In Part 1, we went over GLOCK, Steyr, and UZI. GLOCK, in my opinion, had some great ads that really tried to capture the spirit of how different and revolutionary their pistols were back then.
Today we’re going to take a look at some other big names of the era. Colt, of course, with their AR-15 and 1911, followed by two foreign competitors. NORINCO of China and Taurus of Brazil. All three had colorful, yet simple ads, some of which were simple and almost elegant.
Colt always had an air of elegance in their ads. They always tried to factor in their military heritage and the fact that they’re an American company producing their products in the USA. I always appreciated that with Colt. Some of their ads were a bit plain. Both others were very detailed. I give them credit for that since they went after many segments within the industry.
Here we have a simple, but striking ad for the Colt SP1 rifle and carbine. No fancy artwork. But clear and impressive nonetheless. Its simplicity is what makes it work.
Another AR-15; again a simple in layout, but still mentioning that the H-BAR is directly related to the military’s new A2 service rifle.
Colt flat out connecting their new Model 1991A1 Series 80 as a spiritual successor to the M1911A1 of military fame, even going so far as to make fun of Springfield Armory since they made a military pattern 1911 but weren’t around for WWII. This ad just screams Americana and American exceptionalism.
The Colt Double Eagle Series 90 was an odd duck. A somewhat complicated DA/SA design married to a Series 80 1911 slide. Here we have Colt trying to show it off as a revolutionary new design, instead of a slapped together catch-up to the changing LE Market. The ad itself pays homage to Samuel Colt.
Another Double Eagle ad. The background detracts from showing off the pistol.
As a foreign gun maker, Taurus made strong inroads into the US market due to their joint ownership by Bangor Punta, the parent company that also once owned Smith & Wesson.
After Bangor Punta sold off both assets. Taurus really went on their own and did well with their revolvers and licensed Beretta clones. Their ads were fairly simple and to-the-point.
We have a brand new PT-100, their .40 S&W cambering of their venerable Beretta 92-pattern pistol. Ad is stylish, but simple. The best part is the fireball at the end of the muzzle.
A simple trade ad showing their compact size revolvers. You can see how this revolver clearly has S&W ancestry. Take note that there is a translation issue. The ad refers to the hammer as a “serrated combat trigger”.
NORINCO was sort of all over the place with their ads. Some where well done and others were downright horrible. Some of the more famously bad ads came towards the end of their legal importation in the early 90s.
Here we have a MAK-90 ad and you can just see how quickly it was rushed. Just a bland photo with a colorless background. It’s back-page-of-a-comic-book, x-ray glasses quality. Very similar to NORINCO-made manuals.
Here we have a NORINCO 1911 ad that can rival Colt. The Americana and homage to WWII is strong here with the khaki web gear and pineapple grenade. They even went so far as WWI with the period era tunic and campaign hat.
Another richly detailed catalog showing the variations of the SKS carbine that NORINCO can sell to importers. Note the ammunition, too. Nicely laid out and colorful.
Back to a simple, drab print ad for a Bakelite side folder AK. Nothing fancy. They were in short supply. I wonder if the ad designer knew about the looming Bush and Clinton import bans.
In Part 3 we’ll take a look at two European Power houses, Heckler and Koch and SIG SAUER.