“BLACK GUNS” ISN’T FOR BLACK GUN OWNERS. IS ANY GUN MAGAZINE?

Cover of Black Guns magazine on the grocery store magazine rack

While grocery shopping last weekend, I wondered: Why don’t African-Americans have their own gun magazine?

At my local Publix, the magazine rack has more gun titles than anything else. Firearms News, Suppressor, AR-15, and Surplus Vintage & Classic Firearms, just to name a few.

But this was the first time I’ve ever seen a magazine called Black Guns. The latest issue features what appears to be a racially ambiguous woman clutching a weapon almost as big as she is.

Turns out I’m not the only one mystified by the magazine’s title. The editor’s letter begins like this…

As our team was preparing this magazine, one question kept coming up again and again: “What the &$%! is a black gun?” It’s a valid question.

Turns out the answer is…

Basically, a black gun is an AR-style weapon – the caliber and finish don’t matter – or almost any other weapon styled after modern military guns.

What also doesn’t matter: “if they are painted yellow or any other color.”  Alas, it’s about the gun, not the shooter.

This reveals the knowledge gap between gun owners and people like me, whose weapon experience is limited to video games. For gun owners, their philosophical question is, “If I paint my AR-15 magenta, is it still a black gun?”

My philosophical question, and I assume that of many folks, is, “Would a gun magazine for African-Americans be a milestone on the broken,winding footpath to a post-racial America? Or is that just ridiculous?”

After all, there are already magazines called Women and GunsGun Dog, and Garden and Gun.

But here’s the weird thing…

I stood in that Publix aisle for five minutes and flipped through all the gun magazines for sale in my racially diverse neighborhood. None of the sexy women or burly men pictured inside or on the covers were African-American. Besides that one maybe-racially-mixed Black Guns model, no one else even came close to a person of color.

Not sure if this says more about gun culture or gun publishing. But with gun magazines multiplying and newspapers perishing, maybe there’s an opportunity here. So I’m looking for investors to launch some new niche titles: Black Guns Matter, Hispanics With Bullets, Asians & Ammo, and LGBTQAR-15.


I recently won a grant to teach journalists about guns – at a gun range. If you’re interested in learning more or helping out, email me.