I first met John Correia back when he only had 600,000 subscribers to his Active Self Protection YouTube page (he now has 1.3 MILLION). Back when he was still pastoring a church. Back when Active Self Protection was a side hustle. Back before he was profiled in The Atlantic magazine.
Amazingly, all that was just over a year ago. To borrow from Virginia Slims, he’s come a long way, baby.
I caught up with Correia again at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show last month. He was appearing as a “brand ambassador” for Heckler & Koch.
What does it mean to be brand ambassador? “They send me guns and money,” Correia says, “and I talk about their guns.” To be fair, he was talking about their guns before he became an official brand ambassador. The ambassador position followed rather than preceding his endorsement.
That is not always the case. Correia also appeared at the SHOT Show booth of Magtech Ammunition, one of his sponsors. But don’t expect to see Correia’s name on just any product. He has already turned down lucrative offers to endorse products he does not like, preferring instead to maintain his reputation. “I want to be a trusted advisor to the people who trust me,” Correia told me. “I did this for 5 years without making money, so I’m not desperate.”