Inside the Growing Popularity of Tactical Training Courses

These go way beyond shooting ranges

AR-15 semi-automatic rifle shooting course
Students fire AR-15 semi-automatic rifles at Boondocks Firearms Academy in Jackson, Mississippi.

During this unnerving time in American history, it’s not necessarily shocking to hear that gun ownership in the United States shows no signs of dropping. Instead, a significant number of Americans recently purchased their first firearm. Gun ownership has also taken some unexpected forms recently, including a number of politically left-wing gun clubs.

If you have a gun, it makes sense that you’d want to learn how to use it. But a recent article at Wired by Rachel Monroe explores a rapidly-growing trend when it comes to firearms training: people who are eschewing traditional shooting ranges for a full-on tactical experience.

Monroe writes about her experience at two such spaces: Gunsite Academy and Green Eye Tactical. Gunsite has had “a run of record-breaking enrollment” since 2015, Monroe notes; the pandemic did not adversely affect its business. The facility has provided training for law enforcement agencies, but its clientele is largely made up of normal citizens who have an interest in handling guns. And it’s been around for a while: founder Jeff Cooper established the business that would become Gunsite in 1976. (He also, Monroe notes, held a number of bigoted beliefs.)

Green Eye Tactical, Monroe points out, is a smaller operation with a younger clientele. She described their customers as “guys who love MMA, listen to Joe Rogan, decorate their pickups with Punisher skulls, and display an affinity for long guns.” Her description of both training programs — and the people who gravitate there — makes for a gripping read that offers few easy answers.

The article offers a fascinating look at a particular subculture — all the while raising questions about where this subculture might be taking the nation as a whole.

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