Beretta Minx - The Gun That Tucks Into Your Purse
My father wasn't a violent man. Taciturn, unsympathetic, relentlessly Eastern European, but not violent. So it was strange to learn that he carried a gun. Not all the time, and not a big gun, but there were definitely times when my old man was packin' heat. The gun he carried was a tiny thing. I remember finding it among his things after he died, and was astonished at how miniature it was. The 4 inch gun was the beguilingly named Beretta Minx, and given the galling cutesiness of the ad copy above (you've got to take the time to read it!) it seems like everyone knew what an odd little gun this was.
The mini gun featured sleek macho styling, yet it was about the size of the pearl-handled Derringer tucked into a lady's garter in a cowboy movie. While not especially interested in guns, my father felt it was important to know how to shoot and aim at a target. His rural Czech upbringing in the 20's would have made guns an everyday part of his life. Yet having such a tiny gun still seemed really odd to me.
My father worked in some tough neighborhoods, so he'd keep the little gun in his briefcase or pocket. I suppose that part is easy to imagine, though today a person might carry pepper spray or a taser. But get this...when he'd travel by plane (mostly in the 60's and 70's), he'd have the little gun in his shirt pocket. Wow. The really crazy advertising copy above for the Beretta is being alarmingly playful about gun ownership, the need that these mini-guns fill is in actuality pretty grim. The small size is for what I've heard termed "concealed carry" for those times when you're desperate to use it for (I hope) self-defense.
A gun aficionado friend of mine pointed out that such a small firearm isn't very effective as the bullets are rather small, and the short barrel reduces accuracy in aiming. That said, you'd still get some bang for your buck at short range, and further afield the loud crack of the shot could be nearly as much of a deterrent as a strike by the bullet itself.
While guns remain a problematic issue, at least we're not tending to pack little ones on vacation with us. For most of us, a gun isn't part of our daily checklist of what to crowd into our pockets. I'd like to think that people have evolved a bit in their attitude toward guns, but whenever I've gone to a target firing range there is always some butthead firing guns sideways gangsta style. It would be difficult to look equally badass packing a pair of these little guns that look like novelty cigarette lighters.
I'll close with the thought that pistols are a reminder of my Czech heritage in a different way. The word "pistol" comes from the Czech word "píšťala" (a flute or pipe). This is yet another significant contribution to the world's lexicon by the Czechs. My forbears also brought the world the word "robot", as well as an endless stream of cakes and pastries. Let's hope that one day we will live in a world where the first of these contributions is only a historic curiosity, and instead we are all happily being fattened up by bakery droids.
I can't believe that I've gone this long writing on Retro Thing without even once sharing a joke. Here's a favorite....
A priest is in a rough part of town with arms outstretched telling passersby that they should put their trust in God. A sudden gust of wind blows open the priest's robe, and his audience can see that he has a pistol tucked into his belt.
They ask, "If we're supposed to put our trust in God, what is that gun for?"
The priest answers, "That's to hold 'em off until God gets here..."