first published on January 8, 2017 by Matt Silvey
Preface: This is yet another older piece of mine that I am bringing back from the interwebs black hole. A discussion on my FB page had me wanting to share this piece but sadly, it was no longer available online, so I dug it up and here it is again. There are a few slight edits as a lot has changed since I originally wrote this back in 2013.
There is a long history of man naming inanimate objects that are special to him or her, especially their weapons. People name their cars, sailors name ships and pilots often name their aircraft, especially during WWII where aircraft were often named after women who were significant to the pilot. There are stories that go back centuries in which men have had weapons with names, both real world accounts and fictional works. One of the most noteworthy would be the legend of King Arthur and his sword, Excalibur.
There is a scene from the movie “Full Metal Jacket” in which the drill sergeant, played by R. Lee Ermey, instructs his men to give their rifle a woman’s name (movie clip below NSFW).
Now, I have never been one for naming anything other than pets and my children. That said, my current duty rifle, my LWRC M6A1-S, does have a name. That is the only gun I have ever named, and likely will be the only one I ever do name. There is a story behind the name, so bear with me a few.
Back in 2002, one of the best television science fiction shows ever made lived an artificially short life thanks the many mistakes made by the network on which it aired. That show was “Firefly.” For those familiar with it, you already know where I am going. For those not, the best way to describe it is that it was a sci-fi western with an excellent cast and equally skilled writers. One of the characters on the show, probably my favorite character (tough call to make) was a gun toting, not overly bright guy named Jayne. Jayne had a favorite weapon, and according to him it was “the best gun made by man.” Jayne’s gun had a name; he called it “Vera.”
A fellow sci-fi geek coworker and good friend of mine, upon seeing my new rifle when I first purchased it, jokingly called it “Vera” based on the “best gun made by man” comment. While some may argue that there are better guns than my LWRC, the name stuck. Eventually, I even scratched the name into the rear of the charging handle. Just as Jayne’s Vera had extreme sentimental value to him, so does my Vera to me, as this is the gun I used to save my life during a firefight on duty. This is the one firearm in my entire collection that I will never part with, at least not until I stop converting oxygen into carbon dioxide.
Do you name your weapons? If so, what is the significance of the name? Is there a story behind it?
Follow Up: After originally posting this article back in September 2013, I sent a link to the article to Adam Baldwin, the actor who played Jayne (not related to the other Baldwins), and he ended up sharing the article on Twitter, after which Tim shared Adam’s tweet on the Military Arms FB page. As a sci-fi / Firefly nerd, that was quite the honor.