You don’t need to be a gun enthusiast to sport a gun tattoo. Gun tattoo designs present one as an outlaw, a rebel, an untamed individual. They’re meaning-packed images, even when they’re used in art in a playful fashion. Few objects carry the cultural weight that guns do. To many people, guns also represent personal liberty, the ability to stand up as an individual to the dangers of the world. The end result is a design with attitude, a message to those who look that the individual has a certain fashionable edginess. Many types of guns give the tattoo artist almost infinite possibilities.
Pistols are more popular in tattoo art than other firearms -- rifles, machine guns, shotguns, etc. The most common placement is probably along the hips, especially with two pistols, as if they were holstered at the side, cowboy-style. This has the added effect of drawing the eye towards where the guns point, which adds a touch of sexiness.
Virtually all guns are longer than they are tall, so gun tattoo designs naturally lend themselves to placement along narrow, long areas of skin, such as the arms and legs or along the side of the torso. These are the most popular spots for gun tattoos aside from the “holstered pistol” look.
A particularly popular variation on traditional gun tattoo designs is the gun tattoo with wing tattoo designs. The addition of wings – organic, angelic – to something deadly and made of cold, hard metal seems to resonate with fans of gun tattoo designs.
Many winged gun tattoo designs also feature a woman bound to the pistol’s grip, though this does not seem to be a reference to anything in particular – rather, these are all variations on one particular design that circulated around the Internet and gained some notoriety. Sometimes, angel tattoo designs can be included with the gun.
Many gun tattoo designs use older model weapons, some even as old as flintlock pistols. Not only are these firearms beautiful in terms of ornamentation and craftsmanship, but an older pistol design takes off some of the “edge” of a gun tattoo, putting the focus on guns as symbol and a work of art, rather than something they might actually use in their everyday ives.
While most gun tattoo designs use primarily shades of grey for a realistic look, some take license with a variety of bright colors. This lends a fantastical, almost festive tone to a gun design, which stands in stark contrast to the dangerous realities of actual guns – creating a unique and interesting effect as a visual image.
The impression a gun gives off is anything but innocent. Though many people add elements to gun tattoo designs that make them less realistic and more playful (such as bright colors, stars, and wings), they still have a hint of the bad boy/girl attitude to them. For those who want a little danger and rebelliousness in a tattoo, a gun may be the right choice.