Book Reviews: September 1999

By David Fortier

Guns of the Reich, Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945.
By George Markham
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.,
387 Park Avenue South,
New York, New York 10016
ISBN 1-85409-134-4
Price $24.95 plus $4.50 s&h
Reviewed by Stephen Stuart

There is a fountain of information out today on the different weapons (particularly small arms) used by Germany during World War II. This can sometimes confuse the prospective book purchaser into which book is correct for him and which book is full of the same old information recounted in a different manner. In Mr. Markham book, Guns of the Reich, he brings the reader into German small arms that are sometimes left out of other texts or magazine articles.

As with other books covering this topic, the author covers the standard 98k rifle, P-08 Luger pistol, Walter series of handguns (namely the PP series and P-38), MP 38 / 40 submachine guns, and of course foreign acquired weapons; the Polish Radom pistol, Soviet Submachine guns, and Austrian handguns like the Steyr-Hahn Model 12. Most of these are described in short articles in the text, along with black and white photos or line drawings. Where this book really shines is that it covers areas not usually mentioned in other similar texts. These include support weapons and flare guns.

The flare gun section is the most complete that I have seen in several years, for the collector the information is invaluable. Models as the LP 42 and double barreled Flieger-Leuchtpistole are covered. This chapter also goes into the Kampfpistolen, the Kampfpistolen was designed not only to fire signal flares but to fire explosive ordnance as well. These rounds included anti-personal and anti-tank round. I however doubt the anti-tank round was very effective though. The idea of firing a hollow shaped round though a Kampfpistolen at an approaching T-34 Soviet main battle tank, would not be considered my idea of anti-tank stopping fire power.

The next section is of interest to readers covers the support weapons. The support weapon chapter brings into the field of Destructive Devices, such as rocket guns, infantry guns, bazookas, and anti-tank rifles. Among the anti-tank rifles, one of the more interesting models pictured is an Czechoslovakia ZK 416 stamped by the Waffen SS, M.SS41. Among bazooka style weapons are the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust. The PAK. 36 is discussed, the picture in the book features one firing the Stielgranate 41, this round goes into the muzzle and appears to be a large stick grenade sticking out of the barrel. The Stielgranate 41 is fired by an independent blank cartridge at the target.

Even though more specialized books cover all the weapons of the Third Reich period in depth, this one is excellent in the fact that it covers the areas mostly left out--flare guns and support weapons. For the collector looking for solid information in this regard, Mr. Markham’s book is hard to beat. For those wanting a more general book as an introduction to the field, it also shines.

THE ULTIMATE SNIPER: An Advanced Training Manual For Military & Police Snipers
By Maj. John L. Plaster
Distributed by Paladin Press
P.O. Box 1307
Boulder Colorado 80306
$39.95 Plus S&H
Reviewed by David Fortier

Everyone once in a while a landmark book comes along. One that once you’ve had a chance to see it you’ll pull money out of your ammo fund to purchase. This is one of those books. The title of the book tells the prospective reader what lays before him, yet it does not prepare him for the wealth of information suddenly under his finger tips. At the first glance inside, the serious rifleman will begin to realize the scope of this book. I would be hard pressed to simply review the table of contents in this limited space never the less this monumental work. Major Plaster in step by step increments takes the reader through almost every thing a military or police sniper should know. From the rifle, scope, ammunition, ballistics, marksmanship, range and wind estimation, to special shooting situations, spotting and target identification, tactics, stalking, mantracking, and countersniping Major Plaster writes as one with much more than simple book knowledge. A U.S. Army Special Forces/MACV-SOG veteran he writes with a depth of knowledge and understanding that is very seldom seen. This is not a book that you sit down and read once with a coke and absorb everything. It reminds me of some of my text books in Theology school, you read it, ponder it, and refer back to it. Yet Major Plaster’s writing is very readable and nothing like a normal technical manual which to often are reminiscent of eating potato chips in the desert. If you’re interested in improving your marksmanship, field craft, or tactics this would be the book to have on your desk. The information on Soviet snipers, training, and equipment was excellent and should be read by anyone who might have to face troops trained in their tactics and using their equipment. I would find fault with this book if I could, but it’s simply too well written by a man that’s an expert in this field.

By American Gunsmithing Institute
1325 Imola Ave. West #504
Napa, CA 94559
$29.95 plus $4 S&H
1 Hour and 16 minutes
Reviewed By David Fortier

If you are like me you enjoy working on and modifying the firearms you own. However to do it properly we all need instruction. Usually this is in the form of the proper technical manual for the weapon in question. However this doesn’t always do it, there is nothing like actually SEEING somebody take something apart and putting it back together. AGI’s videos do something that a technical manual can’t, they bring a Master Gunsmith into your living room to show you how to work on your weapon. The Glock Armorer’s Course covers the Glock 17, 19, 21, and 23 pistols. Master gunsmith Robert Dunlap takes the viewer step by step through the history of the Glock to how it works, complete assembly and disassembly, parts identification, cleaning, and some customizing. Have a Glock pistol but you don’t know how to detail strip it? Want to add a New York trigger? How about a different magazine release? This video will teach you how to do that and quite a bit more. The video itself is fairly well done with good camera work. It’s a good video for any Glock owner to have. There is not much as far as seriously modifying the Glock, although Mr. Dunlap does talk about the hardness of the Glock slide and how difficult it is to machine. If you own a Glock and want to be able to do more than field strip it or maybe add an extended slide release or such, this is an excellent investment and I highly recommend it. You will learn how to completely maintain, trouble shoot, and repair your Glock. If, however, you can already detail strip a Glock blindfolded and are looking to turn it into a race gun, this probably isn’t what your looking for.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N12 (September 1999)
and was posted online on February 5, 2016


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