SnipersHide being Sued For Criticizing A Rifle

Sniper s Hide

Long range rifle forum SnipersHide.com and associates are being sued by TacticalRifles.net for criticizing the company and their products. One of the forum admin’s wrote …

We are going to fight the lawsuit filed by TacticalRifles.net out in Federal Court of Florida.

This Federal case was filed against Me, Sniper’s Hide & Marc Soulie, at present I have spoken to several lawyers on the matter and feel rather than try to settle it, we are gonna fight it and protect our ability to post the truth in any matter. We feel fighting this and winning will send a message to companies that were are here for a reason and do in fact provide a service to the members, not only what we can say, but how and where our money will be spent.

This fight is about you the end user, and the ability to talk about problems with a company’s product or service. Without defending this suit, a win tells all of you, if you voice a negative opinion or review of a product or service, you can and will be sued for Libel / Slander / Assault. They feel the negative reviews are an assault on their company and not a problem to be addressed and fixed.

Help us defend our freedoms by supporting the site in this effort. Our initial retainer will be $7500… that is just the first step. Marc will more than likely have to defend his efforts to correct the problems found with his clients rifle. I encourage you to support Marc Soulie as well.

Frank Galli of Sniper’s Hide, LLC told me that donations from forum users have already covered the lawyer’s retainer and they are no longer soliciting donations. I believe Sniper’s Hide will win this lawsuit, at a significant cost. I also believe TacticalRifles.net will lose what little reputation they still have left and deeply regret involving lawyers in an online dispute.

We are not immune to big egos threatening our unbiased reporting. TFB was once threatened with legal action over something I wrote. I had to consult an attorney. Earlier this year a prominent gun company banned TFB writers from their booth at SHOT Show. They did not like what we said about one of their guns last year. I am not yet ready to name (and shame) the company. I hold out hope they will see the error of their ways and apologize. Nobody can accuse me of having a short fuse. Eventually the truth will come out.

As a side note: The background image on TacticalRifles.net shows the Haley Strategic logo. I asked Haley Strategic if they are associated with the company and they told me other than the purchase of a rifle some time ago, they have no link with TacticalRifles.net. 

 

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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.


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  • James in Australia

    So….It Can happen there too.
    A similar situation in Australia ended with a forum closing, however they decided to settle (a Mistake imho) instead of fighting it.

    • JimmyHickey

      It sucked when our forum closed down, but I think they made the right choice. The lawyers they were up against are insane and when you have a look at the stuff they have pulled off before it may not have ended well…
      Plus I do agree with his final post, cowboys were rife through the forum unfortunately and it wasn’t what it was meant to be.

    • William O. B’Livion

      You have to remember that in the US it doesn’t matter whether you meant to “damage” or “hurt” the other side as long as you tell the truth. I don’t remember it coming up when I was in AU, but under English Common Law if you *intended* to damage the other party, truth or no, you can be held legally accountable.

      In the US as long as you told the truth, you’re fine.

  • floppyscience

    Never even heard of the company but I’m sure I’ll never give their company another thought after hearing about this crap.

    Also I just went to their page and literally every one of their rifle models has “Tactical” in the name. lol.

    • avconsumer2

      Indeed. Filing today to incorporate Special Forces Guns myself!! /s

  • Andrew Tuohy

    I’ve received vague lawsuit threats in the past. Sad to see that a good organization like SH is on the receiving end of a real one.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I imagine so. Most recently I would think BattleComp is pretty pissed at your presentation of how their product actually works.

      • big daddy

        Or doesn’t work…..

        • YUuuT-SPLAT

          So happy, the honourable Corpsman did his homework, made an accurate assessment. With accurate repeatable results utilising modern measuring instruments. And said FUCK YOU to the fad of look cool muzzle devices.

          • big daddy

            There are certain people I trust and those I don’t, Tuoy is one I do. He saved me a lot of money about the muzzle devices and even gun oil. Honesty these days is something to respect and admire, oh and of course listen to. I always say it’s not about the messenger, it’s all about the message.

  • dave

    Their inbox is gonna light up with complaints, i’m about to send one myself.
    As my drill sergeant used to say: let’s make em famous!

  • Mark N.

    This was also reported over on TTAG, with a post of the allegedly defamatory video embedded. the suit is frivolous. Opinions are not actionable, and every defect reported was demonstrated in living color. since truth is a defense to any defamation claim, SH should win, perhaps even on a motion to dismiss at the outset of litigation.

    • Jaedo Drax

      Except, in most cases, the process is the punishment

      • William O. B’Livion

        Counter sue for abuse of process.

  • Anton Gray Basson

    I dont understand companies that get bad reviews and then rather spending time and money making better product waste time and money suing people. Raise your game send out a demo rifle to your detractors and watch them eat their words.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Very true — but not if their lawyers have anything to say about it, for obvious reasons.

  • MoPhil

    Sounds like a typical behavior you can find in Germany (I can say that because I am German).

    Before a company is asking itself “What mistakes could we have done, have we overlooked something, is the critique justified?” and before it approaches the critics in a constructive discussion, most time there is a lawsuit filed against the critics.

    Best example Heckler&Koch: they filed a lawsuit against several German newspapers, because these reported about low quality and technical problems with the G36. Something which several official reports confirmed at the same time.

    Meanwhile an order came from highest position to close the case with the result: it’s the ammunitions fault….yeah…that’s what you can call “faith healing”.

    All in all, it is always easier to settle a discussion by placing the muzzle of a gun to ones head (literally or symbolically). But as it’s said in the article, the truth can never be erased and will come up sooner or later.

    • ArkhamInmate

      They must have loaded the ammo backwards in the magazine, lol.

  • Marc

    I don’t get why anyone would buy an insanely overpriced, glorified Remington in the first place.

  • 101nomad

    Sued over freedom of speech? For criticism? No political comment.

  • cameron

    The same thing is happening in the videogame industry, “you can make any unbiased review of our product (as long as it isn’t negative, or we will sue you for hurting sales)”. I hope these guys win the fight for stating honest opinions.

    • nadnerbus

      The end result of that, of course, is that users and consumers stop reading the reviewers when they start to notice the reviews have nothing to do with the reality of the product, and start getting their reviews from Youtubers and message boards. The companies keep turning out crappy product, because they think they have solved the need to improve by squelching criticism, and their consumer base steadily shrinks as reality asserts itself anyway.

      Unless it is blatant lies about your product, man up and take it. The truth will set you free.

  • J.T.

    “Earlier this year a prominent gun company banned TFB writers from their booth at SHOT Show. They did not like what we said about one of their guns last year.”

    I am going to go ahead and guess ATI. The review of their polymer lower was pretty damning.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Anyone considers ATI “prominent”?

    • wetcorps

      Maybe Chiappa? I couldn’t help but notice there wasn’t anything about them in TFB’s SHOT Show report.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        No–

        • wetcorps

          Good, go review their new stuff then :)

  • phamnuwen

    Why is TFB not disclosing what company banned their writers?

    It seems to me like this would be vital information to TFB’s readers.

    • nova3930

      Truth. Name and shame the suckers. Some people only learn via pain…

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      That’s not up to me but lets say we’re playing nice right now. Who knows what the future will bring.

      • phamnuwen

        “Playing nice”?

        Seems more like you are keeping the truth from your readers in an attempt to maintain “access”.

        As a reader I’d like to know immediately when a company pulls silly stunts like banning media coverage.

        • Steve (TFB Editor)

          We have no access. We are blacklisted. This is just how I do things. I don’t believe journalists should make the news.

          We never, ever will be willing to beg for access. If I had been, I would never have been banned. I would have just written what they wanted written.

          I am not the bad guy.

          • phamnuwen

            We have no access. We are blacklisted.

            Obviously. But you are trying to get your access back by not disclosing the manufacturer, i.e. depriving your readers of this information.

            Companies trying to prevent scrutiny of their products is not a small, insignificant thing. It’s newsworthy. There is just no way around this basic fact.

            Obviously you can run your organization exactly how you want to. This is not a property rights issue, it’s a trust issue.

            But maybe I’m making too much of the issue. I guess it’s possible that I’m in the minority and most people don’t mind being kept in the dark about these things.

          • big daddy

            You don’t understand, maybe he’s trying to work things out and save himself a boatload of money in legal fees. Even possibly having to close down this blog. That would be a shame. It’s nice to sit back and spew words without having anything on the line. It’s a different world out there and the corporate world is almost impossible to fight, it has nothing to do with right and wrong. It’s great to be idealistic but when you have a lot on the line it’s best to be a politician.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I am a diplomat. I would rather they see the error of their ways. Its not good business for them. If they do not, I will name them and make very sure everyone knows.

      • phamnuwen

        I’d like to be informed regardless if they change their mind or not.

        Banning journalists is obviously a huge red flag, and I would try to steer clear of such companies as a customer.

        However if TFB is indeed a diplomatic organization these days, as opposed to a journalistic one, then I suppose this secretive approach makes more sense.

        • Steve (TFB Editor)

          We don’t court controversy just to get page views.

          • phamnuwen

            Is reporting the truth controversial?
            I suppose it is. Everything can be construed to be controversial by someone.

            However, journalism is not the art of staying away from controversy.
            The best stories are often highly controversial.
            Banning journalists is a highly controversial move by a manufacturer. Reporting on it, not so much.

            In fact I would argue that not disclosing the manufacturer is more controversial.
            And most importantly, it’s highly valuable information to the consumer.

            The major news organizations always disclose when they are barred from operating somewhere. Case in point CNN in the lead up to the second Iraq War (and countless others).

  • derfelcadarn

    If you can now be sued for having an opinion, I am in really deep $H!T ! If you can’t handle being critiqued get out of the business.

  • vereceleritas

    When are companies going to learn that these kind of actions make them look like total douchebags? For those who don’t know, Sniper’s Hide is a tactical precision rifle forum. There are plenty of members on that site who wouldn’t bat an eye at dropping $8000 on a rifle, $3500 on a scope, and $1500 on a suppressor. TacticalRifles .net just guaranteed that they’ll never be getting any of that money. Ever.

    • big daddy

      The first things I look at when buying something is customer service and value. Of course does it work……that goes without saying. Although unless I see scientific evidence many products are more anecdotal.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    If there is one thing we should always remember, it is that litigation only makes lawyers rich, win or lose. This applies to any industry. With all due respect to those truly conscientious lawyers driven by an honest conscience in their thoughts and actions to whom this certainly does not apply, it is a most unfortunate aspect of our existence today that the law and many of its subscribers have both come to this, where money, and a false sense of righteousness and machismo seem to justify the means to an end.

    On another note, while it is understandable that a company would be upset at criticism, especially after having put so much thought and effort into what they see as a good product, that same company needs to understand that there are certain forums and web sites that are constructively critical, and not critical merely as an end in itself. These forums and web sites are their potential allies, NOT their enemies, because constructive criticism ( if used properly ) can only improve the breed and result in potentially better sales. And it is really not that hard to distinguish solid, objective constructive criticism from the merely hateful and frivolous.

  • rdsii64

    Tactical Riffles inc. is the worst bunch of knott humpers in the gun industry. I have been saving for a while now for a custom rifle. Tactical Rifles will certianly never get a penny of my money. Further, I’m going to take a portion of what I saved and donated it to help with Franks legal fees.
    Those Rat bastards at Tactical Rifles can kiss that dark place nice people don’t talk about in public.

  • Will Smith

    Tactical Rifles made by tactical craftsmen that had tactical training and use their tactical wisdom to tactically build tactical rifles. These tactical rifles will help you gain the tactical advantage in tactical situations in your tactical life. Not all rifles can be as tactical as Tactical rifles but those non tactical rifles are not Tactical Rifles. Only tactical rifles built by Tactical rifles are truely tactical and useful in all tactical situations. Remember. Tactical Rifles for the tactical operator who does tactical things tactically. Tactical.

    • hkryan

      Just when I thought you missed using “operator” I noticed you managed to include it as well. That is some serious tactical typing.

    • 101nomad

      OK, that is it, from now on I am just gonna sneak up on them.

  • Blake
    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Beautifully illustrated, Blake — excellent insight!

  • guest

    Well this has been just one half of the story, but the way it is presented I hope SH wins. This is a freedom of speech issue, and no company, entity or person should be protected from being spoken against.

  • big daddy

    Out of curiosity I went to there web site, I smelled BS quickly.
    Please post a way to send Sniperhide funds if possible. Maybe a Paypal donation?????

  • Alpha male

    I love it, frank is such an asshole. he gets what he deserves that POS

    • Daniel Prickett

      Please elaborate. I dont know Frank or anyone else involved with SH. I just recently started frequenting the site and aside from having one of my threads deleted without an ounce of explaination i have thorougly enjoyed the site. Curious as to why someone may have such strong feelings about somebody when the seem to be the polar opposite from the general concensus.

      • kypatriot

        its because alpha male isnt so alpha. If you get on snipershide and spout of bunch of BS or mall ninja crap you will get called out and hard. Some people can’t take being criticized. If you want to learn the art of long range shooting, there is no better site than SH, but if you don’t know what you are talking about or don’t have a thick skin then you better listen more than you talk, because there are lots of members there who know what they are talking about.

  • brbpizza

    This is quite a shame. The internet is the last vestige of where people can explain honest opinions untainted by advertiser dollars. Most if not all print magazines about guns these days bend over backwards for advertisers just so they can stay afloat.

    Harris Publications for example, send each article to their advertisers so they can “go over specs” but it’s really so they approve of the editorial (they really only review and feature manufacturers that advertise). Editorial integrity is definitely questionable.

    I wish SH the best. It’s such a baddass URL for a forum 70,000 strong.

  • krimsingoste

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VRw1i6WTz2Y

    THis is the “review” in question. They made a very SLOPPY gun to say the least! Instead of suing, they should have remade the gun and fired whomever worked on the rifle in question. I could have made a better rifle in boy scouts when I was 12! T

  • Zapp Brannigan

    Funny how there are still people who are not aware of the Streisand Effect. Even if TacticalRifles-dot-net wins this lawsuit (which is highly unlikely if SnipersHide is going to vigorously fight it), they’ve already lost.

  • Out of Bagdad

    “Alpha male
    I love it, frank is such an asshole. he gets what he deserves that POS.”

    I don’t know about ‘AH’ but I seldom go onto SH anymore, I feel the owner, we all know who that is, uses the site as his personal soap box to bad mouth some companies (and I’m not referring to the company of this thread). What’s so funny about one instance is “Frank” bad mouths IOR scopes and adores S&B yet it was two top people at S&B that told me “Frank” had a very bad relationship over a product he still claims he did not arrange to have made by IOR and it was he that messed up yet blames the person at IOR he dealt with here in the states and to that end all IOR products are garbage to him…that tells allot of ones personality.