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In my post of February 21, on the Harsey Difensa tactical knife, commenter Rocky Squirrel stated that the Difensa is targeted for throat-slitter and kidney-stabber Wannabes, rather than real throat slitters and kidney stabbers. I seriously doubt it.

The guys who run Spartan Blades are in earnest, and I don’t think they go to all that trouble to make a knife that someone will clutch in his sweaty hand while watching Survivorman or the Bourne Legacy.

But let us make no mistake: Without the Wannabe, the shooting industry would be a small, dismal shade of its present robust self.

Let’s look at knives for a moment. George Herron, Bob Loveless, and W.D. Randall are three makers who turned out absolutely straight-ahead working knives but saw a great many of them–maybe most of them–vanish into collections and command very high prices. Herron refused to charge more than $150 for a working knife, but in his lifetime he saw his plain stuff command five times that on the open market and get snapped up by people who would never use it. The whole thing amused him greatly.

Or take the Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 magnum, “…the most powerful handgun in the world, that might just blow your head clean off…”, as Inspector Harry Callhan described it. After Dirty Harry hit the theaters in 1971, you couldn’t find a Model 29 at any price. The revolver had been around since 1955 and sold in respectable numbers, but its hand-cracking recoil and high price put people off. Also, it was a fine gun, but not a practical one. Few cops used it, and it was way overpowered and too heavy for concealed carry, so that left people who hunted with a handgun, which is not a huge number. So who bought all the Model 29s? Harry Callahan Wannabes.

When Winchester came out with its Model 70 .458 African in the mid-1950s, I recall that the rifle had sales way out of proportion to any possible use. The driving force behind this was not a slew of hunters who were going to Africa, but Wannabes who wanted the first big-bore rifle turned out by an American maker since who knows when.

ARs. Who’s buying all the $2,250 M-16 clones with $3,725.68 worth of accessories bolted to the Picatinny rails? Tactical bolt-actions. Who’s scarfing them up? If every purchaser is a cop, there won’t be anyone left alive to arrest. Some people hunt with them; some shoot in competition, but I’d be willing to bet that a great many are owned by Wannabes.

I think we’re all part Wannabe. A bullet-making friend of mine who is a very bright guy said that what he and his compatriots are selling is dreams, and what people like myself do is put the dreams into words. So be it. Feed your inner Wannabe: Buy a gun today.