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Is Gunmetal GREY dark?

Gunmetal grey is considered a dark gray color. While there are different shades of gunmetal grey, most would be classified on the darker end of the gray color spectrum.

What is Gunmetal Grey?

Gunmetal grey refers to a range of dark gray colors with hints of blue or green undertones. It gets its name from the color of finished gun barrel metals. This dark gray color became popular particularly in the 1920s and 1930s.

The exact specifications for gunmetal grey will vary between different standards. For example, in the RAL color matching system used in Europe, RAL 7011 is known as “iron gray” and considered a gunmetal gray shade. Its RGB values are: (64, 64, 67).

In the Pantone Matching System (PMS), Pantone 438 C is considered a gunmetal gray shade. It is much darker than RAL 7011, with RGB values of: (65, 64, 66).

So while there is some variation, gunmetal grey tends to fall somewhere in the mid to dark end of the gray spectrum. It sits between a lighter silver gray and a very dark charcoal gray.

Gunmetal Grey vs. Other Gray Shades

Here is how gunmetal grey usually compares to some other common gray shades:

Color Name Lightness
Silver/Light Gray Lighter
Gunmetal Grey Mid-range darkness
Charcoal Gray Very dark
Black Darkest

As you can see, gunmetal grey is decidedly on the darker end of grays, but not quite black. It sits around the midpoint of the light-to-dark gray spectrum.

Is Gunmetal Grey Considered a Dark Color?

Yes, gunmetal grey is universally considered a dark shade of gray. It may have slight blue, green, or brown hints depending on the specific variation, but is always a dark, muted shade.

Here are some key reasons gunmetal grey is classified as dark:

  • It has low luminance. Gunmetal greys reflect only about 20-25% of light compared to 50% for mid grays.
  • It has low value. On the color value scale from 0 (black) to 10 (white), gunmetal greys score around 3-5, sitting much closer to black than white.
  • It has low saturation. Gunmetal greys are always desaturated, muted colors without vivid chroma.
  • It contrasts well against light colors. The high contrast with white or light shades also identifies it as a darker color.

Additionally, descriptive terminology for this color leans heavily towards the dark end. Words like “smokey”, “sooty”, “dim”, “dusky” all reinforce the darkness of gunmetal grey.

Use of Gunmetal Grey in Design and Fashion

As a dark, sophisticated neutral, gunmetal grey is a popular choice for many design and fashion applications. Here are some of the ways this deep gray color is often used:

  • Technology: Gunmetal gray is used on many electronics, appliances, and gadgets as an alternative to black that provides a bit more visual interest.
  • Automotive: On vehicles, a gunmetal gray paint job creates a modern, sleek look. Many high-end sports cars come in gunmetal grey paint colors.
  • Jewelry: Grey metals like hematite, titanium, and tungsten provide gorgeous gunmetal jewelry pieces that are both elegant and edgy.
  • Home decor: Gunmetal gray can provide an updated look as an accent wall color or on fixtures, furniture, and decor pieces throughout a home.
  • Fashion: Gunmetal gray clothing, shoes, or accessories add subtle sophistication to an outfit. The color is popular for dresses, jackets, bags, and jewelry.

Overall, the darkness and slightly blueish undertone of gunmetal grey allow it to lend a refined, sleek, and modern touch across many contexts.

Psychology and Symbolism of the Color

Like all dark, desaturated colors, gunmetal grey has unique symbolic associations and psychological effects. Here are some of the common meanings and impressions of this dark gray shade:

  • Authority – The darkness conveys a sense of credibility and authority. It’s frequently used in uniform colors for this reason.
  • Sleekness – The muted tone creates a polished, refined impression. It’s seen as more sleek than true black.
  • Neutrality – As a grayscale shade, gunmetal grey works well as a neutral background color in design and fashion.
  • Masculinity – Darker colors like gunmetal are often associated with strength and masculinity in color symbolism.
  • Somberness – At the same time, gunmetal can give off a serious, somber mood because of its darkness.

People also often describe gunmetal grey personality traits like independent, career-oriented, elegant, responsible, and introspective.


In summary, gunmetal grey is universally considered a dark shade of gray due to its low luminance, muted saturation, and proximity to black on the color and value spectrum. It sits at the darker end of gray tones, contrasting well against light shades. Gunmetal’s sophistication and versatility as both a neutral and accent color contribute to its popularity across fashion, decor, technology, and industrial design. And its symbolic darkness lends impressions of authority and masculinity.

So when evaluating where gunmetal grey fits, it can decidedly be classified among dark, sophisticated grays rather than light or neutral tones.