FAR too seriously…

  13. I really don’t know who this guy is, for sure; I assumed he’s a 3-gun runner. From the video he does appear to *almost* laser the majority of the crowd, but he does appear to be keeping the point of aim high. He is fingering the trigger the whole time. But, then again, it is an airsoft rifle; a toy. I’m glad that he gave these people the chance to feel connected to the freedoms that we (mostly) enjoy; maybe it will motivate them to take political action to secure that, and other, freedoms.

    • In a nutshell:

      1) Popular firearms trainer
      2) Made famous as one of the trainers in the Magpul line of training DVDs
      3) Now runs his own training school called Costa Ludus.
      4) Does product endorsements for companies like Larue
      5) Even has an action figure

      • 6) Handles firearms in an unsafe manner at public events.

        Just amazing, how butt hurt all you fanbois are over this idiot being called out for being an idiot.

        • @2hotel9,

          Assuming you are referring to this video, and not some other event I have not heard of, there were no firearms handled, unsafely or otherwise. These are toys (as you well know), and this occurred in Japan.

          Assuming you are referring to some other public event that actual firearms were handled unsafely, I must say: you went quite quickly from claiming to never have heard of Costa to claiming he is unsafe in public on a regular basis rather quickly…

        • He puts himself out there as a firearms expert and trainer, and then acts the fool. Can’t have it both ways, though apparently he gets a pass cuz he is all tacticool and whatnot.

  14. Self-important morons need to realize how important airsoft is to the future of gun rights. It is the “gateway drug”, if you will.

  15. Good for him making money and entertaining folks.

    The people freaking out are the same chairborne commandos that get their panties twisted when somebody points a real gun at a webcam.

    If I was Costa, my response would’ve been along the lines of, “I was flown to Japan. Hit on by girls. Paid lots of money. It was awesome. I will continue to make more money than you. I will continue to get super cool guns/gear for free. You’re a bunch of jealous pus.. pansies. Eat a di….” Well, you get the idea.

    • “The people freaking out are the same chairborne commandos that get their panties twisted when somebody points a real gun at a webcam.”

      Exactly. Well said.

  16. I’ve seen a few gun blogs where Costa is a punching bag of sorts, they are always trying to find some way to make fun of him. I don’t really get why, but calling him out for (maybe) muzzling someone with a toy that is designed to be fired at other people, kind of makes the ones doing the calling out look like morons. Col. Cooper’s safety rules are for real firearms, not pop tarts bitten into the shape of a gun, and not toys!

    • I was juat about to bail out of the comments and move to the next story when, BAM! two words: “Blue Steel” made my freakin’ day! At least he didn’t have a gasoline fight with some of the other models!

  17. I find Costa to be one of the most unintentionally funny tacti-cool guys out there selling his name-branded martial art. It reminds me of super-serious 80s karate studio owners.

    -D

  18. Now you are just being silly (read: stupid). If you really think that during gun trade shows or airsoft displays that somebody isn’t going to get “lasered” then you should probably wear a helmet. There are lots of situations where a gun is pointed at someone (heck! In some situations you need to point it at a person) and things don’t go bad. I get the whole not pointing hot or potentially hot weapons at people but I think you are overreacting now. What’s next? Should we yell at Dyspeptic Gunsmith for looking along the barrel from the muzzle end when fitting a shotgun?

    • “Should we yell at Dyspeptic Gunsmith for looking along the barrel from the muzzle end when fitting a shotgun?”

      DS can muzzle himself as much as he (and Mrs DS) wants…

      If he shoots himself while working on guns I’m confident he won’t come crying to us about it…

  19. Airsoft guns are what Adults use to “play guns” (paintball,too). In Japan it’s the ONLY way they can simulate “gunplay” (unless you’re Yakuza). At a local range where I shoot there’s some “Tour Guys” who bring Japanese Tourists to rent and shoot real guns. Mostly they are young (20’s). These folks are so excited and have so much obvious fun and enjoyment from these excursions, it’s actually fun to watch them. For them it is a BIG DEAL. So, I can fully see how Chris Costa would be a sort of “Rock Star” in Japan. The Japanese LOVE to take pictures, and he should have done the photo shoot, as requested. You can see in the short video how enthused they were when he did the “bad thing” on that runway. For these folks, those personalized pictures would have been a treasured possession. You have got to have empathy for those so hungry for what they cannot have. We, Americans take all this for granted by comparison to what some people experience and we should not begrudge them their chance to indulge in what we consider commonplace. I’m not criticizing anyone who feels differently, but it is really interesting to see these young Japanese Tourists and how much fun they have at a real Shooting Range. Makes me appreciate all-the-more what I can do every day, any time I want, and ;frankly, very glad I am not in their situation.

    • Airsoft as a substitute for firearms is ONE of their uses, but it’s far from the only one. The main use is the sport for which they are used. In other words, realistic force-on-force war gaming, which isn’t exactly practical (or legal, or ethical, or fun) with firearms.

      I get that your post was a positive take on airsoft guns, but I’m just a bit sensitive about that. I love airsoft with a passion (and I’m also a huge gun nut who owns multiple firearms, so it’s not a substitution for the real thing), and the amount of hostility toward the sport is mind-numbing (and oddly enough, it’s specific to airsoft; paintballers don’t have to deal with the shit we do), and most of it is based on bad information (which the “buy a real gun you pussies!” crowd feeds on) and misconceptions. Sorry if that correction’s a bit pedantic, but it is what it is.

      • I get your point of view, Jake. Children “play guns” and Adults do much more complex activities for personal edification, learning, challenge and experience. It was not my intention to offend. I have known Civil War re-enactors, Renaissance Faire re-enactors and suchlike who spend many hours in research, costume and equipment creation/acquisition and thousands of dollars on their chosen venues. I respect their effort and dedication and intend no disrespect to yours. As Adults, it is the passions we find and embrace that offset the B*ll Sh*t we have to put up with. I apologize if you felt I gave yours short shrift.

  20. The most scandalous thing I see going on is that extreme hand-foward grip he has going…

    Judging by your pants and the grip on that rifle, something tells me youre a fan of fades…

    Did you make it out of the 90’s without a Looney Tunes tattoo?

    No, but all kidding aside, Costa is good people.

  21. Someone above nailed it: the same people that are getting their jimmies’ rustled about this are the ones who get pissed when someone points a pistol at a camera and puts the video on youtube. Safety Nazi’s. Don’t want to accidentally shoot someone? Don’t depress the effing trigger. On the other hand, if you manage to accidentally shoot someone through a camera and over the internet, you’ve invented an incredible new technology. Call the DoD.

  22. I must be the worst person on earth. I have done the same. And more over I have pointed airsoft/nerf/water guns at children a deliberately pulled the trigger. Thankfully no one was hurt.

    Some folks need to find something better to complain about. This is plain silly.

  23. Nobody else thought that the weirdest part of all this was that the Japanese apparently think it’s de rigeur to have half-naked dancing girls hitting each other with whips… at an airsoft convention?

    Let alone the weirdness of using “airsoft” and “convention” in the same sentence.

    • Scantily clad women beating each other is actually quite tame. I have Japanese friends with whom I regularly joke about how cramming so many people into such a small place makes for f***loads of crazy.

      Different cultures have entirely different social limits/norms.

  24. Ahh, the internet safety nazis. They are the first on YouTube videos about guns and shooting to scream-type, in all caps of course, “Wow man, you didn’t show us that you safety checked that firearm, you’re so lucky you didn’t kill anyone!!! Now I’m gonna blast you in the comments section to show that I’m better than you and you’re a noob!!!!”

    2nd to them are people who actually pander to the internet safety nazi’s and ALWAYS show people at home that they’ve checked and cleared the weapon.

    It’s an AirSoft gun, no one and I mean no one, was in any danger. If he was there to show off the gun, what do they expect of him, to just shoulder it and march around, never aiming it?

  25. The problem is that if you are prone to pointing a toy gun at people, could you then be prone to pointing a real one without thinking. Gun safety IMO should be practiced at all times, even with fake guns, so as to have it ingrained for when handling real guns. Remember, no one plans on an accident.

    • ” could you then be prone to pointing a real one without thinking.”

      The problem with your assertion is the word “thinking.” Some know how to do it; others don’t.

      Perhaps one should not be handling guns “without thinking.”

      • There is a reason why we have certain gun safety practices we adhere to, it is because thinking when handling a gun isn’t always enough and can make people accident-prone. Adhering to certain rules regardless prevents accidents.

        • “thinking when handling a gun isn’t always enough”

          Uh.

          I think you are over-thinking this whole thing.

        • You can’t always be thinking when you are handling a gun. That is why certain safety behaviors should be practiced to the point of being instinctual.

      • “Perhaps one should not be handling guns “without thinking.”” As this costa idiot does on such a regular basis?

        • Citation please?

          Come on. Calling Costa an “idiot” will require some “put up or shut up.”

  26. Yep, can’t get too worked up over this, myself, given its Airsoft, and its Japan. Eccentric, they are.

    We have a lot more tragic and serious news including the gun-grabbers out for a last ditch effort, with the full-on collusion of the StateRunMedia.

    • That was my first thought, Bob being well deserving of a large portion of derision and ridicule at any opportunity.

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