NRA Opens Steampunk Exhibit

The NRA museum has a variety of exhibits that give gun aficionados a glimpse into the lengthy history of firearms. New for 2015 is a steampunk exhibit, which the NRA says will give visitors a chance to see both the creative results of artists’ designs along with a few of the more unique real guns out there. Steampunk is a sci-fi subgenre meant to give fans the fun of sci-fi effects and gadgets with a Victorian-era twist. It’s gained in popularity in recent years and the NRA exhibit will probably draw quite a few visitors.

There are three museum locations including Fairfax, VA, Springfield, MO, and Raton, NM. There are currently more than 3,000 firearms on display between the various locations. Admission is free.

Take a look online at

From NRA:

Beginning June 12, the NRA National Firearms Museum is proud to host Steampunk Guns, a new exhibit that combines a fantastic science fiction world with the modern steel canvas afforded by real firearm designs. The exhibition is made possible by ModVic, LLC and generous artists and will run through the end of 2015. Admission to this museum is free.

“These fun and phantasmaoric firearms will capture the imagination and tickle the funny bone of anyone who enjoys a peek into the alternative, ‘what-if’ sci-fi world of Steampunk,” said Jim Supica, Director of NRA Museums.

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that embodies Victorian elegance and adventurous, bizarre inventions that could easily have sprung from the mind of Jules Verne. It is a world where gizmos based on 19th century steam power have created a unique culture where a lifestyle of corsets, cravats, ray guns, and rocket ships represent a counter to the sterile technology of modern times. Continuously evolving, steampunk encompasses science fiction and elements of popular culture – including zombies, dirigibles, mad scientists, and Western gunslingers.

Steampunk Guns features dozens of unique firearms, but highlights include The Gamechanger, the World’s First Automatic Handgun, and Commander O.D. Anderson’s Belt-Fed Submachine Gun. All three firearms are innovative in their histories and designs and are on loan to the NRA by artist John Belli.

“Museum visitors will find themselves playing a game of ‘what-is-real’ as they try to guess which objects are the fantasy works of imaginative modern-day artists, and which are actual bizarre firearm inventions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” Supica continued. “It’s a remarkable glimpse into the creative minds of both technological innovators of yesteryear and creative artists of today.”

The National Rifle Association invites gun enthusiasts, artists, and historians alike to visit this new and offbeat exhibit.

TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • John

    Now, listen. I enjoy firearms, and I like steampunk. But the NRA’s idea of a steampunk weapon are undoubtedly different from mine. I envision lightning guns, chemical lasers, miniaturized Maxim cannons and copper-covered rifle scopes.

    If the exhibit doesn’t contain examples of these, I’m not interested.

    • Southpaw89

      I envision the railway rifle from Fallout 3, after all what’s not to love about a steam powered self loading rifle that launches railroad spikes!

    • ostiariusalpha

      Laser? Is that some kind of goofy name for a heat-ray gun? Personally, I’m more a fan of Tesla teleforce deathray weapons, but they’re more dieselpunk than steampunk. I would get such a laugh if someone produced a Babbage mechanical computer-controlled Tracking Pointe scope for their steampunk rifle.

    • Avery

      Mine would have to be the failed weapon designs from Forgotten Weapons, like the Farquhar-Hill and other early semi-auto designs.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Love the aesthetic of the Farquhar-Hill. For bolt action, I think the Schmidt-Rubin straight pull rifles are very steampunk. As far as handguns, the Dreyse-Kufahl needlefire revolver has a fantastic early to mid Victorian feel to it and, for late Victorian, you can’t beat the Borchardt pistol for a sci-fi design.

  • /k/ommando

    “NRA panders to vaguely racist group that glues plastic gears onto tophats.”

    • Jonathan Ferguson

      Vaguely racist? In what way? Steampunk is the most inclusive subculture I’ve ever come across.

  • Steampunk is essentially Western with Goggles and redundant cogs.

    • Fred Johnson

      Like the Wild Wild West?

      • highhammer

        wicky wild wild

  • Anon. E Maus

    “Just glue some gears on it, and call it steampunk; that’s the trendy fashion nowadays!”
    “A copper-painted chunk of some nineteen-eighties junk, will fetch a pretty penny on eBay!”

  • Brian M

    Well, I know what I’m going to do the next time there’s a big wait at the NRA range. Thanks for sharing this.

  • TJbrena