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Reading Ben Shotzberger’s review of the Hi-Point C9 yesterday, I was struck not by the gun’s reported unreliability. Or its, well, uninspired ergonomics. No, what hit me like a two-by-four between the eyes was how damned ugly that gun is. Bad design isn’t an accident. It doesn’t just happen. It’s achieved. Achievements like the butt-ugly C9 should be celebrated. And we’re just the people to do it . . .

We’ve all seen guns we’re sure were beaten with the ugly stick from the time they were first sketched on a bar napkin at 3:00 a.m. until they were shipped from the factory to our friendly local FFL. But picking the ugliest is like asking people who makes the best pizza. Everyone has his own opinion. Which is half the fun.

For instance, I think the Chiappa Rhino .357 with the 5″ barrel has a certain quirky, Dick Tracy steampunk kind of coolness to it.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t use the snubby Rhino to club a rat running loose in my kitchen. Yeesh. The point being, the difference between slick and sickening can be just that fine.

Now anyone can ugly up a perfectly nice looking heater with all kinds of garish paint jobs, aftermarket geegaws and cheap chotchkes.

There’s no accounting for taste. Some people will think just about anything looks good. Just look at the career of Kate Moss. No, what we’re looking for is true, profound grotesqueness here. The kind that runs straight through to the bone. Originally manufactured repugnance. Handguns, shotguns, rifles. Post your links and we’ll assemble a gallery of original stock loathsomeness for tomorrow.

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  1. Steyr Hahn. Way ugly and no ergonomics whatsoever.

    Also, a guy on the gun trader forum here in VA was selling a zebra striped AK a few months ago. That was a sight to behold.

    • Are you kidding? That’s so redneck/scrapheap/McGuyver that it actually looks kinda cool! It would be a blast to take to the range and watch other people look at you suspiciously or dive for cover thinking it would explode at any second! I assume the leaf blower or weed whacker builds up pressure? Whatever the case, this is just too funny!

  2. Yeah, that’s bad. But again, we’re looking for stock, out-of-the-box ugly. Pretty sure it didn’t come from the Chinese factory with that Scope bottle. 😉

  3. I guess the question I have is, what are the basis of the standards for deciding a gun is ugly or not, and if there are none, then we’re just going with a consensus of opinion and not any measurable standards. What is a good looking gun, and why?

    For instance, pre-war Alfa Romeos or Bugattis, Jaguars from the XK 120 up to the E-Type and many others all share common elements that motoring enthusiasts can look to and say “Ah-Ha! That’s what makes a car look good!”.

    If there’s something like that for guns, I don’t know what it is.

      • In that case, to borrow from Will Rogers, “I never met a gun I didn’t like.”


        We’re dealing with the standards of industrial design here, not art, so form must follow function, guns should not be considered as pretty for pretty’s sake, and even the ugliest gun in the world has its charms if it performs its task well.

        Aside from vulgar extremes like gold-plated Desert Eagles where the boundaries of good taste are so clearly violated and assuming the durn thing works, I think all guns have their charms: Their form is an outgrowth of their function in this case. The prettiest gun in the world is useless if it doesn’t go BANG and a big hunk o’ plastic is quite lovely if it saves my life.

        • Ugly is like pornography — I know it when I see it. Although there’s nothing worse than ugly pornography.

  4. The Japanese Nambu Type 94 pistol brought ugly to a whole new level. It was even uglier than the Nambu Type 14 with the slotted cocking knob, a pistol that looked like it should have been used for oiling machinery.

  5. I always thought that Calicos could be used as the definition of ugly.

    However; after looking at the picture of the C9 yesterday, I thought it was a sub-compact pistol because of the size of the slide compared with the grip. If a pistol is so ugly and disproportionate that it can create an illusion like that, it should probably top the list.

  6. Any Bullpup. Could never warm up to the look even though the design has its merits.

    Oh! Almost forgot. This.

    • That’s nothin’, I was at a gun show in Dallas a few wekks back and one of the locals had some .38 supers for El Jefe that were stylized with Santa Muerte.

  7. A(ny) Glock… and I don’t want to hear that they have “simple and clean lines” or are “utilitarian”… they’re ugly! Besides, saying that a modern polymer pistol has simple and clean lines is the firearm equivalent of calling the ugly girl in class “nice”! The M&P is the best looking of the bunch, and the XD(m) is funky looking, but far from ugly.

    • Hear, hear. I was going to post a sentiment just like this, but didn’t get around to it. Glocks are ugly.

  8. Beretta CX4. totally subjective and I’m sure it’s a perfectly nice carbine but it just looks like a toy

    • It IS a perfectly fine carbine. I do have to admit that my wife and I get some odd looks when we pull out a CX4 for me, and a PS90 for her at the range. Those two do not look good together.

  9. Almost any gun in a comic book or animated video drives me nuts. They usually have features all mixed and matched from several different makes and models. They are the ugliest guns.

    The second most ugly guns are guns used in sci-fi movies which are built by taking a real gun and some un-artistic sap gluing on a bunch of superfluous parts. Han Solo’s Blastech was ok, but there is no excuse for the Bladerunner gun. That thing was hideous. Robocop’s gun was also crap.


  10. I’ve always thought the Rock Island Armory M1600 was god-awful ugly and pretty much anything made by Hi-Point.

  11. The worst of ugly guns are always either designed to be “unique” or so functional that any “style” goes right out the window. Those stamped POS submachine guns of WWII were pretty ugly. Also, that .45 ACP single shot Liberator. Those were pretty ugly, but I can see why, war time functionality and cost were the only considerations. However, when Chiappa wants real money for their purposeful ugliness, it makes me feel sick to my stomach.

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