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Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Friday, July 12, 2019
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Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. recently announced its new Flag Series line of firearms that feature painted flag Cerakote® and flag camo dipped finishes. Other companies, like Legacy Sports International, have been doing similar things for a while and it is totally predictable that such varied finishes would become more of a part of the marketplace in the future.


For Ruger, the first four offerings in this new series feature attractive flag finishes and are built on the following platforms: AR-556® MPR, Ruger Precision® Rimfire and PC Carbine™ rifles, as well as the AR-556 Pistol.


comus_rugerbolt
RUGER BOLT RIFLE wears a flag motif in red, white and blue, only one of many various colorations that guns are now being adorned with. Quite a change from the “basic black” of the industry some years ago.

Finishes on firearms have been going through an evolutionary process for several decades now, starting in earnest with the introduction of readily available synthetic stocks back in the ‘70s. There were synthetic (plastic) stocks a couple of decades before that, but they came in two colors – black and brown. First came the camo finishes on stocks, and that evolution is virtually complete since it is likely that more hunting rifles and shotguns now are sold with some kind of camo or non-traditional finish than are sold with traditional wood and metal finishes.


As states began requiring blaze orange outer clothing years ago, I came up with a blaze orange rifle stock, reasoning that if a regular rifle were used against a background of blaze orange on the hunter, that the movement of the rifle would be very obvious, where if the rifle and background were both blaze orange, at least there would not be the appearance of movement when the rifle needed to be repositioned, etc.


With the advent of polymer-frame pistols and AR types of rifles, the flood gates opened, because both types of arms lend themselves to about any kind of finish the maker and/or user can imagine. The basic guns are made of synthetic material, aluminum and steel – all basically with a dull, non-glare finish. That can be visually boring, so why not add some colorful pizzazz to the mix? And, red, white and blue are a nice combination, no?


Over the past couple of decades, brightly colored firearms for the most part have been the purview of the competition arm of the shooting sports industry. Both pistol race guns and sporting clays shotguns have been bright and colorful. And, exhibition shooters like John Cloherty of Southern California have been using brightly colored guns for demonstrations for years.


But it wasn’t until the past five years or so, and more markedly in the last couple of years, that companies have been adding all kinds of color to the finishes of various models. They sell, so that is the reason now for the proliferation. This trend says a lot more than just the fact that guns are becoming more colorful because now makers can do it with ease.


The true statement is about the users – the buyers and shooters. Guns are many things to different people. In the past, most of the focus has been on defense and hunting. Now, add fun to the mix. That’s right, guns are for fun and it can be more fun to shoot a colorful gun than a drab one.


I predict that this is not just a passing trend. I am convinced that more and more, we’ll be seeing more and more imagination put into the look of guns. Face it, what some folks feel is a sinister look of “assault weapons” is one of the reasons they want to outlaw them. This new trend in colorization of guns goes exactly the opposite direction.


Think of it this way. It is the logical outcome of the modularization of guns themselves. Modularization begs for virtually unlimited accessorizing. This means that the look of a given gun can be changed on a whim to fit the mood of the day for the shooter. Kind of like accessorizing basic clothing for different outings.


Think I jest? Ruger isn’t limiting its colorizing of models to the red, white and blue of the American flag. Nope. They also are offering motifs based on various state flags, etc. What great ways to have fun with guns!


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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.


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