When YouTube was just beginning to create big stars, Kyle Myers was able to fill a very specific niche, by popular demand. With the persona of Dmitri Potapoff, he created the FPSRussia channel, where he demonstrated a variety of firearms and explosives. In 2013, a member of the FPSRussia crew was found dead. There was an investigation, and later a raid by the ATF. Now, FPSRussia is again one of the most popular firearms channels on YouTube. What happened in the interim?
Kyle Myers Before FPSRussia
Born in Hart County, Georgia, in 1986, Kyle Myers began making Let’s Play-style videos when YouTube was still an independent company, around 2007. The videos showed him playing an assortment of first-person-shooter video games, but usually, he would play Call of Duty. He hosted them on a channel with several other YouTube personalities.
In his professional life, Myers was working at a car dealership, where he worked with a Russian co-worker. This inspired Myers to create Dimitri Potapoff, a persona he first tried out on his Let’s Play videos. Around that time, he also had the idea to start demonstrating some of the guns used in the game Call of Duty in real life. On September 1, 2010, Myers created the FPSRussia channel and began uploading videos.
FPSRussia: YouTube Hit
At first, FPSRussia’s videos just highlighted some of the real-world versions of the guns used in the Call of Duty game series. Kyle, playing Dmitri Potapoff, would explain a little bit about the history and characteristics of the firearm, and then test it out on a variety of targets: fruits, plastic bottles, fake zombies, and early on, large photos of pop sensation Justin Bieber.
Within a year, his channel hit 1 million subscribers, and that meant FPSRussia had a much bigger budget. Myers began working with local friends, including Keith Ratliff, who helped source some of the firearms, ammunition, and explosives for the show. FPSRussia began demonstrating some eccentric firearms and other equipment. ‘Dmitri’ played with a golden AK-47, an anti-aircraft cannon, a .50cal Browning machine-gun, and even an armored personnel carrier. Keith Ratliff also began helping the show get tannerite. Ratliff, who owned a firearm repair business near Myers’ farm, was also able to legally obtain the things necessary to make the explosive tannerite, because they were non-explosive on their own. Tannerite intended to be detonated by being shot by a high-velocity bullet, which is what the FPSRussia team used it for, sometimes to detonate pictures of Justin Bieber.
The channel continued to grow, and on October 29, 2012, Kyle Myers even had a cameo appearance as Dmitri in the live-action Call of Duty: Black Ops II trailer. He also created a second channel, MoreFPSRussia. That December, they announced they were planning to release a game for iOS.
Keith Ratliff Murder & ATF Raid
On January 6, 2013, Keith Ratliff, who’d been responsible for sourcing the materials used on FPSRussia was found shot in the head. Due to the angle of the shot, police suspected it was an intentional homicide. Ratliff was found in his own gun store, and was armed but had not drawn his gun, leading many to draw the same conclusion Ratliff’s brother told reporters: “For him not to pull out that gun and try to defend himself, he had to feel comfortable around somebody. Either that or he was ambushed.”
Production of FPSRussia stopped for around a month after Ratliffe’s death, though any suspicion cast on Kyle Myers or the rest of the FPS crew was never made public by investigators. Then, on March 29, 2013, the ATF raided Myers’ and his father’s farms, where Myers frequently filmed. The ATF told the press that Myers was being paid through YouTube to use explosives, which while technically true also isn’t criminal. Complicating things further, the local county sheriff, Stevie Thomas, went on the record saying the ATF was there to assist in investigating Keith Ratliff’s murder, which the ATF should not have been involved in.
Regardless of the actual intent of the raid, no one was arrested, no charges filed, and nothing was seized from the property. However, the murder and ATF helped encourage Myers to put FPSRussia on hiatus. They weren’t his only motivations, however. The videos were relatively expensive to film, and the older episodes were still generating lots of new views and ad revenue.
What is FPSRussia Doing Now in 2023?
Kyle Myers’ YouTube channel has been inactive since 2016. His last video, ‘The X15 & XM42 Personal Flamethrowers!’ was posted on April 16, 2016. Despite that, he’s still getting tens of thousands of views every day. As of May 2022, he has received over 959 million views altogether.
Why did he stop making videos? It all started with the death of Keith Ratliff, a member of his production staff. The owner of FPS Industries (a firearms company), he had supplied Myers with most of the equipment seen on his channel. On January 6, 2013, however, Ratliff was found dead in his store. While there’s no surveillance footage of the incident, police officials suspect foul play. To date, the incident remains unsolved.
Following his death, Myers took a one-month hiatus from YouTube. On March 29, 2013, his Franklin County home was raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The family’s nearby farm, where he’d filmed many of his videos, was also searched.
In 2017, Myers’ home was raided once again by GBI and ATF officials. He was later prosecuted for illegal drug possession while owning a firearm (he had received butane hash oil through the mail). His weapons were also confiscated.
Fast forward to June 2019, and he was sentenced to 56 days in prison with two years’ probation. He was ultimately transported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Talladega, where he served his sentence. He was also fined $7,500.
Since his release, he has spoken about his time behind bars on the podcast, Painkiller Already. According to the interview, he had met tons of interesting people and had learned many new skills, techniques, and tactics while in prison. Not only that, but he also made some ‘really good friends’, though he admitted that it’ll probably be hard for them to stay in contact as they’re ‘both felons’. When asked how he kept himself busy, he stated that he did a lot of running and dieting. As a result, he lost 35 pounds within 56 days. For those who are interested, you can listen to the podcast here.
While his YouTube channel is no longer updated, he does stream on Twitch (@FPSKyle) occasionally (the last time he went live was back on September 19, 2021). Prior to that, he had also streamed some poker matches. For those who’d like to tune in, consider following him on the live streaming platform. You can also follow him on Twitter (@theFPSshow) where he announces his live streams ahead of time.
This is a very strange case. It appears authorities believe it was possibly Meyers that committed the crime. I have listened to every single Pain Killer Already and Pain Killer Nearly about 350 podcasts total. Kyle Is an extremely intelligent individual and could have easily got away with something like this. In episode #77 of PKA a conversation arises that Woody mentions Kyle would be good and shooting someone in the back of the head if he lived in the wild west (Time Stamp on PKA 41:00). After this comment Kyle seems alittle off his normally personality for the remainder of the podcast.
I have to agree most murders in someones office are committed by business partners where family murders are usually committed at home. The way he was killed who ever was in that office with him was someone he trusted and knew well. I doubt he would have met someone he didn’t trust in his office like that with all those guns laying around. Everyone keeps saying FPSRUSSIAN channel would go down without Ratliff but I think they had a bigger deal on the table something else. The other theory is Ratliff and Myers had a girl who was doing both of them and the murder was the result. I could imagine Ratliff sitting at his desk while showing some video footage to Myers when Myers pulls a gun with a suppressor on it and fires into his head. Just speculation but seems like police also think that as well they raided the guys farm.
the producer for the most popular youtube channel at the time is found assassinated just after one of the biggest and most mysterious mass shootings and resultant pushback against firearms rights nationwide in history, while coincidentally one of the most popular ar15 manufacturers Noveske dies in a single car, no witness accident after “falling asleep” and your first thoughts is some loser kid murdered his source of income?
Keith had an ex. Jealousy has been a motivation for murder since the dawn of time.
That’s another possibility but Ratliff knew and trusted the killer I can’t remember was the shot hit him in the front or back of his body? Was he facing the killer? Not easy to figure out much I’m sure lot of information the police are holding back. Until they file charges no one will know.
Kell490 true, no one has the information the police have collected. I don’t think he was afraid of his ex, but he had a new woman in his life, that could have caused her to snap. But then again people who commit crimes of passion are sloppy and leave evidence, and if the police haven’t charged her, I could be wrong.
you moron, that episode was done LONG BEFORE Ratliff was murdered
Doesn’t mean he wasn’t already thinking about it.
I don’t think being thrown off during a podcast is any indication. Especially after you’ve had a friend/business partner murdered in the same style and accused of doing it as well.
It’s a natural reaction guilty or not.
Anyone can buy tannerite these reporters need to get some information before they write a story how hard is it to google tannerite. What you don’t see is all the exotic machine guns which Ratliff was providing using his FFL7/SOT2 manufacturing license to make or re-activate machine guns. Ratliff was probably using parts kits and get a receiver which was cut per ATF rules previously so he could import them then he would weld them up or machine new ones to fit the parts kits. The machine gun is stamped with new SN# and Ratliff’s license company name re-activating it. This is how they were able to procure these cheaply for the videos. The problem is these guns have to stay in control of Ratliff there is no way to transfer these to anyone expect government so if any ended up at the farm ATF would come looking for them.
He likely had them registered using a trust naming a number of people who have control. Usually family members so the ATF cannot seize them upon a death.
Your talking about registered pre 1986 machine guns registered in a family trust the ones in the FPSRussian videos were post 86 non transferable. You need to read up on NFA stuff its’ complicated. The only way now to own machine guns which are manufactured after 5/19/1986 is to have a class 2 manufacturing license. This allows one to make full auto guns legally at a much lower cost a few thousand $ to a few hundred $ you can buy parts kits re-manufacture then stamp your own sn# on them and register them as post 1986 samples. This is what Ratliff was doing he had a FFL type 7 with class 2 SOT common industry name is class 2 manufacture. That way he can make them cheap and newer machine guns which have been manufactured since 1986 example (HK G-36). His license would not allow firearms to be stored outside of the business premises. He would be onsite while FPS Russian was making videos as long as he is there anyone can shoot those firearms. These firearms would only be able to be owned by his business, transferred to government, or if he goes out of business they are allowing them to go to a class 3 or another class 2. They can never be possessed by a non license holder. The trust your talking about is referring to pre 1986 transferable machine guns.
Getting back to the AFT search it was my understanding the ATF warrant was for un-registered Destructive devices and unregistered machine guns. I think this search was also done to see if they could turn up evidence from the murder. A quick inventory of Ratliffs books would show all firearms were accounted for.
A trust would not be able to have access to his business machine guns your confusing a trust to setup for transferable tax stamp guns. He would use an LLC, or S-corp who ever the owners or designated employees would be able to handle the machine guns. The post 86 machine guns are worthless so I doubt anyone would want them my best guess is the ATF ended with them all. Looks like Kyle Myers AKA FPS Russian has been arrested in Aug 2017 for drugs with distribution that is going to be a felony so his days are probably numbed being around guns. I noticed his YT channel has very few machine guns now after Keith Ratliff was murdered. Doesn’t look like any progress in the murder investigation I wonder if it will ever be solved.
I understand the trust, as I use that for some of my controlled items. I think the point was, If you read the history of Kyle’s weapons that he used, and how he was able to use them, it was likely through his friend who was an FFL type 07 with a class 3 before he was murdered in his shop. I get your point though, but Kyle wouldn’t need to be a trustee on a trust to shoot them as long as his friend was the supervising, just as you could with a trust.
I can buy tannerite by the case at any gun store. It is NOT a regulated explosive because it requires a high energy shock to set it off.
fps russia almost got killed by a flying door after a tannerite explosion around the same time. That’s likely the reason they stopped using it..
how do you know?
Youtube suitcase gun
indeed was incredibly close,
Well I’d guess Albert is correct, especially when you consider tannerite is available to anyone as long as they are over 18. They sell it at gun shows fleet farm style stores and outdoor stores. heck there’s two locations that will sell me it within 10 miles of where I work.
Tannerite can be picked up in most large gun stores or ordered online.
plus all it is, is powdered aluminum and ammonium nitrate
Apparently while tannerite is not illegal, using explosives for a business (Youtube) without a license is illegal. This was used to gain a search warrant for Myer’s and his fathers property as he’d made videos in both places with explosives.
Only if you deliberately misconstrue the law to mean a business in name only. The law was clearly aimed at actual businesses using it for real world business purposes where public safety could be an issue, not individuals filming themselves in a remote location for Youtube videos. Youtube pays ad revenue on view counts, not view content. They never contracted with FPS to blow stuff up.
There in lies the problem. As defined by the BATFE, Binary explosives are pre-packaged products consisting of two separate components, usually an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal. These components typically are not listed separately on the List of Explosive Materials and do not meet the definition of “Explosives” in 27 CFR 555.11. Their justification was on shaky ground, hence the reason they likely did not file charges.
I read somewhere that Kyle got the accent from an uncle who used it as a joke when he was a child and eventually began using it as well.
And if you read the correct version you would know that he worked at a car dealership with a russian…that’s where he got the idea.
Sounds to me like the ATF murdered Ratliff to shut down FPS Russia. Kinda like Fast and Furious in a way.
If you’re a paranoid schizophrenic it makes perfect sense. Why the heck would the ATF give a stuff about some nobody’s YouTube channel?
Cause apparently they go nothing to do. They had 40 agents raided his property and they found nuffin. Welcome to America.
Obviously a brainwashed a lib
Go to hell
See you there, love.