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Have I encountered something peculiarly American?

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So.... my band of merry men and women were on camp at Gilwell Park over the weekend. Saturday morning some of them were on air rifle shooting and were instructed by a chap from California. Among his various eccentric ways he had names for all the rifles. All were female because, in his words, they are both beautiful and dangerous!

 

Just curious, is this a truly American thing? We've done shooting before and never encountered named rifles....

 

The rifles were call Elizabeth, Mary, Georgina and Juliette.

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Cows and obviously hurricane were also named only after women, until the Feminist movement made Hurricane Research Center start using male names as well. 

Edited by JasonG172

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For rifles,not common. It would be like having names for hammers or pliers. Cars are another matter. Many of my cars had names - Mean Machine, the BatteredMobile.

 

Davy Crockett called one of his rifles Old Betsy.

 

Old Marines are more likely to know the serial numbers of their issued M-1 or M-14 rifles than their marriage anniversary or wife's birthday.  :D

Edited by RememberSchiff

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So.... my band of merry men and women were on camp at Gilwell Park over the weekend. Saturday morning some of them were on air rifle shooting and were instructed by a chap from California. Among his various eccentric ways he had names for all the rifles. All were female because, in his words, they are both beautiful and dangerous!

 

Just curious, is this a truly American thing? We've done shooting before and never encountered named rifles....

 

The rifles were call Elizabeth, Mary, Georgina and Juliette.

 

Your first clue was "chap from California". Those folks are not like the rest of Americans and run a bit differently.  ;)

 

In Texas we don't name our guns, we number them according to where we carry them on our person. #1 is an S&W M&P 45. #2 is a Glock G19. #3 is a Winchester 94. #4 is my Kel-Tec KSG. :D  

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I only named one car in my lifetime.  Well, it named itself.  It was a 1970 Buick and the letter "I: fell off the front of the hood so it was thereafter called "Buck".

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Old Marines are more likely to know the serial numbers of their issued M-1 or M-14 rifles than their marriage anniversary or wife's birthday.  :D

 

 

Very true! My MCJROTC unit also gave our rifles girls' names. While the Marine instructor and cadet officers didn't use the exact language Gunnery Sergeant Hartman uses in Full Metal Jacket, it was similar.

 

 WARNING: Language  

 

 

 

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Cows and obviously hurricane were also named only after women, until the Feminist movement made Hurricane Research Center start using male names as well. 

 

I hope that cows are still getting female names, since a male wouldn't be a cow.  I also wish that the HRC would stay away from cutesy names. Hurricane Cynthia is way more intimidating than Hurricane Cindy...

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My GPS is "Martha".  A friend of my son's was taking a long road trip with her husband and 3 year old son.  For fun, they selected a different voice for the GPS.  By the end of the trip, the son was speaking with a distinct British accent.  (I know, you don't have an accent...we do!).LOL.  

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So I'll take that as something that happens but not everywhere....

 

The instructor was properly eccentric. As well as shooting he had an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars including weird stuff about light sabres. More interestingly he is also Buddhist and when one of our younger scouts was really struggling to hit anything and getting quite frustrated he used some basic meditation breathing exercises to calm him down, get him to focus and then he hit the target straight away.

 

Very interesting young man.

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My GPS is "Martha".  A friend of my son's was taking a long road trip with her husband and 3 year old son.  For fun, they selected a different voice for the GPS.  By the end of the trip, the son was speaking with a distinct British accent.  (I know, you don't have an accent...we do!).LOL.  

 

Cor blimey Guv'nor! 'ees a lucky fella ain't 'e?

 

We have lots of different accents, as do you. I know the French do to. I guess everywhere does. And possibly, everything...Moo!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/5277090.stm

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I'd never heard the beautiful and dangerous explanation but I like it!

 

It was common where I grew up.  Basically anything that was associated with men (guns, cars, tractors, ships, etc.), that had any sort of association with aesthetic beauty (or orneriness), was often referred to as "she."   It wasn't as common to give the objects names, but, I'm not particularly surprised by it.

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I've seen people name things that are quirky and unique. If it can have a personality of its own, it can be named. Guns could fall into that. Cars definitely fall into that. My guess is it started with boats. The older and more you've worked on it, the easier it is to name it.

 

As far as your shooting range instructor goes, speaking of quirky, I've met interesting young people all over the world. They are happy, confident, and content with who they are and don't mind using their character to facilitate creating a relationship. They tend not to worry about what others think, see the good in others, and they enjoy what they do.

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Interesting question - and in fact many Americans do give their guns names - there is even an article in the American Rifleman from June 14, 2011 titled "Why Do We name Our Guns".

 

What may be unique is insisting that they all need to be named after a female.  While it seems to be traditional to name machinery (almost any machinery will do - from guns to boats to cars to planes) with a female name, the naming of guns may be the most varied - some are named after females, some may be named for beloved pets or hunting dogs, many are named for sentimental purposes, and some may be named for their destructive capabilities (death stroke, etc - though I really have to wonder if we want people who  name their guns things like death stroke to actually own guns - seems to me there might be a bit of mental instability amongst those folks - I'd much rather hunt with someone who names their gun Claire or Blue of Old Yeller than I would with someone who names their gun Vengeance).

 

Is it uniquely American?  That might be hard to answer - none of us on this side of the pond have any experience in the British armed forces so for all we know, British Marines name their guns.  You also have much stricter gun control laws over on your side of the pond so it's less likely that someone will have a gun. 

 

Or it could just be that we Americans are just as eccentric as many Brits are - just about different things.  I have a rifle and a shotgun at home - the rifle is a Remington, the shotgun is a Winchester.  I've named my rifle Winchester and have named my shotgun Remington.  I'll bet I can find some folks in England that have an encyclopedic knowledge of Dr. Who and who can tell us some really weird things about sonic screwdrivers.

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