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I had the great pleasure of sitting next to photographer Oleg Volk at the NSSF dinner at the SHOT Show. Oleg is, how do I put this gently, uncompromising. And more than slightly graphic in his moods for moderns. I mean, plans for liberals. I would not want to be a gun grabber in Oleg’s sights. Suffice it to say, we share a love of firearms freedom and a desire to leave no punch un-pulled. But I do like to pull apart his propaganda, even though I totally get the Russian immigrant’s aesthetic connection to Soviet-era posters. This image has it going on—as long as you don’t think tactically . . .

I like the implied nakedness and vulnerability. A woman in a bathroom is, all likelihood, alone. Disarmed. Other than a child (another of Oleg’s favorite themes), you can’t get any more of a potential victim than that. OK, a woman alone in parking garage at night with her footsteps echoing in the darkness. But you know what I mean.

Oleg’s exhortation to his viewers to take responsibility for their self-defense, in the same way they take responsibility for brushing their teeth, is characteristically incendiary. Oleg is teasing gun control advocates, associating the mundane with, for them, the murderous. It says “I would no more hesitate to kill an attacker than brush my teeth.” Like I said, hard-core.

There are two main problems here. First, the hand is pressed down on the counter. It’s not ready to grab the weapons of hygiene or ballistics. Secondly, the gun’s in a holster. That’s going to require a two-handed extraction. Oh, and the gun and the toothbrush are too close together.

Otherwise, I like the reminder of do-or-die self-defense—cause you’re going to die anyway and it might as well be later than sooner. I’d love to see Oleg do a poster that hones in on that sentiment even more. “To suspect your own mortality is to know the beginning of terror, to learn irrefutably that you are mortal is to know the end of terror.” Attribution? As we say in little Rhody, how you Dune?

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  1. This photo wasn’t originally intended as a poster…I took it from a set of nudes and this just happened to be what the model actually carried. The style meant to mimic 1940s British/US.

    As for the communicated sentiment, methinks you are projecting your take on me. The whole point behind the holstered pistol is that carrying is a preventive measure, not an emergency intervention…same as brushing teeth. Unholstered gun in hand would be closer to a visit to a dentist.

  2. I am a big fan of Oleg’s work. He has good taste in guns, and great taste in women. I used to think that I was paranoid for having a gun stashed in the bathroom. I do not now.

  3. I like it. It says exactly what need to be said. Protect your body. It’s yours, and no one’s going to give you a new one if some asshole kills you.

    Oleg’s strength is that he hits people emotionally. He inverts the normal anti-individualism of the liberals/progressives/whatevers, and uses the same techniques they used against them.

    Women shouldn’t have guns? What, are you sexist?
    Blacks…? … rascist?
    Gays…? … homophobic?

    He’s beating the (generally liberal) anti-gunners over the head with all the abuse they’ve heaped on us for the last 50 years. If I won the lottery tonight, I’d be on the phone with Oleg tomorrow, licensing his photos for billboards.

  4. Okay, that’s a Kel Tec PF9 pistol in a Galco IWB holster with a patented J-hook, but what’s a toothbrush?

    • Ralph,

      A toothbrush is something you dip into Hoppes No. 9 and use to remove powder residue from the crevices of firearms. For some reason, they are found in bathrooms. Women object if you use them to clean firearms AND REPLACE THEM IN BACK THE BATHROOM. Can’t understand why … but trust me, they do.

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