Chris Costa’s Operation Z

The Bearded Man is promoting his new 12-part DVD series, Operation Z, with an interesting trailer …

The first DVD, Handguns, is on sale for $15. The next DVD in the series is Shotguns.

[ Many thanks to Jay for the tip. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Fritz

    Is this geared towards novice shooters?

    • JD

      No, it’s geared towards anyone dumb enough to buy it. The guy knows how to shoot, but he’s gladly turned himself into a gimmick. Anything to make a dollar.

      • JM

        Good thing he’s not forcing you to buy it, eh? Man, that would suck. I’d hate to see someone as smart as you get the burr out of your panties and have a little bit of fun with firearms. What a dumb world we’d live in if everyone was allowed to enjoy themselves.

        Close call!

      • Fritz

        I’m interested to see how it is set up. All the magpul dvd’s are designed for someone who at least is comfortable using different firearms. If anything this might be a cool idea. It will draw in people who have never shot under the whole zombie theme and give them a good bit of safety/ operational knowledge (before they get to a range).

    • dryw

      It does appear (from the previews) to focus more on the non-LEO/military civilian without extensive firearms training under their belt. The “short-stroking” portion of the preview seems a good example of this.

      I purchased this. Specifically for my wife and daughter. Both _need_ training and both have a marginal interest in firearms, but would rather slam their heads repeatedly in a car door than have husband/daddy teach them. I am infinitely patient and not overbearing, but there’s an intimidation factor (or performance fear) present that we can’t get past. At least not to the point where they are not sweaty nervous. Makes the sessions much less productive than they could be.

      Daughter loves her a good zombie flick, and the wife digs Walking Dead. I figured the entertainment value would be a good segue into some “remember in the DVD” instruction/repetition drills.

      • PS

        My girlfriend had a great time with it. I think we are going to the range this weekend. I wish people would have an open mind about this. It’s a good thing to get more “civilians’ to appreciate firearms.

  • Dr.Wiggles

    I’m really hoping this is a late/early April’s fools from Chris Costa…

    • Phil White

      It’s no joke. I’ve known about this for months.

      • JM

        …And you didn’t share the awesomeness?!

  • Nathaniel

    Oh look, more dumb zombie shit.

    • JM

      Oh, look – more stodgy old farts with no sense of humor.

  • gareth

    I watched some trailers on u2b and…honestly I think it’s both fun and educational. Alrite the zoombie thing is obvious gimmicky but what Chris is doing is really good for bringing the interest, and more importantly, solid knowledge of firearms to normal people. We need more people like him who can pick up an entertaining subject, and be entertaining and truly educational at the same time. It really helps shaping a healthy public image of the gun community, and introducing more people to the subject matter. So I think gun people should applaud Chris’s effort in creating this project.

  • Tomaso

    When I first heard this I was like…”damm he sold out …” but the longer iv thought about it I’m wondering if it wasn’t the right thing..learning to shoot the Z covers all realitys of the real world with out the social complexitys of learning to kill another human…’s splitting hairs I know…but some people who aren’t of the right mind set can’t make the separation.
    ….it’s kinda like when our government decided ( if not short sighted) to include zombie preparedness as a way to prepare for all catastropys.

    Still kinda wished he had taken the high road…but I bet he’s smiling on the way to bank.

    • Roy Rapoport

      I don’t know that I’d agree with you. Learning to shoot zombies feels to me like it’d teach you a whole bunch of bad practices. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking:

      1. Standard zombie rules of engagement assume a reasonable breakdown of the legal system and, more importantly, a pretty definite lack on the zombies’ part to sue you, or interest on the part of the police to arrest you; that’s something you’ve got to be mindful of in our own, rather more lawsuit-happy society;

      2. Being headshot-obsessed works for zombies; it’s a deadly preoccupation if you’re defending yourself against humans;

      3. Zombies are dumb and slow-moving. Assuming your opponents are dumb and slow-moving will get you killed;

      4. Zombies don’t usually shoot back. My room entries would be very different if I could count on the other guy in the room to not be armed 🙂

      So … meh. I don’t think it’s all that similar at all, and I worry that people who do train for it thinking that it’s similar will learn a bunch of terrible habits.

      • gunslinger

        1) well, assuming any other type of “outbreak” there would be a breakdown of a legal system. military quarantine or otherwise, there is no law or lawyers or courts.

        2) fair point there. fighting a “full” human is different than something that is undead and won’t have advanced weaponry. Ties in with #4. zombies don’t stop with CoM hits, live people will (usually)

        3) The other debate. are zombies fast or slow? personally, i’d train for the fast type, because i’m guessing it’s easier to adapt from a fast paced to slow paced engagement.

      • Tomaso

        Roy…compleatly agree with a lot of your points….but they only hold true if that’s how Costa is teaching his students… bet is he isn’t.

        Weapon manipulation comes first, and that’s what I see Costa teaching..the Z DOSNT shoot back..but they do want to kill you, so some things are transferable……I know thier are pleny of idiots out thier….but I’m also sure thier are more that will know the diferance of a Z and a human with a gun.

      • Roy Rapoport


        I’ve not yet seen anyone — ever — cast aspersions on Chris Costa as a firearms instructor. I’ve not studied under the man, but generally speaking it appears he’s superb.

        So, frankly, I don’t think it’s a huge gamble to bet that his classes are probably incredibly useful, good, valuable, and most other superlatives we could come up with. Which also suggests to me that he probably doesn’t teach people to fight zombies, he teaches people to fight people (this is supported by the fact the second video, the one that actually shows him teaching, doesn’t seem to focus on zombies in any way).

        So I think you make a very good point — let’s be clear about differentiating between Chris Costa’s classes vs the promotional material for them, or other people’s classes.

        There, consensus!


      • JM

        Roy, evaluating someone’s competency by what kind of entertainment they prefer is a form of control. You may not be advocating gun control, per se, but you are advocating environment control.

        “If you own a gun, I don’t want you to use this method of training”is an exact reciprocal of “If you train this way, I don’t want you to own a gun”.

        We all know what the next step after that is.

      • JM

        Also, Roy – I shoot at silhouettes for practice.

        1. Silhouettes don’t sue.

        2. I practice headshots when the sternum area is full of holes.

        3. My silhouettes don’t move. And if they did, it would be on a slow track.

        4. Silhouettes don’t shoot back.

        Unless you have some live human targets to spare, I don’t think any of us will get much more practice than slow-moving targets. And incidentally, none of them have attorneys.

  • gunslinger

    wow. so yeah, he’s cashing in on the Zombie craze. I mean the beloved EOTech did. In the CTD catalog i saw a “zombie” sight, with the bio-hazard symbol as the target.

    but good for CC. if he can make money…and he’s in the business to make money, then good for him. and i never saw something that said you had to go/buy from CC.

  • Rappgle

    At about 2:30 they use some kind of multi shot arrow/dart gun does any one know what it is

    • FormerSFMedic

      Rappgle- Go to the Youtube page. They have a trailer that talks about the rotary arrow gun.

  • Graham 1

    At first I was somewhat disappointed, but watching after the shotgun video, it seems like they’re using the whole zombie scenario as a stand in for a situation where people who aren’t familiar with guns have to use them.

    If the content is informative and non gimmicky, i think that it is a smart way to spread proper firearms handling to those who have a moderate interest in them. If I were one of those people interested in the whole zombie thing, i’d trust a costa dvd over that stupid zombie survival guide.

    • MattInTheCouv

      I agree with you 100%. Whenever the ‘zombie’ topic comes up I always tell people that a zombie is just a metaphor for someone you see as less human, and is therefore ok to kill. It’s similar to how we dehumanized our enemy in WWI and WWII. The difference is ‘zombie’ is a pop-culture friendly, race and gender neutral dehumanization of [mostly] everybody but you, generally associated with a massive breakdown of civilization. What does a zombie REALLY look like? He looks like a guy trying to break into your house after hurricane Katrina, not an extra on the set of The Walking Dead.

  • boner stallone

    Im all for having a bit of fun and maybe introducing more folks to good handling/safety but this zombie shit needs to stop.

    • JM

      Then you’re not really “all for it”, are you?

  • Jono

    I am not a fan of the zombie craze but I am a fan of anything that interests more people into the firearms world. Yes he is using a zombies and I can see how that can bother a lot of people. But he is using zombies as a base to teach good fundamentals of shooting and firearm safety. I’m glad it’s him and not some amateur.

  • Mike Knox

    First firearms products, now instruction videos? This “zombie” trend’s getting ridiculous. That’s just silly, if not stupid..

  • D

    If it gets guns into hands, i’m all for it, and credit to the man for finding a gimmick to do it.

    besides, I think alot of the problem in instructional videos of any kind is how boring and dry they are. If this spices it up, that’s all to the good, as it’ll keep people engaged and interested.

    • Nicks87

      Costa is an excellent instructor but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to see him get involved with the “zombie craze” nonsense.

      There needs to be a very distinct line between fantasy and reality when it comes to firearms/firearms training. What if some nut-job shoots a bunch of people and then says he thought they were zombies? All the gun-grabbers out there would have a hey-day.

      I love shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” Etc. but lets keep that stuff in movies, books and on tv shows where it belongs not at the local gun range or God forbid someone’s halloween party.

      • JM

        What if some nutjob shoots someone and says he thought they were terrorists? Or muggers? Or stationary targets?

  • dan

    Obviously for the money. I mean there is a huge fan base of airsofters and c.o.d players who love zombies and magpul. Cant wait for the zombie green pmags and ctrs, to go along with my biohazard eotech,zombie killer dustcover, and pitchfork muzzle brake.(kidding)

  • John Doe

    Costa’s just making money off stupid people. A classic American pastime.

    • JM

      Goes hand-in-hand with another classic American past time: a bunch of bitter John Does trolling the comments section.

  • Supersonic

    You guys have disliked every zombie product this blog has posted about. But as soon as CC gets on board, you’re all for it.

    Makes sense.

    • Nicks87

      Not me, like I said, I respect him as an instructor but I’d rather not have a bunch of novices trained by Costa Ludus running around America pretending to shoot zombies.

      Unfortunately some people cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality and all it takes is one person to ruin it for everyone.

      • David/Sharpie

        I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. This isn’t going away anytime soon, it’s what’s “in” right now, no matter how much you b!tch it’s staying for awhile, let it ride.

        But back to my point, wouldn’t it be better for a pro to teach zombie fans proper use of firearms and all that instead of some dumba$$ with a camera on YouTube?

        I think the pro is better to teach these people.

        But if you disagree…….and you’d rather some guy on YouTube teaching them……they will not be safe, they will have accidents.

      • Nicks87

        I think you are totally missing the point. Costa teaches tactical firearms courses geared for professionals NOT firearms safety courses geared for kids that watch zombie movies and play video games all day.

        Do you really want some loser 19 year old that hides in his parent’s basement all day long because he gets bullied and cant handle the responsibilities of life, going out and buying a shotgun and a Costa Ludus DVD and taking out his frustrations on his co-workers or a bunch of innocent people at a shopping mall?

        Good training is much more dangerous than a good firearm. Anybody can point a gun and pull a trigger but few are as good as Chris Costa or the people he trains.

      • JM

        And exactly how is keeping the DVD out of MY hands going to save you from the 19-year-old basement dwellers of the world? Is Chris Costa’s Operation Z the key that unlocks the insane portion of their brains, or something?

        A nutcase is a nutcase. Do you advocate collective control, or individual responsibility?

      • Nicks87

        I didnt say I wanted it regulated or restricted. I just dont agree with it and feel that the people who promote it are irresponsible and are more interested in making money than they are in promoting intrest in shooting sports and self defense.

        I would rather see videos that promote competative shooting like IPSC, IDPA and the like. Where they DO teach safe and responsible handling of firearms and healthy spirited competition. Not this pretend blood and guts zombie garbage.

        If the s**t ever does hit the fan I want professional shooters and sportsmen on my team. Not some wannabe zombie hunter mall ninja douche bag.

      • David/Sharpie

        So this 19 year old kid buying a shotgun is better than him buying a DVD?

        You’re a moron, a DVD is not going to train someone enough that they are going to be any more effective at killing than not buying the DVD.

        Plus, if he sits in his parents basement all day long, how would he afford a shotgun and this DVD?

      • Nicks87

        Whats with the name calling, guess I hit a nerve.

        Oh wait I think I hear your mom…

        “Turn off that ridiculous zombie trash and go find a job!”

      • David/Sharpie

        Pr!ck, I have a job, a job which pays for all my shooting supplies.

        You should try to find a job that doesn’t pay minimum wage.

        That type of job is great.

      • JM

        Calls every shooter on the Operation Z DVD a “douchebag” and every producer “irresponsible”, cries about name-calling when someone tells him he’s an idiot.

        How typically hypocritical of an uptight armchair quarterback. I’ll bet he watches the nightly news and hurls an insult every time they show a police officer.

      • JM

        Nicks87 – you play Medal of Honor and paintball. How is that training you and your friends to be responsible?

      • Nicks87

        Thanks guys for proving this crap caters to the lowest common denominator. Now go ahead and have the last word.

      • David/Sharpie



      • JM

        “Lowest common denominator” is an IT administrator who collects vehicles that no one cares about (80’s Broncos are NOT “vintage” – they’re scrap). You laugh at people who live in their mothers’ basements, but you lived in your mother’s dilapidated crap-brown house until this year (age 28), when you finally married off.

        By the way, you may want to remove “flexible”, “able to maintain a sense of humor”, and “outgoing and personable” from your resume…because you have proven otherwise on this very website.

  • Grinnling

    I’m more interested in that pneumatic crossbow contraption in the trailer seem like something if properly built could be a nice little fungun to play around with…just an opinion

  • David/Sharpie

    Okay, the way I see it is like this.

    The zombie craze isn’t going away anytime soon, no matter how much y’all whine and complain about it. It will attract people who may not have been interested in firearms because of the fun aspect of zombie survival, so why not have someone who is well respected in the firearms industry and who will teach these kids properly instead of some redneck hick on YouTube with a video camera?

    To me, it’s better to have a pro teach someone than some dumbass with a camera. Subject matter notwithstanding.

    • Nicks87

      Thats fine until criminals or people who cant tell the difference between fantasy and reality watch the videos and decide to use the skills they learned to kill a bunch of innocent people. (Aurora theatre shooting)

      Then who gets the blame?

      Law-abiding gun owners do and the Govt uses it as an excuse to take more of our rights.

      • David/Sharpie

        Hahaha, what criminal is going to buy these DVDs?

        Yeah, you could say the same bull about AR-15s and all the crap you can bolt onto those. (Aurora shooting)

        Get over yourself, these videos are not going to harm anyone.

      • Nicks87

        Ok I give up. Go out and buy the dumb ass dvds and we will hear Costa laugh his way to the bank. As long as you can have fun in fantasy land I shouldnt give a shit, right?

      • David/Sharpie

        Chris Costa would laugh his way to the bank if someone bought ANY of his DVDs, he’s in the business of making money, as with anyone who makes anything to sell.

        Get over yourself, shooting and all things firearms should be fun, stop b!tching about it.

      • JM


  • TW

    i don’t c any thing wrong with the zombies phenom lately. im all for it and i think zombies are kinda cool. that don’t mean im some stupid C.O.D. player or crazed redneck that spend all his money on stupid ammo and zombie guns i spend it on regular ammo and guns… sometimes you have to have a little fun in life.

    • David/Sharpie

      I agree, if you can’t have fun, what’s the point in A) Owning guns, and B) Living?

      Laughter and fun are necessities in life, this is fun and something you can joke about.

  • Mr.B

    Good for Chris. I hope he makes a crap load of money. Go to the link and read

  • Matt

    A lot of zombie products strike me as a way to fleece people out of a few bucks more for ammo or gear just because, say, Hornady slaps a glowing green zombie on the box. That’s ridiculous, IMO.

    But this is a relatively cheap product offering some good, basic firearm instruction (by the look of the trailers) – you could probably ignore the zombie theme if you just want another training DVD for your collection.

    • David/Sharpie

      Hornady Z-Max is Critical Defense with a green tip and a new box (I have no idea what the price difference is.)

      But in Canada, out of the two, we can only get Z-Max, so it is a way to get good self defense ammo into my hands without paying massive import fees.

  • Booshanky

    Nicks87, have you noticed yet that you’re the only one here with this bizarre fear that,

    A. Somehow people trained (even self-trained) by a world-class instructor are “novices”.
    B. That there are these people you believe exist who are stupid enough to actually tell cops they murdered people because they saw a video on the internets?

    I truly don’t understand where you’re coming from at ALL on this. If you’re an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, I can’t imagine what reason you’d possibly have for caring WHY someone decides to actually learn how to use their firearm from a good instructor. You admit he’s a qualified instructor who teaches safety and common sense as well as effective shooting techniques.

    Maybe you haven’t taken any training courses? Safety is stressed at the utmost for obvious reasons. If there’s one thing ANYONE will take home from a course, it’ll be how to safely operate their firearm and they’ll have respect for it.

    These are all positive things to me. So who cares WHY someone wants to take the time to learn some very useful information? It’s just using a pop culture craze to reach people you otherwise might not, due to politics or ideology or whatever.

    I just fail to see how that can in any way be a bad thing, and I think your predictions of this mysterious clueless stranger who can’t tell reality from fiction sound STRIKINGLY similar to the predictions I remember hearing every time a state became shall issue for CCW. That, suddenly the citizens would turn into lunatics who’d be shooting each other over fender benders, a modern OK corral.

    If it eases your anxiety any, those fears never panned out either. I think you just need to have a little more faith in people. They can be stupid, but they’re mostly harmless.


  • Scout331

    I don’t know about any one else, but I enjoy the shooting sports IPSC and IDPA a lot. In my 4 years in Iraq I learned a lot about mind set and what it takes. Ill say this. Why can’t people enjoy learning how to shoot while enjoying a back story? The world is a scary place and learning how to defend your self with a fire arm is a scary idea. The basis if the videos is safe fire arms manipulation…. What’s wrong with that? Some people need to lighten up. And let’s “enjoy” shooting? I think it’s up to us to continue to be ambassadors to the non shooting world and gladly help any one interested enough to learn…. That’s what these videos do…. Don’t let the high and mighty or better than you people out there scare away the new crowd. I see that too often on the range lest we forget we all put our pants on one leg at a time. If this gets just a few new shooters on the range safely then it’s a win in my book.