Christmas gun ads

On How to Be a Retronaut, a seasonal gallery of Christmas gun ads, including this sugar-addled, gift-crazed lad with a rifle and a thousand-yard stare.

Christmas Guns


  1. Mine was a Daisy 50-shot pump. True-to-cliche, first thing I did was load it up: carefully count out 50 BBs, guide ’em into the “magazine” tube, marvel at the engineering and heft, strike a pose. Then I removed them all — I counted — and gave it a few pumps for a dry-fire in the house: careful aim, controlled exhalation, gently squeeze the trigger and POP-CRASH-YIKES a perfect shot breaking the glass framing my sister’s photo on the wall. Small consolation that the shatter pattern indicated a perfect eye shot…”You go outside with that thing right now!”

    1. And thus the first commandment of gun safety was learned the hard way – all guns are loaded all the time, and should be treated as such.

  2. Yeah, we get it. You don’t like guns, so he’s “sugar-addled” and has a “thousand yard stare”. To me, he looks like a normal, happy kid on Christmas.

    1. Not exactly… to me, he looks like an advertiser’s uncanny-valley version of a happy kid, but yea, nothing really strange in that.

    2. Well it’s the dissonance, isn’ t it?  Guns, whatever you may think of them, admire the engineering or whatever, the overwhelming utility of them is to kill something, either your meat or a marauder.   Christmas is supposed to be about peace and goodwill toward one’s fellow human (reindeerblammo – notwithstanding).  So do you see how giving guns for Christmas might set up some irony?  …no?  ah well.

      1. …the overwhelming utility of them is to kill something, either your meat or a marauder.

        Kinda-sorta, but only kinda-sorta. I’ve owned a few guns in my day, and I’ve never killed anything (one exception: I once put a groundhog who had been been hit by a car and crawled into our pasture out of its misery, but I admit that this made me cry).

        Yes, most people who have guns hunt — and I understand that “overwhelming” is a qualifier — but I think life is more interesting when attention is also paid to the margins.

      2. The few times I’ve fired a gun, the enjoyment has had nothing to do with killing, and everything to do with causing uncanny action at a distance. I understand that the primary purpose of guns is to cause harm to living things (at a distance), and so I do indeed appreciate the irony … But nothing would have made me happier as a child than to have received a BB gun at Christmas. (Probably a good thing in retrospect – I do have a hint of ginger in my facial hair.)

      3. To me, they’re one of the ultimate perversions of technology.  We took physics and mechanics and materials science and engineering and machining… and made a device whose sole purpose is to kill and maim.  It makes me sad.

        1. “… a device whose sole purpose is to kill and maim.”

          No, some of them are intended to knock down walls or sink ships. If someone happens to be standing too close, tant pis.

      4. Guns, whatever you may think of them, admire the engineering or whatever, the overwhelming utility of them is to kill something, either your meat or a marauder.

        Funny story, my dad worked on a mining smelt plant and due to changes in rules and techniques they just couldn’t super heat the stack to burn off the slag anymore. So the options were to special build a collapsible and removable cherry picker like rig with a built in jackhammer-like attachment on it (and train people to run it) OR just have a guy lowered in on a harness with a 10 gauge shotgun with shells specially loaded with sand (and it wasn’t like there wasn’t a dearth of people trained in guns in that line of work).

  3. While I occasionally enjoy the glances into previous culture that retro-ads provide, I actually didn’t find these very strange or enlightening (possible exception of the daisy ad, with the entire family standing around holding guns).

    Not the best art or copy in the ads, but I didn’t find them particularly weird.

  4. When the population was much much smaller and there was plenty of open land a teenager could go hunting and no one thought anything of hearing gun shots. I was way up country on a ranch and wished I had my 22. My mother sent it to me in the mail thus violating untold laws. 
    I learned about rifling when I tried shooting wild rabbits with 22 longs. The gun had been used with scatter shot for birds. No matter how careful I was the shot never got closer than 10 feet of the target. That was the last time I ever used it.
    Now there’s hardly a safe place left to use even a BB gun.

  5. I was over at my sister’s house earlier today. The nephews were getting ready to try out  their new Xmas shooting irons as I left to go home. They live out in the country where it’s legal to shoot. Unfortunately, they have enough neighbors with shooting irons and a hankering to use them, that it sometimes sounds like a battle scene from a war movie. Mostly just target shooting, but the dogs drag up deer parts in various states of decay every month or two. Ahhhh, the country life.

  6. Guns are “…the ultimate perversions of technology.  …  a device whose sole purpose is to kill and maim.”

    Really?  Seriously, really?

    My Christmas present today was one of these:

    The purpose of that device is to win medals or trophies, to help me clear my mind as I go through my daily “firing line yoga”, and to provide me with a beautiful art object to display in my home.  Feel free to take your “sole purpose is to kill and main” and shove it where it belongs, the garbage.

    As for those vintage ads, I see in them 8 different firearms or air guns that I have owned at one time or another.  Not one was ever used to “kill and maim”.

    Crap.  I’m supposed to know better than to respond to trolls…

    1. Seriously. I’ve owned firearms for years, and while their primary design purpose is as  a weapon, the only things that have ever come to harm through their use has been wood, paper and clay. No bloodlust, just the thrill of skill and precision, plus the discipline necessary to be very accurate at a distance.

      BTW – Meeting up with my brother and dad in about a half hour to go to the range. Gonna see if I can sign up for the next bowling pin shoot.

  7. Hey, let’s not bother with any critical thinking here, let’s just enjoy the holiday that a million butchered heathens bought us!  Pass the cruelty-free eggnog, will you?

  8. I guess going to the skeet or trap range to shoot at targets is a terrible unjustified maiming of clay that was just minding its own business.  Oh the humanity.  But you know, since the only purpose for guns is killing and maiming, then the clay had it coming.

    It’s hard to imagine that not so many decades ago, high schools had shooting ranges and marksmanship clubs, and kids would carry their rifles to school.  I wasn’t alive back then, but its amazing how quickly things changed.

  9. I would just like to say that my 4yo son got shot in the neck by a kid who got a pellet gun for Christmas yesterday.  The police were involved, and 2 kids had their Christmas day ruined by an adult who thought it was a good idea to buy a 10yo a gun and use it unsupervised.

  10. A Christmas Story trivia:

    In the original Jean Shepherd radio-show recounting of the Christmas BB-gun story, the weapon that young Shep pines for is a Daisy. He considered the Red Ryder model a sad toy.

  11. Hmm, there’s something unnervingly familiar about that face…I’VE GOT IT! Fifteen years after that photo was taken, he picked up a guitar and wrote “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”!

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