Soldier of Fortune
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Soldier of Fortune is a magazine founded in 1975, allegedly about the exploits of modern mercenaries. In actuality, it is a modern-day version of the "men's adventure" magazines that proliferated from the '40s through the '70s, filled with exaggerated (or fabricated) stories about mercenary exploits, violence and badassery in Third World combat zones, combined with a ferociously right-wing, jingoistic editorial stance.
Soldier of Fortune's target audience is composed of the following groups: adolescent boys for whom fantasies about being a mercenary were a welcome escape from being the little kid in class always being picked on; grown-up manchildren for whom said fantasies were a welcome escape from being an office drone or sales rep getting shit on by his boss; hardcore right-wingers who cheered the magazine's pro-military and pro-war stance and bought "Kill Em All, Let God Sort Em Out" t-shirts to show their compassionate conservatism; putative "survivalists" who confused militaristic posturing with genuine preparation for emergencies; and Vietnam veterans past their prime trying to relive their glory days. Editorially, they supported the white minority governments in Rhodesia and South Africa, the Contras in Nicaragua, the right-wing governments of El Salvador and Guatemala, the right wing of the Cuban exile community in Miami (noticing a trend here?), and the Israeli Defense Forces, and never passed up an opportunity to shit on "Hanoi Jane" Fonda.
Originally quite obscure, it became popular in the early 1980s and spawned a cottage industry of copycat magazines, including New Breed and Gung Ho. The magazine's influence was such that went beyond copycat magazines and led to some magazines on unrelated topics copying Soldier of Fortune's style in an effort to increase circulation. For example, for most of the '80s Popular Communications, a ham, CB and shortwave radio hobbyist magazine, peppered just about every issue with sensationalistic articles and cover photos on spy, mercenary, guerrilla warfare, and other paramilitary use of radio. The magazine's rise coincided with the survivalist movement moving away from a left-wing/libertarian, Mother Earth News-type emphasis on rural living skills and "back to the land" hippie communalism, and towards the overt right-wing paramilitarism that later characterized the militia movement. This, in turn, conceivably reflected broader social trends in the '80s, such as the popularity of right-wing action movies like Red Dawn and the Rambo series, and the return of the nuclear fear of the '50s that came with the rekindling of the Cold War.
Soldier of Fortune ran into trouble for carrying classified advertisements from "mercenaries for hire", three of which were used to recruit real-life contract killers and led to lawsuits against the magazine. In the magazine's early years they also openly carried advertisements from extreme right-wing groups, including the publisher of The Turner Diaries peddling that book. Their classified advertising section has also always been a notorious hangout for cranks and weirdos in general, including such things as con artists trying to raise mercenaries for their own putative "micronations" or expeditions to look for "POW-MIAs" in Southeast Asia, various anti-Jane Fonda t-shirts and bumper stickers, and private "boot camps" for people wanting to experience Parris Island all over again (and presumably enjoy it).
On rare occasions, Soldier of Fortune actually did some valid muckraking journalism. On two separate occasions, they exposed right-wing activist James Gordon "Bo" Gritz as a con artist, first in 1983 when he was collecting money to find POW-MIAs, and again in 1992 when he ran for President on a theocratic, anti-New World Order platform. Another issue in 1994 was devoted to debunking the militia movement and its whacko personalities like Linda Thompson and Mark Koernke. Still, that doesn't excuse them from essentially being con artists in their own right selling John Rambo mercenary fantasies under a factual pretense to impressionable people. Most of the actual US military, particularly the special operations community, derisively regards Soldier of Fortune as a punchline and as the antithesis of the "quiet professional" ethos espoused by actual qualified operators. A subscription or interest in the magazine is perceived as an indicator of a phony veteran or, at the very least, a phony war hero.
No real mercenary would, of course, be caught dead reading such tripe.
 Other use of the term
Soldier of Fortune is also a series of FPS games unrelated to the magazine, in which you play as a mercenary in various locations battling African rebels, Yakuza, Russians, Iraqi soldiers, and neo-Nazis. General consensus is that the first two games are actually pretty decent, though the third one (which was made by a different developer) is agreed to suck a load of donkey balls. They're all known for being extremely gory, especially by the standards of the time, allowing you to splatter enemies' limbs and heads like watermelons. They also included hit-boxes for the groin, so you could kill terrorists with shots to the testicles.