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Book Reviews: July 1998

By Stephen Stuart

American Military Bayonets of the 20th Century.
By Gary M. Cunningham
Foreword by Scott A. Duff
Scott A Duff Publications
P O Box 414 Export, PA 15632
ISBN 1-888722-08-8
Price 17.95 & 4.50 S&H

I know, I know, this is a magazine that deals exclusively with military firearms. So what am I doing writing about a book that deals exclusively with American bayonets? The answer is that for the military collector of American small arms the most common accessory (besides extra magazines, ammo, spare parts, etc.) is the issue bayonet to the weapon.

Bayonets have been in service with the United States since the revolutionary war. They have been seen in every domestic and foreign American conflict from the birth of our nation on, including most recently the Gulf war.

Mr. Cunningham begins his book by describing the nomenclature of bayonets and their corresponding scabbards. He also includes a definition section on the nomenclature so that the reader does not miss out on what the author is trying to convey in the text. His format is simple and efficient, he starts at the model 1892 bayonet and works his way up to the current issue M-9. There are no photos in this book, just very detailed line drawings. When Mr. Cunningham covers a bayonet, he doesn’t just discuss variations, he covers them all.

For collector’s looking for information on a bayonet in their collection or for those looking to add the correct bayonet to their favorite American service rifle, this book is a wealth of information. I highly recommend it for your library. - Stephen Stuart

Japanese Rifles Of World War II.
by Duncan O. McCollum
Excaliber Publications
PO Box 36
Latham, NY 12110-0036
ISBN# 1-880677-11-3.
Price 17.95 plus 4.50 shipping

Unlike other rifles in World War II, the Japanese rifles used by the armed forces are for the most part neglected in the popular gun press. Mr. McCollum tries to rectify this in his sixty-one page work.

Mr. McCollum’s text covers all the standard issues rifles of the era (Type 38 and Type 99 series) and includes some of the more specialized and rare firearms used by the Japanese such as; the Type “I”, Type 2 paratrooper, naval special Type 99, Type 02/45, Chinese type 19 carbine, and school training rifles.

The author also includes sections detailing markings and production numbers
of the rifles. The marking list includes arsenal marks, arsenal location, and the approximate serial number ranges of the rifles.

One of the place’s where this book really shines is the black and white photography of the different production variations that can be found on the individual rifles. Variations of barrel bands, sights, safety knobs, and cleaning rods are covered. Accessories on bayonets and the different types of rifle slings are covered only on one page, leaving the Japanese military collector wanting more.

Some of the black and white photos are a little spotty at times, but the information in this book makes up for these small errors. For enthusiasts hunting for more information on that “weird” Japanese rifle their father or uncle brought back from the big war or a collector of military weapons, this is a good book to find information on Japanese military rifles. - Stephen Stuart

The French 1935 Pistols, A Concise History
By Eugene Medlin & Colin Doane
Eugene Medlin
100 Golden Barrel
El Paso, TX 79927
Price 22.95 plus 4.50 S&H

While at a recent gun show, I was able to purchase a French 35A pistol with holster at a whopping $92.00. While having the pistol transferred to me on my Curio & Relic license (no waiting period), a gentleman and his son came up to me and said, “that thing is horrible, it’ll blow up like all the other cheap Spanish guns”. At this point in time I just nodded to the gentleman and finished filing out the forms.

The above might sound a little strange for the beginning of a book review, but it proves a point—most people have little knowledge about French handguns, especially the automatic models. Mr. Medlin’s and Mr. Doane’s book go to great lengths to change this.

The authors cover all the basics on the French model 35 series of semi-automatic handguns, specifically the 35A and the 35S series. The authors use excellent documentation and black and white photos to thoroughly cover their subjects. They include in their work not just the standard example but also several common fakes that can be found in the collector market (namely 35A’s with fraudulent German military markings). The authors also include detailed chapters on holsters, ammunition, and published literature on the pistols.

This is an excellent text on the French 1935 series of handguns. It is a joy to read and a great addition to a firearms reference library. In fact, the only problem with this book is it’s too short (only 143 pages). It leaves the reader wanting more. I only hope the authors in the future decide to do other works on French pistols, because this one was top notch. - Stephen Stuart

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N10 (July 1998)
and was posted online on April 7, 2017

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