Love In The Time Of Instagram – Guns, Gear And Training

Here we all sit, with instant access to the highest volume of information in human history. In what used to take a physical trip to the library, photocopying references and reviewing microfiche records, almost everyone can “research” a topic at length using a mobile device. Not only that, we are bombarded with information we didn’t necessarily request – from advertising on blogs (TFB of course is included) to suggested pages on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.

Problems arise however when research reveals that companies claim’s about their guns, gear and training is the best available, without a clear way to verify their statements. What may seem to be neutral reviews by gun personalities may be infact cleverly disguised paid sponsorships. I know that these relationships exist between manufacturers and social media “reviewers”, but will refrain from pointing fingers or making specific accusations.

All of this makes me appreciate my place here at TFB. No, we certainly aren’t perfect, but we strive to remain as unbiased as possible (no one in this world is completely neutral). In my reviews I make a point remind our readers that I am not a superhero gunslinger who has dominated land, sea and sky several times over. I am a “normal” shooter with a variety of real world experiences that may give you a balanced take on guns and gear. Balanced as humanly possible, that is.

Firearms training is a whole world onto itself, however. With physical firearms and gear, there is a tangible item that can be used by hundreds of others to compare one review from another. With training, we are stuck with opinions from shooters who may or may not have the ability to accurately portray the efficacy of a particular training course.

I have been through my share of academies and private courses with experiences that have run the gamut. ‘Holy Sh*t’ moments on both sides of the spectrum. All were great learning experiences in some shape or form. I’m grateful to my friend EB who introduced me to Pat Rogers about 15 years ago – without his guidance I may have never had my eyes opened to actual training. But, without recommendations from trusted friends, where do people turn for reliable and worthwhile training courses?

Which paves a direct path to social media – the virtual ‘Star Wars bar’ of gun heros and villains. On the one hand, I use social media sites for lot of my research for news and product releases for stories that end up here at TFB. On the other hand, I have seen wild claims and questionable marketing techniques used by both corporations and ‘one man shows’.

Take firearms personalities, for example. Much like Hollywood stars, why do we hold their opinions higher than others when it comes to any type of recommendation? Is it because they are former operators or do they have a cult like status based on internet flare and showmanship.

Like in all facets of business, and life for that matter, many times the loudest speakers get noticed the most. And social media gives access to those monologues by billions world wide.

But is what we are looking at reality? Some companies and individuals are focused on bringing you honest opinions and reliable products. Others are (allegedly) only in the game to separate you from your money and can’t even hold a gun, let alone advocate for their responsible use.

You thought we were joking "Maj", or should we call you Martin? Here are the records for when he was arrested for beating his then pregnant girlfriend, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. ARD is a program for fist time offenders to wipe a conviction from their record… but he still did the crime, and was arrested several more times and received a separate felony conviction between 2006 and now. Check out all the records we've posted online for yourself (link in profile description). @majtoure is a piece of shit hustler who just wants to sell shirts and mugs while you donate to his own bank account through #gofundme… his "Black Guns Matter" organization is NOT a non-profit even though he claims that on Facebook. Are we still just "haters" who you're throwing a #BLOCKparty for or are you going to actually address your history and be honest for once in your life?? #blackgunsmatterbutMajTouredoesnt #liar #fake #conman #solutionarylifestyle #Solutionary #felon #falseprophet #lordtoure

A post shared by Range Theatrics (@rangetheatrics) on

(The above information was taken directly from Instagram and has not been verified for authenticity.)

Beyond sales, in my opinion, I think we are seeing a blurring of the lines between actual products and training and pure entertainment. Again, this is nothing new to the gun world, but social media has given us instant access to “techniques used by professionals” and “tier 1 gear” that it is getting harder for the average “gunsumer” to tell the difference between reality and fantasy.

Instagram

Do we trust competition-style shooters to train our law enforcement and military members techniques they will replicate in the field? Do these styles keep good guys safer or create dangerous scars that can result in people getting hurt or killed. I don’t know the answer, I’m legitimately asking.

Some of these well known and highly followed personalities are up front and honest about their past experiences and training. Willing to take criticism and advice from seemingly more veteran instructors, they will be humble and call out their own mistakes.

But how are we expected to discern fictional entertainment from fact? Who hands out unbiased credentials to manufacturers and trainers for firearms consumers that can be used to make better decisions?

More and more I’m coming across posts on social media with thousands of likes that appear (to me) to be really bad ideas. Ideas that could get people hurt or killed. But do we point the finger at the compainies/trainers/reviewers for using entertainment to move product? Or ourselves because we are losing the ability to apply critical thinking when it it comes to certain marketing techniques. I honestly have no idea.

I started writing this post after scrolling through Instagram looking for ideas and finding high quality photos of $2,500 custom Glock pistols next to chocolate donuts, grenades next to five shot revolvers and half naked women shooting beltfed machineguns. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind pics of half naked women, but I can’t find the link between them and full auto fire. And I looked really hard.

Next time we will dig in to the “gun bunny” marketing techniques and why they are so effective, (Hint, it has to do with half naked women holding guns).


Interested in seeing some legitimate head-shaking material or just want a good laugh? Give these guys a follow:

@TacSoup

@EveryDayNoDaysOff

@Rangetheatrics



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete
https://www.instagram.com/tfb_pete/


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  • Jared Vynn

    Excessive use of hashtags is a great issue among many of these social media posters.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e114dae529d6d54e61ca3df836f952ba5cc9466a61ea422bb005d2f092680cbb.png

    Nothing says 44 Magnum revolver like #9mm afterall.

  • USMC03Vet

    Social media is garbage and largely just advertisement platforms to prey on morons.

    It’s hilarious this article was published considering the huge in your face use of social media on this domain specifically a whole bar dedicated to reposting every article via social media including 12 trackers on the page as well.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I think you missed the point.

      • Edeco

        I missed the point – read like 3 paragraphs and my attention span shattered. Whatever it is, it’s thoroughly prefaced 😛

  • Raptor Fred

    So is that guy a felon??

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I intentionally didn’t draw any conclusions, because the information needs verification. But the arrest record posted doesn’t look good.

      • Raptor Fred

        Well it certainly is an eye opener.

      • Timmybadshoes

        While no conclusions are drawn, why even post it if there is no verification? That is my biggest gripe with social media, the inclination to spread information without verification. Sadly we are all guilty of it.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          If I dug up questionable info that no one else had, I wouldn’t have posted. But this information has been out for a few weeks and has been seen by thousands.

          But I do see your point.

      • valorius

        I wouldn’t post anything i hadn’t verified in your position.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          Thanks. I do agree with you, to a point.

      • Phillip Cooper

        I replied, but the post is being moderated for some reason.

        This is not difficult, folks.. Google for the Pennsylvania court mentioned at the top of the image. Takes you right to their online records, which are searchable by any and all according to public law. They are, after all, maters of public record.. quite literally.

        Search for the docket number:
        mc-51-cr-0706541-2006

        Bam. Verified. Took me all of 2 minutes… 90 seconds of which was enjoying my coffee…..

  • Phillip Shen

    Yeah, can someone verify if Maj Toure really is Martin Jones? If he is, I wouldn’t necessarily brand him an outcast just because he can’t legally hold a gun. It’s only if his non-profit really is trying to sucker people for money would it be tsk tsk.

    I guess that’s what those range theatrics guys are claiming, but I’d like to see more proof that Maj is Martin (after all, the arrest record is for “Martin Jones”), and that he’s not running a legit non-profit. Otherwise it’s just internet drama.

    Well, the worst case for Maj is, if he is a felon, he can always join Suarez Tactical.

  • The_Champ

    I’m having a hard time grasping the specific point of this article(possibly because no one ever accused me of being really sharp), but I think this is the main take-away:

    “it is getting harder for the average “gunsumer” to tell the difference between reality and fantasy”

    If that is the main point, then I’d have to disagree with it. Gun magazines, for example, have been spewing huge amounts of BS and perpetuating false myths for many decades before the internet arrived. Icons of that old shooting world, like Jeff Cooper, as much as I enjoy some of his writing, are guilty of perpetuating many gun myths as well.

    That said this is the reality in most human endeavours. Conventional knowledge and ‘consensus’ among experts gets routinely flipped on its head.

    Overall I’d say in general the potential for knowledge has improved with the internet, but one must be willing to look past quick and easy answers. As a prime rule ignore every ‘hashtag’. Spend time to dig deep into an issue, find lots of view points and research, and you will be far closer to the reality of the matter. This kind of in depth look is possible with the internet in ways it was not before.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Maybe we are to blame, then. I don’t think many consumers put that much time into researching guns and gear.

      • The_Champ

        Maybe, but again it’s nothing specific to the gun community. It’s just how people are. They like quick easy answers, flashy products, and slick videos set to heavy metal music with buff tattooed dudes dumping rapid fire into point blank targets (and of course, those bikini wearing machine gunning gals you mentioned).

        • The_Champ

          All of that said, it also highlights a problem with the internet where everyone is now an ‘expert’, and able to voice their opinion as such.

          Have you ever read one of those nifty polls getting university students, or some other group of people to rate themselves, on academic ability, social like-ability, or what not? Without fail, 80-90% of people rate themselves as above , or well above average. Obviously those numbers don’t add up.

          The point being, most people hold themselves in very high regard, and believe they know more than they know. They are therefore happy to present themselves as some type of expert.

          Then again, WTF do I know, I’m probably wrong on all of this 🙂

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            No, I guess I’m just struggling to wrap my head around some of the stuff I see.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          You’re right. It’s not. But I guess what bothers me is that it’s not dish soap or energy drinks. This is the stuff that people and companies push as being the difference between life or death or warrior gear.

          • valorius

            They’re trying to sell stuff. It’s really as simple as that, in my estimation.

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            For sure. But should we be calling out the blatant BS?

          • Phillip Cooper

            At each and every opportunity, in all of life.. even when the BS comes from ourselves.

          • valorius

            Yes.

        • valorius

          Actually i think those buff, bearded, bald headed, sunglass wearing dudes are totally ridiculous.

          • Phillip Cooper

            How about the non-buff, bearded, bald-headed, sunglass wearing dudes?

            Signed
            -a non-buff, bearded, bald-headed, sunglass wearing because it helps with the glare headaches, dude…. asking for a friend. Totally……

      • valorius

        I suspect anyone reading TFB does quite a lot of reading and research on many things “gun.”

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          I would think/hope so.

    • Seriously, perfectly stated.

  • Huh?

  • Vitsaus

    Social media is cancer.

    • Person

      You just metastasized.

      • Pete – TFB Writer

        Ha. I got that.

  • Joshua

    Pretty sure I would trust Lucas from T-Rex Arms and Baret fawbush of TruExodus and others over some of the people here. For one, they put their money where their mouth is and actually train and work full time jobs. Do they get kickbacks? Yea I wouldnt mind kickback either.

    Meanwhile, some TFB staff members post pictures of their MP5 pistols with braces, then pictures of the same pistol with a different stocks, then pictures agian of the same pistol with a pistol brace with a description about how great it is to shoulder braced pistols. I will happily provide pictures of said post shortly. #asiangunfighter

    I won’t even go into how the lack of proof reading in some of these articles is atrocious.

  • Ark

    Gun Jesus is the truth and the light, and shall forever lead the faithful through the valley of misinformation.

    • Klaus Von Schmitto

      Can I get a hallelujah!

      • Whitechapel Charlie

        HALLELUJAH AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

    • mazkact

      Ian and Karl are certainly unbiased ,informative and entertaining. Their most recent post about Ian having an out of battery fire and subsequent injury is evidence of being unbiased as they refused to tell the ammo brand or type of firearm involved because they both felt that the incident could happen without regard to those details.

  • Hoplopfheil

    Looks like Instructor Zero’s peculiar brand of bullshit is spreading.

  • valorius

    Huh?

  • Core

    It’s easy to talk trash about enthusiasts, but a shirt is a shirt. And I have to say I have more respect for a guy who sells funny shirts than a guy who preaches the latest tactical ninja tactics that are likely to get someone killed or trash talks methods and equipment that have been fielded successfully in numerous wars. I’m not the loud mouth critic type but I see stupid a mile away. Yeager has said and done some stupid things over the years, and aside from his 1911 bashing I have remained idle. But like most people I will always extend my respect to a point. The list of perpetrators goes on and on. Vicker’s, Costa etc. No one is perfect, yet pushing a flawed ideology does far more damage than selling a trinket. We all need levity and how folks choose to seek it within their tastes is a personal choice. I’m happy to see folks training and enthusiastic about firearms safety and defense, it may not align with our cookie cutter perception of kosher but diversity makes for interesting discovery and collaborations. We have to be careful not to allow the institutions we are bound to, to dictate our desire to seek knowledge and the truth. We need to wake with an open mind and strive to reach greater heights in everything we do. Question everything you don’t understand, but don’t waste a second insulting others for trying to climb their own mountains.

  • Max Müller

    The connection between half naked woman and guns, i found it!
    It’s exactly at the guns buttstock and the females shoulder.
    I even found out why. I tried to imagine a half naked 300 pund guy shooting a gun that wobbles his belly fat. Now i’m quite thankfull that we have half naked woman with fat in more advantageous places than a beer belly.

  • What are you talking about??? As far as work all of the writers with one exception work full time jobs and write for TFB because they enjoy it.

  • Pete – TFB Writer

    I actually did that very same search. That’s not the verification I’m referrring to.

    Is that the same guy pictured? That’s my concern. A docket is not ID.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Fair point!