The National Rifle Association's lifestyle magazine, NRA Sharp, is using Apple and other popular brands to promote firearms that are manufactured by NRA corporate donors.
NRA Sharp showcases high-end products (guns and otherwise), opulent lifestyles, and pop culture musings, all with a pro-gun bent. As Daily Beast columnist Cliff Schecter noted, “It's the lifestyle of the armed and delusional. At NRASharp.com, there's $250 Gucci suspenders, dandelion recipes, and readers' fantasies of shooting with E.T. 'and his badass guns.'”
An August 4 post on NRA Sharp matches firearms, including an assault weapon, to their "'mainstream' cultural equals," namely BMW, Nike, luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe, and Apple. As the post explains, “We believe these pairings boost both brands to their full potential.”
NRA Sharp matches Blaser, a manufacturer of high-end hunting rifles, with German car company BMW, describing both products as “German-made monsters of design” that can be used “to experience the elemental thrill of shooting/driving.” According to a report from gun violence prevention group Violence Policy Center, Blaser's U.S. subsidiary has donated between $250,000 and $499,000 to the NRA.
Next, NRA Sharp matches Nike shoes to a Daniel Defense AR-15 style assault weapon, writing, “These two pioneers of customization cater to the one-of-a-kind shooter athlete.” Daniel Defense is the "presenting sponsor" of the NRA Freestyle network, which includes NRA Sharp. In a 2013 press release, Friends of NRA announced that Daniel Defense will be the “2014 exclusive guardian sponsor,” the highest level of sponsorship. The NRA turns to Daniel Defense to supply assault weapons for its gun raffles including "the Daniel Defense NRA Giveaway" and the "NRA Banned Guns Raffle." According to Daniel Defense's director of marketing, money is set aside for the NRA in each year's budget.
Holland & Holland, a British gun manufacturer whose products can cost upwards of $200,000, is paired with Patek Philippe, a maker of similarly expensive Swiss watches. According to NRA Sharp, both brands “embody the definition of investment: these are born to be heirlooms.” The NRA's museum displays several Holland & Holland firearms.
NRA Sharp also pairs Apple's iPhone with a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield handgun, writing, “If there was ever a firearm brand that mirrors Apple's inspiring, innovative drive to cater to the consumer, Smith & Wesson is on their way.” According to Violence Policy Center, Smith & Wesson has donated between $1,000,000 and $4,999,999 to the NRA. Smith & Wesson is also the sponsor of the NRA's online women's network. In a 2012 press release celebrating its induction into the “NRA Golden Ring of Freedom,” Smith & Wesson wrote, “As a member of the NRA Corporate Partners Program, Smith & Wesson has worked closely with the NRA over the years and currently supports a number of Association programs including the NRA Voice of Freedom, the NRA Life of Duty program, NRA Law Enforcement, and The NRA Foundation. Smith & Wesson's support far exceeds one million dollars in cash.”
NRA Sharp debuted in May as part of its NRA Freestyle project to reach out to a younger and more diverse audience. Besides NRA Sharp, the online network offers a web show aimed towards millennials, a forthcoming series that will document a young gun enthusiast “on her journey toward personal protection, self-discovery and leaving a legacy that will last forever,” and a web series that recreates fight scenes from movies.