True confession time. Today I may have lots of black guns, but there was a time when color mattered to me. Years ago I decided I had to have a Glock, seeing as how I was struggling with a string of malfunctions during every range session while my friends with Glocks just kept shooting. But they’re ugly, I said silently as I watched them enjoy their more reliable guns. After some searching, I found the solution: a custom-Cerakoted, new Glock 17 in what I thought (still think) is a nice digital camo design. I made it mine, and went on to enjoy sending thousands of rounds through it.
Spend time on most any social media gun forum, and sooner or later the issue of color will come up. This is especially true for guns marketed to women, which are often brightly colored. Does it matter?
This one is simple. Of course, a round fired out of a chartreuse or pink gun can kill or maim just like any other.
I hear from many new female gun owners that they wanted a gun that looks pretty. I’ve heard from many husbands and boyfriends, who wish to encourage interest in guns on behalf of their female partner, that they selected a pink- or turquoise-colored frame as a gift.
If gun color helps to introduce and embrace new interest in guns, then this is a positive to having virtually unlimited color choices. This is true so long as new gun owners treat the gun as a deadly weapon first and foremost. Though it may feel good to carry and use a colored gun, considering it a fashion accessory potentially invites negligent gun handling. When any gun, especially an eye-catching one, carried or shown around on social media for the world to see along with identifying information, it may attract theft or otherwise undesirable attention from strangers.
As the color and even the shape of guns on the market become more imaginative, the visual characteristics of toy versus real guns becomes more blurred. Most of use have seen in the news at least one instance of a person wielding a realistic-looking BB or airsoft gun in the presence of police being taken down based on the appearance of the situation. Likewise, a child or teen could potentially mistake a brightly-colored, even water-pistol-shaped real gun for a toy. Regardless of color or how “playful” the shape of a gun may appear, real guns must always be secured to prevent access by children. This is perhaps especially true of guns that are treated with colors that also hold prominence on the toy aisle like pink or crimson.
Generally speaking, guns are concealed in dark places. Holster purses, waistbands, and pant cuffs are all examples. “Concealed” means just that, and a bright gun—which could include polished stainless steel, gold- or silver-tone inlay as well as frame color—can make concealment more challenging. That said, if you’re a light-skinned person who usually wears bright colors, the opposite could be true.
It’s common sense to know that most violent crime happens when the perpetrator enjoys the cover of darkness. Practicing gun use dark conditions, including with a flashlight, is a very good idea. Many people find that bright or polished gun surfaces impair their ability to focus on the target. For this reason, both textured and dark surfaces are often preferable. This can include the rear sight as well as the gun itself.
You Do You
If you prefer a colorful gun, enjoy it! Some are lovely expressions of artistic talent; others simply make a statement in color. And color has the power to lift moods and create new avenues for conversation.
If you own that gun for protection, it must operate correctly all the time—no matter the color or finish. Always be objective about your guns and gear; avoid being “in love” with these possessions. Love really is blind—and you cannot afford to sacrifice reliable, safe operation for the sake of appearance. Remember that reliability can change as guns, holsters, ammunition, and such are exposed to time, weather, sweat, and general use, especially if maintenance is neglected.
Eve Flanigan is a defensive shooting and concealed carry instructor living in the American Southwest. Today she works full time as an instructor and writer in the gun industry. Flanigan loves helping new and old shooters alike to develop the skills needed to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.