Norse Hardware: Viking Weapons

Norse Hardware Viking Weapons.

We figured with the start of the new season of Vikings upon us it was time for a Viking themed post. Some Vikings use a breiðöx, others a suppressed SCAR heavy or M320 (though neither of the latter is terribly much use in the skjaldborg). Let’s talk a little about the old school warriors today. Let’s talk about Viking hardware. Mad Duo

Raiding season is fast approaching. Many of you yearn for adventure, the feel of salt-spray on your faces, and the chance to prove your honor and win such glory that your forefathers will sing your name and your children will ask to hear the stories again over the long next winter.

But where you might find yourself loading up with kevlar and lead-spitting black rifles, hopping into a HUMVEE or MRAP or crossing seas aboard a C-130 or C-5, I thought I might cast your minds back 1000 years to another group of hard-handed and steely-eyed warriors plying their trade by blood, fire, and steel: the Vikings. I wanted to tell you a little about their wargear, and why it worked so well.

Viking Hardware

These Scandinavian warrior-traders would raid the coastal towns of the North Sea and Atlantic for booty, conquest, glory (and also just for the thrill of exploration). They reached as far as the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean by littoral water and riverine routes, and there is archaeological evidence they went as far as Baghdad, not to mention colonizing Greenland, Iceland, and almost certainly making it to North America.

How did they do it, what did they use?

Instead of Cordura, nylon, ceramic plates, and kevlar, the Vikings typically wore quilted woolen or linen clothes with leather belts and metal broaches. Their armor consisted of helmets, shields, and heavy leather tunics – or chain mail if you were rich enough. Rich or professional warriors might have had a metal helmet, but leather and wood would probably have been the basis for the average foot-slogger.

Crows stirring

They fought mostly on foot and used their ships mainly as a transport to the scene of battle, so heavy armour was not part of the regimen since full plate armour isn’t something you’d wear to go over the side of a longboat. Chain mail is a real pain to make, not only in drawing out all the wire, curling it, and cutting it into uniform lengths. But to make it effective, it needs to be welded or riveted together. It’s expensive and heavy, and only good for stabbing and slashing attacks even when over layers of padding. “Better to be fast and deadly” was the Viking way.”

The Viking Shield

Viking Shield.
Swiped from Wikepaedia.

That said, almost all Vikings would have borne their shield. Viking shields were usually round and made of spruce, fir, or pine in a single plank layer (although sometimes double-layered), butted together and featuring a domed metal boss. Sometimes they were covered in hide with the rim strengthened by an iron band. They were typically about 1 meter in diameter and protected the body from shoulder to thigh. Often the shields were brightly painted. Interlocked with the man (or woman) on either side, they could form a very effective shield wall, and Viking tactics excelled at using them to devastating effect.

The Viking Helmet

A viking helmet. Image swiped from http://www.edinburghspotlight.com
A Viking helmet. Image swiped from http://www.edinburghspotlight.com

Wealthy Vikings wore strong iron helmets, although few examples remain. Most depicted in the art of the time were simple cup shapes, with a strip of metal to protect the nose. Others were more complex and had a goggle-shaped mask that protected the eyes and nose, and flaps to protect the neck.

No, there were no horns on Viking helmets. Horns aren’t high-speed or low-drag.

Viking Weapons

As far as weapons go, Viking hardware was cutting-edge gear which, coupled with their warrior ethos, put them at the head of pretty much everyone’s “run-when-you-see-them” list.

The Viking Spear

Viking Spears. Image swiped from https://www.flickr.com/photos/arnybo/
Viking Spears. Image swiped from https://www.flickr.com/photos/arnybo/

Probably their most popular weapon, the Viking spear was not as expensive or as difficult to make as a sword, but still very deadly. They had a slender, tapering blade up to 50 centimeters long attached to a wooden shaft by a socket. They were very dangerous thrusting weapons, and they could also be thrown, depending on the size and design. The Viking spear was typically long enough that the owner could reach up and touch the pin holding the head to the haft. This style of spear was good for thrusting, and even slashing, given the long broadhead.

The Viking Axe

Dane Viking Axe. Swiped from wikepedia.com
Dane Viking Axe. Swiped from wikepedia.com

The Viking battle axe was also a very deadly weapon. It could easily cleave through armor and still leave a mortal wound. They were made by welding a sharp cutting edge onto a shaped block of iron. The butt end was then slotted over a wooden handle and wedged tight. It served multiple purposes as it was also their working axe. This made it a very affordable weapon that any able-bodied person in Viking culture could be expected to wield effectively. The forward sweeping front “horn” enables the Viking axe to be used as a stabbing weapon, and the broad hook of the bottom hone allowed it to grab, sweep, hook, and otherwise entangle an opponent’s weapons of defense.  A Viking Axe could also be used for climbing over balustrades.

The Viking Sword

Viking Swords
A Viking sword became a status symbol for its owner.

But the greatest of a Viking’s hardware was his sword. It was highly prized for its fighting strength and served as a status symbol: the higher the rank of the warrior, the greater the sword. A Viking sword usually had a wide, double-edged blade, were between 70 and 80 centimeters long, rarely had a sharp point (being slashing weapons), and often had a richly decorated hilt. The blades were pattern-welded and had a fuller ground out the length of the blade. The fuller lightened the blade and increased flexibility without reducing its strength. Swords were thought so highly of that many Vikings named them. These were some very significant pieces of war-gear.

Other Types of Viking Hardware

Seax broken back daggers.
British Museum Sittingbourne Seax broken back dagger.

As well as swords, axes, and spears they also utilized long and short bows, plus knives, including the iconic seax broken back daggers.  The Viking warrior was geared up and loaded up for battle. They were so successful that even now, 1000 years later, warriors emulate them.

Live hard, train hard, fight hard, and do so with honour. Perhaps in another thousand years, the same will be thought of you.

A man should not step one foot

forth in the field without weapons.

One cannot know, when on the road,

when he will need his spear.

The Hávamál- Stanza 38


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How Striker-Fired Guns Work

Apex Tactical Heavy-Duty Striker for FN.

Striker-fired guns are the bee’s knees. Rarely do you see a new gun come out in any design besides striker-fired. Hammer fired handguns aren’t dead, but they may be gone as far as armed professionals go. The United States military got rid of the hammer-fired Beretta for the P320. Most police forces have transitioned to these guns in various flavors, and most popular carry guns are striker-fired models. What exactly is a striker-fired handgun? How do they work? Well, let’s find out.

What’s A Striker-Fired gun?

All strikers are firing pins, but not all firing pins are strikers. Striker fired guns can best be described as spring-loaded firing pins. The racking the slide or pulling the trigger, or a combination of both cock the striker and the striker is held in the ready to fire position with potential spring energy behind it. Once the trigger is pulled, the spring energy propels the striker forward.

Image showing the internals of four striker fired handguns.
Strikers galore.

Continue reading “How Striker-Fired Guns Work”

Cheek Weld: a fundamental of accuracy

Cheek weld: because consistency breeds accuracy.

Cheek weld is important — far more important than many people know. Like grip on a handgun, cheek weld is frequently misunderstood.

Consistency equals accuracy.

We have – you should have – been hearing this for years.  There is no single element that guarantees someone will be a good shooter. Rather there is a collection of several seemingly small things (i.e. fundamental skills and actions) that must be reliably and consistently executed with each and every shot.

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Smoke grenades: a colorful strategy from Enola Gaye

Enola Gaye Smoke Grenades

Now and then, you find yourself in need of letting everyone within several city blocks know of your whereabouts. Maybe you’re a stranded hiker outside of Machu Picchu and just got your gear lifted by Peruvian bandits. Now you need to signal for help. Or, maybe you just really like a flamboyant entrance to Mom’s annual 4th of July cookout. Either way, Enola Gaye USA (@enolagayeusa) makes a whole line of smoke grenades to make just such efforts easier.

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You Wanna Be PALS with MOLLE?

Thyrm Now A Part of House Morningwood

A company has made it when people start using their brand name as a stand-in for any item in the same realm. For example, tissues being called Kleenex, Jacuzzis and hot tubs, and lest we forget Ping Pong and table tennis. Sometimes it happens even when it’s not an accurate term. This is what has happened with the terms MOLLE and PALS. MOLLE became the nearly synonymous name with modern webbing used on plate carriers, belts, backpacks, and more.

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Loot Vault: Morning Wood Plunder

Tactical equipment contests and giveaways from breachbangclear.

Go straight to the latest contest.

Past giveaways and loot distributed.

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Among the many benefits of backing us on Patreon is access to the loot we hand out to our supporters. We’ve given a lot of swag and plunder away since we first called the banners.  Unfortunately, we’re not terribly bright so we didn’t record it all or post it online.

That’ll change now. As we go forward we’ll update this page with new contests and giveaways (or the big ones, anyway). We’ll also announce on Instagram (@house.morningwood), so be sure to keep an eye on that frequency too.

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Sorry. Female Space Marines would attract Space Bears

Kinpatsu Cosplay: WH40K Space Marine

A couple of years ago, military-related news feeds were full of stories about female Ranger School graduates, female infantry officers for both the Army and the Marine Corps, even a large number of female enlisted Marines headed for SOI (the terrestrial School of Infantry mind you; nothing to do with any Space Marine training).

It wasn’t too much later that we began hearing the all too predictable calls that females also be allowed to fight in the ranks of the Legiones Astartes (the Emperor‘s Space Marines).

Sisters of Battle Squad (Warhammer 40K cosplay)
This polite young lady is part of the Sisters of Battle squad.

WTF.

Sisters of Battle cosplay by Rudy Chaos.
Sisters of Battle cosplay by Rudy Chaos.

Continue reading “Sorry. Female Space Marines would attract Space Bears”

Monster Energy Girls

Monster Energy Girls

Monster has a lot going for it — fast cars, fast motorcycles, badass athletes, a massively popular line of energy drinks (duh). Our personal favorite: the Monster Energy Girls.

Since they make Monster Energy‘s activity so much more visually appealing, we figure it’s only appropriate to post their latest news.

You’re welcome.

Monster Energy Girl @missivickilund in Morocco.
Meanwhile, in Morocco, Monster Energy Girls like @missivickilund are makin’ the desert look good.

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