Clapp on Handguns: Gun Digest 2017

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posted on October 5, 2016
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The latest edition of my favorite gun periodical—Gun Digest, now in its 71st annual edition—is now in bookstores. and still as interesting as ever. The original edition was conceived in a big Chicago sporting goods store during World War II and the concept was sound enough as to warrant another 70 versions. As always, the 71st is as timely as all the others. This is a book for the true gun enthusiast, as it offers catalog summaries of all major and most minor gun companies, plus optics, ammo, reloading tools and a lot of related material. There are also survey articles on what's new in shotguns, revolvers pistols, rifles, etc. A guy could get pretty well up to date with most everything going on the commercial arms field by reading through this thick (about 600 pages) volume. The true delight of the Gun Digest has always been in the selection of specific articles that flesh out the table of contents. 

This year's book is no different.  As a handgunner, I am always most interested in articles concerning the “belt guns,” as Colonel Askins often called them. There are several gems in this year's digest—like the lead piece on the Pistol '08 (Luger) with a catchy title and John Taffin's nicely illustrated take on Colt's New Frontier. Sometimes I think that John must own about 10 percent of Colt's total production of Single Actions. Other guns are not ignored, either. Old friend Stan Trzoniek surveyed the Remington autoloading shotguns and Wayne Van Zwoll gave us a bunch of reasons why they keep on introducing new cartridges in 6.5 mm.  Something for everyone has always been the rule with the Gun Digest

Last year, when I reviewed the last Gun Digest, I commented enthusiastically about Charley Petty's piece on "King Gunsight custom handguns," and Charley won the John Amber prize. This year, I am going to be equally laudatory about Garry James' piece on the "Guns of the Light Brigade." Always the history buff, Garry combines that interest with his love of guns to produce many fine articles over the years I have known him. That's about 28 years and he was hard at it well before I blundered my way onto the staff of Guns & Ammo. He even shot the carbine that was the major arm of those gallant Britishers whose lives were wasted, but revered in the Tennyson poem. 

Another great issue and congrats to Editor Jerry Lee.           

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