‘Recoil’ magazine hit the gun community like a Tsunami at SHOT Show 2012, promising to be everything that existing gun magazines weren’t. It delivered and quickly became the darling of the firearms enthusiast, offering a bi-monthly heaping of great photography and gun culture. But, when friends asked me about the magazine I referred to it as ‘Maxim for guns’. It was certainly successful but I wondered how long it would last. None of the staff were known as ‘gun guys’ and their approach didn’t seem sustainable. The focus seemed to be on consumer products and photography rather than substance. I also noticed a lot of automotive accessory advertising. The car magazine origins were later verified when I realized that they are published by Source Interlink Media. They are responsible for magazines like ‘Motor Trend’. Overall, cool magazine but not exactly a publication for pros.
But, as they were running a magazine in what I consider my business space I didn’t want to come out as publicly critical of them. In the end, it was their gig and I love the layout of the magazine. In fact, I was very supportive of them. When they first started out, if you googled “Recoil magazine” SSD’s coverage came up before they did.
However, something happened over the weekend. The much anticipated issue number 4 was released last week. It featured an article on the HK MP7A1. In the article Editor Jerry Tsai said (emphasis added by me) -
“Like we mentioned before, the MP7A1 is unavailable to civilians and for good reason. We all know that’s technology no civies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of. It is made to put down scumbags, and that’s it. Mike Cabrera of Heckler & Koch Law Enforcement Sales and veteran law enforcement officer with SWAT unit experience points out that this is a gun that you do not want in the wrong, slimy hands.”
Some might ask, what’s wrong with that? Well, that argument is exactly the argument that anti-gunners use to attempt to legislate away our Constitutionally granted gun rights. “No sporting purpose” Remember those words. You’ll see them again and again from the anti-gun crowd. For them to come from someone who makes a living in the firearms industry is like a slap in the face. Doesn’t he realize he legitimizes that notion by publishing it? The printed word has power. It will be used to support one agenda or another.
The controversy surrounding the article kicked off Friday evening on Recoil’s Facebook page. There were hundreds upon hundreds of posts discussing the issue and Jerry Tsai even weighed in with this lame “apology” on the thread the originated the controversy (go back to the earliest comments).
Hey guys, this is Jerry Tsai, Editor of RECOIL. I think I need to jump in here and clarify what I wrote in the MP7A1 article. It looks like I may not have stated my point clearly enough in that line that is quoted up above. Let’s be clear, neither RECOIL nor I are taking the stance on what should or should not be made available on the commercial market although I can see how what was written can be confused as such.
Because we don’t want anything to be taken out of context, let’s complete that quote and read the entire paragraph:
“Like we mentioned before, the MP7A1 is unavailable to civilians and for good reason. We all know that’s technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of. It is made to put down scumbags, and that’s it. Mike Cabrera of Heckler & Koch Law Enforcement Sales and veteran law enforcement officer with SWAT unit experience points out that this is a gun that you do not want in the wrong, slimy hands. It comes with semi-automatic and full-auto firing modes only. Its overall size places it between a handgun and submachine gun. Its assault rifle capabilities and small size make this a serious weapon that should not be taken lightly.”
Let’ also review why this gun should not be taken lightly. In the article it was stated that the MP7A1 is a slightly larger than handgun sized machine-gun that can be accurately fired and penetrate Soviet style body armor at more than 300 yards. In the wrong hands, that’s a bad day for the good guys.
As readers of RECOIL, we all agree that we love bad-ass hardware, there’s no question about that. I believe that in a perfect world, all of us should have access to every kind of gadget that we desire. Believe me, being a civvie myself, I’d love to be able to get my hands on an MP7A1 of my own regardless of its stated purpose, but unfortunately the reality is that it isn’t available to us. As a fellow enthusiast, I know how frustrating it is to want something only to be denied it.
Its manufacturer has not made the gun available to the general public and when we asked if it would ever come to the commercial market, they replied that it is strictly a military and law enforcement weapon, adding that there are no sporting applications for it. Is it wrong that HK decided against selling a full-auto pocket sized machine gun that can penetrate armor from hundreds of yards away? It’s their decision to make and their decision they have to live with not mine nor anybody else’s.
I accepted their answer for what it was out of respect for those serving in uniform. I believe that we as gun enthusiasts should respect our brothers in law enforcement, agency work and the military and also keep them out of harms way. Like HK, I wouldn’t want to see one of these slip into the wrong hands either. Whether or not you agree with this is fine. I am compelled to explain a point that I was trying to make that may have not been clear.
Thanks for reading,
– JT, Editor, RECOIL
Doesn’t seem to help much does it?
Monday morning and they will begin to learn the lesson that is the title of this post. You can’t run from the internet. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and, in this case, its everywhere. Almost in response, as if there is a “reset” button, Recoil has posted this new apology on their Facebook account -
I’d like to address the comments regarding what I wrote in the MP7A1 article in RECOIL issue 4. First and foremost, I’d like to apologize for any offense that I have caused with the article. With the benefit of hindsight, I now understand the outrage, and I am greatly saddened that it was initiated by my words. Especially since, I am an unwavering supporter of 2nd Amendment Rights. I’ve chosen to spend a significant part of both my personnel and professional life immersed in this enthusiasm, so to have my support of individuals’ rights called into doubt is extremely unfortunate. With that said, I retract what I wrote in the offending paragraph within this article. It should have had been presented with more clarity.
In the article, I stated some information that was passed on to me about why the gun is not available for civilian purchase. By no means did I intend to imply that civilians are not responsible, nor do we lack the judgment to own such weapons, if I believed anything approaching this, clearly I would lead a much different life. I also mentioned in the article that the gun had no sporting purpose. This again, was information passed on to me and reported in the article without the necessary additional context. I believe everything published in RECOIL up to this point (other than this story), demonstrates we clearly understand and completely agree that guns do not need to have a sporting purpose in order for them to be rightfully available to civilians. In retrospect, I should have presented this information in a clearer manner. Although I can understand the manufacturer’s stance on the subject, it doesn’t mean that I agree with it.
Again, I acknowledge the mistakes I made and for them I am truly sorry.
Sounds like a guy trying to keep his job, but, as I stated on Facebook, Jerry Tsai isn’t exactly a gun guy and lives in California. While there are many, many 2A supporters in California, the state’s status quo regarding gun legislation can certainly warp reality for anyone who grew up with those laws. Considering his fairly recent interest in firearms I think Jerry Tsai is a victim of this mentality.
Since the controversy hit Facebook, brand after brand has pledged to drop advertising from the magazine following the flap. I wonder how many companies will be willing to work with ‘Recoil’ after this lest they be branded as ‘traitors’ by the consumer base. And, I wonder how they will be received at SHOT Show. Last year, ‘Recoil’ was an up and coming sample issue. Now, it’s a PR disaster. The next issue will be important for the future of ‘Recoil’ but I think it’s the issue after that, that will determine the future. Can they move past this and is their sustainability there?
‘Recoil’ has to make some changes if it will survive. They absolutely need to bring in some writers who actually know guns. Ironically, Stickman had a story on Noveske in issue number 4. But who knows if anyone with any legitimacy will want to work with the magazine in the future. However, the real question is whether editor Jerry Tsai has to go. On one hand, he is damaged goods in this industry. Maybe his naivete will be enough to save him. On the other hand, it certainly seems that ‘Recoil’ was his vision. If he left, what would ‘Recoil’ become? And, would it be enough to satisfy the readership and industry?
No matter their chosen path ahead, ‘Recoil’ has to deal with the reality of what has transpired and remember that you can’t run from the internet.