Ever seen a stack of old gun magazines and wondered what they would sound like if they came to life and started talking? Well, we have the next best thing.
Through the miracle of the interwebs, we found several vintage firearm manufacturer commercials from the 16mm and videotape era that capture the gun culture aesthetic of their time while teaching us something about ours.
The Brand New AR-10!
The crown jewel, especially for fans of Eugene Stoner’s works, is a circa 1955 Fairchild ArmaLite product film of the new, space-age, AR-10 rifle. In its 14-minutes of pure gold, you get to see how the gun works as told by its creator– and from where the AR-15 of today descended. As a bonus, there are tons of live-fire cutaways where Stoner himself uses the AR-10 in a variety of settings, including in a belt-fed role and a one-man charge from the beach complete with OD uniform and wobbly M1 helmet.
Helical Mag Amazingness
“It’s already begun, Calico Light Weapon Systems has begun a revolution in firepower,” starts the 5-minute short on the helical-fed CLWS guns that first debuted in 1982. Founded in Bakersfield, California, Calico offered several funky-looking pistols, subguns (before the Hughes Act of 1986 dropped the hammer on such things), and pistol-caliber carbines in .22LR and 9mm with the main selling point being the 50- and 100-round top-mounted cylindrical magazine. They never address the frustration of trying to load one of those mags, though.
Bonus for the opening water scene ala Chuck Norris in Missing in Action.
Heckler & Koch Coolness
If the extensive use of 8×10-sized aviators in the above Calico video didn’t fully scratch your itch for 1980s gun candy, check out this video from then-West Germany’s own H&K. They include such “pre-ban” beauties as the HK91, HK93, HK94, and the P7M8/M13. The soundtrack is pure period synth and the SWAT jumpsuit/mustache vibe is strong.
Want more? Double down with this longer, 30-minute piece covering HK’s military and LE offerings circa 1997.
But what of the young at heart?
And for the kiddies, check out the swell Mattel Thunderburp with its Vibratronic sound chamber, Topper’s Johnny Seven’s One Man Army (OMA) gun that includes seven guns in one, and the Mark Sound-O-Power guns that “look like real, sound like real.”