The other day when I wrote about "Tactical" as a clothing style affected by upper-middle class gun-toters, there were a couple of things I forgot to mention. First, I could have clarified the "specialization" of our culture a bit better and, secondly, what one wears doesn't make any difference on the range to anyone who has grown up with gunpowder in their veins. The first sometimes borders on snobbery--I hope the second is not likewise, though in the opposite direction....
Well, then, whatever the Yuppies get into, that they put their peculiar twist of "specialization" on...and that includes the gun culture. Yuppies have changed the face of lots of things, from camping to cookbooks, with their emphasis on acquiring all the "right" stuff in order to make their hobbies or businesses "worthwhile". It's like they feel they have to prove their right to do whatever it is by investing in obtaining everything they might possibly need for that particular occupation. And if it's not done exactly according to the formulas laid down by the "experts", it isn't right...so it is no great stretch to attribute the rise of tactical fashion to them as well. That particular look associated with the early twentieth-century expensive big game hunters has, with modifications, spread down to the gun culture of the law-respecting citizen via the Yuppie attitude of having to have all the right accoutrements in order to do anything well...put that together with the draw of the martial spirit frequently associated with weaponry--and here we find Tactical ensconced as the unofficial uniform at ranges across this country.
But for one who has not grown up under the influence of Yuppies, such a mindset is actually laughable. Who is going to tell me that, in order to be respected on the range, I need to wear the right brand name, some "camo" color, and be covered with pockets and ingenious hidden pleats? Maybe I want to wear my plain bright pink skirt and a very un-official looking hat that yet manages to do a fine job of keeping the sun out of my eyes while I get some target practice. Who cares? What matters on the range, and in most situations civilians encounter, is not brand name accoutrements, concealability, or ease of access, but skill. Gunpowder in the veins doesn't hurt anything either--but, just like God has no grandchildren, so it is the individual's skill and knowledge that are the measure of respect due him--not his heritage or his appearance.
Just as a side note to this whole discussion, I don't think anyone could call me a redneck any more than anyone could call me a Yuppie. The redneck culture and its autonomy (as opposed to the herd-like mentality of the Yuppies) rubs me the wrong way sometimes, too...and there are certainly times when dressing appropriately for the occasion is quite important--but why should I lose respect on the range just because I'm not wearing Tactical and don't feel that I need to????