Gun tattoo, ink, tatooo, grenade, AK-47, knife tattoo

Firearm Tattoos

Guns on Skin—A New Form of Concealed Carry?

By Maureen Hammerquist (RSS)
April 26, 2011

When the editors first contacted me about doing an article on gun tattoos, I couldn’t answer in the affirmative fast enough. Here was a way to show people something positive about being inked, and what better way than by showing body art on people passionate about shooting. After all, nearly a quarter of the American population has at least one tattoo and about half of Americans own a firearm, so statistically speaking, I was bound to find some gun ink. After a quick call to my mother to rub it in that yes indeed my knowledge of guns and tattoos would one day lead to a source of income, I set about with some more research.

Talk about a broad spectrum of shooting representation! I found a variety of long guns and handguns gracing thighs, rib cages, backs, shoulders and biceps. They are inked in the solid, bold lines of old-school style, vivid traditional colors and intricate black and gray shading. Some are realistic copies, while others are whimsically creative. Certainly, some people choose to wear macabre, desperado, macho-themed gun images, but I chose to
concentrate on art that was less intimidating. Fortunately, most of what I found consisted of tasteful and skillfully inked firearm images representing various hobbies and core beliefs.

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Gun tattoo, ink, tatooo,

Handguns, especially revolvers, are favorite choices for both men and women. Revolvers are often set at holster level, or gracing biceps and shoulder blades. On the ladies, I found some rather tantalizing lace garter holsters and detailed replicas of old-West six shooters. This nicely shaded black and gray piece by Bili Vegas is incredibly lifelike.

Gun tattoo, ink, tattoo,

Malia Reynolds at Memorial Tattoo in Atlanta, GA, uses bold colors and clean lines in this detailed hip piece. Her same skills were used to render this old-West revolver. It certainly pays to find a talented artist!

Gun tattoo, ink, tattoo,

Daniel Straub inked his own .25-caliber Beretta on a perfect space on his left ankle. It is the actual size of the pistol and detailed to perfection, but he added the wood grips to enhance the piece. Daniel has been tattooing for 17 years and is an avid deer hunter in his home state of Wisconsin.

Gun tattoo, ink, tatooo, fallen soldier tattoo

In the hands of trained and skilled artists, military themes truly come to life. A common design: the barrels of M16, M4s or M14s set in strong lines on fallen soldier memorial tattoos, immortalizing honor, tradition and respect.

This piece was inked by New Hampshire native Ryan Thomas. It was a special piece for the former soldier who lost a buddy in Iraq.

A little bit of everything is represented when it comes to ink. From miniature AK-47s to oversized revolvers, it appears that the popularity of gun images is slowly but steadily growing.

Why do people get gun tattoos? Some answers appear to be obvious—showing the world your hobby or passion, helping to ease the pain of loss or just because the firearm design is appealing. Like every piece of body art, the answers are specific to the wearer. I was hoping to get a little more personal insight as I headed to the Baltimore Tattoo Convention in April. Using the common denominator we all shared—ink—I overcame my shyness to approach people out of the blue and ask if they had any gun tattoos. I had no reason to be nervous. Nearly everyone I spoke with “knew someone with one,” and there were plenty of tattoo artists talking about other artists who had done some “killer pieces.” Their words, not mine.

A lot of seriously inked people showed a willingness to talk about gun ownership, shooting and their preferences in firearms. There were even a few offers to put some firepower on my skin, but alas, I wouldn’t have been able to narrow down the choices to one.

Gun tattoo, ink, tattoo,

Twenty-four year old Renee Berol chose to display her shotgun passion in a rather unique way with some impressive ink by Pat Whelan. Renee started shooting as a young girl and trap is her favorite shooting sport.  

Gun tattoo, ink, tattoo, constitution tattoo, statue of liberty tattoo

Joe Margiottiello (a.k.a. Lil’Joe CEO) is a jack-of-all-trades. The actor/producer/musician is also the owner of Kings County Tattoos in Brooklyn, NY. He sports a piece still in progress representing his belief in “God, guns and country.

Gun tattoo, ink, tattoo,

Artists and brothers “Seven” and “Syxx” have created a successful following around the country.  Seven wears this tattoo of an experimental gun built by Enfield for the British Army, inked by Syxx. Seven is a recreational shooter and likes drawing guns, as evident in some of his more graphic artwork. Check some of his work out at inkillusionist.com.

The gentleman who requested this piece from Cris Gherman of Dublin Ink let the artist choose the design. His only requirement: the eagle engraved on the grip.

Gun tattoo, ink, tattoo, revolver tattooThis convention attendee couldn’t wait to show off his Smith & Wesson .38 spl. Almost as an afterthought, he showed me one of his own favorite pieces. He has been an NRA member for nearly 13 years and is a strong believer in the Second Amendment. 

So who gets gun tattoos and why do they get them? Your guess is probably as good as mine. What I do know is that being a tattoo junkie and being a gun nut don’t have to be mutually exclusive pursuits. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

Editors Note: Show us your gun ink. Simply comment on this story, upload the photo of your tattoo and feel free to name the artist who did the work. Gun tattoos only, and although staff will closely inspect any revealing photos submitted, we’re afraid they won’t be approved for public review.

Submitted so far:

As worn by Bob Schmidt, an NRA life member.

From the Patricks, worn by one of them, anyway.

This is Jeff Olson's tribute to fallen comrades who never made it back.

Adam Skidmore has the bolt face of a KAC SR-15.

Tom R. has an M14.

Tom R. also has an M4.

Greg's Smith & Wesson revolver was done by George Dobson, formerly of Read Street Tattoo.

The wearer of this ink wrote: Robb Allen is the author of the popular gun blog, Sharp as a Marble. He designed the 1911 muzzle himself and got it inked at Imperial Iron Tattoo. The tattoo has proven to be a conversation starter as many people who are not gun savvy have asked him what it is.

This one was found on the back of the wife of an NRA Editor in Chief.

It is, after all, the 100th anniversary of the invention of the 1911, so Kaitlyn Kerner her boyfriend Noel Rippol sent in this one and the one below. We're not sure who has which tattoo, so we'll leave it up to your imagination to decide. We doubt there are many more of these in Brooklyn.

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Comments

14 Responses to Firearm Tattoos

  1. Pingback: Gun Tattoos | Snowflakes in Hell

  2. Robb Allen says:

    Been there, done that! http://blog.robballen.com/2009/07/05/p3572-i-celebrated-the-4th-with-a-little-pain.post

    I designed an icon of a 1911 muzzle and had “molon labe” etched in Greek underneath it.

  3. gsagi says:

    If you can, send your gun tattoos to shootingillustrated@nrahq.org. Then we’ll post them at the end of this article so everyone can enjoy them easily!!! We’ve already received several, so check back often.

  4. Pingback: SayUncle » Marked

  5. Pingback: Firearm Tattoos | Shooting Illustrated | Tribal Arm Tattoos

  6. brandon says:

    the first tat is a poster WOW

  7. Semperflyboy says:

    Good stuff, but the Glock 19 you had tatted when you were 23 will look more like a blunderbuss when you are 65.

  8. It the tattoo on the top right belongs to who I think it belongs to I know the gal and she’s even hotter than the tattoo!

  9. Pingback: Fray » Blog Archive » pictures of people shooting guns

  10. Pingback: Controlled» Blog Archive » Pictures of gun tattoos

  11. keith the beef says:

    Were is the 9 mil?

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