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The NRA writes [via]:

No matter how much you might know, there is always something new to learn, especially when it comes to firearms and gun culture. A few NRA staff members from across the organization have selected informative books to keep the everyday gun owner well read. These books are perfect for an avid firearm enthusiast looking for a great new read!

American Gunmaker by John M. Browning

John Browning was a truly fascinating man, and this book looks deeply into the complexities of both his creative talents and engineering/design skills. In addition, his professional and personal relationships with industry leaders, the U.S. government, and others are covered in depth, giving a well-rounded perspective of his life in general…including his failures. The fact remains that he is, without question, the most influential firearms designer that has ever lived, even more than a century later.Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense by Massad Ayoob

This book extensively covers legal standards that concealed carry permit holders are held to. It strongly encourages readers to study the laws in their jurisdictions emphasizing that ignorance of the law is never a defense.

One of the most eye-opening sections to me was how you as a lawful citizen, will be judged (usually harshly) by a jury of their “peers” if you use deadly force in a defensive shooting. No matter how justified the shooting may have been, Ayoob impresses upon the reader the impact of the shooting, and concepts vital to your defense.

The book widely covers Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws as well. I don’t know of a more invaluable, exhaustive but well-written and easily understandable book out there on the topic!

 Marine Sniper by Charles Henderson 

This is a great book that goes into the history of U.S. Marine Corps sniper development. It revisits some of the most famous sniper stories of the Vietnam War and how Carlos Hathcock became one of the greatest USMC snipers in history.

With 93 confirmed kills, including one from an astounding 2,500 yards, this Marine contributed greatly to modern day USMC sniper tactics and training. Hathcock was also one of the initial instructors at the USMC Scout Sniper School where he began to change the role of the modern day sniper as we know it.

Serious Social Shotguns by John Mattera

The reading is easy and straightforward as it delves into the defensive platforms modernly described as shotguns. It includes important fundamentals and concepts for all types of shooters, novice to sage, with some historical and current perspectives on one of the most serious and popular firearm tools known.

Moss, Mallards and, Mules by Bob Brister

Living in Houston for over a decade provided plenty of opportunities to hunt along the great Gulf Coast. Author Bob Brister is a well-known writer for the Houston Post, and also an accomplished hunter and an incredible shotgun shooter.

Bob captures the excitement of hunting the Texas Gulf Coast like he was there, because he was. One of my favorites of the 27 short stories is about Bob and shotgun shooting legend Grant Ilseng.

They met for the first time at a shooting competition where Bob’s gun broke and, being the total gentleman that he was, Mr. Ilseng let Bob shoot his gun knowing full well Bob might beat him. It’s a great story. I had the privilege of knowing both Grant and Bob which adds greatly to my enchantment.

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  1. The two books on the left of the photo, “Gunfight” and “Gun Guys,” are indispensable, and give a lot of insight into “how it all came to this.”

    • Also indispensable is Richard Feldman’s “Ricochet,” an insider’s account of NRA efforts in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

  2. Not to get all Asian or philosophical about this but:

    The Life Giving Sword by Yagyū Munenori, The Book of the Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, The Art of War by Sun Tzu and On War by Carl von Clausewitz all come before any book on this list IMHO and should be followed by Mr. Ayoob’s Deadly Force for a legalistic perspective specific to the US.

    However, if you’re living up to the standards imposed on you by The Life Giving Sword and The Book of the Five Rings Mr. Ayoob’s book (fantastic in it’s own right btw) is largely superfluous.

  3. They also left out The Turner Diaries. If Hillary had gotten elected we would have been living through a live version.

      • Jesus, your one of the many morons that are the problem. Let me guess, you think John McCain would do a better job, right? You think gun control and radical “progressivism” wouldn’t have given way to tyranny? Or are you referring to how the progressives use under educated minorities to help supress the people?

    • everyday

      of or relating to every day; daily:
      an everyday occurrence.

      of or for ordinary days, as contrasted with Sundays, holidays, or special occasions:
      everyday clothes.

      such as is met with every day; ordinary; commonplace:
      a placid, everyday scene.


      the routine or ordinary day or occasion:
      We use inexpensive plates for everyday.

  4. As a new gun owner how about To Keep And Bear Arms, the origins of an american right. By Joyce Lee Malcolm. She was a guest speaker at the Nashville NRA meeting. A great book for those interested in learning why the founders wrote the second amendment. Why they hated standing armies. Why the used the words “arms” and not the word “gun”. How they Learned from the English experience. Because the English don’t have hand guns anymore and long guns are not far behind from disappearing from civilian hands.
    For me this book made me appropriate my gun rights even more.

  5. When I was a cop one of the guys on my squad wanted onto the Emergency Services Team (SWAT). The team leader and I knew each other well since I was one of the department’s hostage negotiators and he called me to ask if the guy was a good choice for EST. I told him that I would hate to lose him from our patrol squad but the EST would never get anyone better.

    He got the position and turned out to be as fine an EST member as he was a street cop. I had loaned him my copy of “93 Confirmed Kills” just before the transfer and didn’t get it back until some months later. When we finally hooked up again he had my book and said he hoped I didn’t mind if someone had written in it when he gave it back to me. I opened the book and on the flyleaf was a personally inscribed autograph to me from Gunny Hathcock. He had been a guest instructor when my officer went to the Sniper School at Quantico. That book and a pisscutter EGA which came from the estate of Major Gregory”Pappy” Boyington are my Marine treasures with which I shall never part and pass down to my grandcritter.

  6. By far my dearest and most worn shooting books are The Art of Hunting Big Game in North America by Jack O’ Connor and Game Loads and Practical Ballistics for the American Hunter by Bob Hagel.

    O’ Connor was a professor of English and Journalism before he turned to writing full time. His book is as entertaining as it is informative, and I have many times borrowed the colorful turns of phrase that fill the pages. Even though it was published in 1967, most of the material still applies today. I don’t know where else you could find a whole chapter devoted to the best way to carry a scoped bolt action rifle on a horse. O’ Connor was 76 years old when he died in 1978.

    Hagel is also dead. He expired in 2006 at 89. A lifetime of carving bullets out of every animal he ever shot built up the wealth of knowledge that fills his book. Hagel believed in choosing bullets of high sectional density, which often meant heavier bullets for a given caliber, and pushing them along with as much powder as the brass and his rifles could stand. His book has been called the best reloading book for hunters ever written.

    I think it’s interesting that O’ Connor and Hagel could have chosen to live anywhere in the world, and they chose Idaho. So did Elmer Keith. As we enter an age when the only location requirement for many forms of employment is a fast internet connection, it will be interesting to see if more people follow their example.

  7. “Glock, The Rise of America’s Gun” by Paul Barrett.

    Even Glock haters must admit that the G’s changed firearms in our generation.

    Fascinating stories, a corporation run like the Mob, the fascination with a gun that’s best press was negative press, polymer/striker takes over the market, Glock takes over the Cop’s holster, Colt and S&W getting pantsed.

    For any shootist, understanding how we got to where we are now in firearm design is a worthwhile read.

  8. To ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth Cooper

    Fast and fancy revolver shooting – McGivern

    Good friends, Good Guns, good whiskey – compilation of Skeeter Skelton’s writings.

    Six guns – Keith

    • This!!! To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth is a classic. No list of reading on guns is complete without something from Cooper. Also, In the Gravest Extreme by Ayoob.

  9. Perhaps only one of these books is what I’d recommend for today’s “everyday gun owner.”

    Two things to NB:

    1. Many (most?) of the younger people I meet today don’t read. I don’t mean that they’re illiterate, or that they lack the capacity for reading. I mean that they don’t voluntarily pick up a book and read it. They don’t read for pleasure, they don’t read to inform. They don’t want to learn information from a book. They want to watch videos.

    In my generation, reading was not only work, it was entertainment. We didn’t spend our days glued to a screen; we read. There’s many a night in our household that the only thing you hear is the heating system and pages turning.

    2. Most new-generation gun owners show little to no interest in learning the history of firearms, firearms designers, gun tactics, etc. To them, a firearm is an appliance that goes ‘bang’ – and not a lot more. This is why Glock (and Glock-like) handguns so appeal to them. When they learn a bit more, they accessorize and change out parts. That’s about it.

    Towards that end, I think Ayoob’s book is the one I’d want them to read the most.

    • Yes how right you are. I,once as a mere lad went to the library with one of my school mates. We both took out duplicate copies of a book (I cannot remember the title) but it was a book of fiction about a Japanese American who volunteered to fight in WWII and at the end of the book convinced a cave full of Japanese soldiers to surrender rather than all commit suicide. Both of us were so engrossed in the book that when looking out my bedroom window located in the attic I looked down a few houses to see the light on late at night in my classmates bedroom. He too could not put the book down until he finished it.

      Some of the very old books on Africa and its hunters take you back to an Africa long since passed into oblivion. But the younger generation knows nothing of these great adventurous men who often went into the unknown wilderness and battled their way through dangerous animals and attacks by hordes of savages all intent on annihilating them and ditto for the lands of Asia and man eating tigers. Who today has even heard of Jim Corbett,but in his day just about every kid on the planet was reading about his hair raising adventures as he matched wits with the most blood thirsty tigers ever to roam the earth. Now all but extinct and hunting now banned.

      Who today has ever heard of outdoor writers like Corey Ford, Ted Trueblood, Al J McClain, Richard Starnes, Robert Ruark, Stigand, Percival, Karmojo Bell, Burger, Chapman (who found the lost dinosaur graveyard) or Samuel Baker the great adventurer and explorer who wrote among other books “Wild Beasts and Their Ways” that he often took on with only a knife in his hand. Gone are the days when men were men and women were women. Gone are the days of high adventure and far off unknown mysterious places with exotic people and beautiful romantic foreign women that men like John Hunter wrote about. He had such a reputation many men refused to take their wives on safari with him as sooner or later they all ended up in bed with him when he wasn’t in bed with at the same time with several indigenous beauties.

      Gone are the days when the sun never set on the British Empire and they wrote books about their adventures in the Far East such as “Where Three Empires Meet” about wild tribes and desperate battles in Mountain passes high in the Himalayan Mountains. Or how about one of the great Women hunters Agnes Herbert and Her Cousin who set off alone in 1900 to hunt on 3 continents. Or the Asian Adventurous who illegally went to the “Palace of the Dalai Lama” and almost starved and froze to death besides being attacked by Mountain Brigands. She used her FN Browning Pistol shoot at them. Her name was Alexandra David Neel.

      Yes we all missed out by just a few decades from being able to accompany great men on great adventures never to be relived again. The worlds great big game animals all but extinct and mankind drowning in his own pollution and being baked alive by global warming.

      • I was one of those youngsters reading late into the night from Colonel Jim Corbett’s adventures, hunting man-eating tigers that were also hunting him. My Dad was a pig, rabbit and deer hunter when we lived on the family farm, but I was always too sick to go out in the woods with him. My eyesight was crap as well. In later years I had cataract eye surgery, and now I have great vision, but the rest of my body has packed up. So no hunting for me. But I enjoy my guns, and target shooting is my thing.

        I also enjoyed reading Jim Cirillo’s tales from the NYC Stake Out Squad.

        But most modern authors have no idea about firearms and they make me cringe with their elementary mistakes. They will research the intricacies of the finance system or the political system, but they are either too lazy or too disdainful to bother with a few minutes’ internet research into the basic operation of most weapons. Cretins. There are a few exceptions. Lee Child writes a good book. I inhaled his last one in five hours flat.

      • Well, we now live in a feminized society, with all the boredom and “safety” that is a result of the female mindset.

        In a feminized society, it is much more laudable to die after years spent in a nursing home, trapped in an adult diaper in a fetid mess of one’s own making, complaining how servants both public and private haven’t fixed this situation, than to die out in the rough, among beasts, diseases and violence, living life instead of merely existing.

        In our feminized society, women not only want to die ignominiously, they want to pick the pockets of young men to do so. But that’s another issue for another time…

  10. I have not read Moss and Mallards and probably won’t considering the mediocre quality of todays gun writers but if you want to read the best books about duck hunting read the books by Nash Buckingham especially “De Shootinest Gentlemen And Other Tales” a true classic if there ever was one. By the way I found out that recently his long lost stolen 10 gauge custom double barrel gun was found and auctioned off for a kings ransom. The gun was called Bo-Wop and its stories are a legend in duck hunting. Take a trip back in time to the golden years of duck hunting as Nash Buckingham was the greatest of out door writers. I still have some vintage shotgun paper hulled shells that have that distinct aroma when fired. Todays shot shells have a different gun powder mix and do not smell like the old ones did after you fired them. Another pleasure gone forever and lost to the dead hand of the past.

    Call me old fashioned but my Favorite Shotgun is the original Browning Sweet 16 A-5 Auto loader. Lightening fast to handle and it always works.

  11. I see Neal Knox’s “Gun Rights War” right in the middle of the shelf but not mentioned. That’s worth a read if you want to know the history of how we got where we are today.

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