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Book Review: Textbook of Pistol Technology and Design

*** I released this review early to my Patreon audience, who proceeded to buy up all the remaining copies. The printer is running another edition which should be available before the end of August. Sorry for the inconvenience! ***

Peter Dallhammer is a mechanical engineer who works for the Walther company, and has written an excellent book on firearms manufacture. If you were going to design a university program around the design and production of small arms, his “Textbook of Pistol Technology and Design: Production, Principles, Progress” could be a foundation of the program. Dallhammer focuses his scope on the 9mm semiautomatic handgun, and takes the reader through the whole scope of design and production. The book is divided into four main sections:

– Production Technologies. This describes the applications and pros and cons of all the major methods of making parts. Machining, molding, MIM, stamping, and so on, plus several types of surface treatments.

– Pistol Principles. This covers all the different options for mechanical design of a pistol. Function and design options for the major components, how different safeties work, how to choose spring types, and some legally-relevant issues like micro stamping and electronic “smart” gun systems.

– US Regulations. The legal elements involved in marketing a pistol in the US. This includes information on importation, as well as both Federal and state level regulations. This is perhaps less useful for an American reader who is probably largely familiar with it, and it is also subject to change if laws change.

– Case Studies. Dallhammer assesses 9 different pistols based on all the criteria explained in the previous sections. These include Glock and H&K, as well as Caracal (remember them?), Taurus and KelTec.

For the person who wants to know what really is involved in designing, manufacturing, and marketing a handgun (or other firearm), this is an outstanding resource. It is not a book with all the answers, but it will go a very long way in ensuring you know all the right questions to ask.

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