I just received my copy of Grant Cunningham's new book "Shooter's Guide to Handguns" published by Gun Digest. This is a book that every shooter needs to have in their personal library. And I am not saying this because Grant is a frequent contributor on the Gun Nation Podcast I am saying it because it is true. The advantage of having this work at your fingertips is that Grant is a highly accomplished gunsmith and he is able communicate his valuable insights in layman's language. His photos, although all in black & white, are large close-up shots that illustrate each point he is making. There are many books on shooting and handguns written by instructors and operators but this publication is coming from an instructor and gunsmith and the gunsmith's perspective on shooting is rare. For instance do you know the difference between conventional grooved rifling and polygonal rifling? Have you ever tried to explain that to someone? I have and it wasn't easy! It's on page 93 in Grant's book and it is easily understandable.
Grant also demonstrates, through written description and sharp close up photographs, the lost art of ejecting shell casings from your revolver and reloading it. You get the correct technique for both right handed and left handed shooters and this is something that I see people struggling with on just about each trip to the range.
There are two chapters where I found Grant's information to be particularly invaluable and worth the price of the book alone (currently a paltry $13.28 on Amazon). The first invaluable chapter is on cleaning and maintenance. It would be great if each gun shop had a gunsmith available to show you the finer points of cleaning and maintaining the handgun when you purchased it. That's is no longer impractical once you have Grant's book. You will learn exactly how to properly clean and maintain your barrel and exactly where to put lubrication on your semi-automatic pistol and revolver. Most of us put lubrication where it seems logical to do so. Now you will see exactly where to put that drop of oil via Grant's close-up photographs.
The second chapter that is indispensable to me addresses purchasing a used handgun. If a gun shop has a gunsmith onsite they will usually, but not always, have the gun smith give a used handgun a brief inspection before it goes into the display counter. However the majority of used guns that are traded-in, sold to the dealer, or put on consignment go on display without much oversight. I have looked at used guns that were extremely dirty, had a cracks in the frame or barrel, and I was once very interested in a light-weight Smith & Wesson Model 12 with a two inch barrel...until I noticed that the forcing cone had been filed right down flush with the frame. Becoming familiar with the information in this chapter is the next best thing to having a gunsmith go with you when you shop for a used pistol.
At $13.28 this book is less expensive than one box of centerfire handgun ammunition but it will last you a heck of a lot longer with a greater benefit. Buy one less box this weekend and order or download this book. You'll be glad you did!