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Chris Costa Responds To “CostaGate2015”

Chris Costa took to Facebook to post this response to “Costagate2015” (I didn’t even know it had a name), the social media brouhaha over his recent appearance at Peace Combat Fes 2015 in Japan. Am I the only guy that thought it was funny that it has a date as though a “Costagate” would become a recurring theme? At any rate, “haterz gon’ hate”.

Recently I had an excellent opportunity to travel over to Japan in support of their Airsoft community, and While I was there our hosts had asked that my trip mate, Jimmy Hendrix and I to participate in a few rounds of indoor and outdoor Airsoft games as a show of support for the Japanese players. In conjunction with the games, our hosts had also requested that we attend several events for the airsoft community that provided us with an opportunity and venue to partake in Q&A and photo session with the fans.

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Our first major event of the trip was a welcome party with roughly 500 fans (and I mean fans). There was entertainment, and electric bugaloo to get the crowd pumped, not to mention half naked girls on stage with one girl using a whip on another girl, which to us was a bit different for a public event. During our pre-show briefing my hosts had requested that I speak at the show, answer questions from press in attendance, and provide a photo op demonstration at the end for the fans. Initially I wouldn’t agree to do the photo op demonstration (ironically, hesitant for the very reason this entire issue has exploded into Costagate). Frankly, I thought the idea was a bit lame, and the runway setup was slightly out of context and a bit over the top for my liking. Unfortunately my reluctance had greatly offended and disappointed my very kind and conciliatory hosts, which of course was the last thing I had wanted to do. They explained that nobody gets to shoot in Japan, and that an airsoft event like the one I attended is the closest they will have to firearms ownership. I was told, “They see pictures of you, Chris Costa shooting. This is their chance to be the one to get the photo.” They talked more about the fans, about how most of them will never get to fire a real gun, how most of them will never get the chance to do any firearms training that we get to experience here in the United States. They talked about how much it would mean for the people, and fans attending this party to be able to take their own pictures of an actual gun trainer in person.

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Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t take myself that serious. I recognized and knew that safety measures were in place and that the fans new what to expect. I thought, what would Kenny Powers do…and in the immortal words of Bill O’Riley, I said to myself, “F$&k it, Well do it live” lol. So the next thing I knew, there I was up on stage and a little worried that my host were wrong about these guys wanting a photo shoot. The next thing I noticed-the crowd went nuts. Never would I have imagined something that simple being that big of a deal. Albeit I was hesitant, I never imagined that a 36-second clip of a 3- hour event would be taken so out of context by people who weren’t at the event or understood what was happening. Did I expect my friends to rag me later, hell YES; that’s why they are my friends, but all I ask is that you please don’t take the fun away from our community. I don’t know why the Airsoft community would hold me in this regard. Maybe its all the Magpul DVD’s over here in Japan. To my kids I’m nothing more than their dad. People we read about together and hold in high regard are MOH recipients, and as you may recall, you can watch a clip of me on YouTube reading about one of my hero’s, Master Sargent (sic) Roy Benavidez.

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Let us understand and not forget that our future generations play video games like COD, or MOH and progress from there by buying Airsoft weapons for simulated war games. Coming to Japan has helped me gain a better understanding of why they are so dedicated, or what we would call fervent, about the airsoft industry. This is their lifestyle relative to our lifestyle of us carrying real weapons and protecting our families. Picture an America with no weapons, and no second Amendment rights. For us this is unthinkable, and would certainly hit on a level we couldn’t imagine or comprehend, not only because of the way our country was founded, but because of the lifestyle and freedom we can exercise as our right to protecting our family and community.

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The Japanese have Airsoft and that is it. They play our LAPD, DEA, FBI, NYPD and branches of the military because they think those guys are awesome. Same as you I’ve cracked a few jokes in the past over the very people that want to be like us, to have our rights, and to be allowed to own and carry weapons.

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I could agree I’m probably not the best person to send here to represent America and the gun community. However, just because something is new to me, I’ve never been one to back down or quit. I’ll try something new. I may fail and make mistakes, but that’s how I get better. I feel we’ve done a lot of good over here. We’ve changed the way they approach the game of airsoft, and I’d like to think we’ve built a bigger respect for what they like about us and our freedoms when it comes to guns.

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My parting thoughts are this: If Airsoft manufacturers could develop a gun that could survive normal abuse, I believe it would eventually find its way into Armed Defense for citizens, law enforcement, and military. This could further provide additional opportunities for force-on-force training which could be a huge benefit. I appreciate all my friends and industry partners for all their support over the last week while I was in Japan. I’m getting ready to head home my body is not in it’s 20’s anymore, that is for sure. I was happy that no one out ran me……so that one is for me.

Very Respectfully,
Costa

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37 Responses to “Chris Costa Responds To “CostaGate2015””

  1. AbnMedOps says:

    A very interesting observation of the cultural aspects, and a well spoken and reasoned response to the PR micro-burst. Glad you had a good trip!

  2. majrod says:

    Not a Chris Costa fan but not a Chris Costa hater either.

    Classy (and humorous) response to an incident that has been overblown and made by some to indicate things about Costa that aren’t accurate.

    The culture over there is way different than ours (just look at the very common and disturbing themes in their comics).

  3. Richard says:

    Now I fell like a jerk. Sorry Costa.

  4. Richard says:

    *feel

  5. FLC says:

    Well said, my opinion changed.

  6. Weeble19 says:

    A lot of people hate on Costa for his “lack of combat experience”. I’ve never met the dude and don’t care one way or the other. He may be the coolest guy in the world or a total douche in person but the guy is a smart business man. Every time someone cracks a joke on him I’m sure he’s crying himself all the way to the bank. I laughed a little too when I saw the video of this surface and thought what a goober. But their culture is different than ours and this response was very well stated explaining his actions. Not that he has to because honestly who cares. And now he has an ENTIRE COUNTRY that loves him and wants to buy his stuff! Again, haters are going to do their thing and he’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Whatever you think of him, he’s smart that’s for sure. Stepping off my soap box.

    • y0te says:

      > A lot of people hate on Costa for his “lack of combat experience”.

      None of Tiger Woods’ coaches have green jackets.

  7. Mark says:

    All I took from that was half naked chicks and whips.

  8. Mike Nomad says:

    I tend to be on the Costa Hater side. However, his response to what was obviously nonsense was articulate, well-reasoned, and far more culturally respectful than I typically see from Gun People. He bought the ticket, took the ride. Props & Respect to Costa.

  9. Sick of BS Artist says:

    It’s not as inocent as he plays it out to be. More Costa manipulation.

    Prices Charged Per Person:

    Welcome Party: $25.00
    CQB Training: $172
    Outdoor Airsoft Battle: $172

    I am also curious about this comment in the video at the 5:00 mark about “Operating & Spilling Blood”. Sounds like posing to impress the airsoft kids.

    • Joe says:

      Do you think the event organizers got him to go there for free? They gotta pay the bills.

      Having been to Japan more than once, his explanation is spot-on.

    • Freddy says:

      There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    • J. says:

      Large airsoft events in the US cost the same. Just look at the “Lion Claws” series, insurance fees are crazy both here and in Japan for these events.

    • Ben says:

      Airsoft games in the UK command £100 ticket prices without celebrity at all. Seems like a good deal.

      I hope the Costa family is doing well really, they guy works hard.

  10. Freddy says:

    I don’t have an opinion either way about Chris Costa as an instructor. But I am fairly certain that a lot of Chris Costa’s detractors have less real-world experience than he does. In fact, most of the internet commandos have ZERO real-world experience.

    As a man, Costa seems like a stand-up and likeable guy. He takes time to interact with his students on a personal level and I think that’s pretty cool. Clearly, he is at the very pinnacle of the tactical instructor game. Nobody gets more interest than Chris Costa. He comes up with a new mag pouch and nobody can keep them in stock. His course catalog comes out and it’s sold out in minutes. He markets a rifle and there’s a two-year waiting period for a $2,500.00 gun. Anyone who achieves this much success is going to have haters and that comes with the territory.

    As for his time in Japan, who cares??? It’s an entirely different culture and things that seem nerdy and geeky to us are totally cool down there. Conversely, Japanese are turned off by a lot of things we think are cool. A lot of American celebrities do secret advertising campaigns that would look ridiculous to us in the States. Costa is not the first guy to do so. Sounds like Costa and his fans had a lot of fun, sold some stuff, signed some autographs, and took a bunch of photos. Why can’t the internet commandos leave it at that?

  11. Bluenoser says:

    I stayed out of the fray before, and am glad to see the comments regarding changed opinions about how it really looks like he’s acted as a good ambassador.

    Whether you like what he’s selling or not, he was earnest and humble. Absolutely props to the guy.

  12. Archer11 says:

    I initially hated on the dude for doing it, but after seeing the pic with the Japanese chics; I am no longer hating. Well done sir.

  13. Recon Runner says:

    I’m not a fan or a hater but I respect his very well written explanation/response.

  14. Sick of BS Artist says:

    No comments or explantions for the 5:00 mark in the video? “Operating & Spilling Blood”

    • jbgleason says:

      OK there “Sick of BS Artist” (I think the name says all we need to know about you), I went back and watched the video that you so desperately wanted someone to comment on and here it is. He says that he got serious about training when he was tasked with training and “operating” in his job. Despite what anyone says about the word (and my personal dislike for it), OPERATOR and OPERATING are common parlance these days. Yes, it should be reserved for OTC grads but it isn’t. So get over it. If you are arguing that CC never did a single “operation” (ugh, I am using it) then that doesn’t jibe with reality either. The guy was a Coastie and he did VBSS ops (there it is again damnit). Whether it was overseas or domestically I don’t know and I don’t care. He did real world ops (!) with a loaded gun and the potential for resistance. So he isn’t a liar and he isn’t embelleshing. It is what it is. As for the “spilling blood”, that isn’t what was said. He says (accurately) that he is serious about training because if one of his students goes out and gets hurt/killed on the job then he feels their “blood is on his hands.” I would hope that any professional instructor feels that way.

      I don’t know CC and don’t have an opinion either way but your blatant troll attempts really aren’t appropriate for SSD. So take it elsewhere.

      • Jon says:

        +1 JB, I think the term “Operator” is too fad for our communities.. for instance, Operator or Operations is used in countless civillian jobs as well. For instance Operations manager at a fortune 500 company or Train Operator at a railyard. People get hung up on his combat expirience but don’t bat an eye to the countless others out there who either lack combat experience (albiet while having police or other experiences, or even competition expirience) or who even go as far as to falsify their experiences adding fluff or lying all together (Specifically Cory from range time). The blood on his hands is again how he seriously takes his job, much the same as anyone who trains someone for a dangerous job. He did work for private security doing redcell analysis which would include dangerous applications of security. It may not be a ground pounder SF dude, but give credit where credit is due. He didn’t give war stories, he said he cared about training and it became more important to him as he worked with those he trained in real world applications… There is respect for that. And yes, events cost money and he’s a businessman. There are countless others out there who do the same but no one says jack about the perfect pushup or ab wheel because “they are seals”…like that makes them a monopoly in the world of stuff or training.

        Sick of BS: What are your qualifications or experiences? What do you bring to the table or are you just ranting about the use of the word “operator” in it’s pop-tacti-culture hype?

      • Andrew says:

        Well said jbgleason.

  15. Steve says:

    The haters have obviously never been in Japan, or are familiar with Japanese fandom.

    In short, if you think this was weird and inappropriate you know nothing of recent Japanese culture. This is absolutely typical (even subdued compared to other Japanese fan events) for Japanese fans and promoters. Just because you disapprove doesn’t mean the Japanese attendees didn’t have the time of their lives.

    When I read those types of hater comments I always wonder whether the writer holds himself to the same standards he demands of others.

    • Dellis says:

      Agreed. But not only of “recent” culture but for years now. Being raised in the 80’s there was many a “hair band” that could not sell a ticket here stateside yet in Japan the kids went ape for them.

      They had, perhaps still have, a fascination with American 50’s and all things Elvis. What one of them would give to tour Graceland!

      So the Japanese fan base of whatever it is American is way over top and always an event. Kudo’s to Costa for his striking while the iron is hot and over there, airsoft is king. It’s not a hobby but a lifestyle.

  16. JK says:

    I saw the video purely for what it was: fan service. Not much different than a band returning for an encore after finishing their set; it was for the fans.

    This calm, reasoned response shows that Costa is the better man who saw the dilemma of a country’s people who are denied their inalienable right to bear arms.

    The irony is, many prominent figures of the firearm training community are now outed for their own poor attitude and drinking the hater-aide. I certainly lost some respect for Rob Pincus, one of the first to publicly ridicule the video.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a die-hard fan of Costa or any other tactical celebrity. I learn from everyone, apply it, and keep it if it works, discard if it does not.

    • Pat Aherne says:

      All you have to do to lose respect for Rob Pincus is watch one of his videos, especially his defense around autos. If you’ve ever shot in or around vehicles, it’s apparent he never has. Pincus has been insulting other trainers for years, reference his comment that Gunsite guys were “dinosaurs”.

  17. joe says:

    Now I need a WWKPD wrist band. Thanks for the entertaining and well-reasoned response.

  18. Pat Aherne says:

    I’ve given Costa shit, in public, at a class over a product he was endorsing. He didn’t back down or make excuses, nor did he big league me. He explained why he uses what he uses and told me he did not pay for the item himself, but would buy it with his own money. That’s about as honest as you can expect from anybody. I am not a Costa fanboi, but you’ve got problems if you wouldn’t want attention from 500 adoring Japanese fans, including a bunch of half-nekkid females whipping on each other.

    This is what’s best about Costa, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and his large ego isn’t the most important thing in the room. I like Chris; don’t always agree with him, but I respect his opinion and think he’s a good dude.

  19. SC1911 says:

    This is going to sound elitist, but many “haters“ of [fill in the blank] tend to be somewhat provincial in thought and many lack character. I have never taken a CC class, but after participating in numerous classes and schools starting back with Gunsite in the 80’s, I can tell the posers from the instructors. Mr Costa seems to be a pretty squared away instructor. He has sound skills, is articulate, has great command presence and to his financial benefit, stage presence. I know the later may be frowned upon by some, but he is, after all, in business for himself.

    Previous comments from Freddy, et al, regarding Japanese obsessions and hero worship – News flash: it’s insanely real.

    I think a lot of shooters need to occasionally step off the reservation. I mean that literally and figuratively. There is no specific Way of The Gun. Only what works for you. Chris Costa is there to help in that journey. I can’t fault him for making some dinero along the way.

    Lastly, I was initiated into combat shooting by Jeff Cooper. I didn’t necessarily agree with his style or politics, but he knew a lot about guns and shooting. I listened and learned. So when someone asks me about the likes Mr Pincus, my one word reply is always the same – “Who?”

  20. Roger Rabbit says:

    As a professional gunslinger I will never understand how we can hate on people from other countries that want to dress up and roleplay as US freedom fighters or police. So what if they shoot little plastic BB’s out of their guns. Their laws and firearm restrictions are not their choice. Yet they choose to do something that their culture probabably shuns because they want to dress up like us vs. their own local uniforms.

    They emulate our heros and some clown them. What does that say about our train of thought. These guys/gals look at our soldiers and LEO’s as heroes and people they want to be like(even if they will never be). I applaud anyone willing to spread goodwill and support for our country (in this case Costa), even if they make a buck off it. Because in the end we all benefit as Americans.

  21. jjj0309 says:

    Costa gets all the chicks
    Jealous

  22. Ycare says:

    I don’t understand all the fuss this was about.
    Would someone make fun of a policeman posing a bit in front of a class full of kids dreaming to become cops later and be “as cool as him”?
    Even if none of those kids get to become police later, for whatever reason, be it law, skill or family, they were still in awe in front of that guy that looked like a demi God to them. Yes those people here are older, but 1- Aren’t we still all kids at heart? 2- People playing airsoft do it as a game or passion, none of which are too rational.

    In Japan people are quite innocent in their hobby, come and meet them, you’ll realize that but also that they can have a great heart.

  23. Wait…his travel partner’s name is really…Jimmy Hendrix??

    AWESOME

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6meMBtTgKQ

  24. Mike Mike says:

    Anyone that wants to be like us Good Ole Boys in the USA is good people in my book. hell I”m me and want to be me, where/how I live, my freedom to do what I do, you cant beat it. And anyone who ever looks down on us gun people who have no combat experience doesnt really understand, alot of Tier 1 gun training comes from USPSA competiton shooters. Mid South run by Shaw in north Mississippi, Rob Leatham, ect.