The word "tactard" is not real word at all. It's a made-up word to describe a specific kind of person. I didn't make the word up. I wish I knew who did. However, I'm generally given the credit someone else deserves. If you're the father of this word or know who is, my apologies.
According to the Richard Mann Dictionary Of Firearms-Related Terms (this book only exists in my head), the word tactard is a disparaging term for someone who believes that looking, acting and talking tactical actually makes them tactical. It could also be defined as someone who wants to be something but they aren't exactly sure what that something is.
My friend, Sheriff Jim Wilson, recently put together a checklist that someone could use to discover if they are in fact a tactard. This checklist could also be used to verify if someone you know or have just met is a tactard. I immediately responded with a 10-step recovery program for tactards. I can't say that anyone has used it and found success. It's been my experience that most tactards don't want to be saved.
The good thing about tactards is that they help out some of the firearms-related companies that would otherwise go broke ... such as the company that makes a bayonet for a pistol. No, I'm not kidding! Another good thing about tactards is that they serve as a constant reminder to those of us who see them in action that even normal people can have a tendency to take things too far.
The point of all this nonsensical tactard stuff is that being tactical has nothing to do with how you dress or what cool and unusual accessories you carry. Being tactical is a mindset, a level of preparedness, a mastery of defensive skills. Being tactical—truly tactical—is a way of life that can't be won, learned or emulated by wearing khaki-colored cargo pants and a tight T-shirt.
Does this mean that every shooter you see at the range in "tactical" cargo pants is a tactard? Nope.
Cargo pants are a useful range accessory. They only become tactard pants when the wearer is acting a fool or like an expert on all things tactical. (No one is an expert on all things tactical.) Being tactical doesn't require being a tough guy. It doesn't require wearing multiple guns, and it doesn't require that you carry two pocket knives, a striking instrument and pepper spray everywhere you go.
Just the other day I watched a tactard on TV, as he flexed his muscles in his too-tight T-shirt, proclaim that if you carry one gun you need to carry a backup gun and spare ammo for both. That you should always have a utility knife and a fighting knife on your person, and that both be easy to access and open with one hand. That you should carry an impact weapon like an ASP baton and pepper spray in case your assailant doesn't threaten you enough to be shot.
Give me a break.
I quit being a cop and a soldier a long time ago. If I wanted to live like that I would've kept the uniforms and the paycheck. For a civilian to exercise a tactical mindset, they need to understand things that are covered in Jeff Cooper's book, Principles Of Personal Defense, and the OODA Loop. Being tactical is being proficient with your defensive weapon of choice and knowing what situations to avoid and how to react.
Be a tactard if you want. This is a free country and you can look like a high-speed, low-drag, just-got-back-from-the-sandbox operative all you want. Looks can be deceiving and often are. If you want to be truly tactical, you can do that and look completely normal. It's when danger comes knocking that you transform into a person who's not to be trifled with.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going outside to practice some defensive-handgun drills. Oh, and by the way ... I'll be wearing jeans.