Is Tactical Gear Becoming Increasingly Popular With Leftists?Is Tactical Gear Becoming Increasingly Popular With Leftists?

Tactical gear has a specific role, which is to protect the owner. Traditionally, the gear has been used by fire and rescue, law enforcement, and military personnel on duty.

It includes firearms, body armor, camouflage, and gloves. Over the past few years, tactical gear has become increasingly popular among Americans. Here’s why we believe a large part of these Americans is leftist.

Spike in Sales of Tactical Gear

As the NPR reports, manufacturers and retailers of body armor and firearms recorded increased sales following the COVID-19 lockdowns. The interviewed representatives of body armor sellers stated that their sales surged after the Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas mass shootings. According to these retailers, Americans purchase gear such as covert bulletproof backpacks, T-shirts, and regular bulletproof vests of differing strengths.

As the sales of body armor rose, so did gun purchases. Firearm dealers across the US reported that first-time buyers of guns dramatically pushed their sales in April 2021. In January 2021, the FBI conducted over 4 million background checks required for firearm sales. That was 1.3 million more checks than the previous January. Evidently, the past few years have seen a spike in sales of tactical gear.

So Who’s Buying, and Why?

A 2020 study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) found that 40% of clients at gun shops between January and April 2020 were first-time purchasers. According to the institution’s director of public affairs, a huge percentage of that group was non-white. From the 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022 general and mid-term elections, an average of 37.5% of the Democratic votes were from this group.

Only 13.25% of the Republican vote came from non-whites. In American politics, Democrats are left-wing, while Republicans are right-wing. Based on these statistics, a significant fraction of the new gun owners referenced in the 2022 NSSF study are likely leftists.

A 2022 report by Business Insider also indicates that leftist people of color are increasingly acquiring tactical gear. P.B. Gomez, the Latino Rifle Association’s founder, told NPR that this group primarily buys this gear for protection against far-right agitators who may want to attack them in protests or other situations. He further stated that the rhetoric within far-right circles is growing, and that is motivating the colored progressives to arm themselves.

His statements are backed by the rise in tactical gear purchases that accompanied the racially inspired Buffalo shooting and the January 6, 2021, insurrection by the extreme rightists at the Capitol.

According to the Latino Rifle Association, items like body armor are a necessary protection against hate crimes. Gomez criticized the New York Gun reform bill restricting sales of body armor, stating that it limits access to the most passive protection an American could have against gun violence.

Other proponents of the recent surge in body armor sales argued that they could not control what lawmakers and evil people did. However, they could buy their children armored backpacks to increase their chances of surviving a mass shooting.

What Social Media Data Suggests

Is Tactical Gear Becoming Increasingly Popular With Leftists?
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Social media is one of the easiest places to catch up on trends. Hashtags like Black Lives Matter have driven several political and social campaigns in the US. Since 2020, an American firearms community made of armed anti-fascists and left-wing activists has been growing on Instagram.

Its creation followed a steady increase in extreme-right violence, a year of civil unrest and protests after George Floyd’s death, and two years of all-time-high gun sales. To gain deeper insights into the narratives of this online leftist community, CrowdTangle (a Meta-run analysis tool) analyzed 6,483 posts from 76 active Instagram accounts.

The accounts were chosen by self-proclaimed political ideologies in the bios, content, and telling usernames and profile pictures. Almost all the accounts were set up in 2020 and 2021. A few were created in 2019, and only two were from 2016 and 2017.

Even the last two did not begin posting gun-related content until 2020. This indicates that while increased mobilization of the armed left wing took place during Trump’s presidency, the related activity on Instagram is a more recent occurrence.

Social Learning

Just like the earlier-discussed news reports, scrutiny of these accounts revealed that self-defense was the leftists’ central justification for obtaining and learning how to use tactical gear.

Users of these 76 accounts also posted pictures of their firearms, seeking reviews and advice on acquiring the best gun parts and accessories. A number of accounts even sold merchandise. The merchandise included items like Glock backplates, firearm cases, and engraved covers for one of America’s most popular rifles, the AR-15.

Wrap Up

Based on studies, news reports, and social media activity, tactical gear is indeed becoming increasingly popular with leftists. The main reason for this increased popularity is protection from violence.

Since the Second Amendment and other laws of the land allow citizens to acquire tactical gear and defend themselves and their property, the government and law enforcement should only work towards ensuring the gear is not misused.

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