The gun world tends to focus heavily on the tactical market. Many companies stress their tactical background and, lets face it, that sells guns. During my career, it’s also been a constant source of irritation for me. There’s the connotation that calling something “tactical” makes it well-suited for police or military, but far too often it’s nothing more than marketing. This can be more than just frustrating—should the equipment fail when applied in the real world, it can also be dangerous. My drive as a commander, operator and now a writer has been to clarify these misnomers. Luckily, as my perspective broadens, the commercial side to this argument becomes clear.
The intense focus on the “tactical” moniker belies the fact that much of the best equipment is neither designed for nor built by those with tactical experience. Far too often, those in the police or military world think nothing can be learned from anyone without a tactical background. That may be true for some very specific things, but most of the time it’s a myth. Interestingly, the most elite military and law enforcement units have known this for years. This fact became evident to me over 10 years ago while attending an FBI “Safe Streets” school. The instructors had just completed several classes with the top competition shooters in the country. When asked, the lead agent said simply, “We want to know what works best. Period. And that does not always come from inside the law enforcement community.”
This very same attitude becomes even more apparent when you spend time with the most elite military operators. My profession often puts me in contact with those who silently do the job. The farther up the chain I go, the more this attitude prevails. When your life is actually on the line, with no “reload button” to push or “extra lives,” you want what works, period. It doesn’t matter who taught it, invented it or built it. This is the ultimate in practicality, and there may be no place where this is truer than in the precision rifle market. The opportunity to meet and work with Robert Gradous of Gradous Rifles made that perfectly clear.