This story is over 5 years old.


Johnny Dronehunter Does Exactly That In This Insane Shotgun Silencer Ad

Meet Johnny Dronehunter, Defender of Privacy. (Cue nu-metal.)
Screengrab: YouTube

He keeps a big-ass shotgun by his side. He hates drones, and is here to protect your privacy rights from those noxious aerial robo spies. He will shoot one (or four) of the bastards right out of the sky if he has to. Why? Because he's Johnny Dronehunter, Defender of Privacy.

That's him up there in a promotional trailer for the  Salvo 12, a new shotgun suppressor line from Utah-based SilencerCo.

"In the not too distant future," the video's description reads, "privacy is a thing of the past. Undeniable rights degrade like the paper they were written upon, and Big Brother has a constant eye on you and your family." At which point, only a "determined man and an unequaled weapon"—Johnny Dronehunter and the Salvo 12, I assume—can save you.


It just might be the most extreme expression of so-called Drone Fear to date, and yet I still have so many questions. For starters, why Johnny Dronehunter, Defender of Privacy?

The idea behind the character, SilencerCo CEO Josh Waldron said in an emailed statement to Motherboard, was to use a more non traditional, albeit "relevant" setting to give SilencerCo's content a reach beyond the core market for what the company claims is the first commercially viable shotgun silencer.

It just so happens, according to Waldron, that a lot of Americans are worried about the implications of widespread aerial surveillance from public and private drone operators.

"We wanted to use this video to energize the ongoing discourse about privacy in a creative way," he said. "We created Johnny Dronehunter and intend to continue a series of videos in this vein with him as the main character to represent the Americans who feel they don't have an appropriate voice in this privacy debate."

Fair enough. But surely there are far more citizens living in populated areas, not the desert, who are wringing their hands over the thought of being watched by small-fry drones, right? Besides our guy with the rifle and the aviator shades, it's not like the small swarm of (what appear to be DJI Phantom) drones in the trailer are spying on anything other than scrub brush, lizards, and snakes. What gives?

Waldron said that while they do plan for future Johnny Dronehunter videos to be set in both urban and suburban settings, SilencerCo must make sure it adheres to "the appropriate local ordinances when filming." Given the production timeline and locations the company was working with, the sparse desert milieu just made sense, logistically. Also, it's way easier to blow up shit in the desert, compared to, say, Brooklyn.

And, well, why are the drones blowing up again? Easy: "The drones blew up because Johnny Dronehunter is an expert marksman," Waldron added.

It's certainly not the first time anyone has fantasized about drone hunting, never mind the fact that shooting one out of the sky would be a felony. (Or that doing so  would require a really, really good shot.) Luckily for Johnny Dronehunter, these things loiter just 10 feet or so off the ground.

Last year, residents in the small town of Deer Trail, Colorado, decided to hold  a special vote on whether to issue drone hunting licenses. The proposal was shot down. But at least you can shoot some drones down at this roving shooting range.