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So, There’s a Hitler-Linked ‘Guntry Club’ Coming to the Twin Cities

Nebraska-based 88 Tactical swears all the apparent dog whistles mean nothing.

A rendering of the gun-tastic adult playground that's coming here soon.
www.88tactical.com

Gun-nut lifestyle complex 88 Tactical has become increasingly defensive on its corporate blog.

“Supporters Respond to Vicious Defamatory Attacks” reads one recent entry from the Omaha, Nebraska-based company; “Topographic Map Fuels Hateful Campaign” reads another. A post titled “The Truth Behind Our Name” seeks to address the loudest dog whistle associated with 88 Tactical, which recently announced expansion plans for locations to 16 cities, including one in the Twin Cities. (More on the name below.)

To hear 88 Tactical tell it, the self-described “guntry club” is a “multifaceted organization that offers top-level training courses for civilians as well as law enforcement and military personnel; it’s also a family-centric community that teaches lifesaving skills, cultivates confidence, and provides a unique entertainment experience.” That translates into 100,000-square-foot facilities that feature 100 indoor shooting lanes, VR training courses, classrooms, daycare, and a full-service restaurant/bar. You get a free AR-15 when you join at the top $200 per month level. (It’s unclear where and when the planned local outpost will open; the company didn’t respond to Racket’s interview request.)

As 88 Tactical ramps up its nationwide expansion, critics have taken aim (gun term) at some of its optical oddities, many of which have been linked to far-right or even Nazi causes. This story from Nebraska political website Seeing Red—”Can We Please Stop Pretending about the Nazi Fortress Outside Omaha Now?”—provides the most succinct breakdown of accusations.

Let’s start with the name. If you Google “88,” the first hit comes from the American Anti-Defamation League, which writes: “88 is a white supremacist numerical code for ‘Heil Hitler.’ H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 = HH = Heil Hitler. One of the most common white supremacist symbols, 88 is used throughout the entire white supremacist movement, not just neo-Nazis.” According to 88 Tactical CEO Shea Degan, who worked for decades in law enforcement, the name stems from Nebraska police-scanner code for “situation is safe and secure.” The parteiadler-resembling eagle in 88 Tactical’s logo has raised further eyebrows, though the company hasn’t addressed it. (Degan’s purported dog, a Doberman Pinscher, happens to be named Panzer, also the name for Nazi tanks.)

Speaking of Nazism, the company was recently forced to address a bizarre topographical map depicted on the wall of its Omaha headquarters. Despite the surrounding elevations not adding up to 1488, that bolded number appears as the top summit, as you see below.

Again, using the powers of Google, it’s revealed that 1488 is “a combination of two popular white supremacist numeric symbols. The first symbol is 14, which is shorthand for the ‘14 Words‘ slogan: ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,'” according to the ADL. You already know about 88. (The company claims it had “no idea” about the number’s meaning and removed the wall wrap.)

The guntry club also caught flak (combat term) for selling the “Silencer Smooth” blend from Black Rifle Coffee Co.; for whatever reason, the right-wing roaster chose to emphasize “SS” on the bag posted by 88 Tactical. The SS, or Schutzstaffel, was, of course, a Nazi paramilitary unit.

Beyond the alleged numerology and iconography, 88 Tactical has associated itself with controversial figures like John Guandolo, an ex-FBI agent who heads the anti-Muslim group Understanding the Threat. Guandolo “once claimed mosques were fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood, and that mosques in general, ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,'” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Other friends of 88 Tactical include the oaf sons of two fascist-curious former world leaders: Donald Trump Jr. and Eduardo Bolsonaro, plus the Omaha Police Department.

We wish we had more intel (deep-state term?) on 88 Tactical’s local ambitions. You can bet on this much: Though it advertises a forthcoming “Minneapolis” location, expect the Discovery Zone for suburban doomsday preppers and Rambo wannabees to set up shop much closer to St. Cloud.