The Column, No. 79:

No Pink Rifle

By Major Van Harl, USAF Ret

I bought a used Marlin Model 336, lever action rifle in .30-30 caliber a few weeks back. It looked pretty rough and the bore was rather dark, but I got it for $200. Considering a new Model 336 is $600, I thought I got a good deal.

When I got it home, I found the butt stock was cracked and the rifle was filthy inside. I took the entire rifle apart and cleaned it. I got the surface rust off, cleaned the bore untill it shined and repaired the cracked stock.

My daughter was home from college that weekend, so I handed her the Marlin and told her it was her new rifle. She put it to her shoulder and stated she would have no problem shooting it.

You can buy synthetic replacement stocks for the Marlins and I was looking for one in pink. Pink is the color that the firearms industry is using to try and attract more female buyers. They make pink handguns and put pink stocks on rifles and shotguns. They make pink boxes of ammo. I found a pink rifle case at a sporting goods store and considered buying it for the daughter, but no luck so far finding a pink replacement stock for the Marlin.

Young girls do not naturally gravitate toward firearms the way young boys do. The first toy handgun I got as a small child was somehow left at my great grandmother’s home. Years later she found it and gave it to my parents. My father mounted it on a plaque and it has hung on a wall in my home for over 35 years. Dad did not mount one of my sister’s Barbie dolls on a plaque so they could have it on their wall. I guess I learned early in life that guns were a guy thing.

The problem is, evil does not discriminate on the basis of sex. Obviously, it is a marketing ploy of the firearms industry to use the color pink on their products to attract female buying dollars. However, the exclamation “Oh look honey, its shiny and pink,” as a firearm in a gun store catches they eye of the woman in your life is a good thing. The firearms industry is making small revolvers and pistols with pink in the grips and even embedded in the body of the handgun. The use of pink on guns seams to be working, otherwise they would have stopped doing it.

The famous M-16 rifle of US military fame, also known as the “black rifle,” is now offered in a civilian legal version in pink. This started with match grade rifles used by women who shoot in long range competition. These were custom firearms at a price the average new female shooter was not going to spend for her first gun. However, pink has worked, so more firearms companies are making their products in pink.

Yesterday, the Colonel and I went to pick up our daughter at her college campus. On the way home I told her I had found a pink case for her new rifle and did she want me to buy it for her? She advised me she was tired of pink and getting rid of some of her pink clothes. I said I understood, but this was for her rifle. I added that I had been looking for a pink replacement stock for her Marlin.

She replied, “Dad, if I have to pull out my rifle in an emergency situation, I want the bad guys to be scared poop-less (word changes for publication), not laughing at my pink girl gun. No dad, I don’t want a pink stock for the Marlin.”

My frilly, blondy-girl daughter was serious, but then I did not have to convince her to take up a firearm and be prepared to defend herself. She was shooting .22 LR rifles when she was in grade school. The pink marketing idea is intended to draw in the non-gun owning woman, who needs a little nudge to come into the light and see that shiny pink guns can help keep them safe in an increasingly dangerous world. If the color pink works to help convince a loved one that firearms are a tool to protect and defend, great. If you already have their attention about acquiring a firearm, perhaps pink is not a factor in your buying process. Could pink be a counter to evil?

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Copyright 2012 by Major Van Harl and/or All rights reserved.