Question of the Day: Are Pink Guns Blurring The Line between Toys and Tools?



Walk into a gun shop and you’ll find at least one of the new “pink guns.” They’re cute, almost cuddly. I have nothing against this weird phenomena. I’m all for personal preference. I’ve chuckled at images of the “Hello-Kitty AR” and some of the other whimsical firearms paint/Duracoat jobs that have risen to Internet stardom. I read TTAG’s review of Charter Arms Chic Lady and RF’s post on pink holsters without gagging once. I drive a powder-blue car. I’ve even given consideration to a (not so) extreme visual makeover for some of my own firearms. And then I had an experience that changed the way I think pink . . .

I was standing in a gun-shop in middle Pennsylvania trying to get ANYONE behind the desk to answer a few questions. A man walked in with two kids, maybe seven and eight-years-old. The underage browsers hovered at the counter while Dad bought ammo and talked with the clerk.

They were identifying guns in the display case when they got into an argument over a “pink gun.” They were utterly convinced it was a toy. The girl thought it was cool because it “looked so real.”

Dad asked them several times what his rule was for guns. “We always ask you first if we want to see a gun,” they said in bored unison. They had a grasp on firearms safety; they knew never to touch a gun without permission. BUT neither of them thought the “pink gun” met the criteria of being a “gun” they had to ask Dad about.

The clerk behind the counter [eventually] told me it wasn’t uncommon for him to hear kids talking about the “toy” guns in the display case. He mentioned it so matter-of-factly that it about sat me down.

So here’s the issue: are pink guns blurring the lines between toy and tool? Are they defeating our efforts at firearms safety education? Are paint jobs a safety hazard? I remember having toy guns out the wazzoo as a kid, but I also remember my first real firearm.

There was a clear difference for me; I could go out and play soldier with my buddies all day long in the yard with our toys. But even touching the real gun meant talking with Dad first. If a paint job on a toy is meant to make it obvious that it’s a toy and not real (ie: strange colors, orange tips etc.), are we setting ourselves up for failure by painting real guns to look like toys?

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About Benjamin T. Shotzberger

Ben is an aspiring gun-writer caught up in the pursuit of playing with firearms for a living. He spends his days grinding his way up the corporate ladder and wishing for 5pm. His nights.. well the details of how he spends those are private.. His childhood dreams of chasing "bad guys" for a living met the unfortunate reality of student loans, bills, and promotion potential. Ben resides in the Northern Virginia area and enjoys long walks.. to the range. Ben is always on the lookout for new article ideas. Have a firearm you want reviewed? A product tested? Your suggestions are welcome!

20 Responses to Question of the Day: Are Pink Guns Blurring The Line between Toys and Tools?

  1. Hey now, Gabe Suarez thinks they are FABulous.

  2. avatarNeonCat says:

    It probably doesn’t hurt. Toy guns nowadays are brightly colored – they are not all black or green like they were when I was a child. And pink is so safe. I would not be surprised to hear about a child accidentally shooting someone because they thought it was a toy.

    When I was shopping for a sidearm for my sister, I not for one second considered a pink one. I wanted to find one that positively oozed lethality so that hopefully the mere sight of it would cause an attacker to back down. I’m not sure a pink (in whole or in part) gun will necessarily communicate to an assailant that you mean to use lethal force if required.

    • avatarRalph says:

      My GF would rather set her hair on fire than carry a pink gun. If she ever has to throw down on a BG, she wants him to crap his pants, not compliment her color sense.

  3. avatarTyler D. says:

    All my guns have gold tiger stripes so mistaking them for a toy is very unlikely….

  4. avatarYawner says:

    It’s a weapon….not an accessory.

    • avatarnatalie says:

      If I may… It’s actually a weapon *and* and accessory. And pink is not horrendous, but if I had to go with a color, I prefer white.
      It’s important to remember that many women think very differently about guns from the way men do. And the fact that one doesn’t like pink doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t like “cute”.

      I think this post raises a very important point. My response is that the firearms industry is changing significantly. And that means accommodating all sorts of shooters and their personal preferences. There may soon come a time when the kiddos have to ask dad (or mom) whether they can touch *any* gun, real or toy. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. This post is a fantastic word of caution to gun owners- especially parents. At the same time, I applaud many of the manufacturers who are making an effort to attract a wider variety of people to the shooting sports through customization and color, be it white, pink or polka dot.

  5. avatarporschespeed says:

    The libertarian in me says the ‘Ma Deuce Super Soaker Tribute Edition’ should be distributed freely and openly.

    As a practical matter, I do understand how even a (semi) responsible child could mistake the pink P380 as something other than a “real” firearm.

    I enjoy the irony of a Hello Kitty H&K. I get that some marketing whiz kid thinks that the only thing preventing more women from buying the firearm is ‘it just doesn’t match my outfits’. (Yeah, that’s it. Black goes with everything. So does stainless.)

    Though we only draw if we have to, and shoot if we must, I want the bad guy to know by looking my woman likely has a firearm, not a squirt gun in her hand.

  6. avatarDon says:

    Pink is not the issue. Real guns looking like toys or toy guns looking real — those are the issues. Toy guns should look like toys and real guns should look real.

    • avatarEric S says:

      Totally agree. That Red, White, & Blue Springfield XD that shows up in pictures looks very toyish. It’s also something gang members have been doing lately apparently; spray-painting their guns to look like toys to they don’t get them taken away when the cops serve a search warrant. I don’t know how well that works though.

    • avatarRob Crawford says:

      Toy guns should look like guns. If they don’t, what’s the point?

      Kids should be taught that, yes, it’s a toy, but they should still NEVER point it at a cop. Ideally should put it down when there’s a cop around.

  7. avatarRalph says:

    I’m waiting for Smith & Wesson to make a “Joe Camel” .45 marketed to that critical teen demographic. That’s when I’ll know that the apocalypse is near.

  8. avatarNick Konstantin says:

    Real guns are real guns no matter what color they are. When educating children on guns, that should be part of the conversation. While working by a Housing project in the Bronx I learned that the gun dealers would paint their UZIs fluorescent colors to make them blend in with the water guns. It worked because they openly carried them in the street. So if they can fool trained police offers then fooling kids is not a stretch. Sooner or later the police officers got wise to this and avoided them altogether. Children should learn the same lesson.

  9. Forcing society to live by the capabilities of children is what has lead to “safety caps” that seniors can’t possibly open and other nonsense.

  10. avatarKarl Hicks says:

    after 32+ years of marriage i was finally able to get my wife to try target shooting, she enjoyed it. my wife wanted pink range bag, pink ear muffs, and a pink glock, we where unable to get the glock in pink, but my wife still has her pink range bag and ear muffs. some woman will feel more interested in target shooting if there where some color choices other then black and chrome as my wife puts it (girl colors)

    • avatarRustic Bliss says:

      First of all- why is it a given that a pink gun owner has kids? Not all women have children. Second- anyone – man or woman that is leaving guns in the reach of children should not have a gun- or a kid! And third-Just like men prefer one type of gun over another- so do women. Guys get their pistols dura coated- they have accessories- why can’t women? I feel that this is just another way that certain men (not my husband and def not all men) can try to put the barrier between Firearms and women.
      I love To shoot. My husband bought me all the pink accessories. I Am not a girly girl- but I do not want to be one of the guys either. So if a pink pistol make me feel more comfortable- confident and happy- then why not! I am in the market for a glock 26. I don’t know if I would want the rack pink or maybe just the trigger. But I feel that as long as the woman is protecting herself- being smart, educated and careful and making sure her kids are educated and the pistols are locked away properly- then why not? No child should ever get their hands on a pistol- Pink, Green, Black or Silver! If the concern is that the kids will mistake it for a toy- then she/ he/ they should not be a gun owner- but they should not be a parent!
      As for an encounter with a bad guy and a female with a pink gun…The bullets shoot the same as the traditional ones! My problem is the extra $50 tacked on for pink guns.

  11. avatarJoseph P. Martino says:

    I practice regularly with an airsoft 1911 (basement, back yard). Other than the orange tip, it LOOKS like a real 1911. I don’t want anyone getting confused by its looks. I’d rather have it in black than in pink.

    My wife doesn’t worry about whether her gun matches her outfit, since it’s carried inside her purse anyway.

  12. avatarjk says:

    Much ado about nothing. So what do some of you brainiacs think an “acceptable” color for a weapon might be? Am I to be called onto the carpet for painting my sniper rifle desert cammo? Or my 1911 frame green? If I want the slide of my XD45 to be zebra striped, that’s my business…no one elses.

    • avatarNeonCat says:

      I dunno, what’s the color of the chip on your shoulder?

      What you do with your property is indeed your business. That doesn’t mean people here can’t question whether pink guns might seem toy-like and cause problems down the road, starting with dead kids and ending in breathless media reports about “WEAPON TRAFFICKERS LURING CHILDREN TO THEIR DOOM WITH TOY-LIKE GUNS”.

      Thank you for calling me a brainiac, though. It helps my self-esteem.

  13. avatarPatriot Henry says:

    “So here’s the issue: are pink guns blurring the lines between toy and tool?”

    I’ve never seen a pink toy gun. Have you?

    It’s a sign of the new popularity of firearms, particularly among women, although I’d presume members of the “Pink Pistols” must also like “pink pistols” (no pun intended). It’s ugly and but all in all it’s a good thing.

  14. avatarExNuke says:

    There is only a line between guns and toys because the Transnational Progressives have had years to brainwash the children in the US. All Guns are Horrible, Go to Jail for making a gun with your hand and saying Bang, Even fighting in self defense when you are attacked gets you punished/expelled/arrested (you are supposed to lay down and die until the Police get there then like a cartoon you can get up and go about your business). Children big enough to physically handle a gun need to be trained, even a 5 year old can be taught the difference between a toy, a BB/pellet gun and a real gun. If his/her butt burns for mishandling any one of them they will react correctly when left alone. You can’t keep a child safe from drowning by never letting them get close to water and screaming that it’s dangerous. They won’t stay children forever, why handicap them?

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