RECOMMENDED READING FOR SHOOTERS
Note: If you cannot find any of these books at a local bookstore, or your local book seller won't order them for you, try out Amazon.com, which I've had good results with.
I. Technical Information
A Rifleman Went to War and The Emma Gees, H.W. McBride, Lancer Militaria 1987 & 1988 respectively. These two books are reprints of McBride's' first-hand accounts of his experiences fighting in France during World War I. In particular, A Rifleman Went to War provides an excellent description of the value of the marksman on the battlefield.
Airgun Review #1, Tom Gaylord, et al., 1997. Ordering information is available on the website of The Airgun Letter.
Brown on Resolution, C.S. Forester. See my in-depth review.
Cartridges of the World, Frank C. Barnes, DBI Books. Encyclopedic tome on the thousands of cartridges, popular and not, that have been created and put into use worldwide since the invention of self-contained ammunition.
The Dixie Gun Works, Inc. catalog, which has a very good section on general information in the back. DGW's order line is (800) 238-6785. Or click here for DGW's web page.
Foxfire 5, Eliot Wigginton, ed., Doubleday 1979. This volume of the Foxfire series includes information about ironmaking, blacksmithing, flintlock rifles, and bear hunting, as they used to be done in southern Appalachia. The section on gunmaking includes some nice pictures of the construction process for a rifle being built by Herschel House.
Gun Digest (annual publication). Always lots of good stuff.
Marine Sniper 93 Confirmed Kills, Charles Henderson, Berkley Books 1988. The biography of legendary USMC Sniper Gunny Carlos Hathcock. An excellent read, and another story showing the value on the battlefield of the individual marksman.
Real World Survival! What Has Worked For Me, R. Walter Rauch, 1998. Walt Rauch writes a column for Combat Handguns magazine, and his work is often published in Guns and Weapons for Law Enforcement. He is a former Secret Service Agent and Philly cop, among other things. This book draws on his experiences, and unlike a lot of the BS that you read, Walt focuses more on the mental aspects of survival and self-defense in this book. (Disclosure: My brother Josh did much of the photography in the book, but I'm not getting a dime out of this endorsement, nor did Walt ask me for it. I just think the book is worth reading.) Ordering information is available on the website of the Advanced Tactical Group.
Small Arms of The World, WHB Smith and Edward C. Ezell. Comprehensive treatise providing in-depth coverage of (primarily) military small-arms. There are a number of editions; the earlier ones contain a lot of useful historical information which is absent from later editions. The last edition is dated (1983??), and could use some updating. However, Dr. Ezell died a few years ago (after taking on the editorship after Mr. Smith died) and I don't know if anyone has taken on the chore of revising this standard work.
The Book of Rifles, WHB Smith.
II. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
The United States Constitution. Not just the Second Amendment. To defend our RKBA, you need to have an understanding of the whole Constitution and Bill of Rights. In particular, the Bill of Rights cannot be treated as a menu from which we pick only those we like. Rather, the various amendments taken together provide us with the tools to protect our liberties from government encroachment. We only need to use them.
The Federalist Papers, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, & John Jay; and The Anti-Federalist Papers, Various. Reading these two works will enable you to more fully understand the Constitution. The Federalists favored the adoption of the Constitution, with a stronger central government, while the Anti-Federalists were scared that adopting the Constitution would pave the way for a strong central government which would endanger the sovereignty of the several states and individual liberties. Although historically considered the "losers," if it wasn't for the Anti-Federalists, we would not have the Bill of Rights.
Your state constitution and bill of rights. All too often when we speak of our RKBA, we talk only in terms of the US Constitution and the Second Amendment. However, every state has its own constitution and most have an RKBA provision, which may actually be more strongly worded. For example, Article I, § 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides that "[t]he right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned."
Common Sense by Thomas Paine. This short book helped kindle the fire of the American Revolution. Not only is it good reading for any person seeking a better understanding of the period, it's also good for learning about the political philosophy of the men who formed this country and wrote the Constitution.
From Freedom to Slavery, Gerry Spence, 1995. The 1995 version of this book, which originally came out in 1993, includes additional material about the Ruby Ridge incident and the trial of Randy Weaver. I don't agree with everything Mr. Spence says, but I do agree with a lot of it. This book is the 1990s equivalent of Common Sense, in my opinion.
Pennsylvania Gun Law Guide, by Ken Abel. Any PA resident who owns a firearm should get this book so that he can understand the nuances of Acts 17 and 66, the new gun control laws enacted in 1995 and 1996. these laws have a few notable pitfalls which could get you into serious trouble if you're not familiar with them. Available from ABELexpress, 230 East Main St., Carnegie, PA 15106. (412) 279-0672.
Pretty much anything by Robert A. Heinlein. This great sci-fi author was very pro-liberty, with a very realistic outlook on life. You may not always agree with what he says, but he will always make you think. I especially recommend Stranger In A Strange Land and Starship Troopers.
Also in the sci-fi vein, anything by H. Beam Piper. His works aren't always the easiest to find but he was even more outspoken about our need for the RKBA that Heinlein.
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara, 1974. O.k., so it's not really shooting or RKBA related, but it's such a fine book I wanted to include it. This is the historical novel about the battle of Gettysburg that was the basis for the movie starring Tom Berenger and Martin Sheen.
Unintended Consequences, John Ross, Accurate Press, 1996. This novel, which spans most of this century, chronicles the loss of freedom in this country as the powers of government (especially the federal government) have expanded to touch just about every aspect of our daily lives. Highly recommended.
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