“Girly” pink firearms have become mainstream. Most major companies make them, and the reactions range from “cute!” to “ghastly!” —and enough people buy them to keep them in the product line-up. Sky-blue or yellow guns seem less common, and fewer companies market zebra-pattern or polka-dot finishes. So why pink?
Originally, it must have been a simply way of designating a ladies’ model. As a novelty, it worked. Parents bought pink Crickett .22 rifles for their daughters and men bought pink revolvers for their ladies. Most ladies I know scoff at the idea, preferring black. But enough of them buy pink guns for themselves to suggest that providing the color option is still profitable. Charter Arms reports that their “Pink Lady” .38Spl revolver is their highest seller in the product line-up. If the color makes a firearms look cuter to your daughter—or even to your son, what’s the harm?
The complaints about pink guns are several. The first one is that “Deadly weapons should look serious. Pink isn’t serious.” Although pink Cricketts and other .22 rifles can be used as weapons, they are hardly intended as such. Pink showed up in recreational firearms first. Later, the owners discovered that the stock and grip colors had no effect on performance. The other is “The color makes the gun too visible”. True, pink is more noticeable than subdued earth tones, but it’s hardly as bright as the mainstream shiny stainless. Further, low visibility isn’t always the goal—consider the disarming effect of a pink-gripped pistol used for open carry. The owner could hardly be accused of being a Rambo wannabe. At the same time, the guns remain fully functional and often the furniture or grips can be switched to a more subdued color in minutes.
Non-gunnies notice pink guns and talk about them. That’s great — especially if the topic revolves around the color choice instead of the legitimacy of the gun itself. The color choices, by the way, are very culture-specific: read up on the color symbolism in other cultures if you’d like a chuckle. In the US, blue and red have been the colors reserved for training and Simunition guns, but one cannot rely on the color alone for safety. I’ve seen rifles in 6.8mm and inert trainers in the same fluorescent green. And the multicolor laminate stocks…you find your own symbolism in the rainbow of hues those carry! Just as Ford used to offer only black cars and camera makers gave the choice between black and chrome, gun makers used to offer only three main choices of black, stainless and wood. I even remember when the option of stainless and black synthetic was controversial. “Real guns are made of wood and blue steel” people said. Today, cars come in many colors, as do cameras and—who would have thought—guns do as well.