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Old January 16, 2002, 09:16 PM   #1
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What does "Tactical" mean?

I've been reading these nice gun catalogs, and I am confused about a term used pretty widely - that term is "TACTICAL".

What does this mean? What is a tactical firearm? What is a tactical load?

Is this just marketing?


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Old January 16, 2002, 09:37 PM   #2
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In my opinion, it's an overused adjective, largely marketing fluff.
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Old January 16, 2002, 10:01 PM   #3
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I am confused about a term used pretty widely - that term is "TACTICAL". What does this mean?
It means you are about to get financially raped.
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Old January 16, 2002, 10:05 PM   #4
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it quite often also means you get a crapy little rail under the barrel that keeps any secent fitted holsters from working on the gun...

gun and car collector.
Rare cars, and rarer guns.
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Old January 16, 2002, 10:33 PM   #5
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It may have once meant something used by or suitable for use by a police tactical team ("SWAT" team). Now it means just what the previous posters said. It is advertising hype to sell anything colored black. Now don't bother me, I have to go try on my black nylon tactical jock strap, which only cost $82.46.

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Old January 16, 2002, 10:48 PM   #6
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It means you are about to get financially raped.
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Old January 16, 2002, 11:14 PM   #7
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Tactical? Suitable for battle.

In my opinion any reliable firearm is a "tactical" firearm. One doesn't need a customized gun, but adding a lot of bells and whistles, many of them unnecessary, and then calling it a "tactical" gun, and charging big $ seems to be the norm these days.

In my opinion, "tactical" is synonymous with "battle."
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Old January 16, 2002, 11:22 PM   #8
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Must be black and expensive

I think George hill explains it well in referenced thread

As for handguns, it must be used by an "operator", have white light, IR light, laser, compensator,etc.
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Old January 16, 2002, 11:22 PM   #9
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The gun is matte black (which costs less than polished blue) but costs 25% more. The stocks are plastic instead of wood, and cost more. And all the t-shirts and hats that advertise "tactical" just aren't sold to people who have no interest in being gun-trendy.

Anyone can feel free to correct, but I believe the term "tactical" came from some military guy's imagination, migrated to some BATF agent's vocabulary, got glommed onto by local police and is now the object of fascination for those fascinated with the idea that law enforcement and military knows better.

Ned Logan could hit the eye out of a bird flying, with a non-tactical Spencer rifle. No doubt some real shooters could and can do that, too.
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Old January 16, 2002, 11:25 PM   #10
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Supposedly, the origin of "Tactical" began thusly.

Once upon a time, there was a cry for police shotgun loads that were less punishing, as more female and small-statured officers took to the street. The wise folks at Federal Catridge developed a load that was indeed friendly to less-skilled shotgun operators, and brought to the market as "Low-Recoil Loads."

The target market was not happy. No person in their right mind would pick up a box of "Low Recoil" loads, as the shotgun was worthy of massive, bone-crushing loads, capable of maiming both the target and the shooter.

The ammo gremlins in Anoka huddled together, wondering how to get the target market to purchase this product. From the Land of Marketing, a voice piped up, "What if we labeled it Tactical?" The minds met. Decisions were made. And verily, it was decreed that day forward, that this new load was to be called "Tactical."

And lo, the masses swarmed to the shelves. Dollars poured into Federal's coffers. Things were good. Others saw the success, and began labeling their products as "Tactical." Like a Dr. Seuss book gone horribly wrong, everyone rushed to add a "Tactical" label to their products.

The rest, I'm sad to say, is history.
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Old January 16, 2002, 11:42 PM   #11
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Item doesn't sell, put tactical in the description and raise the price. Laugh all the way to the bank.

If it still doesn't sell, call it ultimate tactical and raise the price again; bound to sell then.

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Old January 17, 2002, 12:45 AM   #12
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CRSam, you forgot to mention the intermediate step of painting it black. Anything 'tactical' has to be black. If it ain't black, it ain't 'tactical'. Of course, this is easy on the bean counters, as black paint is cheap, until it is applied to 'tactical' equipment, then it becomes 'light absorbent coating for 'tactical' applications', and requires a 200% price increase over cost.
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Old January 17, 2002, 01:46 AM   #13
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flinch_of_gt has it right. Those with starz upon tharz, are the bestest sneetches of all.
"This started out as a documentary on gun violence in America, but the largest mass murder in our history was just committed -- without the use of a single gun! Not a single bullet fired! No bomb was set off, no missile was fired, no weapon (i.e., a device that was solely and specifically manufactured to kill humans) was used. A boxcutter! -- I can't stop thinking about this. A thousand gun control laws would not have prevented this massacre. What am I doing?"

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Old January 17, 2002, 04:24 AM   #14
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According to American Heritage:

tac·ti·cal (tkt-kl)
Of, relating to, or using tactics.

Of, relating to, used in, or involving military or naval operations that are smaller, closer to base, and of less long-term significance than strategic operations.
Carried out in support of military or naval operations: tactical bombing.
Characterized by adroitness, ingenuity, or skill.


tactical \Tac"tic*al\, a. [Gr. ?. See Tactics.] Of or pert. to military or naval tactics; hence, pert. to, or characterized by, planning or maneuvering.


tactical adj : of or pertaining to tactics; "a tactical error"

Obviously none of this makes any sense (except for that "tactical error" part, which pertains to glocks) in the context of the stuff you see in magazines and at gun shows. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go write a letter with my "tactical" pen (it's black and expensive) and smoke my favorite "tactical" tobacco (close to black, and REALLY expensive) in my "tactical" pipe (black, expensive, AND low-recoil!).
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Old January 17, 2002, 07:26 AM   #15
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"Tactical" = It's black and over priced 200%:barf:
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—Malcolm S. Forbes.
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Old January 17, 2002, 07:46 AM   #16
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Doesn't always have to be black. *&* "tactical" models (with accessory mounting rails) are stainless steel/aluminum alloy...........if anyone is counting them.
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Old January 17, 2002, 08:45 AM   #17
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I just bought

an HK USP .45 Tactical. So to me tactical means "capable of having ridiculously overpriced marginally legal googahs screwed onto the end of it".
Proud TFL Alumnus
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Old January 17, 2002, 09:17 AM   #18
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Tatical.......overpriced [advertising hype]

I know other's have said it too, I just wanted to add my .02
"While you are resting, someone somewhere is training and when you meet him, you will lose."
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Old January 17, 2002, 09:37 AM   #19
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Tactical -- pertaining to tactics. Tactics are the situational aspects of a battle, as opposed to strategy, which deals with broader movements and larger goals. The strategy might be to encircle the enemy's position; one tactic in support of that goal may be to slip a platoon of Marines up to an artillery point under cover of darkness and capture it.

Since tactical deals with the low-level here-and-now actions in a battle, tactical equipment is that which makes a difference at the individual and small unit level.

Of course, when applied to stuff sold to civilians at gun shows and in maazines, it is often just a marketing adjective. Everything an individual carries or uses to deal with a situation is a tactical item. If you plan to run away from the bad guys, your Nikes are tactical sneakers.
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Old January 17, 2002, 10:46 AM   #20
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Wilson Combat must know the meaning. Their ad in American Handgunner used the word seven times in one advertisement.
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Old January 17, 2002, 11:41 AM   #21
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We can't tell you. If you knew, we'd have to--well, you get the idea...
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"Feels like far."
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Old January 17, 2002, 01:55 PM   #22
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Tactical = Marketing strategy to ensnare the mall ninja crowd.

Disclaimer- No offense to anyone here that owns "tactical" gear, I'm just cutting on the marketing hype.


PS, I'm coming out with a new line of Tactical Single Action Armys. They'll be black, have accessory rails and LAMs. They'll be threaded for a can too for all you Title II operators. I field tested them in Angola with Seal Team 1
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara desert in five years there’d be a shortage of sand. -Milton Friedman
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Old January 17, 2002, 02:36 PM   #23
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Ronin - You should start with these Uberti SAAs from Cabela's, already matte black.

Add some accessory rails and a threaded bbl, and a $219 revolver becomes a $700 tactical cowboy SASS entry piece, no doubt used by Wells Fargo and Pinkerton's!
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Old January 17, 2002, 02:55 PM   #24
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1) An icicle one uses to feel their way through the dark.
2) What masochists experience when they sit on a tack.
3) A bike with chewing gum (or hot asphalt) on its tires.


Azrael256 and David Scott did the homework, so what else is left?
NRA Lifer

Last edited by Rickmeister; January 17, 2002 at 03:18 PM.
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Old January 17, 2002, 04:10 PM   #25
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Of, relating to, used in, or involving military or naval operations that are smaller, closer to base, and of less long-term significance than strategic operations.
Means a tactical firearm is also smaller, kept closer to home, and is less significant than Brand X. And doesn't last as long.

And it's black and costs $200 more.

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