Gun photos in the Life magazine Google archive

Google is hosting a huge archive of millions of Life magazine images since 1750. I thought I would see what interesting gun photos I could find.

Winchester 1890 pump action rifle. © Time Inc.

Actress Donna Drake taking aim with a rifle on the balcony of her home, dressed in a two-piece swimsuit, her dog lying on a cushion nearby.

Location: CA, US
Date taken: 1942
Photographer: Peter Stackpole

Hollywood is just not the same anymore. Imagine the media frenzy if Scarlett Johansson was spotted with a rifle on her roof!

Full sized photo here.

Guy waterskiing with revolver. WTF?

Swiss farmer’s rifle with bandolier. Taken 1941. Presumably on hand in case of a German invasion.

Ordnance shop at Skoda Munitions factory. Too little too late. Less than a year later the factory would be producing arms for the German war machine.

What not to do with a gun.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Wow. Kim du Toit is gonna be mad that you scooped him on that picture.

  • anon

    “Swiss farmer’s rifle with bandolier”

    It’s a K-31, and your presumption is correct; it is a government issued civil defense rifle.

  • DJK

    You mean….there was a time when the governments of different countries ISSUED rifles for self defense?? That’d be the day…..

    What a great collection of photos. Search for GUN and SCHOOL. VERY interesting. Fits well with

  • Still today, Swiss citizens are issued a rifle by the government, i.e. if the are doing their military duty. The only difference is that nowadays, we do not necessarily have an old K31 leaning against a wall (though I do), but a SIG 550 assault rifle. After leaving the military sometime between the age of 35 and 50, we may keep the rifle.

  • Windy Wilson

    That Swiss Rifle with the cartridge belt is not a K-31, The view is of the underside of the rifle, and there is a gap between the magazine and the trigger guard on the pictured rifle. It is either the K-11, though it seems a bit long for a K-11, or more likely, the G1911 or G1896/11. They look almost the same. It also isn’t the G1889, that had a much longer magazine protruding from the underside.