Decorating a Gun or “Gun-oration”

This is a guest post by Tarra StoddardFB_IMG_1448509697766_resized

Decorating a Gun

You've found your perfect gun. Now you'd like to personalize it. There are a few simple and affordable things you can do yourself for customizing your firearm. First, you can start with some non-basic grip screws and side panel grips. You can choose color, bling, patterns, even personal pictures to grace your grips. For extra pizazz, add a Recoil Plug Spring with “Don't Tread On Me.” Then add matching screws to pull your look together. You can go all matchy or flashy.

Wicked Grips” makes limited edition grip art sets as they will not mass produce, and thus dilute, the quality of their work. They also offer unique and gemstone grip screws.
decorating a gun
Some gun models will have the option for backstrap grips. These are great if you want just a touch of personalization.


Brilliant Backstraps” offers a variety of color or bling. You could buy a few and change them to your mood or to match your outfits.


To change the look of your gun you can apply pre-cut pistol skins to just your slide or your entire gun. Pistol Skins are high-performance waterproof vinyl wraps that can be applied to any pistol. They are removable and have no effect on the finish. Pistol Skin kits come with pre-cut pieces and fit all pistol models.


If your interested in changing your guns look permanently there are a few options.


I suggest having a professional paint your firearm. The two standard options available are Cerakote or Duracoat paint. Cerakote is oven baked and has been formulated to be abrasion, wear, corrosion, chemical, and impact resistant. Duracoat is air cured and scratches easier. You have to be careful not to clean it with any chemical or dropdecorating a gun it. The options are unlimited on design and color when it comes to painting your firearm. So definitely have fun with it and let your personality shine!


Last, but never least, is my personal favorite option for firearms. That is to have your firearm engraved by a professional. I happened to be facebook friends with Bert Edmonston IV.


He is a third generation hand engraver and jeweler. On January 24, 2015, Bert attained the unique distinction of Master Engraver through the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. I reached out to him to learn more about the engraving process on firearms.


The tools Bert uses are completely unguided by any form of mechanical assistance. The engraving is executed “freehand”. I shipped Bert a Derringer to engrave for this article. In his hands, stock firearms are transformed into masterpieces in the truest sense of the word. The Derringer is now a work of art. decorating a gun


The leaf and scroll patterns are well defined and executed with strength and the sureness that only a master could produce. This holds even under the magnification of a watchmakers loupe.


He brought the patterns to life and made it look truly 3-D. It was breathtaking to see the fine engraving take on a life of its own, and the design is well suited to the size and profile of the Derringer. This will now be a family heirloom that will hopefully be passed down for many generations to treasure and enjoy.


Now the Derringer is not only a work of art but a working tool. Bert Edmonston IV welcomes individual engraving and can be reached at his website, When you look for an engraver make sure you look at their previous work, preferably in person. I hope this inspires you to personalize your firearm with a bit of Gun-oration!


Sincerely, my best to you, Tarra Stoddard


  1. I would never decorate a “home defense gun”. It is a tool not an accessory. Plus, some decoration may impede proper functioning in times of extreme stress. I myself have some trouble gripping ivory grips in a revolver. And god help you if you put a Punisher Rear Slide Cover Plate on your defensive gun, or etching ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ on the slide, and get involved in a shooting. You’ll come off as a trigger-happy gun nut. You may prevail in court, but expect to spend a lot, maybe your life savings, in legal fees.

  2. Thats nonsense… Its a nice myth that tacticool guys like to spread around, but has no real basis in fact. Quite the opposite, as some of our biggest buying groups are LEO’s and other law enforcement units!
    If an accessory makes shooting fun.. enjoyable.. and gets someone into the sport… gets them shooting, learning and building confidence, then power to them. The last thing they need is another man at the gun counter telling them what they “need”.

    • It is not nonsense or a myth. I see that you are shilling for Wicked Grips so you’re not exactly a disinterested commenter. Would you ever help defend a customer if s/he was being sued/prosecuted and your grips are being ballyhooed by the opposing side?

      If I may quote a well-known gun expert witness on his experience in his latest book:

      “I’ve run across two cases, in one of which I personally testified for the defense, where opposing counsel made a huge deal out of the fact that the defendant had a Colt Cobra. I’ve seen people with cartoon “Punisher” skulls on their grips or the back slide plate on their Glock, and with gun muzzles engraved “Smile, Wait For Flash.” People who carried Hornady’s novelty ammunition, Zombie-Max, instead of the same company’s much more defensible Critical Duty, Critical Defense, and XTP ammo.

      At the time in your life when you most desperately need to be recognized as responsible, reasonable, and prudent, do you want to be giving that sort of fodder to a silver-tongued attorney who is trying to paint you as reckless and irresponsible with firearms?

      Massad Ayoob, Deadly Force (2014), pp. 216-217.”

      It is these kind of stupid modifications and accessories of which I speak of. I would suggest that if people want to use Wicked Grips or Punisher back plates on their guns, then let it be their barbecue guns or their safe queens. For home defense or concealed carry, I would strongly urge a simple, nondescript firearm.

  3. I agree with Dan. Just read an article in Concealed Carry Magazine that stated a gun full of skulls and bones could be used against you by an overzealous prosecutor. I would not decorate my hammers or drill set so why decorate my home defense tool?

  4. I have a beautifully blued 4 inch S&W 686+ that I would love to get engraved, it’s not my primary home defense gun, but even if it was, why not have something as beautiful as it is functional? Good article

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