The most overused word in guns today is…

… “tactical”.


I’ll admit this conversation has been happening for longer than I’ve been blogging, but as it’s still going on and this Fabebook post has gotten some play on teh internets, I thought I’d chime in.

One of Webster’s definitions of “tactical” applies very well, I think.

“of or relating to tactics: as (1) :  of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose (2) :  made or carried out with only a limited or immediate end in view.”

Well, yeah, that sums up armed self-defence quite nicely. If (God forbid) I’m staring down the muzzle of a goblin’s gun, I care little about the socio-economic circumstances that caused he/she to the point where armed robbery was a viable course of action.

Don’t. Care.

If you’ve decided to threaten my life or my family’s life with violence, the why of how this happened is of no importance to me. I’ll worry about that stuff when it comes time for me to write my monthly check to Streets of Joy, not when faced with violence.

I’m ok with the word “Tactical”, when used to describe the methods need to complete the task at hand (i.e. saving my life). I’m NOT ok with it being used by civilians as the military does, i.e. small unit tactics, i.e. CQB, suppressive fire, calling in airstrikes, all of that. I have no idea how to do that, and more importantly, I don’t WANT to know how to do that sort of thing, because I’m not in the military, and it’s their job to know how to do that stuff, not mine, and the situation is even more complicated by the fact that a copy of the IDPA’s magazine, “The Tactical Journal” is sitting on my kitchen counter as I write this, adding in a third way that “tactical” pops up in the life of an armed citizen.

Hence the problem: The same word (“tactical”) is both appropriate and NOT appropriate to how I protect my family.

So do I use it or not?

I do, and I don’t worry about it too much. I own two pieces of 5.11 gear (both of them hats) nothing in Multicam and exactly one bag with MOLLE straps. There is furniture in Craig Sawyer’s house that is more “tactical” than I am, but I still frame how I think about defending my loved ones in terms of “tactics”. I’m not a fan of “Operator” training for people not in the military and I definitely not big on confusing military training with competition, but preparing for the possibility of the worst day of my life is a long-term plan for a short-term problem, and that’s tactics.

So there.