If there's one benefit to suddenly coming down with a bug over a long holiday weekend, it's the ability to lie quietly and read.
Cough like a frog trying to heave up both lungs while sporting a triple digit fever and you'll find everyone more than willing to leave you to your reading, other than periodic check-ins to make certain you're still breathing. And while you're convalescing, you'll find that while concentration might come and go, you'll prefer reading to anything any more strenuous.
And since we're counting down the days until our annual holiday hiatus, getting caught up on reading material- especially books we've been considering for holiday gift suggestions, isn't a bad thing.
Since I broached the subject, it's not a bad thing to remind everyone that our final editions of 2015 will drop on Friday, December 18. At that point, we'll shut down out external services and get busy with the internal maintenance and updating each of our editors tries to avoid until "the break." This year we're going to be doing much more than routine maintenance. Technology permitting, you'll start noticing changes in all our services when we resume our distribution schedules on Monday, January 4, 2016. Advertisers and Corporate Members will be getting updates outlining the changes to our submission process, so I won't bore our readers with the details, other than to tell you to expect more in your wires beginning in January.
Since The Shooting Wire's primary mission is shooting sports, we've been particularly cautious when looking at "how-to" books on shooting. Over the years, we've seen dozens of books that claim to teach you everything you need to know to shoot like a top-level competitor. And you're not read much about those books because, simply, you can't read a book and become a better shooter any more than you can read a book about driving and expect to win the Indy 500.
To become better at a motor skill, you need repetitions- anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you snake oil. That's why you'll find our recommendations over the years have been the equivalent of "get rich slow schemes" - the shooting equivalent of the boring investment planning that begins with "live within your means and start a regular saving program….."
And in the interest of full disclosure, I frequently don't follow that sound advice when it comes to competition shooting or fiscal responsibility, so don't think I'm presuming to lecture you on a lack of discipline - I'm the poster child for attention deficit disorder when it comes to discipline.
Despite that, there really are good reads that can help you become a significantly better shooter . Some offer solid shooting technique -and the accompanying practice regimen to help you correctly apply them, others useful offer info on just about everything - from concealed carry to selecting the right equipment for any competition imaginable. Still a third category offers a mashup of interesting reading on everything from the author's list of "50 GunsThat Changed the World" to "365 Guns You Must Shoot" (although I don't necessarily accept that fact that I "must" shoot a Bland 20 bore Howda)-as you can imagine, those "lists" are great for getting you thinking about those guns you've tried- or haven't- so you can start building your own list of "you gotta try this" guns.
That having been said, here are a few choices for the shooters on your Christmas gift list.
"Navy Seal Shooting by Chris Sajnog is a training manual on shooting that also teaches you what it takes to be successful as a shooter. Hint: reading the book isn't nearly enough.
First, a suggestion from my favorite shooting instructor from whom I've never had any first-person instruction. Since first reading "Shoot Like a Navy Seal" I've been a fan of former Navy SEAL and firearms instructor Chris Sajnog. That first book from Sajnog offered rock-solid info in an easy-to-understand, and straightforward way.
But Sajnog being Sajnog, he didn't think it went far enough. And that's where "Navy Seal Shooting" comes in. Yes, it's a "how-to" book, but it's also a personal workbook and accountability program. Sajnog knows it takes a dedication to improvement to put in the time and effort necessary to really learn how to become a shooter capable of making high-pressure, precision shots. So he wastes no time letting readers know that his instruction isn't a bunch of "high-speed, low-drag" super-shooter mumbo-jumbo. He's out to create "virtuosos" for shooting - the kind of shooters that make things happen with any gun they pickup. And, as he says, that requires perfection and mastery. Those, he preaches, happen by "breaking down each fundamental and practicing it until it's perfect."
That's the book in a nutshell, although he concentrates on seven basics (the shooting platform, grip, sight picture, sight refinement, focused breathing, trigger control and follow-through) he offers a ton of information on everything from range bags to airsoft training. But the part of this latest effort that's helped me the most has been his "workbook" approach. Each chapter requires you (if you're serious) to follow-through with your own statement of what you've read, what you look to improve and, more importantly, your plan for getting there. After all, he writes, ""If you're not measuring your training, what you're doing is called playing."
Is he serious? You bet. How many other books have you read on shooting that come with this warning: "Reading this book will not make you a better shooter. Only training will make you a better shooter" - followed by a commitment box where you're supposed to sign and date your personal commitment to "read this entire book and practice the techniques described."
Gun Digest's Guide to Concealed Carry by Jorge Amselle offers the fundamental questions associated with concealed carry.
If you're interested in getting started with a solid understanding of what's involved in the idea of concealed carrying a firearm, I'd suggest your considering Gun Digest's "Shooter's Guide to Concealed Carry". Written by our friend and colleague Jorge Amselle, this one offers information to help you make more informed baseline decisions about carrying a firearm.
This is one of those books that can help you clarify what you might be looking for when it comes to your personal concealed carry process. I've seen these seemingly simple "revolver or pistol" questions - especially when asked in gun shops - subject the questioner to such a barrage of "contradictory expert advice" that people simply shake their heads and walk away.
Rather than offer "here's the one answer," Amselle offers his years of insight as an instructor, shooter and writer to help you make your own decisions- without the additional "expert" input.
If you or someone you know is considering exercising their right to carry a firearm -concealed or otherwise- this book can be helpful -and make suggestions (like do I want a new gun or a used one?) for you to consider that you're not likely to get in most gun stores.
365 Guns You Must Shoot is T.J. Mullin's personal list of guns he says go from "sublime" to "weird" and right on to "ridiculous". Great read if you're into the wide variety of guns that are a fabric of shooting through history.
For those of us who are already equipped (overly so in many cases) but like reading about guns, here are a couple of titles that will both inform, enlighten and entertain you. First, T.J. Mullin's "365 Guns You Must Shoot" is the author's personal roundup of guns he considers among the most "sublime, weird and outrageous" guns- ever. And Mullin has compiled a list of some real hum-dingers. From the traditional rifles, handguns and shotguns you'd expect in a book that includes the sublime - he moves to some of those many of us would classify as "exotics"- or more honestly "you're kidding, right?"
Those include the aforementioned Bland 20 Bore Howda, a pocket-sized Derringer pen gun and several vintage machine guns. Before you write, I have absolutely enjoy shooting machine guns
but find WWI -vintage ones designed to be crew served and tripod mounted a bit "much" for hand-holding. T. J. Mullin isn't bound by my personal limitations.
Kick off a spirited discussion over spirits with your friends with Robert A. Sadowski's "50 Guns That Changed The World" - you're guaranteed to change the topic whatever you were talking about before sharing his picks for iconic firearms that altered the course of history.
And if you're interested in kicking off a spirited discussion with your shooting friends, here's one of those "list" books guaranteed to get the fun started. Robert Sadowski's "50 Guns That Changed the World" is his personal selection of "iconic firearms that altered the course of history".
Some of the guns are guaranteed to be on virtually any legitimate list of historic firearms -meaning guns that either advanced the technology of gun making and history (the Colt Single Action and Winchester 1873 rifle and 1897 shotgun for three) are inarguable, along with others from Smith & Wesson. Where the fun comes in is Sadowski's inclusion of the Ruger 10/22 the Barrett 82A1, the Desert Eagle and others.
If you're wondering "why" to any of the guns I've mentioned, you already get the fun of "50 Guns" -and should consider sharing the book with your shooting friends.
All four of these titles are available (or were as of last night) at amazon.com. And any-or all of them- would be good additions to your shooting bookshelf.