Book Review—Handbook of Machine Gun Support Equipment and Accessories 1895 – 1945

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posted on September 25, 2019
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At the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Indianapolis back in April, 2019, one of the highlights of the Gun Collectors Row was running into Bob Segel at the booth of one of the NRA’s Affiliated Gun Collectors Clubs. Well known for decades in the collecting community, Bob has one of the most impressive collections of privately owned NFA Firearms that have ever been displayed and shared with the public. 

He was proudly showing off his latest book, Machine Gun Support Equipment and Accessories 1895 – 1945 and we were happy to receive a copy to review a few weeks later.

Just shy of 400 pages long, this massive tome is a full-color catalog of everything you never knew you needed for the favorite Class III gun in your life. Nearly every make and model manufactured— from the potato digger to the MG 42—are identified by full-color photos, alongside vivid pictures of known accoutrements and accessories that would have been indispensable to the gunner and assistant gunner in the field.

This book clearly illustrates the belt-filling machines, armorer’s tool rolls, water cans and equipment rolls that were essential equipment. Miscellaneous ephemera and web gear are not covered in this volume as those items tend to be adequately covered in books on the primary weapons systems in greater detail.

Twenty-eight chapters (somewhat annoyingly announced by a repetitive and bland full-page break) cover various accessories needed to keep 90 different machine guns in functioning order. The reader will undoubtedly see something in the well-photographed and sharp illustrations that they have seen before at a gun show or yard sale, and had no clue what was. This volume will bring to light the nomenclature and purpose for many items whose true origins were previously unknown to most.

Another valuable asset of this book is the identification of items of equipment that, while they may have been made for the same model gun, were made under different contracts—i.e. a Navy-style sight pouch vs. an Army sight pouch, or a spare-parts roll that was made for Australian use vs. one made for British gunners.

If you are a Class III/NFA collector, this is a must-have book for your reference shelf. Even if you just collect interesting gadgets and tid-bits, you will find this to be a valuable resource.

Available by ordering online at emmageeman.com or by sending $125.00 to Robert G. Segel, P.O. Box 654, Thiensville, WI 53092.

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