Sunday, May 20, 2012

Books: Shooting Information Overload Double Feature

I like reading, and I like shooting, so books about shooting don't have to be terribly well-written for me to read them. This post looks at two such books; both have a ton of raw information, but probably won't appeal to the casual reader...

Boston's Gun Bible

This is a reference-style work (800+ pages) that covers a panoply of topics. There are sections on how to buy a gun, self-defense law, guns for women, and so on.

The bulk of "Boston's Gun Bible," though, is a listing of the pros and cons of dozens of guns in the context of their utility for self-defense and survival. This discussion ranges from the obvious (AR and AK variants) to the off-kilter (surplus guns like the K31), and reads a lot like the world's longest gun forum post.

While the "Bible" is opinionated and subjective (which the author acknowledges), it's obviously backed up by a lot of shooting and testing, too. In the end, most of the recommendations are hard to argue with (Boston T. Party isn't the first guy in the world to tell people to buy a GLOCK). I just wish there was a better way to compare and talk about the guns than table after table of arbitrary scores:

The last part of "Boston's Gun Bible" is political. For the most part, it'll be preaching to the choir - anyone reading the book probably won't mind the pro-RKBA/libertarian politics. Having personally known some of the relevant folks in the federal government (including a BATFE regional supervisor and several agents), I found some of these bits to be strident and over-the-top. Your mileage (and your branch of the ATF) may vary.

Julie Golob is one of the world's best shooters, and there are few people better qualified to write "Shoot," a guide to shooting and competition:

If you're looking for a basic, ladies-oriented introduction to shooting, this ain't it. Julie devotes much of "Shoot" to a listing/description of shooting competitions - IPSC, IDPA, 3-Gun, and the like. I found myself skimming through it at times, rather than chewing through a snore-inducing wall of text about USPSA divisions:

The most interesting part of "Shoot" is a discussion about shooting technique, as it applies to competition shooting. There are nice color photos of Julie and other competitors, and some good nuggets of wisdom from a seasoned professional.  I wish there was more practical advice like this, but perhaps that'll be the focus of another book.


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