“Papa Says It’s Safe”: 20 Astounding Gun Ads

The firearms industry sure knows how to tempt its audience.

Advertisements for guns have long been used to stoke fear, offer a little testosterone boost, or give the potential owners—particularly the core target audience of young men—a taste of the good life as a cowboy, cop, soldier, or videogame combatant. Here are some samples through the years beginning with Bushmaster, manufacturer of the rifle allegedly used in the Newtown school shooting. 

Bushmaster rifle ad in, where else, Maxim. Bushmaster

It’s all about progress. Bushmaster


Start ’em young. Mattel


Sig Sauer


How many people buying a Sig would be stoked to win a Smart Car?

Subtle. Remington


Daniel Defense

Yes, there is a gun-maker called Savage Arms, and this is its logo. Savage Arms

Buy NOW, or else. USA Ammo


EAA Corp.

You’re welcome, ladies. Taurus

Your trusty revolver vs. the well-dressed criminal. Smith & Wesson

The “home protection” theme goes way back. Smith & Wesson


On the other hand, safety used to be more of a marketing pitch. Colt

The original Homer Simpson bowling ball gift. Colt


Start him right. Winchester

…okay, start ’em REALLY young. “Papa says it won’t hurt us.” Iver Johnson