Skin Deep: You Can’t Judge a Gun By Its Profile


A Gun Digest Web Exclusive

Photos by Sharon Ahern

The old saying goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” But, many people judge guns that way. The practice probably got started with the Western movies of the 1930s and 1940s and television Westerns of the 1950s. The good guys very frequently had special guns, often nickel or silver plated with mother-of-pearl, ivory or stag (make much of that read “plastic”) grips. The bad guys had black guns with black grips. And, as we all know, very much of the time, the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats.

(Left) Ahern, wearing a Woolrich Tactical Elite Algerian Field Jacket, with the Century International Arms WASR Romanian AK-47.

It was the same with detective and cop stories. The good guys mostly carried revolvers and the bad guys frequently carried automatics. In the classic gangster pictures of the 1930s, bad guys used submachineguns more frequently than did the “G-Men.”

All this conditioned us to judging guns by their looks and imparting a guilt by association thing to a gun because of the way it looks. As human beings, of course, we’re constantly dealing with judging people by their looks – It's wrong but we all do it. As we become more and more enlightened, we’re finding ourselves better able to realize that looks mean very little and it’s character that counts. When it comes to guns, however, prejudice runs rampant, and especially among many of those who – rightfully – preach tolerance and understanding in other aspects of life. Many of those people are horribly bigoted when it comes to guns in general and, in specific, guns that can be used for self-defense, home defense and defense of the nation.

(Left)  Danny Akers, Ahern’s son-in-law, an avid hunter and superior rifleman, with the “nice” looking Ruger Mini-14, Danny also wearing a Woolrich Algerian Field Jacket.

Assigning “good” and “bad” labels, en masse, to individuals or groups of individuals is among the penultimate examples of faulty logic; but, to label inanimate objects as intrinsically virtuous or evil is colossally stupid. With that stupidity in mind, it is easy to understand why many Democrats and some others in The United States Congress on September 13, 1994, passed “The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,” more commonly known as “That Idiotic Clinton Administration Assault Weapons and Magazine Capacity Ban of 1994.” William Jefferson Clinton signed the legislation into law the same day it was passed. What a surprise, that!

(Right) Jerry Ahern, wearing a black leather jacket and black clothes, ready for something “no-good” with his all-black folding stock foreign rifle with its wickedly long looking magazine.

Right after the historic – some would say “catastrophic” – 2008 General Election, the Obama website posted some of Obama’s goals for his tenure in office, among these to restore the Assault Weapons Silliness and make it permanent. How Obama and his minions can say they respect the Second Amendment Rights of Americans and still want to attack lawful gun ownership can be explained easily – it’s called “Speaking Out of Both Sides of The Mouth..”
In 2007, actually, legislation was introduced to reinstate and expand the Assault Weapons Silliness, which had sunsetted on September 13, 2004 – as House Bill H.R. 1022 (which is only coincidentally and ironically the model designation of one of America’s finest .22 rifles), sponsored by Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D.N.Y.).

When queried about some technical specifications in the Assault Weapons Silliness, she revealed her lack of firearms knowledge by being unable to identify a “barrel shroud,” one of a list of features that, according to Congress, turned a pistol into an assault weapon. In fairness to Representative McCarthy, her husband was one of six people killed, her son one of 19 people injured on a commuter train when a man opened fire at random on unarmed passengers.

(Left) Danny and Jerry side by side, Mr.. “Sportsman” and Mr. “Sinister.”

Otherwise exhibiting an eclectic, non-stereotypical voting record, Representative McCarthy’s passion for firearms legislation is easily understood. She has suffered traumatic loss and likely knows nothing much about firearms. Blaming the instrument used by a killer, rather than blaming mindless laws which intentionally disarm the law-abiding, making them perfect victims for madmen who will find a weapon – no matter what – to fulfill their evil desires to take life, is not a position logically arrived at. Had any one or two of the victims been able to get to a weapon, the killer might have been brought down. Representative McCarthy actually switched political affiliations in order to run against an incumbent Republican, who wanted to repeal the ban. Emotions run deep when it comes to gun control efforts, and logic is almost always the first victim.

The principal pain caused by the Assault Weapons Silliness was the magazine capacity limitation. Classic guns, like Browning High Powers, all the so-called “Wonder-Nines” and their .40 S&W counterparts, AR-15s and any other firearm that had a magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds had to be sold with a magazine modified to hold no more than 10 rounds. This was, of course, stupid, since most gunfights don’t involve anywhere close to 10 rounds fired by one participant. As a result, “Hi-Cap” magazines, as they came to be called, were like gold coins; weapons which were basically trashed by the new law – like the HK-91, for example – shot up in value and soon became as scarce as logical thinking at the Democratic Convention.

(Right) Mandatory long gun shot leaning against picturesque tree.

For a decade, these awful conditions persisted. 2004 saw the sunset provision of the 1994 law kick in and normal magazines were once again available. I remember seeing AK-47 30- round magazines selling for $10 each. I could, at last, get the proper magazines for my SIG 229s. Reason reigned once again!

With Obama and Biden coming into power with a strongly Democratic Congress to back them up, the question of attacks on the civil liberties of firearms owners is, once again, at issue. There are no “good” guns or “bad” guns, and magazine capacity has no bearing on how a firearm will be used. Indeed, FBI statistics consistently point out that the most commonly used firearm in crime is not an assault weapon at all, nor a high-capacity semi-automatic pistol. It is a short-barreled revolver! Should we ban short-barreled revolvers, then? Of course not! That would be crazy.

What got me thinking about this article was that I recently acquired a Century International Arms semi-auto AK-47. A gently used Romanian firearm fitted with a U.S.-made Tapco folding stock, it is all black (except where some finish is worn off) and has a long, 30-round magazine that could look very menacing to someone who didn’t know any better. AK-47s are used by terrorists and revolutionaries, of course, but they’re also used by lots of good guys, including some of our own troops operating in the Middle East – they’ve been found to be sometimes better in house-to-house operations than the M-4, throwing a more powerful round out of a conveniently short platform. Lots of Americans here at home keep AK-47s for home defense or survival use.

(Left) Flat shot with Ruger Mini-14 and Century International Arms WASR AK-47.

On the other side of the “looks” issue, I own a currently still-stock Ruger Mini-14. The metal is a dull stainless steel. The stock isn’t black, nor does it fold. It’s a very pretty piece of hardwood, in a warm, beckoning brown color, not too dissimilar to the color of our beloved family member, Honey The Wonder Dog. Although larger capacity magazines are available, my Mini-14 is currently sporting a five-round magazine. Its five-round magazine seats flush in the receiver, doesn’t hang down “menacingly” at all.

The Ruger Mini-14 is a sporting rifle, the product of an American company, patterned after an American military rifle – the M-14 — which was used against the evil Commies. The AK-47 was designed by a Communist – Mikhail Kalashnikov, who turned 89 on November 10, 2008 and happens to be one of the world’s greatest living arms designers – and shows up under questionable circumstances on the evening news.

The AK-47 magazine in Ahern’s right hand, the Ruger magazine in Ahern’s left.

The color of the gun – just like the color of someone’s skin – makes no difference, except perhaps when it comes to rust-resistance. It’s what’s underneath the color that counts, whether guns or people. Both the AK and the Ruger are fine firearms. The color of the stock, and whether or not it folds or is rigid, is merely a matter of preference and convenience. Years ago, I owned a Mini-14 with a factory folding stock. A thirty-round magazine can be seriously detrimental when someone is trying to stay low and shoot at the same time. The Ruger’s flush seated five-rounder is ideal for firing from a prone position. The AK-47 fires the 7.62x39mm Russian; but, the Ruger Mini-14 can be had as the Ruger Mini Thirty, which is also chambered in that Russian caliber — as opposed to the nice American .223 Remington caliber, which is, of course, the civilian version of the original 5.56X45mm NATO (you shouldn’t fire current higher chamber pressure NATO standard ammo in weapons chambered for the lower chamber pressure .223 Remington).

“Beauty,” we are told, “is in the eye of the beholder.” So is ugliness. The anti-gun forces who wish to disarm America for a wide range of reasons, ranging from naiveté to the sincere and misguided to the horribly insidious, will always see our guns as ugly and evil. Support the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation. Support, work for and donate to pro-gun candidates and causes. Fight prejudice.

Where to find them:
Century International Arms
236 Bryce Boulevard
Fairfax, VT 05450
1 lacey Place
Southport, CT 06890


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.