Researching weapons and armor

by Marissa

Question: I can picture the weapons and the armor I want to use in my book because I've seen it in movies and tv show or something similar but I don't know the name of it I just know where it goes and what it looks like so I've tried googling pictures to see if I could find the right thing and what it's called and it's worked for something's but not all. Do you know of anything that can help me like a website or something where it has the name and a picture of the weapons and armor or should I not worry about naming it and just describe it or should I just keep trying to google it?

Answer: You might try visiting a good library. By good, I mean a large library with a reference librarian whose job it is to help people find information.

I'm pretty sure there are plenty of books on the history of armour and armaments that would give you all the information you need. They would also help you to make sure you are being consistent--that is, not mixing armour from different periods and places in a way that won't make sense. I'm pretty sure I've seen some nice illustrated nonfiction books for children (to use as references when they study history) that name all the pieces of a knight's gear.

You can't always trust movies. While they try for accuracy, they don't always succeed.

Getting the names right matters insofar as your characters, if they have any training in the armour and weapons they are using, should know what the various pieces are called. (If you have a main character who knows nothing about such things and just picks stuff up, that's a different story.) You don't have to go into great detail, but you the details you provide should be accurate in order to give a sense of authenticity.

Comments for Researching weapons and armor

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Apr 17, 2014
Re: Researching Weapons and Armor
by: Todd Rogers

I love this question!

The best way to get names for weapons and armor is to do research into what already exists in the real world and on the best anime on the subject as well as video games that feature mech or mecha.

First, I would create a list where you put a header which is a weapons class taken from the aforementioned sources (ARTILLERY, RIFLE/HANDGUN, LAUNCHERS as in GRENADE or other EXPLOSIVES of MEDIUM-YIELD or HIGH-YIELD) and do the same for classes or types of armor (KEVLAR or, say, a totally new descendant of KEVLAR, STEEL, METAL, SUBSTANCE like gel that stops bullets or absorbs directed energy weapons) and use the nomenclature (names) of current weapons types existing in the aforementioned subject sources and tweak them a little.

For instance, a rifle/machine gun type weapon with a HIGH YIELD grenade launcher could be called a HY-520 because it can fire 520 rounds per minute and has the high yield grenade launcher.

The names don't have to get fancy, however, for weapons that are run of the mill or standard issue, you could use the HY-520 example, and reserve nicknamed or acronymed weapons that are special in nature (like their explosive yield is HUGE or they do MAX damage to everything) and make one type for ground infantry forces, one or two kinds for Air Force like fighter jets or drones, and maybe another couple for starfighters or starships .. BIG GUNS, if you get my meaning.

In current day terrestrial military weaponry, there is the L.A.W. which stands for Light Anti-tank Weapon, more commonly called a rocket launcher.

Who's to say you can't have a H.Y.A.W. (High-Yield Anti-tank Weapon which sounds like HYAH! in Karate)?

I agree that a good library would be a great place to go, but I think an even BETTER place would be to go to a military recruitment center for the MARINE CORPS and the ARMY and ask the guys that are there what kind of weapons and armor classes there are, and maybe as a thank you for their input offer to make them a character in one of your stories?

That usually gets the job done!

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