by Wiley Clapp - Thursday, January 10, 2013
As some readers may be aware, I am a big fan of the Gun Digest, a great gun book that has been produced annually since 1944. In the early years, the book evolved a unique format that gave it a distinct character. It has pretty much stayed with the same format through 60-plus years, which includes a selection of detailed articles on a variety of gun topics, a catalog type section with all major models listed and even a bibliography. One of the more interesting features is a well-done roundup on pistols, another on revolvers, shotguns, etc.
I regard the 2013 edition with particular favor because the Digest Books management has wisely chosen Jerry Lee as the new editor. I have known Lee for many years, and even worked with him for a time at another publishing company. He is a consummate professional and his first effort in the Gun Digest series shows it. There are at least two or three articles here for every field of interest and the scope of every article is enough to provide the writer plenty of room to go into great detail. By way of example, Massad Ayoob’s great article on the history of service use of the C96 pistol gets 12 full pages. That is absolutely impossible in a newsstand magazine. There are similar lengthy treatments on a variety of other handgun subjects, as well as a great assortment of rifle and shotgun stuff.
For the most part, the Gun Digest improves steadily. An example? How about Holt Bodinson’s indispensable web (site) directory? It has been there for several years now, but gets an annual going-over. Best of all, the listings are now printed in a larger and bold-faced type that is much easier on this author’s elderly eyes. That is most assuredly practical progress. I hope that Jerry Lee stays at the helm for many years to come—it’s getting better all the time. And that’s from a guy that owns just under six linear feet of Gun Digests.
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