Every pile of dusty old books you find at a gun show has a zillion reprints of Cartridges of the World and how-to pamphlets on stock refinishing from 1960. But occasionally you’ll find a real gem in those piles – and this book is one of the gems. Written by R.K. Wilson and published in 1943, the Textbook of Automatic Pistols gives a deeply technical explanation of all the very early automatic pistol designs, including a bunch of very unusual ones virtually never seen these days. It also covers the design and ballistics of the cartridges used by these guns – cartridges like the .45 Mars, .35 S&W (yeah, the .35), and 5mm Clement. It’s an absolute wealth of information that you can’t find anywhere else.
If you would like a copy, you have three options. One is to keep a lookout for one at gun shows – you may find it sooner or later. Two is to go online and find a copy of the original printing and pay $100 or so. Three is to go to Amazon and get a copy of the 1990 leather-bound reprint by Wolfe Publishing for a paltry 25 or 30 bucks (see link below). You’ll have to go through a 3rd party dealer to find it (Amazon doesn’t stock it themselves), but for that price I think it’s a screaming deal and worth the extra effort.
At Forgotten Weapons I think the most interesting guns out there are the most obscure ones. I try to search out experimental and prototype weapons and show you how they work, in addition to more conventional guns that you may not have heard of before. You’re much more likely to find a video on the Cei Rigotti or Webley-Fosbery here than an AR or Glock. So, do you want to learn about something new today? Then stick around!