Instant Manly Man, Just Add Assault Rifle.

About two years ago, Bushmaster Firearms rolled out a new marketing campaign for its AR Platform assault rifles. It apparently started as a sweepstakes that looks to have evolved from there. It consists of a series of “manhood questions” that are designed to elicit responses that prove the test taker is a “real man”. Anyone who passes the test gets a “Man Card” to show off to all his friends. If a man is caught behaving in an unmanly way (such as doing Pilates or spending more than $8 on a haircut) his friends can revoke his Man Card. Source.

Consider yourself a fucking pussy if this ad speaks to you at all.

Consider yourself a fucking pussy if this ad speaks to you at all.

The only way said sissy la-la can earn his man card back is to purchase the Bushmaster assault rifle of his choosing. No word on if it comes with a matching set of truck nuts. But, given the fact that Adam Lanza killed 20 little kids and 6 adults with a Bushmaster AR 15 Target .223 assault rifle, the “Man Card” campaign is, as of the time of this writing, suspended.

Based on the test and reasons for losing one’s “Man Card”, it appears that Bushmaster’s target demographic is a manly man’s kind of man. But while the double entendre is certainly worth a chuckle, Bushmaster’s lame marketing campaign demonstrates that whoever is in charge of its advertising knows nothing about being a man and even less about gun ownership. To suggest that all it takes is a boner-inspiring assault rifle to be a man or even enhance one’s masculinity is spectacularly stupid and woefully ignorant.

Look, if owning an assault rifle is your thing, good on you. If you are a collector, use one for hunting, or even just think they’re fun to shoot – fine. Far be it from me to sniff at that. You can become Burt Gummer for all I care. The point I’m trying to make is that a weapon is not a direct correlation to one’s masculinity and will not turn a whiny beta male into a supreme alpha dog. By telling men that masculinity depends on owning a really big gun, Bushmaster is no better than feminists telling women that men find a “plus size” potty mouth in flip flops attractive. Purchasing an assault rifle out of a desperate need to prove one’s maleness is the epitome of pathetic. An assault rifle will not increase masculinity any more than a life-sized Tonka truck will.

30 Responses to Instant Manly Man, Just Add Assault Rifle.

  1. Jack says:

    You are falling into the same trap that every other person in the mainstream media is…what Bushmaster sells IS NOT an assault rifle. It is an AR-15 based semi-automatic rifle. Yes, it looks like an assault rifle, but it is missing the one thing that makes an assault rifle and assualt rifle…that being the abilty to fire fully automatically. The Bushmaster rifles (and literally, EVERY OTHER rifle for sale to the general public) are ONLY capable of semi-automatic fire. You can pull the trigger and hold it for months, and it’s only ever going to fire one round.

    Please, PLEASE educate yourself if you’re going to write about this topic.

    • Is that actually relevant to the post?

      • Blue says:

        Probably not. I carry a genuine “assault rifle” (A M4) for a living, in places where I’m surrounded by other men with genuine “assault rifles” (mostly M4s, M16A2s, AKMs but also SA-80s, G-36s, and whatever the fuck that weird thing is the swedes carry). I have literally never been given any formal training, or met anyone that has, from ours or any coalition army, on how to use these “assault rifles” with the selector switch on that “one thing that makes an assault rifle”. Yeah, I’ve done it for fun, but in a real gun fight I have never used the “fun switch” because we have belt fed machine guns with literally five times the ammo per weapon for that job.

        I still think banning guns because they look scary or hold more rounds is retarded.

        • I still think banning guns because they look scary or hold more rounds is retarded.”

          I agree. It is slightly more so than anyone thinking that a gun has any attachment to their manhood.

          And you’re right about full auto. Anyone who has ever fired a weapon on full auto realizes that it is pretty stupid. It isn’t like the movies where you can just run around spraying bullets everywhere, and hope to hit anything. You wind up with maybe two rounds on target, the rest spraying all up in the air, and by the time you realize what is happening, the clip is empty.

  2. Jeff says:

    Bushmaster may have had a stupid marketing campaign, but what company hasn’t? Remember Budweiser had the “Real American Heroes” campaign which, shortly following 9/11, became the “Real Men of Genius” campaign. And in 1998, Holiday Inn put out a commercial promoting new renovations. But that ad suggested that if a transexual could get a completely different (upgraded) look for a few thousand dollars, imagine what Holiday Inn’s billion-dollar remodel could do.

    Neither of these were particularly brilliant campaigns, but then, Budweiser, Holiday Inn, and even Bushmaster didn’t come up with them — the marketing firms they hired did. I suspect that the ivolvement actual employees of these companies had in the creation of these ads was limited to saying: “We sell ‘X’ product, primarily to ‘Y’ demographic. Figure out something catchy that’ll make more of ‘Y’ buy more of ‘X’.”

    To be sure, all of them are stupid ads, but that’s about it. Of course, if the Bushmaster campaign was active for two years, that at least suggests it was moderately successful. Purchasing a Bushmaster certainly doesn’t make one more masculine, but if suggesting that it does separates the kind of idiot who believes that from his money, then good on Bushmaster for putting that message out there. They’re not in the business of making men feel better about themselves, any more than Budweiser is in the business of recognizing feats of mediocrity or Holiday Inn is in the business of looking better than transexual. Bushmaster sells guns, and the kind of stupid that buys a gun because of the kind of ad Bushmaster puts in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine is the kind of stupid that deserves to be parted from his money.

    Still, what was it they said in Porky’s? “Looks like I’m gonna make a man out of you yet, boy.” “If being a man means being what you are, I’d rather be queer.”

    • I can agree with some of what you say here — that if BM’s campaign separates a guy from his money, good on them. But, I think that anyone who bought one is presumptively doing so because of his 2 inch dick complex.

      • Jeff says:

        Just like anyone who buys a fancy sports car does so because of his 2-inch dick complex?

      • And the problem there would be what, exactly? :)

        Look, It’s a shame about their small penis and all, but some of us weren’t aware of this retarded campaign…

        Then again, I likely wouldn’t have bought a Bushmaster anyways, I would have gone with something from Springfield Armory or maybe (if I magically had the case) a custom job for a real gunsmith.

  3. This reminds me of a great quote from Sandman Slim about Glocks…

    “I hate Glocks. Guys who love Glocks love Corvettes. Not because it was a hot car, but because it was cool forty years ago and they once saw a picture of Steve McQueen in one. Their dad probably had a Vette when he was young, but he was never cool. But if they had a Vette, maybe they can forget the fat man who made them mow the lawn when they should have been out with their friends sneaking into R-rated movies, and who embarrassed them in front of their first girlfriends. Maybe their dad was the guy driving fast and locking lips with Faye Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair. Maybe their dad was cool after all and maybe that made them cool, too. That’s what Glocks are. High precision killing machines that scream “Daddy Issues”.”

    Its the same with ARs. They are actually amazingly good hunting and target rifles, but ones like Bushmaster is pushing are bought by mall-ninja types who are trying to overcompensate for their small phallused nature. Which is the genius nature of this advertisement.

    Those who actually know what they are buying will buy (or assemble) a generic AR to their own personal specification, or buy a far less expensive (and otherwise indistinguishable) generic, not some branded, advertised, “I have a small dick” Bush-wanker.

    After all, these things are actually all standardized and interchangeable parts, so all Bushmaster really adds for their $500 premium is image.

    Since Bushmaster is already excluding that crowd by taking on an extra $500 “for the image” price, they clearly went all in on appealing to the Mall Ninjas. Because, in the end, anyone stupid enough to pay an extra 50% for the name on a truly generic product is too stupid to realize that they are being insulted.

  4. John David Galt says:

    I would have captioned it “Instant Manly Lawyer, Just Add Indignation.” This is how it always begins when the Left makes up a new phony emergency.

  5. Blue says:

    I agree that the ad is asinine. That is beside the point. Best case scenario they make “assault weapons” as hard to get as an eight ball of coke. Oh, wait…

    I do not have an AR because I hunt with it or because I like to target shoot. I have an AR because as much as I like the idea of a world full of puppies and sunshine, I know others like the same idea as a place to pillage. I’ve been in natural disasters. I’ve seen what happens in places where the same kind of natural disasters happen and the populace is disarmed or guns just aren’t common place.. I’ve also seen the terror in a looters eyes upon realizing that not only was my apartment complex not fully evacuated, but the one guy still around (me) was holding what looked like (pretty much was, but actually better) the same type of rifle I carried in Iraq.

  6. Dismoun says:

    To the individual above who is VERY concerned that the gun not be mislabeled as an assault rifle: many current-issue US versions of the M16 (the AR’s military cousin) do not possess a fully automatic mode, using ‘burst’ instead to conserve ammunition in the event of a soldier depressing the trigger for too long. Automatic fire is of very limited use in an assault rifle, as they lack the ammunition capacity of a true machine gun used for suppressive fire. The AR IS an assault rifle, it just has other uses.

    While I might be able to see a legitimate use for a semi-auto rifle (Hunting wild pigs in packs, for example) some of the accessories and modifications being sold for this class of gun are simply suited for no purpose other than killing people at medium range. The kind of people who feel compelled to own such weapons worry me, and I feel a strange sort of pity for them as well. I don’t believe that many of such gun owners are ever going to commit a violent crime, but it is undeniable that their weapons are dangerous.

    Things like the recent tragedy also unfortunately reinforce the truth that most mass-killings are committed with lawfully purchased and owned firearms, although rarely in the hands of their owners.

    It’s truly funny how indignant the gun-fondlers become when you question their absurd passion for ‘tactical’ firearms. I own guns, target shoot and hunt, but I find that some people have an unhealthy fascination with firearms. Owning a gun does not make you particularly safer, and if it causes you to enter into situations where you would not wish to go unarmed, may actually make you less safe than you would be otherwise. While I have no problem with responsible firearms ownership, and do agree that self-defense is a legitimate use of a firearm (in limited circumstances) they are rarely used for self-defense. Instead, many gun owners seem to use firearms to compensate for a deep personal insecurity or anxiety, you can find gun enthusiast message boards where these weak and ineffectual people share their ‘defense’ fantasies, and their elaborate plans for defending their homes from some imagined enemy (burglars, immigrants, the UN, Satan, whatever…)

    • Jack S says:

      I wouldn’t call burglars some imagined enemy… That’s the primary reason people purchase guns. I didn’t own a gun for most of my life and just last year had someone break into my apartment – luckily it was an opportunistic person who found a door that could be opened with a screwdriver who was in and out in less than a minute and a half and never left the living room/kitchen. However, two other families in my town of less than 20k (which has a crime rate FAR below the national average) this year alone were victims of true home invasions (3 armed men in both situations) – one of them was shot and put in critical condition, another killed a burglar…

      While I can agree plenty of people have these crazy fantasies about blowing intruders away – having guns for home/self defense is one of the most valid reasons to have have a firearm… People don’t realize that once a crime is happening – all your planning goes out the window – especially if the person is armed. If you are buying a gun to do anything except lock yourself in your room/your childrens’ room, call the police, and wait with your gun in case they decide to come for you – you are in la-la land.

      To be perfectly honest though – an AR-15 is one of the single best platforms for home defense that exists. With proper ammo, it will penetrate far fewer walls than a pistol with standard JHPs or a shotgun with buckshot bigger than #4 (Box-o-truth tests), far easier to aim/be proficient with, less blinding flash, less recoil, and you have 30 shots you don’t have to reload when possibly engaging multiple people. You can easily mount a red-dot, flashlight, laser, etc. to make sure you aren’t shooting at your drunk ass neighbor stumbling in thinking he is going to bed. Sure a pistol will work, and is “the great equalizer”, but in a home invasion scenario you WILL be outnumbered and they WILL be armed – I would want to give myself the best possible chances of surviving when I lock myself in my bedroom… Home invasions do happen, and if $800 can give you peace of mind and a possibility of surviving a violent one should it happen to you – why not?

      • No arguments here. I am not sure one way or the other if you’re right about the AR vs a shotgun or not, but this proves you have a brain: “If you are buying a gun to do anything except lock yourself in your room/your childrens’ room, call the police, and wait with your gun in case they decide to come for you – you are in la-la land.

      • alpha4centauri says:

        When we got burglarized, they didn’t take much because they spent all their time looking around the bed for the gun we don’t own. My father in law’s gun, on the other hand, ended up in the hands of burglars.

        If gun owners were all responsible enough to keep these things someplace they wouldn’t get stolen, instead of storing them in places where the guns are easy to grab when they’re half asleep, even when they aren’t home, there would be less concern about their gun ownership.

        They could carry their guns on their person all the time, of course. But around where I work, the robbers shoot first without warning if they think you might be armed, then steal your gun. Carrying a gun is like flashing a big wad of cash. They’ll shoot you and not even look for a wallet if you turn out not to have a gun.

    • Burst-fire still makes it an Assault rifle. If it fires more than one round per trigger pull, it’s an AR.

  7. MKC says:

    I thought the ad was mildly funny and a kind of joke, and spoke to a demographic that would find it funny and a kind of joke. Maybe there is a group that would take it totally seriously. In my view, that’s kind of nutty. But as Jeff said, “if suggesting that it does separates the kind of idiot who believes that from his money, then good on Bushmaster for putting that message out there.” On the whole, though, I think Beth is giving the ad more credit than it deserves.

    It’s only maybe a dickface dirtbag ad when put in the context of the tragedy 30 miles from my home. And I don’t think that’s where it belongs.

  8. as says:

    in all seriousness, men dont like potty mouths or flip flops? i seriously had no idea. i mean i knew they liked heels, but didn’t know they disliked the flats, and def didn’t know about the potty mouth thing.
    totally agree with you though–if you’re buying something to make yourself more manly, you’ve already lost the manilness fight.

    • “If you’re buying something to make yourself more manly, you’ve already lost the manilness fight.”

      Comment of the week. Exactly. You can’t buy manliness.

      • I would beg to differ on a completely sophistic point…

        Maybe it is your general success, maybe it’s your hard chiseled body. Maybe it’s your skill at unarmed combat…

        But you are still exchanging something (success, skill, whatever) for “manliness”.

        I would instead say that you can’t pay CASH for manliness.

  9. Beth Hutchens says:

    Was surprised myself when I first heard it. So I asked my husband. He agreed. Then I asked my male friends and colleagues. Yep. It’s true. Turns out there are a lot of things women are told about what men like that are nothing but lies. Now (among other things) I only wear flip flops when I’m cleaning the house and have cut down on the curse words significantly. This makes him very happy so I’m happy to do it. Who knew?

  10. Jack S says:

    I have to disagree about the life-size Tonka truck… purchasing one will in fact increase manliness and promote mustache growth immensely… studies have proven this time and time again… have you ever seen someone in a life-size Tonka truck without pristine, top-notch man-credentials (or mandentials) and a full, glorious mustache? I know I haven’t… Don’t equate this silly marketing ploy with the real, life-size Tonka truck driving men…

    • Beth Hutchens says:

      Soooo…if one buys an assault rifle and puts it on a gun rack in the life-size Tonka Truck do they cancel each other out?

      • Jack S says:

        The answer is obvious according to the Bushmaster ad… Since they are CLEARLY man-card toting men with awesome mustaches, they don’t need to buy the AR in the first place…

  11. Charlie Marino says:

    The definition of assault weapons actually excludes a lot of military rifles and shotguns, and for the most part includes scary looking rifles. Assault weapons are not necessarily machine guns, and machine guns can exist (depending on a jurisdiction’s definition of assault rifle) that are not assault rifles.

    Connecticut is in fact, an assault weapons ban state, but also a machine gun state. Which means that an AR-15 is prohibited for sale (if it is post ban) but you could legally purchase a Browning Automatic Rifle, if it is not select fire (full automatic only). The BAR doesn’t have a pistol grip, so it fails on that prong of the assault weapons ban, is a military rifle, and many have two different automatic settings, but are not assault rifles.

    The CT law on assault weapons actually says that semiautomatic versions of automatic weapons are assault weapons, but the full automatic or burst fire versions are not.

    What I want to know is whether or not the divorce court knew that this kid was as messed up as he turned out to be.

    There is always a lot of talk about assault weapons bans but there are plenty of responsible regulations that would be simple enough to enforce, but aren’t done. If you fail a drug or psychological test when you’re going into the military there should be AT LEAST a five year ban on buying a firearm, the way that there is if you are convicted of domestic violence. The background check form you fill out asks if you use drugs, and if the answer is yes, you will be denied. There is no reason why the results of a military drug test shouldn’t be forwarded to the agencies that manage the firearm purchase background checks.

  12. As a complete aside, I would like to point out something…

    The CT Assault Weapon ban has a list of things that, if your weapons has two or more of, it is an assault weapon…

    A) A semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at lease two of the following:
    (i) A folding or telescoping stock;
    (ii) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
    (iii) A bayonet mount;
    (iv) A flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and
    (v) A grenade launcher; or

    So they are telling me that, if I forgo the rest of the list, I can have a freaking GRENADE LAUNCHER???

    I am beginning to suspect that lawmakers everywhere are merely very clever trolls.

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