Love 'em or hate 'em, there's a good chance you have an opinion about pink guns and accessories. The topic of pink in the shooting community has long been a subject of great debate, with opinions about pink guns and accessories often strong and unwavering. On a scale of the most contentious topics in the shooting community, I'd peg it somewhere in between 9 mm versus .45 ACP and 1911 versus Glock. Despite the demonization and polarization of pink by outspoken critics, there is a sizable portion of both women and men in the shooting community who find pink guns and accessories appealing, and I proudly share their opinion.
I like pink guns and accessories and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I will also confess that my opinion of pink has changed considerably over the last couple of years, and my journey from disdain to embracing all gun-related things pink required a substantial amount of soul searching and a paradigm shifting without a clutch to realize pink guns and accessories are perfectly acceptable.
I fell in love with shooting about five years ago, and very quickly realized learning to shoot and competing with my firearm was something to which I wanted to dedicate much of my life (and almost all of my bank account). Shortly after my introduction to firearms, I discovered pink guns and quickly determined they were ugly, dumb and would keep me from being taken seriously as a competitive shooter (never mind that I barely knew what I was doing and could not possibly have been taken seriously at the time).
A couple of years ago, I switched to a 1911 for practical pistol competition (excellent choice, I know). The grips that came on the pistol were too smooth for my liking, so I set out to find a set that would be a little more grippy (technically speaking). I narrowed my search to a manufacturer that specializes in multiple colors of G10 grips, and I hopped on to their website to peruse their goods and make my purchase. This was the first time I came face to face with my bias against pink. I hit the bottom of the web page, and a set of pink and black grips caught my eye.
"Pick me", they said.
"Excuse me, what was that?" I replied.
"Pick me", the zebra pink grips exclaimed a little louder this time.
"You must have me confused with someone else, I don't do pink guns," I said to myself and tried to dismiss the calling.
Despite what I thought was my better judgment, I took a closer look, and while I tried hard to hate them, I couldn't deny that the combination of pink and black stripes was not only calling my name, but I was ready to answer. At this point, I started bargaining with myself.
"Well, they're not JUST pink", I noted in an effort to convince myself that I wasn't going soft. "I'll get these, but I'll steer clear of anything else that's pink. That will make it OK."
After tormenting myself for a couple of days with the back and forth of "I love them, but I shouldn't," I gave in to what I knew I really wanted and purchased the zebra pink grips.
Amazingly, the sky didn't fall when I installed the grips, and WOW, the pink and black looked even more fantastic in person. I took my newly accessorized gun out to a match and immediately started getting compliments (and I still do almost every time I'm on the range). That night, I vacillated between delighting in my new shiny thing and embarrassment that I was being seen in public with pink grips on my competition gun. I kept my eyes peeled for snickering or pointing and laughing, but I didn't see anything out of the ordinary and the embarrassment began fading away. Not only did I not get laughed off the range, a couple of the guys I shoot with liked my pink grips so much, they bought a pair for themselves.
Over the next few weeks, I realized how nonsensical my strict, self-imposed ban on pink had been, and how I had turned a perfectly innocent color into a monster. After that revelation, I stopped restricting my self-expression to an approved list of color choices, and over the last couple of years, I've amassed a decent sized collection of pink accessories to go along with my now well-worn grips. I'm proud to say that I have a few trophies under my belt now, and I earned all of them with the help of my trusty zebra pink grips. If anyone is not taking me seriously as a competitor at this point because of the colors I choose to wear, that's their malfunction.
If you've read my story, but still hold dear to your opinion that pink guns should be removed from the face of the planet, I'd like to leave you with a few more thoughts to consider.
While pink guns and accessories may be seen as simply a way for people to express their individuality, they also do a lot of good. Several firearm manufacturers have created special pink guns and accessories with the express purpose of raising funds for organizations that work to increase awareness of and find a cure for breast cancer. There's also Team PINK, a group founded by well-known shooting sports photographer Yamil Sued and Team Para USA member Lee Wills. Team PINK is made up of competitive shooters throughout the United States who support loved ones affected by breast cancer. They raise awareness by shooting with pink guns and wearing pink accessories during competitions. with the goal of increasing the number of people fighting for a cure for breast cancer.
Just like digital camo and the trooper division in 3-gun, pink guns aren't for everyone. However, if having the option of purchasing a pink gun or accessories makes even just a handful of people less intimidated and more curious about learning how to protect and defend themselves, perhaps putting those personal differences about pink guns aside is a good idea in order to support the bigger picture.