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06/17/2005 Archived Entry: "Book Review: The Book of Two Guns"


Blogispondent Ian here. For some time I've been keeping an eye out for a good comprehensive book on practical/defensive shooting. Every one I found seemed a bit limited, though. They tend to focus on a single aspect of shooting - either on a particular type of firearm (rifles, pistols, shotguns) or on a particular type of competition. Many also seem to consist of only fairly basic info. Put together they would be great, but my limited budget wasn't going to let me pick up a half dozen such books at $20 or $30 each.

I recently saw one reviewed on a discussion forum, and it seemed to be just what I had been looking for. The price was about standard, at $24.95, so I took a chance and ordered it before having the chance to peruse a copy. The book was Tiger McKee's The Book of Two Guns: The Martial Art of the 1911 Pistol and AR Carbine, and I'm glad I bought it.

The book began life as McKee's training diary as he set out to master the art of fighting with firearms (he makes no claim to have achieved this, though in the book's introduction Clint Smith speaks very highly of his skills). Years later, it was suggested to him that he organize and publish it, as the collected information from many different shooting schools and resources could be useful to many people. The final published version still looks very much like a personal notebook, although it has been polished. The text is all hand written (perfectly legible), and all the (numerous) illustrations were draw by the author. The text is in addition riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors. I suppose these were left to retain the flavor of the book...I find them a bit annoying, but they are not indicative of flawed information.

The book is relatively short at 172 pages (physical size roughly 6"x8"), but is packed with a tremendous amount of information. McKee covers the basics quickly, and continues right on to cover many less commonly discussed subjects. For example, when discussing shooting positions he includes (and illustrates) half a dozen variations of kneeling and seven prone positions, giving the problems and benefits inherent in each one. This sort of detail is present throughout the book, inclusing the sections on malfunction clearances (both two-handed and single-handed), use of cover, shooting with a flashlight, retention, using a firearm as an impact weapon, human psychology and physiology, and combat mindset. In addition, every section gives coverage to both handguns and rifles (shotguns are never specifically mentioned, but much of the rifle information is applicable to shotguns). I really can't begin to list all the topics McKee covers.

I very highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for either a single gunfighting reference or for an addition work to supplement an existing library. Images of a number of pages are available at Amazon.com, and it can be ordered either there or through the Shootrite Firearms Academy.

Posted by Ian @ 06:57 PM CST

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