Skip to main content

Gun Tattoos: Meanings, Designs, and Ideas

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

Gun Tattoos: Meanings, Designs, and Ideas

Gun Tattoos: Meanings, Designs, and Ideas

Gun Tattoo Designs

If you're looking for a tattoo to fit your outlaw ways, a gun is a sure-fire way to go. There are a variety of different people that have associations with guns. Soldiers, hunters, policemen, and normal everyday people use guns for a variety of different reasons such as protection and hunting. Any type of gun can be tattooed, but if you have a preference for a specific type, make sure you know what it's called. Gun designs can portray the gun to look artistic, realistic, or with a cartoon-like look. When it comes to gun designs, the variations are endless.

When we look at examples, pistols are easily the most common choice among men and women both. Pistols are small and slim in most cases and they can fit in a variety of different locations as a piece of art on the body. 9mm and Colt revolvers are two popular types when it comes to pistol tattoos. Rifles, machine guns, AKs, and shotguns can also be used when it comes to gun designs. You see more rifle designs in the military, such as in the U.S. Army and Navy.

18 Awesome Gun Tattoo Meanings

1. Strength7. Protection13. Evil

2. Power

8. Security

14. Vengeance

3. Authority

9. Danger

15. Honor

4. Rebellion

10. Outlaw

16. Risk

5. Boldness

11. Underhandedness

17. Respect

6. Intimidation

12. Liberty

18. Freedom

A Brief History of Symbolism

Guns have been criticized for centuries, ever since they were first created. In the tattoo world, it is no different. Many people associate them with violence and evil. This is only partially true. Yes, they sometimes represent gangs and violence, but not all of them do. They serve multiple purposes for those who wear them for symbolic purposes.

Although they are primarily worn by men, more and more women are now choosing such designs. Women typically choose to decorate them with a variety of different symbols, such as flowers and vines. Women are not alone, as men also decorate their gun tattoo designs in similar ways, which helps to downplay the high hype and criticism around them.

Gun Tattoo Meanings

There are a variety of different meanings that are associated with guns. Many people believe that the gun tattoo can only be attached to negativity, but this is simply not the case—it can be positive at times, as well. In the table above, are the meanings regularly associated with the gun tattoo.

Men and women both choose these designs for different reasons. Some people get them to link themselves to their symbolic meaning, while others may get it for personal reasons. Others might just wear it just because they like the way it looks. Either way, they look great when they are done correctly and with good detail.

They are usually done in gray, silver, or black in most cases. However, some artists have created their own designs that are very colorful and distinct. Since guns are long and short in width, they are often inked on the arms, sides, legs, and back. One popular location among men and women is on the sides of the stomach. This gives the impression of guns in a belt. Some of them portray a single gun while others may be portrayed in a holster. There are plenty of things you can do when it comes to the designs.

What to Know Before You Get a Tattoo!

There are some very important things to remember before you choose your design. You want to make sure you do your own research and understand what yours represents and means. You want to choose one that fits your personality and one that symbolizes yourself. Don't rush into the process before thinking everything out. When you rush, we tend to get something that we later regret. Do your own research, take your time, and understand the one that you want. Thanks for your visit, and have fun!

© 2012 Richard Ricky Hale


usman on October 19, 2012:

Scroll to Continue

Read More from Tatring

very nice

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on June 28, 2012:

Theredesense, thanks for the comment and your time. Glad you enjoyed this article. Take care.

Theredesense from Leeuwarden on June 25, 2012:

Great hub - love all those pictures and I did not know that they could have so many different meanings. Nice :)

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on April 25, 2012:

Amy, that is a great question. It all depends on who you talk to. You see a lot of gun tattoos, especially pistols, pointed down. This is simply for the projection that it is being held holster. This symbolizes more of the art then symbolic meaning of the gun. But once you get into gang tattoos, biker tattoos, ect, guns raised can represent "battle ready" per say. This is not pointing out gangs, bikers, ect. Once again, it depends on the purpose of design and who wears such tattoos. A great question. For some, it is certainly symbolic.

Amy on April 24, 2012:

Is there any significance to having the barrels pointing up as opposed to pointing down?

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on April 24, 2012:

Midnightbliss, thanks for taking the time to drop by and comment. Hope you enjoyed it and found it useful.

Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on April 18, 2012:

Nice article. I have several tats myself but no guns, yet.

Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on April 12, 2012:

A big thanks to you all. Frank, absolutely. I agree 100%. Femme, if it is done right, the color can last for a few decades. Eventually, it will fade, some colors more then others. Not to hard to get them fixed though. HBN, Gypsy, Alocsin, Ardie, AE, Rosemay, thank you all. Wish the best for all of ya!

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on April 07, 2012:

Have gun will travel. Too bad you can't shoot 'em.

Sondra from Neverland on April 05, 2012:

I was a tad skeptical at first but there are some really nice designs in this Hub. I wasn't really sure what sort of meaning one could put behing a gun tat - but you explained that very well.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 05, 2012:

Wow, I have never seen a gun tattoo, Brings back an old song, 'Pistol packing Mama'..Really they are quite colorful..Cheers Ricky

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 05, 2012:

thelyric writer this was no Playboy tattoos but it was good.. the woman with the two shooter tattoo was hot...LOL I mean the tattoo she had on was hot :) Frank

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 05, 2012:

I've seen this in black, but have not noticed the colored ones before. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

femmeflashpoint on April 05, 2012:


I don't think I've come across any gun tattoos in person, but these were impressive!

I'm curious as to whether or not the ink stays as bright (for the most part) as it is showing in the photos.

So far, I haven't gotten a tattoo, and probably won't. But, if I were so inclined, I'd hope it would be colorful, and stay that way. :)


Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on April 04, 2012:

Very interesting Ricky. I have never seen a gun tattoo on anyone, some of them are quite intimidating.

Once again you did a great job

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on April 04, 2012:

Another great hub about tattoos that has been thoroughly researched and was very interesting.

I don't think I've ever seen a gun tattoo in person and was glad you gave so many examples.

These tend to be quite bold and shocking especially with the placement of some of them, but they are also very artistic.

Thanks for sharing this.

Related Articles