“Jersey Combat” – New TV Show about IMA

All I could do was groan and shake my head when I saw an ad for IMA‘s upcoming new TV show in their latest Shotgun News ad. We know a TV program was in the works, but this was the first sort of detail I’d seen about it. Come on, “Jersey Combat”? Really? And more to the point, it’s on NatGeo. NatGeo! It sounds like a respectable channel because of the association with the National Geographic magazine, until you actually look at the shows they air. “American Gypsies”, “Chasing UFOs”, “Wild Justice” – and these are just from their own list of Featured Series. And let’s not forget about “Doomsday Preppers”, whose creators really highlighted their integrity by offering one of the participants $5000 cash to shoot her cat on camera. It’s all over-dramatized, dumbed-down, scripted-reality crap. I looked a bit closer, and apparently the company specifically producing IMA’s show is Firecracker Films, a fine upstanding company responsible for such other lauded classics as “The Man Whose Arms Exploded”, “Dad’s Having a Baby”, “Jamie: Drag Queen at 16”, and “Demon Exorcist”.

Why? Why on earth would you give a company like that the ability to destroy your hard-earned reputation on national television? I’ve met Christian Cranmer, the owner (although I’m sure he doesn’t remember me) and he seems like a great guy. I’m a big fan of the work he did acquiring the Nepalese arms cache. His company is a great source for all sorts of great arms and militaria. And yet there are only two reasons I can see that you could possibly sign on to a TV show like this:

1) You naively believe they will show you in an accurate and informative light instead of taking anything and everything out of context in the interest of dramatic tension
2) You are so desperate for publicity that you’ll willingly trade decades of reputation for a one or two year of selling branded trinkets to idiots

I really can’t see either of these applying to IMA, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and watch an episode to see just how bad it is. I really hope it turns out to be great, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

FWIW, I got a casting request myself a while back from Bray Entertainment (the very professional folks behind “Bridal Bootcamp” and “Principle’s Office”) looking for a gun guy for a new show. It is a nice ego boost to be asked, so I went ahead and sent them an audition tape. I think the part where I explained my opinion on “Sons of Guns” and “American Guns” got me dropped right off the list, because I never heard back. 🙂 If my TV documentarian friend Margaret is reading this, maybe we can put together a series on cool old guns that doesn’t rely on shouting and angry people and drop itself down to the lowest common denominator.

Edited to add:

Alex Cranmer (who runs IMA with his father) understandably objected to my prejudice, and has provided links to a pair of preview clips from the show (which, BTW, has been renamed “Family Guns”). Take a look, and see what you think:

Bringing History to Life

A Family Business

Alex’s full rebuttal can be seen in the comments sections. My thoughts? The Family Business segment leaves me a bit cold, but I’m impressed with the WWI reenacting, and the lack of bravado on Alex’s part. I think a lot of people would insist on pretending to be Rambo in an event like that, and it’s a credit to Alex that he doesn’t. I’m still leery of any “reality” show, but I’ll keep an open mind when the program airs.


  1. Wow, talk about a “rush to judgement”. Agreed that the title “Jersey Combat” is awful and thankfully it has been changed to “FAMILY GUNS”.

    We have seen 7 of the 9 episodes and in our totally biased opinion it is good informative TV that is, yes, also entertainment. It has to be, as that is what TV is. However, the production company, Firecracker Films was nothing short of excellent and we did some fantastic stuff for the TV show. So before you rush to tell us and the world what a mistake we made, just watch it.

    to answer your points about why we’d agree to do this-

    1) The process took nearly a year, we know what we filmed and what we refused to be a part of. Anyone who makes a reality series has a choice. Do I do that scene the producer wants or don’t I? We aren’t trained monkeys that jump through hoops when we are told. We are conscious adults who choose to do something or not. However, it is TV and needs to have dramatic tension or people won’t watch, so you *hope* to find a balance between the demands of entertainment and the true nature of your business.

    2) No we weren’t “desperate” for attention, but broadcasting a TV show solely about your company, your inventory, and what we do to millions of homes in the USA and 71 other countries is a pretty good motivator. I would find it hard to believe that other companies given such an opportunity would refuse. If you broke down our 9 episodes (1 hour each) on a major cable network into paid TV commercial time (what we’d pay to run 9 hours of commercials on Nat Geo) it would cost tens of millions of dollars in advertising. In essence we have been given millions and millions of dollars in free global advertising.

    Here is a sneak peak of the show, take a look and tell us what you think-



    Alex at IMA

    • Anyone can edit a scene to make you look a bad,
      look like criminal or a complete douche bag.
      Alternately, the opposite can be done.

      Look at the current POTUS. “God” reverb in
      his speeches or the vast amount of pics that
      seemly has a “halo” around his head.

      Seriously, how can you trust ANYONE from the
      media to give your company a fair shake. ?

  2. Only semi-decent gun show I can recall was Tales of the Gun, narrated by David Carradine, that used to get shown on Hitlery, er History Channel. At least there weren’t any of the glaring historical errors that some of them were prone to.

    • Carradine hosted two seasons of “Wild West Tech.” “Tales of the Gun” was narrated by Thom Pinto, who has done voiceovers for many History Channel productions.

  3. KRN-

    Again, we have already seen the vast majority of the episodes and for the most part are comfortable with what is being broadcast. Are “reality” shows stretched for entertainment sake? Sure, but that is the nature of the TV world. They didn’t come here, film us and then disappear, we have been part of the process the whole time. Just watch the sneak peak scenes, and the series, then make your judgement. Judging it, and our decision to do the series, before anyone has seen any footage is, quite frankly, unfair.

  4. the word alone makes me cringe: “reality tv”. that said we haven’t seen it yet, so maybe it’s a new nepalese cache. time for a bet? if ian is wrong, he has to buy a nice de-milled project mg from ima and if ima is wrong they have to give it to him. this must result in some quality forgotten weapons posts surely! we, the viewer have front seat and decide on the winner. cast your votes after each “family guns” episode and see who is right.

  5. any show that show firearms in a good light is a plus as long as it also shows the hoops we have to jump thought to own guns

  6. I hope for all the best for Alex and Christian and Ima. Lets wait and see the show first. Best of luck guys.

  7. I watched the clips and I’m not too impressed, seems to be mostly filler to me. I agree the WWI reenactment was interesting but like most shows of this type it lacks depth. Also, would never rest the barrel jacket of a Lewis Gun on a rocky dirt pile. Did anyone else notice the other featured videos on that page, “Bear in the neighborhood”, “Arranged marriage”, and my favorite “Private sperm donor”.

  8. I cannot believe these people are backing such a completely ridiculous show, there will be a huge backlash against the firearms community. I;m going to write IMA and express my dislike. Others should also.

    • tonyk2000, how are you arriving at the conclusion that “there will be a huge backlash against the firearms community”? Especially in light of recent events in Colorado, Wisconsin and Texas, which have created a true backlash?

      Our TV show is about Antique Guns and equipment from 1640-1945 and our business in finding, restoring and selling them. In many episodes we even make these old weapons work sometimes for the first time in centuries, we explain the history, we show how and why there is a collector’s market for these things. We reveal their value which in most cases is directly related to their historical significance.

      So, contrary to your opinion, I think a show like ours is beneficial to the firearms community as it shows that everyday law abiding people have good reason, both personally and financially, to collect these guns.

      Again, I am still a bit taken aback by all the preemptive criticism. The TV series has yet to even air. Just give it a chance, if you don’t like it after you see it then criticize all you like.

  9. I for one believe that we need TV shows that show gun owner, collectors, designers, and just people that like guns in a positive light.
    We have a start with Top Shot, Tales of the gun, and other historical gun shows. But more is needed.
    We as gun owners in this country have been taking a bashing from the press, TV and movie industry for years. We generally have been placed in most forms of media as the new bad guy, because they don’t want to hurt China’s or Russia’s feelings. The truth is that is not the cast. Most gun owners are the back bone of this country. Either we start supporting and backing the media that promotes gun ownership or we lose our rights. I hope this show promotes guns and gun owner ship in a positive light.
    One can not stop crazy people, they are everywhere even in country’s with a total gun ban. All we can do is educate the population and protect our rights.
    Part of the reason for starting this site and Gun lab.net was to do just that.

  10. Mg-42,

    Well said, you are right on the money.

    Having seen 7 of the 9 episodes I can say that we absolutley show firearms collecting in a positive light. We filmed multiple reenactments including WWI with the Great War Association, WWII with D-Day Ohio and Fort Indian Town Gap, as well as filming out at the Big Sandy MG shoot, and we fired many guns from our own inventory and other’s- including over 50 different kinds of firearms from 1640 flintlock pistols, to a 1771 Brown Bess, 1871 Martini-Henry, WWI Water Cooled Mgs, WWII Sub MGs like Thompsons & MP40s, all the way to a WWII flamethrower and even Walker Bulldog Tank.

    IMA never would have done this series if it the production company and network didn’t agree to show gun owners, collectors, and people that just like guns in a positive light.

  11. I agree that we don’t need another show depicting gun owners in a negative light like Nat. Geo. ( Prepers )
    With all the Main Stream Media portraying guns, and there owners negatively lately, you can bet Nat. Geo. will be on the band wagon, look at there religious propagandizing of all things ( GREEN) and anti main stream Christan religion shows. I just don’t trust them. It will look like good intentions with bad results.

  12. Screw me once shame on you. Screw me twice shame on me. Youll get your free advertising. Youll make bunches more money. Youll be able to charge more than your products are worth just like red jacket does now. Even if they dont paint gun owners in a negative light as they usually do all of these things are good for you but none of them are good for me the consumer and collector. That old luger or whatever gun ive been saving my money to buy will not only be harder to find due to the extra demand on your supply. It will also cost me more than it did prior to all the publicity. I know its business but business but thats the excuse insurance and oil companies use as well when they giving it to us with no vaseline. All in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

    • While I understand the fear, Cory, we can’t have our cake and eat it too. If we want firearms and shooting to be an accepted part of mainstream culture – and we do, because that’s how we keep the 2nd Amendment alive – we have to accept that more people will become interested in chasing the limited number of any given collectible gun or accessory. It certainly affects me too, as I’m a young guy and there are a ton of great old guns I would love to add to my collection that are only getting more expensive. However, it’s a tradeoff I will happily accept. I would rather have to share my hobby with a hundred million other gun nuts and see them blocking politicians’ attempted bans than have it all to myself and see the US go the way of England.

  13. I hope your right but i have my doubts. We are talking about collectible guns here. Most politician are more concerned with borchardts and nepalese gahindras. They tend to focus more on the scarier stuff. SOG didnt really drive up the price of saiga rifles but the show made em think theirs are made of gold. I to would like to see more gun nuts out there taking out the Feinsteins and Mcarthys of the world. I have to admit i am biased though cause i like most true gun nerds despise shows like SOG and American Guns. I literally get mad when i watch it sometimes. Every time Will exagerates the how dangerous a gun hes talking about is it makes me punch him square in the nuts. Maybe Jersey Combat(Thank God they changed the name) will break the mold and change my mind. We can only hope. By the way when you gonna do that on the bushmaster armpistol. There is very little info on the web about them and what is there lacks in quality unlike your work.

  14. We were greatful to have Firecracker Film come to the WW II Reenactment of the The Bridge at Remagen, 1945 event in Tidioute,Pa.,along the Allegheny River. It was a hard weekend filming with them but fun. Our event is one of a kind in the National. I thank IMA for at least filming us for this series.

  15. If it was a show about the destruction of New Jersey I’d certainly watch. That being said, don’t charge more for your guns! Hah.

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