The Gun Industry's Nine Most Outrageous Marketing Ploys - Rolling Stone
Home Politics Politics Lists

The Gun Industry’s Nine Most Outrageous Marketing Ploys

How gunmakers are pushing their deadly products on new customers

Scott Olson/Getty Images

As I write about in my latest Rolling Stone feature, "The Gun Industry's Deadly Addiction," the firearms industry is in trouble. Its best customers are old Southern white men who are already armed to the teeth. To prop up sales, gunmakers today are marketing military-bred weaponry to civilians – guns which the industry touts for their high-tech precision and "stopping power." The firearms industry is also working feverishly to broaden its customer base, seeking to put these deadly weapons in the hands of kids, women of all ages, and a generation of young men raised on the virtual firepower of video games like Call of Duty.

Read on for a gallery documenting how the most dangerous industry in America markets its wares.

By Tim Dickinson

Sig Sauer

Commando Cred

After more than a decade of the U.S. being at war, any connection to the armed forces has become a powerful marketing tool for gunmakers like Sig Sauer.


Modern Sporting Rifles?

The gun lobby insists that AR-15s and similar semiautomatics are not "assault weapons" – they're "modern sporting rifles." But gunmakers themselves hype the military-grade firepower of their products. Bushmaster, the maker of the rifle used by Newtown killer Adam Lanza, peddles an "Adaptive Combat Rifle" on the civilian market.


A Sniper Rifle of His Own

Gunmaker Barrett specializes in selling military-grade, anti-personnel and anti-materiel sniper rifles to couch potatoes who like to imagine themselves as members of the Special Forces. The tagline says it all.


You’re on Your Own, Ladies

The industry has long sold guns to women through fear, with messages that suggest that only a gun in the house will stop an intruder or sexual predator in time. What’s new is that the industry's determination to sell battlefield weapons to women. The Five-seveN pistol was designed to fire rounds capable of piercing body armor in combat. It's now sold as a "Ladies' Home Companion."

National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day

Girl (Fire) Power

Little girls as young as six are also in gunmakers' sights. The industry has even dreamed up "National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day," where little ones can learn to shoot AR-15s "like a girl." Check out the event's creepy logo.

Zombie Industries

Zombie Hunting

To appeal to millennials, the industry has taken a cue from Hollywood and the video game industry, turning shooting ranges into "Zombies" hunts. Zombie Industries markets 3-D dummies of the undead that either "bleed" zombie goo when you shoot them or "burst into little pieces of blood soaked, Zombie matter." This model is disturbingly called "The Ex."

In This Article: Gun control

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.