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Book Review: Firearms Developed and Manufactured in Southern Africa 1949-2000

Until recently, there has been very little published information on South African and Rhodesian firearms outside of a few sporadic magazine articles – but that is no longer the case! The Pretoria Arms and Ammunition Association has recently published the epic results of a 17-person, 8.5 year long research project documenting the development and manufacture of guns in South Africa and Rhodesia from 1949 until 2000 (or just after, in a few cases). This 530+ page tome covers both the major and minor manufacturers; basically everything short of underground hand-made criminal guns. The major chapters include Musgrave, Lyttelton (now Denel), Republic Arms, Truvelo, and Milkor (and their respective brand names).

Unlike many firearms reference books, this one covers everything made in the area, from civilian hunting rifles to compact pistols to military arms to crude half-baked submachine guns and the assortment of unorthodox shotguns that thrived in South Africa. There are many well-recognized but little-understood guns for which this book finally sheds a light on the development of, including the Vektor CP1 and CR21, the Neostead and Striker-12/Protecta shotguns, and the details of South African and Rhodesia FAL rifles.

Basically, the book is a treasure trove for anyone interested in safari rifles, the South African brush wars, or the dynamics of an isolated country developing a modern arms industry. The Pretoria Arms and Ammunition Association has really outdone themselves on this work!

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