YouTube’s recent restrictions on firearm content, which include bans on videos that link to the sale of guns and videos that teach viewers how to install attachments like high-capacity magazines, have already had dramatic effects on the online video community’s hunters, sport shooters, and weapons enthusiasts. As those creators try to figure out if they will be able to have a future on the world’s top video site, several other niche players are looking to fill the void. Full30, a site specifically dedicated to firearm content, has announced an expansion, while the Utah Gun Exchange, a retail platform, has positioned itself to enter the video industry as well.
Full30, which describes itself as a destination for “Firearms Reviews, Education, and Entertainment,” has invited creators to reserve their channels ahead of the wide rollout of a “freedom-loving home.” Full30 has been available to a limited number of creators since its 2015 launch. One of its most prominent users is Greg Kinman Hickok45, who began sharing his videos there after running into trouble with YouTube back in 2016. As of this post, Hickok45 has about 30,000 subscribers on Full30. That’s a far cry from the 3.1 million subscribers the channel has on YouTube, but it is a significant total nonetheless.
Meanwhile, the Utah Gun Exchange’s aspirations as an online video platform can be traced to a recent profile of the company in the Salt Lake Tribune. “What they’re doing at YouTube is censorship,” said Utah Gun Exchange co-owner Brian Melchior. “Utah Gun Exchange will be the next YouTube…And we will never, ever, ever stomp on anybody’s rights.”
As gun videomakers continue to squabble with YouTube, look for platforms like these to experience significant growth. They might not rival the online video industry’s largest platforms, but they’re certainly more appropriate venues for firearms content than, say, Pornhub.