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View Full Version : Book Review: American Rifle: A Biography



Soldiermedic
2/07/2012 1:26pm,
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I originally bought this book for my grandfather, who is a shooting enthusiast, amateur gunsmith, and staunch 2nd Amendment defender. He enjoyed the book and passed it on to my cousin, who's love of firearms and violence is only surpassed by his fear of the zombie apocalypse.

I'm not joking:

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/283874_10150270752082839_502472838_7616023_6819156 _n.jpg



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I started reading the book during my weekend visits to my grandfather, while waiting for him to wake up from naps.

My firearm background isn't nearly as extensive as my other family members. Beyond a pellet gun when I was growing up, and the experiences and training I had as a medic in the US Army Reserve, I have spent little to no personal time shooting.

That being said, I found the book entertaining and accessible which was somewhat a surprise given that the subject matter at hand can easily be very very dry, especially to someone without a lot of practical knowledge.

The book begins detailing the very beginning of firearms in Western Civilization, quickly moving to its roots in the colonies in the New World, and the innovations brought on by the environmental needs and struggles in the soon to be born nation.

Starting with the Revolutionary War, and moving to the current fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the author painstakingly outlines the affects of needs and political climate of the US in a given time period, and how factors such as immigration, unionization, economics, nationalism, and others influenced the development of the US Service Rifle.

The language is engaging and keeps you interested, and meticulously researched quotes makes the prose seem very much alive. There are some that might find some of the comments overly snarky, but being a smug northerner, its possible that this added to my enjoyment of the book.

I have seen some gripes on other reviews regarding technical wording flaws, and I will leave that to others who know better to comment on, but I will say that I can highly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in guns or history.

Stickybomb
2/08/2012 8:10am,
If I would live in the same 'hood as your brother I'd be a little nervous after reading this everytime I'd get out. I walk like a zombie in the morning....
Also anti-walkers ammo? What the hell? In what way does it differ from regular?

wetware
2/08/2012 8:20am,
If I would live in the same 'hood as your brother I'd be a little nervous after reading this everytime I'd get out. I walk like a zombie in the morning....
Also anti-walkers ammo? What the hell? In what way does it differ from regular?

It's got a green tip.

WoodyCorpus
2/08/2012 8:33am,
Soft plastic tips for extra expansion when hitting soft tissue?

Looks like a very informative book, though. Does it cover the numerous experiments concrtning breach loaders and repetion rifles during the civil war in depth?

Devil
2/08/2012 8:57am,
Thanks for the review.

The zombie ammo is funny.

Soldiermedic
2/08/2012 5:07pm,
Soft plastic tips for extra expansion when hitting soft tissue?

Looks like a very informative book, though. Does it cover the numerous experiments concrtning breach loaders and repetion rifles during the civil war in depth?

I asked him about the bullets and he said:
"Haha, they have a polymer tip so it behaves like a hollow point on contact with soft tissue but doesn't load up with fabric like a hollow point when it goes through something like a zombie's winter coat, when hollow points do that they don't mushroom as well and therefore transfer less kinetic energy into the body of said zombie. It's like the best of both worlds."

A pretty decent amount of the book chronicles the division between the "diehards" and "progressives" in the army concerning rapid fire and breechloaders, as well as the argument that a rifle is not actually necessary, as it was common thought at the time that a regular soldier shouldn't be wasting his time by aiming, but rather contributing to the barrage of fire as ordered by his commanding officer.

WoodyCorpus
2/08/2012 7:12pm,
I asked him about the bullets and he said:
"Haha, they have a polymer tip so it behaves like a hollow point on contact with soft tissue but doesn't load up with fabric like a hollow point when it goes through something like a zombie's winter coat, when hollow points do that they don't mushroom as well and therefore transfer less kinetic energy into the body of said zombie. It's like the best of both worlds."

A pretty decent amount of the book chronicles the division between the "diehards" and "progressives" in the army concerning rapid fire and breechloaders, as well as the argument that a rifle is not actually necessary, as it was common thought at the time that a regular soldier shouldn't be wasting his time by aiming, but rather contributing to the barrage of fire as ordered by his commanding officer.

Very awesome. I do believe this is worth the shipping cost to get it over the pond.
Thank you.