There are times that I look at the things I’ve written, and sometimes feel a bit foolish at the naming conventions I’ve used for my rifles. I have Ascalon, Demeter, Heimdall, Mjolnir, Gungnir, and pistols with varying nicknames. I realize, on the surface, that this is a bit…well…silly.
But, I also like the tradition. Outside the context of firearms, history is full of named weapons. Charlemagne’s sword was called Joyeuse; and his paladin, Roland, had a sword named Durandel. King Arthur had Excalibur.
The sword, Joyeuse, which belonged to Charlemangne
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, better known as El Cid, had Tizona and Colada. Literature is full of named weapons, from Beowulf’s Hrunting to the various swords of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (Glamdring, Anduril, Sting, and Narcil, among others).
This is, of course, not limited to swords. The name Ascalon, for which I named one of my rifles, comes from the spear of St. George that slew a dragon. Military members were rather famous for naming their bombers during wartime such as the Enola Gay and Bockscar (the B-29s that dropped nuclear weapons on Japan). Chuck Yeager flew the Glamorous Glennis, a Bell X-1, to break the sound barrier. The very first nuclear weapon detonated was nicknamed ‘Gadget.’
St. George wielding his spear, Ascalon
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. The tradition of naming weapons has a long and storied past. I can’t say why this is the case, but my guess would be that it is a recognition that these objects are valuable, worthy of special care. Some people name their rifles after people, others perhaps after some shared activity with the weapon. I tend towards names from mythology, and choose names that suit the purpose of the weapon. I think I do this to make them feel more unique, as though they are truly mine. Though, I guess they are, anyway.
I suppose the second reason I do it is that I can talk about them in a public setting without raising eyebrows. Using Ascalon instead of, “the 16″ AR with the scope,” draws less attention.
Anyway, it’s just something that’s been on my mind.
Also, there has been a big bump in traffic around here. I noticed that Loose Rounds gave me a plug on their Facebook page. Thanks, guys!