I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, the shooting industry has some of the trickiest name brands in the world to pronounce. In some cases, the mispronunciations have been cemented in over decades; in others, they are so new that people are still just catching on. Whatever the reason, I rounded up some of the most commonly butchered brand names…and their proper pronunciation.
This American company carries the namesake of its founder Walt Berger. If you aren’t familiar with Berger, these folks make extremely high-end bullets and now loaded ammunition as well. Back in 2014 another former Top Shot competitor and I were lying on our bellies engaging a small 700-yard target.
He looked at me after scoring a hit and said, “That’s the benefit of using (“Burr-Jer”) bullets. He wasn’t the first person that I’ve come across that thought it was pronounced this way, but he was the first person that I corrected. Naturally, he didn’t want to believe me, so on speakerphone I dialed up their customer service right there on the firing line and got greeted with an ever friendly, “Thank you for calling (“BURGER”) Bullets, how can I help you?” I smiled and said, “Thank you, that’s all I needed.” I can only imagine her confusion as I hung up with no further explanation. Bergerbullets.com
This optics company is owned by a U.S. Veteran and is based in Arizona; however, its name must look foreign to some folks. So much so that they had their pro staffers put together a video to help clear things up. The company is pronounced (“Right-on”), as in “right on target,” “right on price,” or the common exclamation, “Right on!” when something is just perfect. Common mispronunciations are (“Written”), (“Wright-en”), (“Wright-tone”), and (“Writton” like baton). Hey, call it what you want, but after putting it on your gun you’ll likely just call it a great deal on quality glass. Ritonoptics.com
Here’s one that I am guilty of and it’s really too bad, simply because it is so classy and European-sounding…but not after Americans make it sound like they are spitting something out. Yes, I’m talking about the Finnish manufacturer Lapua, which most of us pronounce like (“Luh-poo-uh”) with the emphasis on the “poo.”
However, it has a much more fluid pronunciation and is far less guttural. After approaching some of their employees in person at the 2020 SHOT show I was surprised and embarrassed to find out that the company is pronounced (“Lop-ooo-ahhh”) with the emphasis on the “ahh” making it almost sound like a lost native American tribe. Unfortunately, I get weird looks when I say it correctly, so I stick to the mispronunciation—just as I do with (“Gur-rand”). Lapua.com
The mispronunciation of Hoppe’s is likely the most interesting and most forgivable of the bunch. When the company was formed, telephones were just starting to catch on and there were no other realistic means of audio communication. That means that if you didn’t know Frank Hoppe or his family, then it was unlikely you’ve ever heard the name pronounced. To this day the most common pronunciation of this is (“hops”) like a series of short jumps or the bitter ingredient used to make beer. However, it is pronounced (“hoppies”) like “hippies” but with an “O.”
I probably evaporated at least a gallon of his famous No.9 gun cleaning solvent before I learned this, and I am actively working on correcting myself. Hoppes.com
This one makes me laugh the most, mainly because I can’t see the misconception. The Grand Island bullet and ammo manufacturer is simply pronounced (“Horn-uh-Dee”). I’ve heard some epic mispronunciations of this one during our reloading courses to include a number of phonetic spellings that we cannot print in a family publication. The politest, and a personal favorite, is (“hom-a-dee”) which is likely the result of the “R” and the “N” blurring together to look like an “M.” One of these days I hope to share some time with the Hornady family and perhaps see if any of those get a vein to pop out of their foreheads. I can only imagine the flub-ups that they can add to this list! Hornady.com (Editor's note: The image at the top of this article is of a Hornady reusable dehumidifying pillow. MSRP $12; midwayusa.com)
I hope the preceding was good for a chuckle or maybe even a tad of enlightenment. I know there are plenty more that I am saying incorrectly myself. If you’re ever unsure of how to pronounce a shooting industry manufacturer’s name, you could always just call them “exhausted,” as nearly every manufacturer in the business is working round the clock to get us our favorite products.