Previous Post
Next Post

“In short, guns aren’t like shoes that wear out every couple of years or cars that might last a decade. A gun that’s taken care of should last a lifetime. Such a durable product can be a problem for the industry that makes it. That’s why it’s crucial not only to attract new customers, but to get gun owners to buy multiple guns. And that’s where the twin fears of crime and confiscation—hyped by America’s massive gun marketing complex—come in.” – Jarett Murphy

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. It is often said that the most insidious lie has a grain of truth. I think that’s the case here. The author ignores increased gun sales because of the increased popularity of many of the shooting sports and the growth of gun sales to women. That being said the factual premise of the statement is true. A properly maintained pistol (or rifle–whatever) will pretty much last forever unless it’s being used competitively. The gun industry doesn’t demonize Obama–they don’t need too, the media repeats this line enough for them. I do think the gun industry is in a constant effort to add more bells and whistles, but in this respect it’s no different than the car industry.

    • “The author ignores increased gun sales because of the increased popularity of many of the shooting sports ”

      If gun sports are growing, where are all of the new shooting ranges to handle the demand?

      • There haven’t been any new ones opened around me lately (unless you count Gander Mountain and their ridiculous range rates), but I can tell you about the two ranges I frequent: one that used to have half of its 6 lanes open pretty much anytime is now generally always full or nearly so, and the other has 11 pistol lanes, 6 rifle lanes, and regularly runs a 30-45 minute wait.

    • I’ve been on the waiting list for the local gun club for 9 years now, and still counting.

      The club I am a member of now has a 3 year waiting list.

      The closest public range (indoor) that I am aware of has lines outside of it during business hours.

      The most common question I hear from new shooters and long-time gun owners is “Where can I go shoot”. It’s so bad, that I’ve given up on trying to introduce new shooters to the sport.

  2. Having not googled the author of this statement I can only guess what he’s getting at, but he has a good point in terms of the gun market. A lot of consumer good today, shoes are a good example and so are cell phones and even cars, wear out from frequent use. I haven’t really had that problem with my armory. It relation to the recent Wallstreet analysis of the gun market, it will be interesting to see how the industry continues to drive growth.

  3. Haha so usually what I do when TTAG graciously brings these types of articles to my attention is I will go to the article and start reading it. I will quickly switch to skimming it. I will then read all the comments and see how at least 90% of the comments are calling him/her out on their bs. I recommend the same, it results in increased entertainment without the added stress of reading their non-sensical dribble.

  4. “Massive gun marketing”? Where, may I ask? Guns are far less marketed than anything else I can think of, including diapers and denture cream.

  5. Eh, I kinda agree with the guy.

    To be honest, I am getting rather ill of the just constant gun gaming, what-if scenario navel gazing and code yellow mind set fetishism that seems to pervade the firearms community.

    Roughly 15,000 people are murdered in this country every year, 9,000 of them with firearms. Remove the gang bangers plugging one another and domestic violence and I’m willing to bet the number of solid citizens being killed by robbers/rapers/thugs/illegal aliens is less than 1000. Statistically speaking, your bathroom is more likely to cause you death or great bodily injury than walking down 99% of American streets and being gunned down by criminals.

    I say this as someone who hasn’t walked out the front door of his house for years without a firearm on my person. Having said that, watching the self defense movement become this self licking ice cream cone of people fetishizing the act and obsessing over every minuscule, improbable detail and fretting over everything like a neurotic Larry David is getting tiresome. For a lot of folks, the need to be prepared for armed self defense has lost all practical application and has turned into a hobby/lifestyle. Scenarios that present the same probability of being hit with a meteor are pondered, planned and equipment is procured for the event (I need a S&W 686 4″ in case I ever go to the beach!).

    And not to bring up the bathroom thing again, but there is a point to be found there. A lot of self-defense masturbators are also the same kinda people who proudly stuff their bodies with unhealthy food, do zero exercise, smoke or ride motorcycles without helmets – all activities with a statistical probability roughly 5000x more likely to kill/maim you than a random thug with a gun in your local WalMart.

    Yet exercise, healthy eating, smoking cessation and safe motorcycling (ATGATT!) are all missing the one element of pure seduction self-defense fetishism has going for it: Guns! Gear! Manly Outfits! A Feeling of Alpha Male Superiority To Be Derived From The Fact that I can Defend Myself and Most Other Men Cannot!

    Can anyone on here honestly say that there is not a large amount of purchase-rationalizing and alpha male fanaticism going on in the gun-owning community?

    • As someone who also always walks out of the house sometime during the day armed I agree with you 100%. (Can’t carry at work)

      I would also add that a lot of gun sales are made to people who want the latest cool gun. It’s like the Apple cult of having the latest iPhone because it has some new feature that is irrelevant to it’s function. I admit that I probably have more guns than I have need but at least they have a different purpose.

    • What’s wrong with the study of self-defense being someone’s “hobby/lifestyle”? It beats stamp collecting.

      Purchase-rationalizing? Firearms are a hell of a lot of fun… So what if you have to convince yourself you need that stainless 1911 (just in case your Glock goes down). 🙂 If that’s a mechanism to rationalize the purchase… What’s the big deal?

      • “So what if you have to convince yourself you need that stainless 1911 (just in case your Glock goes down)”

        Wouldn’t a second Glock be the rational choice?

      • “What’s wrong with the study of self-defense being someone’s “hobby/lifestyle”? It beats stamp collecting.”

        Nothing at all, so long as you have a realistic understanding of things. I habitually carry myself, and I’m something of a training enthusiast.

        A lot of gun enthusiasts seem to greatly over-exaggerate their risk of being victimized, as though the world has to be a violent shithole in order for their decision to carry to be legitimized.

        I fully recognize that my risks of being victimized are fairly remote. I’m a white guy in a safe neighborhood and I don’t associate with people likely to harm me. I understand that I’m probably over-trained for most scenarios that I’m even remotely likely to encounter, I admit that I train because it’s a fun hobby. I’m okay with that.

    • GA_Koenig,

      +1, but I would also add that there’s a lot of “addiction to self-righteous indignation” involved.
      Along similar lines, researchers at Emory University monitored brain activity while asking staunch party members, from both left and right, to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. “We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning,” said Drew Westen, Emory’s director of clinical psychology. “Instead, a network of emotion circuits lit up… reaching biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted. Significantly, activity spiked in circuits involved in reward, similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix,” Westen explained.
      Although a lot of recent research has danced along the edges of this area, I find that the core topic appears to have been rather neglected. I’m talking about the way that countless millions of humans either habitually or volitionally pursue druglike reinforcement cycles — either for pleasure or through cycles of withdrawal and insatiability that mimic addiction — purely as a function of entering an addictive frame of mind.
      Rage is obviously another of these harmful patterns, that clearly have a chemical-reinforcement component. Many angry people report deriving addictive pleasure from fury, and this is one reason why they return to the state, again and again.
      I want to zoom down to a particular emotional and psychological pathology. The phenomenon known as self-righteous indignation.

      We all know self-righteous people. (And, if we are honest, many of us will admit having wallowed in this state ourselves, either occasionally or in frequent rhythm.) It is a familiar and rather normal human condition, supported — even promulgated — by messages in mass media.

      While there are many drawbacks, self-righteousness can also be heady, seductive, and even… well… addictive. Any truly honest person will admit that the state feels good. The pleasure of knowing, with subjective certainty, that you are right and your opponents are deeply, despicably wrong.

      Sanctimony, or a sense of righteous outrage, can feel so intense and delicious that many people actively seek to return to it, again and again. Moreover, as Westin have found, this trait crosses all boundaries of ideology.

    • A whole lot of marketing is based on fear. The marketing in the firearms industry is not much different in this regard. Turn on the tv and you’ll find out that you’re not strong enough, skinny enough, rich enough, and that there’s germs on everything just waiting to infect you – so you’re not clean enough either. I’m a big proponent of the 2nd Amendment but a healthy lifestyle is also critical to general well being. Personally, I can’t live my life in fear of worst case scenarios. At a certain point there’s a trade off where I would have to start giving up on other interests, joys, pursuits to be more and more and more focused on personal safety. I can’t live in a fortress mentality for the same reason I can’t eat vegan– there has to be room to breath, to relax and to live a little. I’m not saying that people in favor of self defense are all neurotic and obsessed but you wouldn’t know that from the firearms marketing. And that marketing is often times all that outsiders know about our community.

    • I agree to an extent – seems like they’re a lot of folks defending their lives with legit 2A freedom who are in a big need of a fitness regimen. I’m currently out and about without heat (gasp!). But if you hear from me again, that means I made it through alright. I’ll be moving heavy boxes and furniture all day, and don’t feel like sweating all over my my Smith or my Glock.

    • “Statistically speaking, your bathroom is more likely to cause you death or great bodily injury than walking down 99% of American streets and being gunned down by criminals.”

      Except this has NEVER been about the “Statistics”. It’s about the consequences if you should draw the “bad luck lottery” and aren’t prepared to handle it.

      Of course I do have to agree with the sentiment that just buying a firearm doesn’t actually mean one is prepared, there is a bit more to it than that starting with mindset and moving on to some training and maintenance of that training.

      • Except this has NEVER been about the “Statistics”. It’s about the consequences if you should draw the “bad luck lottery” and aren’t prepared to handle it.

        That’s really a false distinction. There’s no end of conceivable contingencies and nobody goes around prepared for all of them. It’s impossible. You may decide you’re going to prioritize those risks and prepare yourself for the ones that present the greatest threat, but to do that you need statistics.

        • You misunderstand. I didn’t say you don’t need statistics or that they are useless, I said they aren’t the point.

          Statistics give probabilities that something might or might not happen and some things have an extremely low probability and so are rated very low statistically…which doesn’t matter one single bit if you are the one who gets caught without flood insurance or a buckled seatbelt, or some kind of defensive weapon, when Mr. Bad Karma comes knocking.

      • My point is that a lot of us in the firearms community (myself included) are often seduced by the novelty and fun of firearms to the point where statistically FAR more probable events are ignored in order to focus on the minuscule statistical possibility of being the victim of a violent attack.

        It might be one thing if some of the more intense individuals in the community might step back and just admit that they own guns, attend classes and go to the range as a hobby, but a lot don’t and are seriously delusioned into thinking that taking that low-light team room clearing course is something that might ever actually come in handy some day when they “draw from the bad luck lottery.”

        And I don’t think this fetishism is relegated only to civilians. Plenty of police departments and military unit procurements seem driven more by a gear fetish and fantasy scenario fulfillment than practical needs. I don’t care what 1911 fanboys say, there is absolutely zero practical reason for the USMC to be issuing their pointy tip units 1911s when there are provably more reliable, easier to maintain and lest costly systems available – they bought 1911s as a totem of their own “specialness.” Or rural police departments who keep a SWAT team around that only ever gets used to take down the local meth dealer’s apartment. Or the fact that Portland’s SERT team (where 99% of their callouts are in the city) wears flipping Crye Multicam combat shirts/pants.

        Anything in the world can be justified if you remove all bounds of probability and practicality. That doesn’t make the amount of righteous indignation presented by a lot of self-defense fetishists justified.

    • Generally agree with your post. At the risk of becoming another pariah, alas.

      When the hobby becomes all-consuming, to the exclusion of other activities; when the hobby-related thoughts become polarized, as is often the case with 2A, now you are brewing issues. Call it addiction; call it obsession; call it what you will. I do think the NRA and others, politicians to a certain degree, and the industry (not just manufacturers; from Cabelas to Brownells, Guns America to online ammo sellers) feed into this, for their benefit (read, bottom line). Get your guns before Obama gets them (in 2008). Now it’s get your guns before he gets re-elected and can really do what he wants. Get your ammo before it’s banned! Get your ammo before your neighbour does! Get your ammo now, it’s flying off our shelves!

      Maybe I need to take a break from firearms websites too, come to think of it. Did I really NEED an AR15SBR with silencer? To go along with all my other firearms? OK, maybe I did. 🙂

  6. This guy is half right. With regard to fear of crime, depending on where you live or frequently visit, crime is a very real concern. As people become more educated about their right and ability to defend themselves, gun sales will increase.

    On the other point, of driving sales through fears of confiscation, while I don’t think the major manufacturers encourage or promote the fearmongering, it would be naive to think that they don’t understand and appreciate its effects.

  7. “massive gun marketing complex”
    I turn dismiss whatever precedes or follows one of these focus group word or phrases.
    Phrases like “big food”, “big pharma”, “big oil”, “military industrial complex” are designed to manipulate when all they do is irritate.

  8. “massive gun marketing complex”
    I turn dismiss whatever precedes or follows one of these focus group words or phrases.
    Phrases like “big food”, “big pharma”, “big oil”, “military industrial complex” are designed to manipulate when all they do is irritate.

  9. my hobby is guns. not stamps or cars. guns. and in this country if you can afford your hobby no one has the right to question it, so long as you’re breaking no laws. as for the health and fitness thing, i had a wakeup call about a year ago. i switched to a vegetarian diet and go to the gym 6 days a week. i kicked blood pressure problems and diabetes to the curb. so now i get to enjoy my hobby more. see how that works. a side benefit to kicking meat from your diet is that it saves you a lot of money. money that can be spent on your hobbies. win. win.

    • Good on ya!

      I have made a similar change, but different. I switched to a primal/paleo diet (think minimally processed foods, etc.) I exercise on purpose 5-6 days a week and exercise via fun more often. I’ve dropped 80 lbs. Got a few to go and am now adding some exercises that may help me gain some of the right kind of weight.

  10. Jarett Murphy is the editor of City Limits. From their website – “City Limits is a non-profit, award-winning news organization that publishes investigative reporting, commentary and multimedia and has covered urban affairs in New York City since 1976.” And what they don’t tell you up front (you have to look at a few articles) is that City Limits is an advocate of “economic justice” [aka redistribution of everyone else’s money] and a supporter of the Occupy Wherever idiots.

    Completely unbiased “investigative reporting” on the gun industry. Yeah.

    And in a purely ad hominem attack, anyone who can’t grow a decent beard shouldn’t try. All it does is make him look like an overly sensitive weenie.

  11. from the link:
    “It isn’t just that President Obama and Nancy Pelosi disagree with the NRA on gun policy. It’s that their attitude on guns puts them out of step and out of touch with what real blue-collar Americans care about. As a recent headline in the NRA’s magazine asked: “Our America or Obama’s?””

    I’m not blue collar and I own a gun. Most of my friend’s are white collar and many own guns. I could care less who the NRA tells me to vote for or avoid, and I don’t base my voting on one issue ie guns alone. Candidates that are anti-gun usually also have embraced many political values and ideas that gun owners don’t support, and the same applies to a pro-gun candidate embracing different political values gun owners do support. This dude is like over-analyzing everything.

  12. How about:

    Guns are fun.
    Guns are interesting.
    Guns have value.
    Guns are useful tools.
    Guns are collectable.

    Potential gun control as a an impetus to buy? Well, DUH. No kidding. Does that mean if you want fewer guns around you eliminate all gun control? Sounds good to me. Makes perfect sense.

    Marketing? Sure, when I see a Glock ad in the New York times I’ll believe that.

  13. I agree; The Twin Fears of Crime and Confiscation IS what drives my recent purchases!
    Is he saying those fears are unfounded?
    Fear also drove my purchase of a Conex Box to store my ammo in!

  14. So no one here’s stocked up on ammo or thinking about a “final”gun purchase before November? Really? I am.

    Marketing’s purpose is to create demand. Was there a demand for the Judge, the LCR, the Nano/Shield/LC9, etc., before they existed? Of course we like guns, but there’s no need to put a halo on our favorite gun maker. They’re in it to make money. If they thought (as electronics makers do) that they could get away with planned obsolescence, they would. As it stands, they know their customers demand durability.

    • i have stocked up on ammo. the last time we had that ammo shortage i had to curtail my trips to the range. not gonna happen again. i don’t think of a “final” gun purchase, just my next one. i don’t think i’ll ever get to the point where i’ll look at my guns and think” this is perfect, no need to buy more.”

      • “i don’t think i’ll ever get to the point where i’ll look at my guns and think” this is perfect, no need to buy more.””
        +1. My wife (who also shoots) once asked me, “How many are you going to buy?” I said, “I dunno. How many pairs of shoes do you have?”

  15. What about the fact that in one way, guns ARE like shoes- I don’t wear boots to the gym, and I don’t wear trainers to work. In each case, they’d be poorly suited to the purpose.
    My .17HMR boltgun ain’t gonna get me many ducks. Nor will my XD9 Sub Compact.

  16. I have never seen a gun manufacturer marketing fear of crime; but I see lots of that going on in the major news media. The NRA markets fear, but it is not a manufacturer, and I don’t pay any attention to their trash anyway. So where is all this marketing going on intended to increase the market? What I see, as someone else commented, is that guns are marketed like cars, touting all the new features, along with a sensitivity to the needs of the marktplace, such as the ready availability (in free states) of pocket pistols in 380, 9 and 45. I don’t see adverising as driving the market–it is driven by the desires of its customers. And just like car afficianados, WE LIKE GUNS! My list of “I want that gun” is longer than my I want list of cars and motorcycles. Fear of crime has nothing to do with it. Fear of gun bans have nothing to do with it. Manufacturers marketing has little to do with it except to advise me of something else I want.

    • Haha. This. Im not sold on the “fear of a ban”, Im sold because I like guns. Plain and simple. Went to a gunshop today to get night sights installed on a gun I already own, saw a gun with night sights on it, and thought, well, two birds with one stone.

  17. Silly little man… If cars cost as much as guns, I would have a driveway like a dealership. The ONLY reason I don’t have a small fleet of trucks decked out with every accessory known to man is because I don’t have the money to do it.

  18. TTAG (and most gun websites) share their part of the blame here for whipping up the confiscation hysteria. Playing right into the industry’s hands. Or maybe being paid by the industry to do so.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here