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The Evolution of Military Automatic Pistols; Self-loading Pistol Designs of Two World Wars and the Men Who Invented Them Paperback – May 15, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Any collector would be interested in reading... and having this book in his or her library. The images are all very clear, composed well and printed on heavy, quality paper that is bound well. -- Frank Graves, The Texas Gun Collector, Fall 2012

Buy the book and expand your own knowledge... [there is] a tremendous wealth of knowledge in its pages... tons of information accompanied by hundreds of illustrations. -- Christopher Eger, Firearms Talk
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Andrew Mowbray Publishers, Inc. (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931464537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931464536
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mj on January 1, 2013
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This book has a great deal information, much of it found, as far as I know nowhere else. As with the the author's previous books, it is carefully written and beautifully illustrated with a combination of clear line drawings, and black and white photos. The quality of the printing is excellent, and being a paperback book, is reasonably priced.
As the cover title indicates, the book is a collection of biographical sketches (5-6 pages) of early pistol designers, some well known, others obscure. The same can be said about the pistols they designed. Since their whole careers are covered, non-pistol projects they worked on are sprinkled in (briefly) as well. Most were born before 1900, some before 1850, and all are deceased. The author does not mention being able to interview any of them first hand, only thanking what looks to be descendants or record-keepers at the end of each chapter.
So, what's not to like? Nothing much really. If you are interested in early automatic pistols, this book is for you. With only 5-6 pages to dedicate to each designer and the obligtation to tell his life's story, I felt that the technical side of the guns were less well described. Frankly some of the bio-information can be a bit dull, but such is often the life of an engineer, and may be all the author had to work with as these men have all passed away. There is much technical information in the text, but much of it also comes from studying the excellent illustrations.
I don't mean to be critical. In truth the book "got under my skin" and what I really wanted from it was more. This book is a unique look at mostly little known pistol history. It records how different men in different countries and time frames solved what was really the same problem, that is providing a military style automatic pistol.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Poparad on July 23, 2013
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The book only mildly explores the personal lives of the inventors and because of the long passage of time the author often fails to give a complete or thorough picture of some of the inventors lives which is why the book was written in the first place. One experiences the feeling that the author used the Encyclopedia Britannica to get most of his information from.

You will not find any critiques on design triumphs or failures. There is no comparison between famous and infamous models or brands. You will find no tests of reliability or accuracy or workmanship. Production figures are not found in the tome either. There are no stories of famous people who used the weapons in question or excerpts from famous battles or daring commando raids where the weapons may have been used.

This could have been a monumental book if the author would have taken the time to write a more comprehensive book which could have been done with more research and perhaps help from other experts who were well versed in all aspects of automatic pistol development. This is not a reference book in any sense of the word but only a mild curiosity which often leaves one disappointed because of its incompleteness in regards to the personal details of the inventors lives. I rate the book a C- at best and that is being quite generous to the author's sophomoric attempt when delving into this subject in such a superficial way.
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More about the inventors than the pistols themselves - interesting if you want to know more about the inventors/developers of the pistols themselves.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Eger on March 23, 2013
The Men behind Modern Military Auto Pistols

One of the most important categories of gun in the past 150-years had been in the realm of military auto-loading pistols. You know the guns we speak of: the Colt 1911, the Browning Hi-Power, the German P08 Luger, the SIG P-series, et al. These guns have done the heavy lifting as military and police sidearms, as well as civilian target, hunting and defense pieces for the entire period that you have been alive.

A new book by Gordon Bruce, "The Evolution of Military Automatic Pistols; Self-loading Pistol Designs of Two World Wars and the Men Who Invented Them" offers a fresh look at the guns themselves by examining the men behind them.

About the Book

Published by Andrew Mowbray Publishers, one of the most respected firms for top-quality gun tomes, this new work by Gordon Bruce plays to the audience of collectors, students, historians, researchers and reenactors who love these military pistols. A quick read at just 164-pages, the book as a tremendous wealth of knowledge in its pages. There is tons of information accompanied by hundreds of illustrations in both B&W and color, both line drawing and photographs.

As the title suggests, while the guns are the driver of the book, it is the men behind the guns, -- the inventors, that the book spends the most time with. Starting with the oldest designs, from the 1890s-era Borchardt, to the HK and SIG designs of today, some 25 inventors are cataloged throughout the book in a series of in-depth biographies covering both man and machine.

Wide Sweep of Designers

The story of the legendary John Browning and his 180-odd patents, many of which were for some of the best military pistols ever made, is told in detail as would be expected.
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