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Question of the Day: Is Tacticool Still Cool?


I know that Call of Duty: It’s One Damn Thing After Another has generated more money than the gross national product of Belize, but I’m beginning to think that the whole tacticool thing is sitting on a motorcycle on a ramp in front of a shark-stocked swimming pool. As America’s military incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan proceed to their predictably ignominious conclusion, civilians’ taste for Walter Mittty, I mean military levels of combat preparedness is bound to wane. Or is it? Is tacticool still cool?


  1. avatar Eric S. says:

    I think most of the video games / movies that portray “tactical” stuff to be what really gets people into it. It’s the same reason why folks who grew up on spaghetti westerns and Clint Eastwood prefer cowboy guns & revolvers.

    Interesting box art on the Vol 1 disc: Samurai with an AR. It really appeals to the “warrior-mindset” folks.

    1. avatar ExurbanKevin says:

      I agree that it’s video games and not Operation ______ that are driving the tacticool market, along with the zombie meme and the end of the AWB.

      Why it tacticool cool? Because when can own tacticool guns, that’s why. And if we can’t afford / are too young to buy them, there’s always airsoft.

    2. avatar psmcd says:

      Tacticool ain’t much different from what became of the Hummer after the Gulf War. Or look at the surge in Ford Bronco sales after OJ ran the slow chase. Sure there are technical improvements in firearms but most of any market is shrewd vendors hooking the lips of stupid fish.

  2. avatar scott says:

    Light, practical, and durable is often confused with tacticool. Good parts exist even if they attach to a rail. It can be a fine line between practical tactical and mall ninja- hopefully the excesses get toned down leaving the best, most useful products.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    I like tacticool guns and equipment, as opposed to the doofy clothes. Still, there’s nothing like real wood stocks on a bolt action hunting or battle rifle. Call it retrocool if you will, but working the bolt and putting accurate rounds downrange is like shifting a standard transmission and chirping the tires on a fast car.

    1. avatar Greg in Allston says:

      “Call it retrocool if you will, but working the bolt and putting accurate rounds downrange is like shifting a standard transmission and chirping the tires on a fast car.”


      1. avatar sdog says:

        +1! Ralph, i think we need to call Websters dictionary on your behalf, “retrocool” is an AWESOME word.

  4. avatar Silver says:

    If movies and video games say it’s cool, it’ll be cool, regardless of both practicality and real-world knowledge.

  5. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

    I’ve never seen this Magpul video before, but just that little sample had an effect on me. I’m a bus driver by trade, and today and every day from now on I’m going to make an effort to speak in a loud and intense manner, like the guy with the beard on the video.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      That was Chris Costa… his beard speaks, the man merely moves his jaw in agreement.

  6. avatar Scott says:

    Assuming COD defines what’s cool, the most overpowered guns in MW were the pistol grip 1887 shotguns. The M4 was not that great but the full length M16 was overpowered. Basically what I’m saying is that I think y’all are giving games too much credit.

    I’m sure there’s some rub-off, but which would you rather have if you weren’t a hunter or as a second rifle: a 30 round semi-auto 6lb rifle or another 4-5 shot bolt action? And since you can call almost any accessory for said 30 round rifle ‘tacticool’…. well I guess I just reject the premise.

  7. avatar Texan says:

    I’m usually pretty late to the party, so since I’m just now getting into ARs, I can pretty much say that the sharks are wondering what the shadow is above them.

    Having said that, I think Travis Haley and Chris Costa are heirs to the Chuck Norris legacy. They could make a video about water gun safety and it would still be cool.

  8. avatar Mr. Normal says:

    The black-rifle sales frenzy has cooled off a bit, and I’ve noticed a drop in the number of overpriced “tactical” sporting rifles at local gun shows.

    That said, the ability to own a gun that looks like the ones in the news, in CoD, or in movies/TV combined with a surge in non-hunting firearms use (personal protection, target shooting, and practical competition) will continue to propell the “tacticool” market for some time to come.

    The AR has become the “lifted Jeep” of the gun world, and with it all the associated crap parts and derp-tastic marketing that fills Magpul’s coffers.

    Disclaimer – Magpul’s parts and training vids are Tier One… and I play MW3. …and shoot real guns for fun and profit. 😉

    1. avatar Mr. Normal says:

      I didn’t mean to imply Magpul’s stuff less-than-legendary…

      It’s all the cheap me-too companies putting out lousy gear I’d expect to see being sold for 75% off on late-night TV right after the zombie-killing knives (with REAL stag horn handle!!)

      1. avatar freeport56 says:

        Amen brother!

  9. avatar Van says:

    I am tacticool.

  10. avatar Nico says:

    I hope tacticool and its fans stick around for a long while. It’s rare to have such a clear, simple way to determine with a glance who has no taste.

    Beauty through simplicity > accessories for your accessories.

  11. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:

    As an aesthetic style and mentality, tacticool has overstayed it’s welcome (although I do hope companies churn out more bullpups). I eagerly await the new paradigm shift in firearm fads.

    I have a soft spot for walnut and blues steel, though. All the folks with a rail-fixation tend to avoid classic rifles. More left for those that appreciate them!

    1. avatar Tom says:

      I am fine with traditional looking guns as well. A lot of new and used wood stock and blue steel traditional guns are selling rather cheap. More for me.

  12. avatar Ordine Nuovo says:


  13. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

    I have noticed that morons who play COD or video games in general request shit guns or impossible to obtain firearms for purchase. I work at a gun store, so I get asked about that shit all the time. No, I can not get you a FAMAS. And you probably wouldn’t want one out side of a video game, anyway. The requests I get from 20somethings whos only knowledge of firearms comes from video games are, shall we say, disheartening. I do my best to educate them, but people don’t seem to want to take my advice.

    I even had one gentleman ready to lay down some serious cash because he wanted a Walther WA2000 and a pair of matched AMT Hardballers. (+10 gamer points if you can name what video game those are from.)

    However, I was a Marine infantryman for four years. I lived Call of Duty Modern Warfare for, like, 16 months straight. In my personal collection I have a few firearms that could be considered “Tacticool”, but those are my working rifles. I have them in case I need to ply my old infantry trade ever again. I hope I don’t, but if I do, I have a nice AR-15 that is dressed up with things that add to its functionality. Just like a plumber is going to own a good set of wrenches, a grunt is going to own a good functonial rifle. And that’s the key right there: If you’re doing something to a gun to make it more functional and to meet the end users demands, that’s not tacticool. Putting three lasers on the top and both sides of the tri-rail so that you can have a triangle laser sight like in Predator, that’s tacticool. And yes, I had a customer place an order and I gleefully hooked him up with that set up.

    1. avatar Another Ken says:

      Ma gavte la nata

    2. avatar Patrick Carrube says:

      Saying “morons who play COD or video games in general” is a pretty bold statement. Just so you know, I’m “20something”, am well-educated, have an extensive and continually growing collection of firearms, write for TTAG, am a family man, and yeah – I love my COD video games! While you have put “Dr” in quotation marks in front of your name, I won’t have to, although I prefer a suffix to a prefix.The customer you describe isn’t exclusive to the firearm industry. During my undergraduate work, I worked full-time at AutoZone. We had all sorts of people of all ages asking for the next sticker or bolt-on accessory that will turn their 150-hp Civic into a Corvette-smashing monster. I blamed it on the “Fast & the Furious” movies and the like. Of course, I enjoyed the FATF movies as well (but for what they were) so I must be a moron too…

      Also, the AMT Hardballer (aka Colt 1911 replica) was brought to video game fame from the HItman franchises… +10 for me!

  14. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

    However, that being said, I have a few firearms I own just for their beauty. My Winchester model 70 and my S&W Model 10 will never be replaced or sold because they are lovely in both form and function.

  15. avatar sdog says:

    i think “tacticool” is only cool for airsoft dorks and mall ninjas. I own exactly zero items of “military” camo. I am not in the military, nor have i ever been (or would iwant to pretend like i was, too much respect). I think air soft people ( those who want to go play “army man” on the weekends) can and do continue the “tacticool” vibe definitely.

  16. avatar LC Judas says:

    There’s a line between adding function and tricking a gun out. Tacticool ain’t going out of style because people are not going to agree on that line in the sand.

    I’m saving up for a magpul stock so I can shoot a bit more stable than the out of box stock. I may change the buffer spring to better suit .308 and that’s it. I put a quad rail on it so I could get a grip with a light. Some stuff actually IS tactical, folks. Tacticool shouldn’t make minimalists out of legitimate gun nuts just to avoid a stigma.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      There’s no stigma to modding out a gun (well, practically none, up to a point). It’s when people mod out their clothing that we detect a whiff of dork.

  17. avatar freeport56 says:

    Do I really need that tactical bottle opener on my rail???????????????

  18. avatar Johnny 108 says:

    I grew up in the ’80’s, and then, it was ninjas. Now it’s “tactical”- pens, watches, and even luggage. Paint it black or dark brown, and call it tactical.
    Is it dumb? If it serves no purpose, it’s tacticool, and it’s dumb.

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