Book Reviews: August 2000

By David M. Fortier

By Gunsite

Paladin Press
P.O. Box 1307
Boulder, CO 80306
$29.95 plus S&H
Video aprox. 50 minutes
Reviewed by David M. Fortier

Watching a master with a pistol ply his trade is akin to watching a master swordsman. Every fluid movement is done for a specific reason with no wasted motions. As you’ve watched someone break shots so fast that you wouldn’t believe they all went into one ragged hole if you hadn’t witnessed it, have you ever been envious? If you have, just remember that all it takes is the proper instruction and lots of practice. While the practice is up to you, the instruction is readily available on video tape. Put out by Gunsite, Tactical Pistol I is a highly informative and educational learning aid. It covers the basic skills needed to survive a lethal encounter using only a handgun and your wits. This video contains a mountain of information compressed down into a basic step by step training agenda. Using Jeff Cooper’s Modern Technique of the Pistol as a foundation, the viewer is taught the Weaver stance, draw stroke (presentation), flash sight picture, compressed surprise trigger break, the Guard position, failure to stop drill, malfunction clearances, strong hand and braced shooting positions, barricades and corners, and even some low light considerations. All step by step. A professionally done video, it presents its information exceptionally well. The camera work is very good and incorporates some interesting angles and footage. In combat weaponcraft my strength has always been with a pistol. While I consider myself proficient with a handgun and shoot on the Masters Level in local competition, I truly enjoyed this video. The folks at Gunsite simply know their stuff and anybody with an open mind can learn something from this video. The training on presenting a weapon and malfunction clearances alone are worth owning the video. The only draw back to this tape is that it is geared much more towards the self-loading pistol and not the revolver. So keep this in mind if you’re running a wheel gun. If you’re serious though about improving your skills with a pistol and want to learn how, then I highly recommend this learning aid.

German 20mm FLAK In World War II 1935-1945
By Werner Muller

Published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
77 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
ISBN: 0-88740-758-7
Price $9.95 plus $4.50 s&h
Reviewed by Stephen Stuart

Ever since I saw the German 20mm FLAK gun at Knob Creek, I was possessed to own one. Unfortunately, registered German FLAK guns do not grow on trees, in fact in private hands they are some of the rarest Class III destructive devices in the United States.

Unable to acquire one for hands-on training, I had to do the next best thing, I researched them in books and magazines. Luckily, today Schiffer Publishing is producing some of the best texts on obscure foreign arms. Some of their rare titles are: Panzerfaust And Other German Infantry Anti-Tank Weapons, German Trench Mortars And Infantry Mortars , Flamethrowers of the German Army 1914-1945, and today’s book review, German 20mm FLAK In World War II.

The first FLAK gun to be put into German service after World War I was the Swiss produced Oerlikon cannon. After the total abandonment of the Versailles Treaty, the firms in Germany began producing local designs, namely the FLAK 30 and the FLAK 38. Both had a single barrel and had a rate of fire that was under 500 rounds a minute.

The Maximum range for the FLAK 38 model was 4,800 meters. The different models of FLAK guns were used to cover troops and equipment in every conceivable way. Whether they were mounted on vehicles, ground mounts, railway or armored trains, and also including ferries, these FLAK guns were rugged, dependable, and deadly for low flying aircraft.

If you are a die hard destructive device fan or curious about air defense, this is a great little text to start. The 48 pages of text and photos seem to end too suddenly. I recommend it for all you big boomers out there.

By Gunsite

Paladin Press
P.O. Box 1307
Boulder, CO 80306
$29.95 plus S&H
Video aprox. 40 minutes
Reviewed by David M. Fortier

Gunsite. The mere word brings to mind professional training in self defense and firearm matters. This video, put out by Gunsite, follows in their tradition of excellence. Designed to provide fundamental information on safe and effective methods for carrying a handgun concealed for the purpose of self defense. It does this quite well. Designed for someone that has already had some firearms training, not the novice, it never the less starts with the 4 rules of safety. Then a correct presentation from the holster is covered, the strengths of the Weaver stance, and aimed fire utilizing the weapons’ sights are discussed. Handgun selection for concealed carry is touched upon with the aspects of portability, concealability, and reactivity all stressed. Drawing from concealment is covered step by step in depth. Detailed instruction on drawing from a pullover garment, jacket, and fannypack is given. To address the need for a quality holster, Rick Gallagher the President of Galco International takes over. Stressing the need for a quality rig, Mr. Gallagher covers what to look for and how to choose a quality leather holster. As Galco is renowned for the high quality leather products, he is well able to instruct in proper holster selection. The video ends with a dry fire safety lecture and then a length of tape with suddenly appearing targets for dry fire practice. As I viewed this tape, the first thing that came to mind was how professional and well done it is. From the introduction by Richard Jee, the owner of Gunsite, stating the purpose of the video, through to the end it is informative and instructive. The camera work and editing is excellent as are the numerous simulations of attacks being thwarted by the proper use and deployment of a concealed handgun. My only nitpicking would be the exclusion of non-leather holsters such as the excellent Kydex rigs offered by companies such as Bladetech. All in all it is an excellent piece of work I recommend.

U.S. War Department, Handbook On Japanese Military Forces
Introduction by David Isby
Foreword by Jeffrey Ethell

Reprinted by Louisiana State University Press
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803
ISBN 0-8071-2013-8
Price $24.95 plus $4.50 s& h
Reviewed by Stephen Stuart

U.S. military field and technical manuals are some of the best sources of information concerning areas of arms and munitions, both domestic and foreign.

During World War II, the U.S. War Department produced handbooks on the German and Japanese armed services. These handbooks, which were revised during the course of the war, allowed officers in the field the chance to study and learn about their enemy from other’s past experiences.

The Handbook On Japanese Military Forces, is an excellent reference work for the World War II enthusiast or those interested in Japanese arms. Not only such diverse topics as arms are covered; Nambu pistols, rifles, grenades, mortars, artillery, and even flame throwers (this is one of the few references available on the Japanese Type 93 and Type 100 flame throwers that I am aware of). The text also includes information on strategy and life of the individual soldier. These chapters are; recruitment and training, field organizations, the Japanese Air Service, Special Forces, and the military police. The chapters on Japanese tactics are; antitank defense, jungle warfare, coastal defense, joint operations, and paratroop operations.

As one can imagine, this book truly has it all. Even though it is not an exhaustive work on just weapons, rather, it includes detailed strategy and operations of the Japanese military when this book was original written. This information alone is on a par of it’s own level. This book is defiantly a must read for one to understand the war in the Pacific. Collectors of Japanese military equipment will also find it very useful.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V3N11 (August 2000)
and was posted online on February 6, 2015


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