Damascus steel, forged from more than 100 layers (which gives its distinctive pattern), was said to be capable of fashioning a sword so sharp it could slice through metal.

Nowadays, you needn’t put your back into swinging an epic blade, but you can break a small sweat toting a Damascus steel gun. James Purdey & Sons has unveiled its first-ever side-by-side shotgun made almost entirely from the special, multi-layered metal, which is handcrafted at the gun makers’ London-based workshop.

Barrels, action body, lock plates, trigger mechanisms and guard are all made from the uniquely grained steel, giving you a gun with inimitable style. And, unlike other Purdey guns, it’s not engraved; instead, the steel forged for each weapon provides you with a completely one-of-a-kind pattern.

The original technique for making Damascene steel is a mystery – revealing the method was once punishable by death. But today’s version is still, as any good Syrian would attest, pretty special. Price on application.

If you’re interested in buying one, contact Purdey on 020 7408 7213 or visit purdey.com.