Playing Toys with Guns

Yes, we’ll explain that weird title. Here’s a snip from an Officer Safety message going around:


An AR pistol Cerakoted in Nerf livery. Oh, brother. Nuclear Dumb Idea in the Megaton Range? Let’s zoom in, at the cost of some grain:


They must have found this online somewhere… we checked in the usual domains of derp, like /r/guns and Arfcom GD, and struck out; we finally found it, actually, in this Picture of the Day post at The Firearm Blog. Which has a better picture, used as a promo by the outfit that Cerakoted it. It’s obviously the source of the Officer Safety images, so while the alert may have originated in Hangover, it doesn’t look like the gun did, taking “Midwest” Cerakote at their name’s word.

Midwest Cerakote Nerf AR

At TFB they take a cautious, not alarmist, view.

Before some of you have knee jerk reactions remember we do not know what the owner plans to use this for. I like to be optimistic that he will be a responsible firearm owner. From a custom paint job perspective I think Midwest Cerakote nailed the Nerf blaster look. The accent orange color looks well chosen. The magazine is the only issue I have. It should be orange. Most Nerf “clips” are orange. Hasbro calls then “clips” even though we all know better.

I know some of you will think the worst and that this is how someone gets shot. Well my response is simply that it is the responsibility of the person using the item. There is no problem painting a gun however you want it. As long as you use it responsibly. Same with realistic toy guns. Don’t point them at cops. Don’t use them in an area that could be seen and mistaken as a real gun. Or vice versa for toy painted guns. If people remember to not be morons, we would not have problems. Do what you want that makes you happy. Just do so safely and responsibly.

It’s an interesting and libertarian view. But you see, the problem isn’t this probable safe-queen AR that someone spent a lot of money on. The problem is that cops can’t un-see that, as the kids say. And now they know that what looks Nerf might not be Nerf. While the public concern might be that some cop is going to go fangs-out and blow Little Joey and his Nerf Blaster from here to Johannesburg, we don’t think that’s the real problem. Street cops, who have enough worries already, are now trying to sail the strait between the Scylla of toys that look like guns and the Charybdis of guns that look like toys. Most likely outcome? Cops are going to wait a bit and keep processing for a few more clock cycles until they’re sure, or at least more confident, about what it is that somebody’s holding.

Historically, cop restraint has saved a lot of lives when people were doing something dumb that could have gotten them shot, but who didn’t actually need shooting. Almost every cop has a story of someone he could have shot but he’s glad he didn’t. And cop restraint has also landed a lot of officers an entry on the Officer Down Memorial Page. It’s a safe bet that nobody on that page really wanted to go there, that day.

Well, we can’t unring the bell, un-release the stuff from Pandora’s box, or un-you-know-what the cluster, so we’re going to have to live in a world without bright lines between the physical appearances of guns and toys from here on in.

So we might as well appreciate some of these artworks, then. TFB has some other examples, both of guns painted like toys and toys painted like guns, so you should Read The Whole Thing™ even if just for the pictures alone.

We remember an AR done in John Deere green and yellow and thought it was amusing (and we knew a guy who did that with his gyroplane: Deere’s lawyers sent him a nasty threat). And here’s a Cerakote job on an actual Nerf gun (different from the ones at the TFB link, this one’s from Tom’s Custom Coatings in Ohio).


Cerakoters are getting extremely creative. Here’s one we liked from the same dude that did the Nerf gun above. Meet the Star Wars themed Imperial Stormtrooper AR :

vader AR 1

Of course, most of these images embiggen for more detail. It purports to come from Vader Arms. We bet he got the contract after a galaxy-wide search.

vader AR 2

We’ve all probably been accused of playing with guns at some point. But it looks like some people really do it.

18 thoughts on “Playing Toys with Guns

  1. Ernie

    Slipped in a Warren Zevon reference there I notice.
    Trivia note: the distance from Mombasa to Johannesburg is 1707 miles. A fair distance to blow ‘ol Van Owen.
    More trivia: The film The Lost World: Jurassic Park has characters named Nick Van Owen and Roland Tembo, as a tribute to the song.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I didn’t know that. That’s extremely cool. In the 70s and 80s, Roland was one of the unofficial official songs of SF.

      1. OBob

        Quick story of the my mother’s cousin’s neighbor’s plumber variety. The cop I bought my Thompson from (prior to him acquiring it) went to the range with a Thompson-owning cop friend of his who was moonlighting as a security guard at a Zevon concert along with the man himself. How amazingly cool wound that have been!!!!! I would have loved just to watch.

      2. archy

        ***I didn’t know that. That’s extremely cool. In the 70s and 80s, Roland was one of the unofficial official songs of SF.***

        Also of the French Foreign Legion, along with Gloria Gaynor’s *I will survive,*</I from the same general time period. It was also the last song Zevon ever performed in front of an audience, on David Letterman's Late Show before his death in 2003.

        Zevon scored another military fave on his 2002 album *My ride’s here* with his tune *The Hockey Song [Hit Somebody!]* a big favourite with Brit troops in Canada at the Canadian BATUS training centre in Suffield, Alberta, near Medicine Hat. Particularly, the Gurkhas inespecially seemed to really love it my last trip up that way, and gleefully come in loud and proud with the *Hit Somebody!* line in the chorus . Go Buddy! Hit somebody!

    2. LSWCHP

      Yeah I saw that too. Zevon’s greatest hits is on constant rotation in my car, and me and my boys always sing along to Roland.

  2. Calimero

    I guess this is a side effect of the mainstreaming of firearms.

    From tools with a martial background to target shooting implements to lifestyle objects.

    It’s now cool (again ?) to own and personalize guns (exhibit A: instagram). Sometimes you’ll end up with bad taste, things that make no sense aside from the “wow!” factor.

    But I’d rather have millions more gun owners (including guys who’ll want to show off an AR from Cobal Kinetic instead of a bare-bone Stag Arms M4rgery) than keep it pure and … dying.

    Here in Europe we lost the war by hiding in our fox holes (safe spaces in 2016 parlance) years ago, making gun ownership something confidential, elitist. Things are slowly changing thanks to the internet, but it’s a very slow process.

    1. William O. B'Livion

      Is it bad taste to what to get my Glock 26 painted to look like an American Express card?

      1. Hognose Post author

        That would be possible using hydrographics. I’d run the picture. Hot tip — don’t use your own Amex number.


    Those kinds paint jobs are amusing to me

    I remember the Hello Kitty painted AR15 from years ago. and the yellow Dewalt AR

    Just because you can, don’t mean you should, in some of these cases. This is another one of those no easy answers, liberty can be messy situations, when it comes to making the Po Po nervous

    1. archy

      ***I remember the Hello Kitty painted AR15 from years ago. and the yellow Dewalt AR***

      Not sure about the Hello Kitty piece, but I’m pretty sure either the yellow DeWalt AR M4gery and/or Kate, the female cutie and vehicle that went with it were assoiciated with Thumper over at THR.

  4. archy

    As with many tools in the DeWalt line, there were additional tools for similar if sometimes overlapping purposes. As an example, the DeWalt Hand Nailer:

  5. Cap'n Mike

    Interesting to see where that officer safety notice originated.
    Those things are like chain letters.

    Another possible outcome with the Nerf AR is that someone oblivious could pick it up thinking its a nerf gun and shoot a friend or family member unintentionally.

    1. Paul Rain

      True, but chain letters from relatively well-informed and cynical sources. I expect the ratio of ‘here’s a new way to hide your stash’ bulletins to those saying ‘be aware of this new drug called Jenkem’ is pretty high.

  6. Tim, '80s Mech Guy

    Always wanted to do a Barretta 1951 or a Colt .380 in blue with orange grips, the dart guns of my youth. Still have both eyes. Probably not the best idea.

    Picked up a pink Red Ryder for my daughter, hugely disappointed, no power and no accuracy. On round ten or so I smacked a squirrel that was dumping the bird feeder, he just looked at me and I think he flipped me off. Everything is chicom crap now.

    Cop I used to hunt with almost lit up a couple kids with Crosman pellet revolvers years back. They compiled when the Surefire hit them but it was close.

    Kids need to be taught to respect firearms early but they aren’t and the mostly indifferent masses hand them a Nerf or a paintball gun and send them hither assumidly not worried about risk.

  7. archy

    Make note to self: pick up a crappy used M16A1/A2 flashhider cheap at the next gun show, and hit it with the can of hi-temp Dodge Hi-Performancer Hemi Orange spray paint. Just because I can.

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