Social media users honed in specifically on the notion that a mechanical saw could be attached to popular modern long guns, and USA Today found itself on the receiving end of several humorous photoshops.
But here’s the thing: Chainsaw bayonets are real, and they’re fabulous.
This all starts with a USA Today tweet that read, “A look at the gun used in the Texas church shooting.”
Their tweet, which referred specifically to the Ruger AR-556 that Devin Patrick Kelley used this weekend to murder 26 churchgoers in Texas, included a short video showing that those rifles can be modified with several aftermarket products, including “underbarrel” 12-gauge shotguns, trigger cranks and, yes, chainsaw bayonets.
USA Today at once became the object of online mockery. One group of critics noted correctly that the Texas shooter employed no such modifications on the rifle he used in Sunday’s massacre.
In response to this specific criticism, USA Today tweeted a follow-up note that read, “to clarify, the video shows both the shooter’s modifications, as well as other possible modifications. The shooter did not use a chainsaw bayonet.”
The mockery didn’t let up, though, as Twitter users continued to pummel the USA Today infographic over its inclusion of chainsaw bayonets.
Sure, it seems like a silly and impractical accessory, but they definitely exist.
One company, Panacea X, which specializes in survivalist tools, has an entire line of “weaponized chainsaws.”
These accessories are definitely real, and they can definitely be mounted to any rifle with a Military Standard rail.
Uses include, “‘Killing” Zombies,” “Drug Enforcement Agents can use it for marijuana eradication; and always be armed while cutting down the plants,” “Marijuana growers can use it to harvest their crop and always be armed while cutting down their plants,” and “Off road motorcyclists, mountain bikers and hikers can keep the ZXCS in their hydrator pack and remove downed trees and branches that often fall across the trail,” according to the group’s website.
They can also be used for “Emergency evacuation, “Cut through the roof if trapped in attic during a flood,” “Cut through wood doors and walls to make an escape too,” “Clear your kill zone of pesky branches in front of your tree stand or blind,” and “Camping, cut firewood around deer camp while the ZXCS is attached to your rifle.”
And if you’re not interested in purchasing one of Panacea X’s models, you can straight-up make your own.
Is it practical? Nope. Is it popular? Not really. Is it definitely a gag for gun enthusiasts? Yes. Should you be worried about a mass shooter with a chainsaw? You have no reason to be. Have you ever heard of it prior to the USA Today tweet? Probably not.
Is USA Today guilty of fear-mongering vis-a-vis a definitely obscure rifle accessory? Yep.
But that doesn’t mean USA Today is wrong. Chainsaw bayonets may be obscure, and they may mostly be a joke, but they exist.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some online orders to make.