Somewhere along the way, I feel like we all forgot that guns are suppose to be fun. Arguably, they should be fun first and foremost. Right? If you ask me it’s like we all got lost in the tactical ninja forest, and we turn our noses up at anything that doesn’t come in coyote tan.
But let’s be honest, how much tactical-looking hardware do you need? I get having a no-fuss AR from home defense and a plain Jane Glock 19 for concealed carry (don’t want a jury to think you’ve been chomping at the bit to use deadly force). I’ll let that stuff slide. But not everything we own has to look like it came off the set of a Michael Bay movie.
One of the primary reasons I have 22s built in fun colors is for teaching new shooters and children. We can argue all we want about our right to open carry assault rifles in the supermarket or in a coffee shop, but sometimes it’s best to pick and choose our battles. Sometimes, we have to recognize that a scary black rifle may sour the interest of a new shooter.
Ultimately we are trying to win people over to our side of the gun divide, and beating them over the head with the Second Amendment isn’t always the best solution. Enter the cute and cuddly Ruger 10/22!
My 10/22 looks like it was designed by Care Bears. With a bright blue Tactical Solutions barrel and a blue Boyds laminate stock, it is so pretty you want to hug it. I have taught more than a few shooters from our less free Northeastern states to shoot on this puppy, and it worked a lot better than if I had brought the militia special. My 10/22 was also a lot less likely to rouse the suspicion of law enforcement than if I had brought my M&P 15-22, even though they fire the same round.
When it comes to teaching children firearm safety, it also helps to have some less-than-intimidating firearms around the house. Now, don’t get me wrong, we don’t want to send the message that guns are toys — they’re not, they’re deadly weapons (or “tools,” depending on your pedagogical approach to firearms safety) but at the same time we want to maximize the comfort and confidence for new shooters. More often than not, a comfortable and confident shooter is a safe shooter.
Also, a fruity-colored firearm may not stress out the parents of the child you’re instructing much in the way an AK-47 might. Our world has gotten very strange over the years between the preponderance of reactionary armchair QBs on social media and so-called “experts” at schools. If kids can be sent home for wearing an NRA t-shirt to school, you might not want to poke the bear depending on what region you live in. Texans may ignore that last sentence, and I’m jealous.
Let’s not leave out functionality. When I was getting a new rifle for competitions last year, they asked if I wanted a Kryptec paint job on it, something they had just started doing. Absolutely I did! And I wanted Yeti, the white snow-flage version. The dude taking my order looked at me like I was nuts, but I have my reasons.
First off, have you ever taken a look at the rifle racks at a 3-Gun match? 20 ARs in a rack, it’s hard to find yours, I don’t care if all 20 are a different brand. Not anymore. I have at the moment probably the only white AR on the circuit. I can spot it without even trying. It is awesome. What else? I carried a black rifle around in the desert for a long time. They get really hot in the sun. Just like staged rifles during the summer months. Not anymore. My Yeti gun stays noticeably cooler than my black guns did, I don’t think I will every buy another race gun that isn’t white or lightly colored. Problem solved.
My last argument for pretty guns is that it is, as I mentioned earlier, just fun. Late last year, I was digging around in my tool box and realized that I had almost enough parts laying around to build an entire AR. Between competition “check in bags,” RO giveaways, and things I had won, I had a pile of components. Putting together a true Franken-rifle seemed like an awesome idea. This would be no race car made of all titanium matched parts, it’s closer to the old Johnny Cash “One Piece at a Time.” The one part I had that truly makes this AR look different was a recently won UBR stock from Magpul.
If you have never held a UBR stock in your hands, I would encourage you to do so. It is absolutely my favorite AR buttstock, and is also the most expensive one Magpul makes — unfortunately. It locks up like a bank vault, it feels really good in your hands, and it looks as cool as the day is long. It has a unique opening style for adjustment, just an all around awesome stock. And as cool as it already is, I had some more juice to add to it.
Black Palm Syndicate is a long time sponsor of mine for 3 Gun, and they had been toying with a dye that worked great on Magpul plastics. I had received some P-mags for testing, and the dye held up fantastic. I reached out to see if they wanted to customize the butt stock, which they readily agreed to do. Magpul, always supportive of the competitive shooting sports, very helpfully let me swap UBRs for an easier to modify color. And they tossed in a pistol grip on the house when I told them about the project.
The color scheme was chosen to match the interior of my Raptor, and the way this rifle came out makes it the coolest truck gun I have ever had. Black Palm hit it out of the park on cosmetics, and the gun is surprisingly accurate considering it is literally made out of spare parts. What’s it made from exactly? Well, I’m glad AR-15s don’t have titles, that’s for sure. The upper receiver is a Nordic Components. The handguard is Barnes Precision Machine. Low profile gas block and enhanced trigger guard by Black Dawn Armory. The barrel is a Montana Rifleman, and bolt carrier is Larue Tactical. For sights, I have a set of Troy HK style folding backing up a Bushnell 1×6.5 on a Larue Mount.
Is this a pretty gun? Absolutely. Would I feel out of place with it if the zombies rose tomorrow? Absolutely not, my gun came with skulls on it.