The Column, No. 7:

Euro-Trash Styling Comes to Firearms

By Chuck Hawks

The 21st Century has seen the introduction of what I call "Euro-trash" styling into mainstream firearms for sale in the North American market. The superfluous, angular, awkward, and impractical (not to mention downright ugly) styling that has infected some European motorcycles (see your BMW dealer for details) has now appeared on sporting rifles and shotguns.

Illustration courtesy of Benelli.

"Clumsy" is a word that neatly describes the styling details of Euro-trash guns. Stock lines are purposely angular, often with large or hooked pistol grips that do not integrate well into the overall shape of the gun. Recoil pads take unusual shapes, often triangular. The squared-off forearms tend to slant up or down from the line of the barrel and include non-functional ridges, finger grooves, and the like. Trigger guards are formed in purposeless trapezoidal or blob-like shapes, sometimes with squared fronts as seen on combat pistols. Magazines bulge from the bottom of receivers designed not to appear trim or streamlined. And ejection ports tend to be small, impeding the single loading of cartridges.

Euro-trash styling intentionally departs from the smooth, flowing lines of traditional firearms, seemingly without regard to function or the shape of the human body. The eye of the viewer does not travel smoothly across these guns; it jerks from one intrusive element to another. The Benelli R1 rifle (see photo above) and Browning Cynergy shotgun (pictured below) are good examples of Euro-trash styling as applied to firearms.

Cynergy field shotgun

Illustration courtesy of Browning.

As consumers, we don't have to accept ugly, functionally flawed firearms. We can choose to spend our dollars for handsome guns. Browning, for example, offers the Citori Lightning shotgun and the A-Bolt II Medallion rifle in their line; both are high quality, handsome and traditionally styled firearms.

Like most fashion fads, the Euro-trash guns will, relatively quickly, pass into obsolescence. Nothing is more transitory than radical fashion. Their resale value will then be lower than that of their enduring, traditional counterparts. Another good reason to avoid the Euro-trash style.

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Copyright 2004 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.