The Final Word, RECOIL Magazine's Position Statement and Life Lessons - ITS Tactical

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The Final Word, RECOIL Magazine’s Position Statement and Life Lessons

By Bryan Black

It’s with disappointment that I write this post today, but with a strong stance on what ITS Tactical will tolerate from who we choose to do business with. Each person reading this is a part of the decisions I make as a business owner, many of you investing your hard earned money in the success of my company through product purchases and membership.

I say this over and over again, but your support means a lot. This is why I will always continue to stand up for what I believe in personally and that stance WILL carry over to ITS Tactical, because at the end of the day I have the final say in everything that goes on here and am also ultimately responsible for my actions and the actions of my employees.

Some people in business don’t feel this way, they throw their employees under the bus, they throw other companies under the bus and they pass blame onto others. One of the first lessons I learned in life and again while serving in the Navy, is that making mistakes happens and everyone “should” learn from their mistakes. It’s how we grow personally and in my situation, in business.

The first step in learning from your mistakes is taking ownership of your mistake. Coming right out and saying “I screwed up, it’s my fault and only my fault. I have no one else to blame but myself.” If you make mistakes and don’t immediately own up to them, highlight that last quote and print it out.

Next you tell everyone how you’ll fix your mistake, while giving credit where it’s due and apologizing to those affected. “I appreciate you pointing out my mistake, I apologize with how it’s affected you. Here’s how I’m going to fix it, learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”  Again, taking ownership of how you’ll move forward. This isn’t something you even have to come up with on the spot. Take some time, clear your thoughts and figure out how to best attack the problem at hand. Unlike the military which commonly demands answers immediately, the civilian world will generally give you some time to sort yourself out. Even in a situation I can remember in the Navy, I had time while being surf tortured to think about how I’d correct a mistake I’d made.

I’d like to now apply these concepts we’ve just talked about to the issue at hand with RECOIL Magazine. As you may remember, a statement published in RECOIL Magazine’s newest issue by editor Jerry Tsai set the internet ablaze this past weekend. A comment posted to RECOIL’s Facebook Page last Saturday afternoon (September 8th) by a fan, quoted the printed statement and demanded an explanation. Here’s the paragraph for those of you that may be unfamiliar with what’s happened thus far.

RECOIL Magazine Article, Volume 1, Issue 4: Heckler & Koch MP7A1 (Page 35)

“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. 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.”

That same day, Mr. Tsai personally replied on that same Facebook post with an explanation of his position, which did not help matters whatsoever in the eyes of their Facebook fans. Here’s that statement, which I copied before it was deleted by RECOIL along with the original fan post calling the original article into question.

RECOIL Facebook reply by Jerry Tsai on September 8, 2012

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.

At this point, ITS Tactical, along with many of our friends in the industry, issued public statements with our position regarding the turmoil created by Mr. Tsai’s original published statement and his follow-up on the RECOIL Facebook Page. The following companies stated that they’d pull their advertising in RECOIL.  Silencerco,  SWR Manufacturing,  Panteao Productions,  ITS Tactical,  Haley Strategic Partners,  Truly Tactical,  Magpul Industries,  Bravo Company USA,  Surefire,  DSG Arms,  TNVC,  Vortex Optics,  Advanced Armament Corp.,  ITW Military Products,  Mission First Tactical,  Ares Armor. Definitely not a list to take lightly as a “Gun Lifestyle” magazine that RECOIL markets themselves as. List provided via Soldier Systems.

ITS Tactical is also a reseller of RECOIL Magazine here in the ITS Store and we clarified that we’d no longer be carrying RECOIL. You can read our official statement in it’s entirety here  (issued September 9th) and the photo to the right (click to enlarge) is the letter I hand-signed to go out with each copy of RECOIL Magazine that we’ve sold since releasing it on Friday the 7th. As I stated in the comments of our official statement post, we have no way of recouping the financial loss on the magazines due to Mr. Tsai’s comment, thus we’re still including the letter in each copy we’re still selling until they’re gone (hopefully.)

We’ve actually had many supporters of ITS Tactical purchase this current issue of RECOIL from our online store and leave notes in their order that they’re just purchasing it to help us clear our inventory, or to throw out the magazine and just send them the hand-signed letter. I can’t tell you how this makes me feel as a business owner to see this kind of support from our readership! It’s truly humbling.

At this point we all waited to hear of an official statement by RECOIL Magazine, or in my case, I wanted to hear from RECOIL’s parent company,  Source Interlink Media.  The following day, September 10th, the following official statement of RECOIL Magazine, written by Jerry Tsai, was issued as a post here on their website.

RECOIL Magazine Official Statement by Jerry Tsai on September 10, 2012

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.

After I read this statement, I immediately became more disappointed, as Mr. Tsai’s position clearly wavered like a flag in a storm. In his original two statements he still aligned himself with HK’s position, yet in the closing of this now official RECOIL statement, he states that he doesn’t agree with it.

One of the first things I learned in my college Journalism classes (I have a Journalism minor,) was to never let a source’s words become your own. Mr. Tsai’s initial article is a clear example of what can happen when you allow this. He’s stated that those were HK’s words he was putting into his own and as he put it, “taking their word for it.”

Up to this point in the article, we still don’t have an “official” statement from Source Interlink Media and I learned that HK had now released their official stance regarding the article.

Heckler & Koch USA Statement on September 12, 2012 via the HK Pro Shooting Team Facebook Page

Some readers have misinterpreted a recent feature story in RECOIL magazine as a reflection of HK policy. Heckler & Koch has a long presence in the US civilian market and throughout that time has been an ardent and passionate supporter of the Second Amendment and the American civilian shooter. This will always be the case. The contents, opinions, and statements expressed in that feature story are those of the writer, not Heckler and Koch’s. Additionally, the writer and RECOIL magazine have issued a clarification and apology for the ill-chosen words used in the story.

The HK MP7A1 4.6 mm Personal Defense Weapon mentioned in the story is a selective-fire product (capable of “full automatic” fire) and is currently restricted to military and law enforcement agencies by BATF. HK-USA has previously researched introducing similar commercial products, chambered in 4.6 mm, but it was determined that the final product would not have enough appeal or be legally feasible.Heckler & Koch USA

So now we have HK not owning up to any mistake on their part and referencing RECOIL Magazine’s apology by Jerry Tsai for more clarification. Guess what, they’re referring everyone to the statement where Mr. Tsai says that he was again just stating what was passed onto him. He doesn’t “exactly” say it was from HK, but who else was it from?

Recap So Far

Let me break it down at this point in the article. Mr. Tsai publishes an article saying that the HK MP7A1 has no sporting applications and in the same article an HK representative is quoted as saying that it isn’t a gun we want in the wrong slimy hands. If you already don’t understand the issue with this, click here for further explanation.

Now Mr. Tsai has the opportunity to follow the steps I presented to you in the beginning of the article. Come out and say  “I screwed up, it’s my fault and only my fault. I have no one else to blame but myself.”  “I appreciate you pointing out my mistake, here’s how I’m going to fix it, learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Does he do this? Go back and read it for yourself. No he doesn’t in my opinion, he just digs himself into a deeper hole. Now he issues the official statement on RECOIL’s Website. Only now does he take ownership of his comments and stop pushing blame on HK. This is good. He even says that with the benefit of hindsight he understands the outrage as a result of his words and goes on to defend his strong Second Amendment beliefs. He retracts what he wrote and says it should have been presented with more clarity. Good again. WAIT. He now shifts the blame back to (what is understood to be) HK when he states that it was all information passed to him. Now to top it off, he wavers from his original position and states that he doesn’t agree with the manufacturer’s (HK) stance.

Where is the apology to the advertisers and their lost investment? Where is the apology to the resellers of the magazine (like us) for their lost investment in copies that may never sell? That aside, where is the statement on how he’s going to fix what he created? Where does he state that he’s going to ensure it doesn’t happen again? Up to this point he hasn’t made me, as an advertiser, want to continue a relationship with his publication. Since I’ve yet to hear the response from Source Interlink Media at this point, I’m holding out for slight hope that this can still be fixed and one of the best publications to come to this industry can gain back the supporters and advertisers they’ve lost.

Last night I finally heard back from my contact at Source Interlink Media that we went through to purchase advertising. My contacted stated that they’d spoken with the upper management and asked to forward me RECOIL’s position statement from Advertising Associate Publisher Danny Chang and I took this as the final word from Source Interlink Media on the issue at hand, as my contact said there was nothing else they could add.

Official Source Interlink Media Position, emailed September 12, 2012

RECOIL Magazines Position:

In light of some of the comments and complaints made about a paragraph in a recent article about the Heckler & Koch MP7A1, Recoil wishes to make the following points clear:

It is simply not credible for anyone to question Recoil’s support for, and commitment to, the Second Amendment. Recoil is first and foremost  a gun lifestyle magazine, aimed at the modern shooting enthusiast.

The opinions in the paragraph in question accurately reflected those of the manufacturer, and should have been reported as direct quotes. Recoil acknowledges the way the paragraph was written has caused unnecessary confusion.

Jerry Tsai, a passionate gun enthusiast and the visionary behind Recoil magazine, will remain as editor of Recoil.

We thank you for your support and understanding.

This, dear readers, is the end of the road. In their official position, do they take ownership? Nope, again they shift the blame to HK. Even though earlier that day HK has passed the buck back to RECOIL. They’ve now taken the hardline stance that we has readers of RECOIL, have no right to question them about their Second Amendment support. This is the official statement and they’re not apologizing in any way other than to say that they realize what Mr. Tsai wrote has caused unnecessary confusion?

As I suspected, Jerry Tsai is the one running the show at RECOIL and the man with the vision. Without him it would crumble and it would be a bad business decision to let it crumble. I’m sure Source Interlink Media and their investors have too much on the line to allow RECOIL to implode. That’s not an option for them and an understandable one. I get it.

I also get that the core values of ITS Tactical, which happen to be my core values as well, can not allow me to continue in a business relationship with them. With never receiving a clear answer on the ownership of the mistake, how can I expect Mr. Tsai, RECOIL Magazine or Source Interlink Media to take responsibility for future mistakes that will happen.  They will happen, just like they will to me personally and with ITS Tactical.

However, you can be certain that when they do, I’ll be right there doing exactly what I said Mr. Tsai should have done from the beginning. Taking sole responsibility for the mistake, thanking anyone who helped bring it to my attention, apologizing to anyone affected by my actions, making it right, learning from my mistake and describing exactly what I’m going to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

I’m genuinely saddened with everything that’s happened up to this point and it’s hard for me to give up a great publication that I looked forward to reading. My principles simply don’t allow for anything else based on what I’ve heard from each end involved in this debacle. I’ve joked that this would make a hell of a case study for a college public relations class, especially because it seems that  RECOIL and Source Interlink Media are ignoring the power of social media and more specifically in this case, Facebook. It’s become a legitimate business tool that can’t be ignored by any business these days. As RECOIL learned the hard way, it’s where the eyes are in this industry and almost every industry today.

I’ll leave you with a lesson in public relations that my dad taught me. He’s been in the advertising industry for decades, one of the original mad men. “All there is to public relations is common sense.” Print that one out too and try to remember that last part as you go through life.

UPDATE: Two hours after this article was published, the following resignation was posted by Jerry Tsai on the RECOIL Facebook page and the RECOIL Website.  I truly feel this is the right move for Mr. Tsai and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

It is with deep sorrow that I announce I am stepping down as editor of Recoil, effective immediately.

It is very difficult for me to walk away from something I helped create, something that I loved doing, and something I firmly believed would appeal to a fresh new generation of gun enthusiasts, but I accept that the comments in my story in the current issue have made my position as editor of Recoil untenable.

With that said, Recoil is bigger than any one person, and if my departure will allow Recoil to continue to grow and engage gun enthusiasts, then stepping down as editor is clearly the right thing for me to do.

I accept I made mistakes, and I apologize unreservedly for calling Recoil’s support for Second Amendment rights into question.

While I understand the passions aroused over this incident, the deeply hurtful words from some of my fellow gun enthusiasts have been painful to endure. I hope now we can all move on.

Finally, I would like to thank all those who have supported me over the past few days. These are the people who know me to be at heart a passionate gun enthusiast whose dream was to make something bold and new in firearms media.

Jerry Tsai

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  • Class Bryan, as usual.

  • I just received my empty box that should have contained Recoil #4.
    Thanks Byran for shitcanning it and just sending the letter!

  • Kevin

    Bryan, well said and thank you for your steadfastness in these hard times.

  • Darin Kroger

    Great job Bryan…well said. I must admit that I went out yesterday and purchased the recent issue of Recoil to read the entire article for myself. I was just about to let the “mistake” slide, hoping that there would never be another one, until I read the release from Source Imterlink Media. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back…I refuse to purchase another copy of this rag until a real apology is issued taking personal responsibility for the fiasco. I agree with you that no one is perfect, hence my willingness to overlook the initial “mistake” but, as someone stated so correctly, “the first thing you do when you are digging your own hole is to STOP DIGGING!!! That certainly never happened until everything went silent.

    What a bunch of horse hooey!!! People need to learn personal responsibility and start living that way. Do the right thing…it’s simple logic and common sense.

    With all my continued support,

    Darin Kroger

  • Rod Gregg

    Your vision and wisdom shines through. In capitalism and business, the customer votes with his money. Recoil has obviously stepped in the poo, repeatedly and will doubtfully recover. Its a simple matter of trust. We must trust our publications to be honest with us. Jerry Tsai has broken that trust and his company has backed him. Good for them, but ultimately a fatal business decision. Time will tell. I, however, will continue to support ITS Tactical because our trust in you is solid. Thanks for taking the time to compile the information in such an objective and succinct style.

  • Jason Christian

    I too am surprised by how this was handled. The publication was really good too. It set itself apart from every other gun lifestyle magazine on the rack, and now set itself apart further… On the bright side, I can use the money I will save from buying this magazine and support the companies that pulled thier advertising dollars.

  • Scott M

    I’ll buy an issue or two…to help out a great organization. (ITS, that is…not Recoil. Just to make sure I’m not confusing anyone)

    ((I can just blame HK if so))

  • Joe S

    Bryan you are a great American, and business owner you have my continued support!

  • Brian

    I am generally slow to put what little extra money I have toward an organization. I have been “eying” ITS for a while, and this position settles it. Payday is tomorrow and I will become the next ITS crew member then. Thank you Bryan for saying what you mean and more importantly, meaning what you say.

    • Kurt Lofquist

      Ditto. I’ve been an ITS lurker for a few years now, I’m ashamed to admit. After watching this unfold and hearing such a steadfast statement about Mr. Black’s beliefs, I signed up the very same day. Keep up the good work.

  • D B

    If more people had your convictions and principles this country would be a better place. I will be an ITS Member for as long as I’m welcome.

  • Bryan,

    As stated before, nothing but class. I had been looking into subscribing to RECOIL only days before this article disaster happened. I have since changed my mind and will not be buying or reading this magazine. I thoroughly appreciate the way that you handled this and the fact that you gave them chances to redeem themselves. Thank you for looking out for your supporter the way that companies should.

  • Doug

    Very good explanation and very well writen.

    It’s unfortunate when, seemingly, pride gets in the way if doing what’s right. I just discovered
    “Recoil” and found it to be a refreshing change from the other magazines I read.

    Hopefully Mr. Tsai will swollow some of the peanut butter thick pride
    and continue to publish a very nice magazine.

  • John Pierce

    Lead by Example, Thank You Bryan

  • Darin Kroger

    This just in…Jerry Tsai has resigned.

  • jellydonut
  • Chaz

    “supporters of ITS Tactical purchase this current issue of RECOIL from our online store and leave notes in their order that they’re just purchasing it to help us clear our inventory” – That’s how we roll brother!

  • Mike H

    Thank you Bryan, I appreciate your efforts.

  • Deadsynter

    RECOIL Magazine is made up from many people great people, the problem came from only one.
    Jerry Tsai is gone and I will now support RECOIL Magazine again and its all because of the gun lovers and advertisers that pressured him to leave. I am satisfied and I will support ITS Tactical, Magpul, Daniel Defense, ITW, Silencerco, Bravo Co USA, Surefire, TNVC, Haley Strategic, Costa Ludas and all the other super companies that made this happen. I personally put pressure on alot of you great guys to have Tsai removed and you truly stood up. If you choose to go back to advertising in RECOIL Magazine (if it continues) I will continue to support your companies because you stood with us when we, the people, needed you too. I look forward to picking up the next rough textured over-sized mag with great reviews of your gear and all those sweet-ass pictures.

  • Fuzzybeaker

    This is ridiculous. Tsai made a statement that was perhaps ill advised given his audience. But it was his opinion, at least at the time. His apparent interpretation of the Second Amd. Despite what most on this site would like, the second amendment is not an absolute right. I challenge anyone on this site to provide a reasonable and intelligent argument that the second amendment provides ALL citizens an unrestricted right to own and bear ANY AND ALL “arms.” Does this right include RPG’s? Stinger missiles? Nuclear weapons?

    Despite all of this, Tsai proceeded to issue an apology. But apparently in your opinion it was not enough of an apology.

    Certainly every advertiser has the right to object to the content of a magazine and pull its ads. But vilifying Tsai the way he has been just plays to the worst stereotypes of gun enthusiasts. And it just seems petty. If you don’t agree with him, just pull your ads, perhaps make a simple explanation on your site as to why you pulled your ads, walk away and go about your business.

    • Shane

      Amen………………….let it go

  • masterluke

    Great to see someone stands by their principles.
    Shows great courage and integrity.

    Put me down for one mag…

  • Brav0Charlie


  • Wolf

    “Like we mentioned before, the Dillon Aero minigun 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. It comes with a full-auto firing mode only. Its overall size places it between a heavy machine gun and Howitzer. Its high rate of fire capabilities and large caliber round make this a serious weapon that should not be taken lightly.”

    Does that sound a little funny to you? Oh yes, I’m sorry, I was just thinking that at a certain point, everything has a limit. Fuzzybeaker has it right. I am sure that the MP7A1 would make a fantastic self defense weapon. It certainly does a fantastic job at putting down adversaries. But let met get this straight, people freak out when very large and easily identified assault rifles get smuggled across the border and given to cartels, but this is different because everyone wants the latest toy? Just as the 1st amendment has limitations (no shouting “fire!” in a movie theater), so does the 2nd. I fail to see the huge gap in available firearms that this weapon would fulfill, except the fact that it is concealed fairly easily. As for withdrawing your advertising, that is a fair choice. You are a private business and have the right to do so. However, the pressure put on Mr. Tsai and the resulting action were completely out of proportion. In regards to your statement about how the United States would be colonies without citizen owned arms, that is a very true statement. Let us agree, though, that most firearms were on the same playing field, and that they did not have the variety of capabilities that exist today. Furthermore, I believe that guns are tools, and not something to be obsessed over. You have them for a purpose, they are not your family or your children, please be objective. Private business operators may have opinions, just as you do Mr. Black. Lets all take a step back and look at this with some perspective.

    • Phil

      There’s a pretty major flaw in your argument and that’s that a civilian legal version of the MP7 would not only be semi-auto only it would also have a much longer barrel which makes it no more deadly than a short barreled AR it would also be no more concealable. A full auto version of the MP7, as with any other full auto, could be made available to those persons possessing a Class 3 FFL with the appropriate tax stamp and we’d really be no worse off. This would apply to any “non-sporting” firearm that is full auto capable in its regular form, the FN P90 (another fairly concealable, full auto capable PDW) is available to the civilian as the PS90 with a longer barrel, as are/were the various models of UZIs, and (once upon a time) even the MP5 so what’s so special about the MP7 that a civilian legal version shouldn’t be available?

    • Wade Sansing

      While I am never glad to see anyone have to resign from any job, ANY editor of any publication who prints in his own publication ANY statement that is absolutely contrary to the publication’s main audience should be sacked just based on being stupid. I do think that reactions to his statement may have been a bit overboard, but I can’t say I really disagree with them. But Mr. Tsai’s fate is not what prompted me to respond here.

      The rest of my post here is in regards to your comments, and in general anyone else’s also, on what firearms should not be in the hands of civilians. You state that “firearms were on the same playing field” and you are 100% correct. Civilians had the same quality and technology available to the military. That is what allowed them to be able to revolt and overthrow the government they no longer believed was good for them. If the majority of Americans now were to have the same beliefs and feel that it was necessary to overthrow our current government what chance do you think angry citizens with hunting rifles and shotguns really stands against an army with the mentioned Dillon Aero minigun, tanks, attack helicopters or just standard issue M16 & M4’s?

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

      That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

      – Preamble to the Declaration of Independence


      Today our firearms are not “on the same playing field,” not by a long shot. With every restriction on what we can have and every advancement in what the government does have we step further away.

      While I neither believe nor advocate in any way that we are currently at nor even near the point of needing to abolish this and institute a new government, I know that if we were, we would stand no chance of doing so. The reason it is important that we be allowed, the reason we do and absolutely should have the right to have the same weaponry is as valid today as it was in the 18th century and shall forever remain so. All governments are flawed by nature, as man is flawed and governments are made by men. All governments gravitate towards oppression and despotism eventually. Clearly we are less free today than the men who overthrew the British and created this country were. The very first law created afterwards, regardless of how good or bad it was, ensured that fact. Laws are absolutely necessary, I do not in any way advocate that anarchy is what anyone needs, yet they are a restriction on freedom. Some day, presumably far in the future beyond our lives and hopefully even beyond the lives of our great grandchildren, this government will need to be replaced for the good of the people. It is inevitable that all governments will need to end to preserve liberty of their peoples as they are liberty and government are practically opposites. When that day comes our children’s children’s children will need to be on the same playing field or they will never be capable of altering or abolishing the government when it does become necessary.

    • Wolf

      If you are bothered by the fact that you do not have military grade equipment, why not buy an AR 15? They do not even use the automatic function of their assault rifles very often, and I don’t see the legalization of their more advanced goodies anytime soon. I also don’t see the military using MP7s. I have no qualms about you wanting to prepare for something that most likely won’t happen but could, but you’re MP7 likely won’t be shooting down jets, helicopters, or tanks. Besides, if you at some point need to destroy and rebuild the United States government, you can either do it on your own with your low tech aforementioned rifles and shotguns, or bite the bullet and makes friends with the enemy of your enemy. Its a situation that would suck from all angles.

    • Jason

      Another flaw in your argument is the use of an “assault-rifle”-to-drug-cartels smuggling op. The last smuggling op I heard about wasn’t authorized by civvies…

      ” * points out that [Law Enforcement decisions] are not something you want in the wrong, slimy [politically motivated] hands.”

  • Michael


    I will continue supporting ITS tactical because of our shared beliefs and your great content. I did not pick up a copy of Recoil when I was at the bookstore today because I will order it from you and use it for kindling or target practice when it gets here.

    Keep up the great work and thank you for standing on your principles. And like my dad always told me “never pass up the chance to learn from screw ups”.

  • Werner

    Well argued and clear-cut. Class! Respect. Well done, Bryan.

  • Rick

    Wow. Amazing to see that there are frothingly-mad mobs wanting heads on pikes not only in the Middle East.
    You guys keep great company; be “proud” of what you’ve accomplished.

    So now that Tsai resigned, are YOU going to do the right thing and continue your support of a magazine you said was refreshing?

    I’m not holding my breath. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Nick

      It isn’t just Tsai stepping down for him. The parent company whom he has a business relationship is not sitting upon firm ground with. No smart business will work with someone they do not trust.

      If another magazine is published like this and ITS is selling the magazine again, ITS will be stuck with a product they cannot sell because there will be a lack of demand. His advertisements will be made less beneficial and it will be wasted advertising dollars. Until Source Interlink Media Position shows they are willing to work with the companies whom they screwed over, thing will not be right.

    • Newms

      +1 Here We Go Steelers!

  • Paul

    I think this whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. Should he have said what he said in his position? No. Should he have immediately issued a ” I screwed up”,….yes. He didn’t say it exactly like some “thought” he should say it. So what? Personally, I understood what he was saying and see no problem with it. Should he resign? In my opinion, no. I’m as pro-gun as anyone else, but I just see this as something like the left always does when someone gets offended. Piss and moan until someone looses their jobs or resigns. In my opinion, this weapon, as designed should be a very controlled weapon. Not in civilian hands for sure as currently designed and marketed. It happens all the time with weapons. I spend a lot of money on “black rifles”, but I stand with HK on this one, and I don’t think a resignation was in order at the magazine. I’ll continue to be a HK consumer too. That’s my opinion, and you can obviously have yours. I have no dog in this hunt, but did want to share my opinion based on what I see.

  • Newms

    If Jerry Tsai would have simply referenced his contact at H&K and distinguished the comment as a quote on behalf of H&K, the paragraph in question would have taken a very different tone – one in which the ‘buck’ would have been H&K’s to eat. Because if what Tsai and Source Interlink Media indicate was true, that H&K was quoted as saying these things, then H&K would have had some serious explaining to do.

    But unfortunately, as the ball of string came undone, what was revealed was a unprofessional business model built on questionable ethics and core values.

    *Also, on a sidenote – I’ve been a reader of this blog the last few months and on more than a few occasions I’ve come across articles, while extremely interesting, relevant and well written, could have used a second read through to pick up minute grammatical errors. I may be overly in tune to these things (slight OCD at times) but I think it’s worth mentioning as it would help bring this reading experience to a new level (to me at least, ha).

    I appreciate the content, the respectful nature of discussions between fellow readers and the core values of this blog.

    –Semper Paratus


      OCD indeed Professor!

  • Smokey Behr

    At least Jerry Tsai had the honor to Mea Culpa and step down after becoming the latest Blue Falcon from the media. I’m still not getting Recoil mag any more.

  • Well said Bryan, makes me proud to be a part of ITS!

  • Rich Scott

    I am not an avid reader of firearms-related magazines, nor am I even a gun owner currently. I am, however, fiercely determined in my support of my right to own them should I choose, regardless of design or purpose. As a moral and peaceful person, I would only ever think of using such a weapon as a defensive aid, if I felt it necessary. I am also an engineer and hobbyist metal fabricator, and I understand the technology well enough to make my own, or modify any simple weapon. This is something less than rocket science. I also feel that there should be room for debate among intelligent, even highly interested parties, on such an issue as the lawful ownership of the wide spectrum lethal devices.

    That said, I have to agree with the owner of ITS in both his description of the proper way to deal with a personal mistake, and also his integrity in standing up for his stated values, even if in this case he was not risking much apparent loss by doing so. What is clear so often nowadays is that people have very little practice in owning their mistakes, apologizing sincerely, and moving on properly. Seems like there is always some deflection of the blame, just at the last, that goes along with the apology, designed to make you see their original point wasn’t so off-the-mark, or at least, well intentioned.

    If you can’t do that in the first instance, perhaps there is also some integrity in resigning from the leadership capacity, as Mr. Tsai did, regrouping, and doing better next time. I wish ITS much success, and also that Mr. Tsai lands on his feet and eventually returns to the segment. I suspect he will proof his editorials more vigorously in future, and they might well be worth reading!

  • Sam

    You can do something once and say it was a mistake, but twice it’s on purpose. It’s good to see that his third attempt at politicking failed.

  • Leo Atrox

    I’m very disappointed in how all this went down. I figured that I’d jump on the subscription train after issue 3. Then issue 4 came out and before I could subscribe, all this hooplah happened.

    Jerry made a mistake. And then he made more mistakes trying to cover his A rather than owning up and apologizing. Now he has apologized and quit. But he made a mistake.

    A few days later, he has apologized. Good. But how is quitting the right thing to do? You don’t quit when you make a mistake. You simply own up to it, apologize, and assure folks that you won’t let it happen again. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t have been removed from the publication–to the contrary, I think he had to be removed–but that should have been done by the publisher.

    Now he’s resigned and this is all going to go away; but the fact remains: Source Interlink Media still has not accepted any responsibility for this fiasco, and they failed to take action to correct the problem before Jerry Tsai resigned.

    Jerry Tsai did what they didn’t have the cajones to do. How can I subscribe to their publication now?

    Had they removed him, they would have adequately demonstrated their commitment to the Second Amendment and he could have moved on to some other Source Interlink Media publication. Everyone wins. Now, what? He’s resigned, Source Interlink Media still hasn’t done anything to accept responsibility, and I’m left wondering if anything has really changed aside from the editor’s name.

    • Phil

      Theoretically, things should change (for better or worse) in Recoil since everything seems to point to Jerry Tsai being not only the chief editor but also the creative mind behind the magazine; the magazine was, apparently, his brain child and he was certainly a major part of the concept along with the look and feel of the magazine. So depending on how much freedom they get from Source Link to run the magazine as they see fit the new Recoil editor, assuming he learned from Jerry’s mistake, should be much better when it comes to 2nd amendment issues and potentially pissing off its readers.

  • Jerry R.

    Stand for what you believe is right… great job Bryan.

  • Well, I recently found RECOIL Magazine on the magazine rack at Walmart. As I picked it up to purchase it, I remembered the current problems associated with RECOIL Magazine (aside from the fact that the cover price is $8.99! Sheesh), I quickly placed it back on the shelf. I understand that the editor of a magazine has some latitude to write things, because it’s “their” magazine. However, it does come at a price. His statements in the article seemed to me to be so flippant, so arrogant, as to be written by someone on the fence on the issue of our Second Amendment right. I was offended just by the fact the he seemed to be talking down to me as a reader. I’m not stupid, and I won’t pay someone good money, and especially in this economy, to be told or treated, like I am.

    Unfortunately for him, he didn’t want to man up and take responsibility for his words, using a straw man argument to pass off blame, in this case to HK (sound familiar, Mr. President?). I find his resignation too little, too late. I would buy one issue, if only to run it through a shredder and mail it back to the publisher. Just my 2 cents. And BTW, “RICK”, ITS Tactical DID do the right thing. So, my advice to you: get a high colonic and go on a three-mile hike, will ya?

  • Wamprat

    Alright – I completely understand the argument about 2nd Amendment infringement. Sure, there is principle behind this fiasco as far as words go. Civilians should be allowed to own full auto firearms as much as a semi auto. However, this whole thing seems kind of pointless. Even if HK wanted to manufacture this for civilians, they could not sell an actual Mp7 anyhow. No full automatic weapons are allowed in civilian hands that were manufactured after 1986 (Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of May 19, 1986). If the argument were that HK was not going to manufacture a modified, semi-auto only version for civilians, I could understand why everyone is in an uproar. Even then, HK makes frankenstein versions of their actual military versions for the civilian market and, in my opinion, are not attractive enough to buy.
    But the issue everyone is complaining about is a full auto Mp7 in the hands of civilians. Why are we complaining? By law, no one can own one anyway.

    Sure, it was a foolish thing for an editor of gun lifestyle magazine to opine, but since noone can own that gun due to federal restrictions anyway….

    • nyquil762

      Mr. Tsai’s problem was more related to his response to the uproar than his original comments. By responding at length it appears that we were able to see Mr. Tsai’s “true colors”. His arrogance is felt by our government and unfortunately by many in law enforcement. That arrogance is related to the concept that they (the government, law enforcement etc.) are somehow more qualified to own certain types of firearms. That arrogance is NOT based on any kind of reasonable data (in fact, the data indicates tends to indicate the opposite is true) or constitutional values.

      What irks me the most is that this guy actually was the editor of a firearms publication! Frankly, I am proud of our community for responding to Mr. Tsai’s comments in an effective way. Be well, nyquil762

    • John P.

      I don’t think the issue right now is whether we should/could own these guns. I think we are all educated enough on the basic gun laws to know this. The issue comes when he puts in his article “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.” And then adds “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.” In my opinion he is basically calling all of us “civilians” slimy handed gun toting criminals, which I hope we can all agree we are not. And after it was all said and done HK says that they can not be quoted for anything in Jerry’s article. Just a lot of confusing information coming from all parties makes them all seem very unreliable. No we can’t have these awesome weapons, but that’s not the problem here, the character of the person who wrote the article and the company he works for is. I believe ITS handled it all in a very professional manner and gave every opportunity to let Jerry and Recoil repair the damage but that never really happened.

  • ITS Obvious

    ITS obvious that the Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms will be much better off without a publication rooted in the principles of Jerry Tsai. Good Riddance.

  • ramos714

    ITS Tactical, now that is a good organization, one that stands its ground and for what it believes. Great articla and great conviction on the part of ITS Tactical.

  • Albert Sanderson

    Thank you Brian for taking a stance on this issue. I will continue to do what I can to help support ITS and help bring new customers and members to ITS.

  • Dustin

    I think the whole argument is ridiculous, people who are responsible gun owners as well as americans should be able to understand that not everything should be available to the public. In my opinion people are way too sensitive these days, do you agree that there are slim balls out there that aim to take out their aggressions on innnocent ppl? Are you slim ball? If the answer is no then get over it, it doesnt apply to you go and get another gun thats available. The military and law enforcement deserve to have the edge on their enemy whether thats forgien or domestic.

    • Adrian

      And I deserve to have the SAME EXACT ACCESS TO THAT POWER so that it can never be USED AGAINST ME. The 2nd protects me from my government…remember, it’s there so if they try to take it away, they can’t. So also agreed the supreme court in their ruling on U.S. V Williams when they said that the regular citizen should have the same access to any firearm used by the military at the unit level. And yes, I’d love an FN M240 Bravo thank you very much…not to mention a .50BMG. It’s not like I’m trying to buy an F22 raptor.

  • Kenny

    Here’s an idea; what about finding a publisher and creating an ITS Tactical magazine? Seriously! I’ve thought about that before. I know we live in a technologically advanced world and eReaders aren’t just for books anymore – you can read almost any magazine or newspaper on your iPad, Kindle, or Nook. But, I’m kinda ol’ fashioned, and still like the tactile sensation of turning pages.

    Now that I think about it Bryan, if you ever decide to publish an ITS Tactical mag, I wouldn’t recommend Source Interlink Media sense they don’t seem to care what their readers think.

  • Dustin

    I think everyone is being too sensitive. Not everything should be available to the public, active duty, prior service and law enforcement should know this, If your not a slim ball then he wasnt referring to you get over it. military and law enforcement should be entitled to have the best of the best to have the edge on the enemy forgien or domestic. Its no anti gun or second amendment at all, should we be able to pack rpgs or c4? Theres good reason behind it and I think ppl should be responsible enough to know this.

    • Elwood

      thanks for being a voice of reason Dustin

  • Barrett

    I know I’m opening myself up to some real abuse here, but I feel like I have to say some things and ask some questions.

    First, I understand that RECOIL made a faux pas in the article. I’m a supported of Second Amendment rights myself, and I see how they offended that sensibility. However, I do feel like what’s going on here is a violation of dogma — a witch hunt. As far as I can tell, until this paragraph RECOIL’s stand on gun rights was impeccable. They made an error, fine. They didn’t own up, granted. But RECOIL is a high-quality, readable and relatable mag in a category that’s filled with absolute drek. Other than maintaining absolute adherence to the dogma and perhaps spiting ourselves, what good does destroying this magazine do?

    I’m new to gun culture. RECOIL is the first gun mag I bought (this issue as a matter of fact). I’ve been an ITS reader for a while, and I was stoked to see the med kit featured. But this business has put a bad taste in my mouth for all parties involved, and gun culture in general.

    I could be missing the point here. I see ITS’s stance (man up and accept your mistake) but I’m confused about everything before that. Help me out here.

    Thanks, and especially thanks for NOT sending me blind hate mail. I’m just a new guy who’s feeling very put off.

  • Rico

    Outstanding support for the 2nd Amendment.

  • Rich M

    Wow, thanks for joining the witch burning drama queen club! I actually read the article and almost read right over the offensive line. The article was written in a sarcastic vein and I took the statement as such. I would guess that 90% or more of all the complainers have not read the whole thing. I’m no go fast know it all, but I think they all would have read right over it without a thought. I am sure it is hard to face the mob, hopefully you will never speak or type out of place have to face it.
    Thank for burning one of your own, Rich

    • The underlying issue I’ve tried to present in my article is apparently lost on you Rich. Not much more than that I can say in response to your comment.

  • Doug

    What a shit show! I’m sorry to hear ITS got hosed here, your customers support you more than ever thanks to the way you handled this!

  • Keith

    While I understand your disappointment with Jerry Tsai and Recoil magazine, I believe there was a better way to address your concerns as well. I do not know Jerry’s complete background, but perhaps a better way to handle it would have been for some better established business man to call him and suggest a different way to handle it rather then print it on your website. If you had taken the time to lend a hand to a person that may have been in over his head, perhaps the entire outcome would have been better.

    You don’t have to know everything to start something new, but you have to love what you are doing. I believe Jerry had that passion for Recoil and while his statements were wrong, I hope you too can see where you may not have handled the situation as well as you might have. I imagine my comments will be redacted from your site as are all of the other comments that don’t agree with you. That too may be a situation where some people would call into question why you only leave comments that agree with your position on your website (without having to “Click here”).

  • Elwood

    You second amendment fanatics are crazy. The fact is there are some guns that sh0uld not be made available to the public. Get over it and buy another AR

    • Tego

      There is no reason to deny anyone the right to own something that they are not using to cause harm to others, the environment or themselves. That being said there are 2 groups of people, gun lovers, people like myself, and most of the people who would frequent here who love guns. We enjoy them in the fullest, and because we understand the ramifications of misuse (namely loss of the guns, and freedom) we don’t misuse them. Then there are criminals for which a gun is a tool, something to be used to further their own illegal enterprise, either directly, or indirectly as defense. Those people shouldn’t have any guns. The problem is that the second group is willing to steal, bribe, intimidate, etc their way to their guns. It is because of this that there are restrictions on purchase in the first place, because it can be hard, to the point of impossible, to distinguish the two groups at the time of purchase.

      That being said, the reason H&K won’t sell the mp7 here is business, not the kindness of their hearts relating to LEO/military. To be civi legal it would need to be semi auto, since the ATF registry closed over a quarter century ago. At that point the current configuration would still be an NFA weapon, because the stock makes an SBR. Ok, so there are still people who will want it, but now some cant own it because SBR’s are illegal in their state. To over come this they could add a comically long barrel extension to the thing to make it legally a rifle. At that point far fewer people would want that monstrosity. The final hurdle that keeps it out of the states even in the small numbers that they would sell as a semi auto sbr is the fact that to be sold in the US it has to be mostly made here. That is the way gun law is designed at the moment. That means they need to be able to sell enough units to justify production here, and that isn’t going to happen with all the other restrictions on it.

      In the end H&K could do two things, First be very public about all the reasons I stated above for why they aren’t going to sell here, which would annoy the GOVT, a body they really want to sell more weapons to, or they can make the statement that they are doing it to protect LEO and military personnel… the same people who can still purchase all the restricted weapons H&K makes. Its a no brainer.

      In the meantime everyone is up in arms about a journalist, not being openly pissed and working to change the bs laws that I made mention of above.

    • Max

      Careful. All the colonists in the Battle of Lexington and Concord were by definition criminals engaged in an illegal enterprise in which they deliberately fired upon and killed representatives of the legitimate government carrying out lawful orders.

    • Tego

      Max, becoming a felon in this country pretty much eliminates your rights to own guns. that is what I was referring to. And I was saying that the difficulty with gun control is that you don’t know in advance if someone is going to do something great for society with it, like stopping a repressive regime, or going to use it to do something like go on a killing spree. in a VA hospital. or threaten and intimidate a community. I cant see any good reason to say that if it were possible (and i am most certainly on the side that it isn’t) to know in advance that someone is purchasing a gun to do evil things in the world that you would want them to do it. We can differ on what is evil, or criminal, but once defined would you want a person to do it?

      That isn’t even the main point. H&K make most of their profit from Govt contracts, from the US and others. Their main business isn’t to make guns for civilians. Having not seen a breakdown of the parts in the fire control I couldn’t say if they could make it resistant to being turned into a full auto gun easily (remember the AR 15 needs a relatively precise hole to accept the auto sear and be made full auto, plus different parts) It could be that the function of the firearm doesn’t meet standards for the ATF to give it the ok.

      The thing I don’t get is why everyone isn’t up in arms about the reasons HK wont bring it here. They have stated on their company forums that it is for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they cant legally sell the full auto version to a civilian. get up in arms about the NFA registry being closed for over a quarter century. Get pissed off that many jurisdictions will not allow many NFA registration required firearms. Get pissed at the protectionist rules relating to the import of firearms for the public. It prevents you from owning most foreign guns at any price.

      In the end H&K is a company, if they can make a profit on it they will. Right now they do not see a profit potential for the gun to Civi’s in the USA because of our laws. Fight to change those laws and guess what you would probably be able to find one.

  • Max

    Firearm enthusiasts should at all times refrain from saying “Second Amendment rights”. Neither the Amendment, nor the Constitution itself, creates or grants any right to keep and bear arms, but instead attempts to protect an inalienable Natural Law right. And as we see from this firestorm, words mean quite a lot. So please, “our Second Amendment protected rights”.

    Someone wrote “I believe guns are tools”. Well, believe what you will. You’re wrong of course. Firearms can also be tools, but one is being remiss to so create a limited and arbitrary parameter for them, or to expand the term “tools” into an incoherent nonsense.

    As for the comment about “burning one of our own”, if you mean in the Jim Zumbo sense then sure.

  • Brian C

    Damn! I wish I had seen this before I purchased a subscription of Recoil from the iTunes Store.

    I see both sides of the issue and also completely understand the ITS stand on Mr. Tsai’s failure to take responsibility. Mr. Tsai flip flops almost as much as Mitt Romney.

    With respect to the 2nd Amendment, I believe the intent is anachronistic. As stated by another contributor, the arms for which we have access would be of limited use against the full capability and technology reserved for the MIL/LEO. From the pov of LEO – think self preservation, I can also see the benefit of limiting access to certain types of weapons. From my POV, I wish I could have whatever type of weapon I wanted, as I have no intention of doing anything illegal.

    Arms are just one of the tools made available in the Bill of Rights, and for that (the right to bear arms) I am grateful. To me it was not and is not solely this tool that allowed or would enable the people to dissolve the government. It is not the willingness to have weapons just in case, but the willingness of the people to sacrifice or give up their life for the cause of the greater good. This, along with other tools, is what really brings about change.

  • Adrian

    I love you guys…(ITS THAT IS!!!) You teach me how to pick locks…break out of zipties…with my shoelaces no less!!! I covet your gear, and wish you well. If I had more moolah, I’d own a lot more of it. Seriously, you guys are an awesome outfit…and gals if I missed any.

    Now…for H&K. I do not own a single firearm that says…Heckler & Koch. I’ll admit, that if I came across a PM7 used…for a decent price, ok…I’d buy it. BUT…H&K has a historic track record of siding with big government, big brother, and big LE/MIL contracts. They drib and drab their “Oh so wonderful…” firearms on the public, but in reality their support of the civilian gun owner in The U.S. and around the world, just flat out sucks.

    Recoil…damn…what a sad trainwreck, I couldn’t have put it better. I hope their new editor moves things in the right way, I was really excited to see a magazine, that after 20 years of shooting, finally seemed like it represented me and my interests in the firearms community, mainly modern tactical firearms, not weird wildcat hunting rifles in wood stocks that old fat guys talk about as if anyone under 50 could never ever hope to have as much know-how about guns as they’ve forgotten about. Not that that’s bad if that’s your thing… is increasingly becoming a much smaller thing.

    Sure we can all learn from the old timers, but some of those damn crotchety bastards were/are so damn elitist arrogant with their silly..”It should surprise you when you break the shot..” pearls of not so wise-doms. (really? I’d like to know EXACTLY WHEN I’m going to send copper and lead downrange! you keep your ‘surprise’) What recoild did, that so many gun magazines DON’T do, it make people feel included, help them get educated, and not like they’ll never know anything about guns because they didn’t meet Elmer Keith or own and memorize all of Jeff Cooper’s books.

    I guess I sound a little judgmental myself, but I can’t be the only one who feels this way…after 2o years of being around, using, carrying, and shooting fine firearms. I’d like to think I know a little what I’m doing now.

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