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If you’ve picked up the fall 2017 issue of Ballistic magazine, then you’ve noticed Ranger hero Kris “Tanto” Paronto leading the way on our cover — shirtless and as patriotic as ever. Tanto is one of the incredibly brave Americans in Benghazi who held back waves of enemy insurgents.

That cover recently came under fire from one of our competitors, specifically with a homophobic comment.

Trying to insult an American hero like Tanto is something we don’t take lightly. We are honored to have Tanto on our cover. He is humble, happy and approachable, but also a resolute badass; one of those remarkable, brave men who put their lives on the line in defense of others — no questions asked.

Tanto’s response:

“Every day since I was on that roof, I promised to do new things that force me to be uncomfortable so that I can grow. We don’t inspire those around us by doing the same thing. Not all scars are visual, and my tattoos represent the culmination of my life’s experiences. Many servicemen have tattoos that mean different things to them. Things that they can’t explain, and for some, maybe they’ll never be able to explain. Displaying my tattoos on the cover of Ballistic magazine means displaying some of the most intimate parts of what makes up my identity. Through that I hope I can encourage others to enrich their lives, and the lives of those around them by allowing themselves to be authentic.”

RELATED EXCLUSIVE: Kris Paronto Has Used the Same ‘Frankenstein’ AR Since 2005

For those of you asking why our team got Tanto to strip down to the waist and pose for a magazine cover photo. Why the hell not?

Tanto’s tattoos prove this great American hero bleeds red, white and blue, and we’re damn proud to show it off! (You may remember seeing the same ink in “13 Hours,” the movie that captured the heroism of the team of six American security operators during the Battle of Benghazi, as a U.S. embassy and CIA outpost were overrun by militants.)

We stand with Tanto and the other servicemen protecting this great country. Let us know where you stand.

You can grab your copy of the fall 2017 issue of Ballistic magazine at OutdoorGroupStore.com.

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