Signature weapon

Francisco Scaramanga wielding his signature weapon (a gold pistol which disassembles into a functional cigarette lighter and fountain pen to avoid detection) in 1974's The Man with the Golden Gun.

A signature weapon (or trademark weapon or weapon of choice) is one commonly identified with a certain group or, in the case of literature, comics, and film, where it is a popular trope, for heroes and villains to be associated with and highly proficient in the use of specific weaponry. Examples include Robin Hood's longbow,[1] Don Quixote's jousting lance, a wizard's wand, the Grim Reaper's scythe, the Monkey King's iron rod, a Jedi's lightsaber, William Tell's crossbow, David's sling and James Bond's Walther PPK. The Colt .45 SAA and Winchester are ubiquitous in Westerns. Signature weapons enable viewers of limited animation superhero cartoons, comics, fantasy anime and mecha to easily distinguish between characters who are often nearly identical in appearance (e.g., the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Signature weapons are a common feature of role-playing games and video games, where their acquisition usually marks a newly heightened level of martial prowess and/or aids in the creation of a unique avatar.[2][3]

Non-fictional associations include samurai and their katana (which were restricted to the warrior class in feudal Japan), George S. Patton (who carried an ivory-gripped Colt into battle and had two kills with it during the Mexican Expedition), the Nazi SS Luger, the Roman pilum, a knight-errant's battlefield regalia, the Thuggee garrote, and Prohibition-era gangster "Machine Gun Kelly", who cultivated his reputation for employing a Thompson automatic.

Characters with signature weapons are also found in the various epic poems, such as Zeus's Thunderbolt, Poseidon's trident, Thor's Hammer and Prince Arjuna's Celestial Bow.


  1. Paddy Lambert (31 October 2011). "Robin Hood: The Unlikely Hero". Heritage Daily.
  2. Andrew Williams (30 January 2005). "Grey Lotus: Obtaining Signature Weapons".
  3. Nicholas Tan (5 December 2012). "Far Cry 3 Signature Weapons Guide".
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