Firearms: An Illustrated History

Published in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution, Firearms: An Illustrated History (DK Publishing, http://bit.ly/1tcBxDz) charts the evolution of the gun for civilian and military use, from the pistol and rifle, to the machine gun and artillery, from the development of early flintlocks and muskets to modern-day firearms.

More than 300 firearms are highlighted along with pivotal moments in gun development and technology spanning seven centuries of history combined with excellent illustrations. Photographic tours detailing the most intricate details of key weaponry and features on the world’s iconic gun makers, including Colt, Smith & Wesson, Maxim, and Kalashnikov.

Features include two exclusive, colored prints of a Colt Single-Action Army Model 1873 and Smith and Wesson Model 10; a timeline that spans a 700-year period of development from cast-bronze cannon to lightweight, nylon-stocked hunting rifles; profiles on all the legendary names in gun making, from Beretta to Winchester, with articles on the craftsmanship and mystique behind the brands; and a weaponry gallery of muskets, pistols, shotguns, rifles, machine-guns, and artillery.

More than most gun owners, American Gunsmith readers will likely be well acquainted with much of what’s in there, although I’m certain even the most experienced gunsmiths will likely learn something they hadn’t known previously. The real benefit of this book is as a tool to educate others. Think of Firearms as a coffee-table book to entertain guests or new shooters with a rich history of firearms and their development. For people that don’t know much about firearms this is an excellent introduction and was the very sort of book I first discovered when I began developing an interest in guns and shooting. For those with more experience the book is a tapestry of personal arms, both military and civilian, that extends through crew-served machine guns and artillery and encompasses a complete historical overview illustrated with excellent photography.

Read more in our January 2015 issue. Back issues are available.

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