The election is approaching, and the Americans are buying military goods frantically
In 2020, conflicts are not uncommon on the streets of the United States. "Tactical equipment" has become a kind of life-oriented industry. Its service targets include both militarized law enforcement agencies and free gunmen who imitate these agencies. The US presidential election day is less than a week away, but orders for tactical equipment are increasing day by day.
Since last year, the online purchase of certain products of Mira Safety in Austin, Texas, has soared 20 times, such as the CM-6M gas mask, which is priced at $220 and can resist rubber bullets.
The company’s founder Roman Zelazhevsky said when talking about its new customers: “It doesn’t matter who gets elected. These customers think that no matter who wins, whether it’s Biden or Trump, someone will definitely be The result is not satisfactory."
Not long ago, perhaps a generation ago, people in wartime uniforms were either veterans who had not yet emerged from the shadows of the Vietnam War, or cynical young people obsessed with gas masks and military boots in military surplus stores. (Every small American town seems to have such a store, and there is only one.)
The "Black Lives Matter" protests that occurred this spring and people's abhorrence over the lockdown order for the new crown epidemic have also made the above-mentioned changes more obvious. Nowadays, such equipment can be seen everywhere, for example, from supporters of the ultra-left political movement in camouflage uniforms to right-wing extremists, even after someone was arrested for the conspiracy to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitemore, these extremists still appeared. The capital of Michigan.
In some suburbs and rural areas, it has become a daily wear. A retail chain called 5.11 Tactical even tried to transform the appearance of a survivalist into a fashionable national brand, whose origins can be traced back to a friend of President Trump's adult son. The store’s annual sales are close to 400 million U.S. dollars in Fort Bliss, which includes Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the US military station in El Paso, Texas. In the United States, the sales of guns and ammunition have also surged.
Elizabeth Newman, former Assistant Secretary of Threat Prevention of the Department of Homeland Security, said: “There is evidence that many people have been worried over the past six months, including the pressure caused by the epidemic, frustration and anger over the different government relocation measures. At the same time, they He also believes that these measures also violated his personal freedom."
Newman said that tactical equipment represents "a certain form of militarist patriotism, and it is also a way for people to find their identity." She quit her job this year. In her view, the reason is that the Trump administration has failed to resolve threats from the country.
Matt Materazo, the founder of Danville, a California company, said that half of Gladiator Solutions' orders came from civilians, which has changed a lot from many years ago because the main customers at the time were law enforcement agencies.
He said: "We have seen a significant increase in orders in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, not only in these states, but also in areas such as Chicago, Manhattan, Queens, and San Francisco. We have never done anything with people in San Francisco. business."
The company’s most-selling product is a 220-dollar body armor board, which can withstand bullets fired by an AK-47 rifle.
Before the epidemic, 5.11 Tactical in Irvine, California opened two new stores every month and used "Always Be Ready" activities (Always Be Ready, similar to the cooking demonstration activities of Williams-Sonoma Home Furnishing Company) To attract customers. Among rows of military-style boots, pants and vests, the event will teach self-defense, trauma therapy, and "daily/gun hidden carry."
Compass Diversified Holdings Inc., a company based in Westport, Connecticut, said that during the lockdown, consumer purchases were unexpectedly high and have been growing. Compass Diversified Holdings Inc.'s asset portfolio includes 5.11 Tactical and Ergobaby, a stroller brand.
The chief operating officer of Pat Maciariello told analysts on a conference call in July that same-store sales, including e-commerce, increased 10.5% in the second quarter and 7.5% in the first quarter.
Marcia Rillo said: "The increase in defensive mentality" is one of the reasons that 5.11 Tactical is potentially "disruptive."
More evidence of the maturity of the industry: Many buyers use online forums to discuss the best equipment, compare prices, and complain about companies that slaughter customers. Megan Squar, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina, has been paying attention to members of extremist groups who buy body armor and display their pictures, such as the so-called unboxing videos on YouTube. She said that a fanatic posted a post to mock another user because the body armor he bought could not completely cover the vital organs of the body.
The U.S. Concealed Carry Association (U.S. Concealed Carry Association), which has 500,000 members, has seen explosive growth in the number of membership registrations. The association said that it is committed to helping the responsible armed American people to carry out the preparatory work in the early, during and after stages of self-defense. Tim Schmidt said that the organization's membership registration growth rate this year is four times that of last year. In his opinion, he does not recommend buying bulletproof vests.
Schmidt said: "People are preparing for scenes that they shouldn't participate in. We have no reason to proactively put ourselves in a violent environment.
Tactical equipment companies are benefiting from the popular rush for individual armed forces, some of whom are involved in anti-government or white supremacist gangs.
Josh Ellis, the owner of MyMilitia.com, a website that allows users to find surrounding groups, said: "We have seen a significant increase in equipment purchases since April, and it has continued to increase." Leader of the Angry Viking organization Dylan Stevens, a 41-year-old Houston native, said that Angry Viking, the fastest growing and only four months old, has already won 1,500 members, and there are "thousands" waiting to join. Dylan has been working as a personal trainer since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic.
In September, when social justice protesters gathered at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Stevens was wearing a black bulletproof vest with a semi-automatic rifle hanging on his chest, and standing with members of his organization. He said that he told members to wear civilian clothes in the November 3 general election and reported suspicious actions to the police. Once innocent people are attacked, they can "participate" in countermeasures.
The MyMilitia.com website is full of posts from novices seeking advice, and there is a detailed forum to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of tactical equipment. A post said, "Be prepared for the war in November this year", and the link in the post was Damascus Gear, a vendor of body armor.
Connection with the Trump family
President Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. has appeared in advertisements for multiple tactical equipment brands. As a gun enthusiast, he formed a so-called "Trump Army" to protect the election. Trump Jr. was criticized for appearing in a Utah rifle manufacturer promotion in July. The owner of the manufacturer is a member of The Order, a polygamy sect, which is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Trump Jr. then said: "I don't even know who they are.")
Trump Jr. and his brother Eric used to hunt and fish at the Montana estate of Dan Costa, the former owner of 5.11 Tactical. Costa is an entrepreneur from Modesto, California. At that time, after taking over the company, Costa developed it from a company that sold single pants worn by FBI interns to the first A national "tactical equipment" brand. Costa sold most of the company's equity in 2007.
Costa’s new company First Tactical, after merging with Florida bulletproof clothing manufacturer Point Blank Enterprises, is expected to gain more than $20 million in sales this year, compared with $9 million last year.
Costa said: "This is a consumable. The police are very busy now." (Fortune Chinese Network)