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Top 100 Firearm Reference Books

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Firearm books have been a passion of mine for almost 30 years now. I like to have any information I might need handy, so I have assembled a large personal collection of firearm books. Many of you know that I sell firearm manuals and rare firearm books, and I get a lot of questions about which book is the best for certain firearm subjects.


I put together a list of the 100 firearm books I reference most frequently from my collection. This does not include manuals. That list would be way too long. It also does not include the book "Thompson Manuals, Catalogs, and Other Paper Items" that SIG and I put together this year. I do reference that book quite a bit, but I thought I would leave it off the list so that I'm not rating my own book.


Of course, this list is my own, and yours will vary, based on your different firearm interests. For example, #23 on my list is the Collector Grade book on Swedish Mausers. I put it in the top 25 because I own 8 Swedish Mausers. You might like Colt Single Action Army revolvers, and there are several good books on the subject, but I don't own one of them, so I don't have a specific book listed that covers them.


I thought that publishing this list might raise awareness of some great books that are out there with a lot of useful technical and historical information, and also photographic documentation. Plus, the name of this website lends itself to the subject of gun books. It's amazing how many good firearm books have been published during the last 10 years.


I'm sure I have probably missed some good ones. I'm always adding to my collection, and have several that I want to purchase soon. Two books that are on this list were owned and referenced by me in the past, but I sold them, and am looking to purchase replacements soon.


Here's the list, for what it's worth: My Top 100 Firearm Reference Books:





David Albert


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I thought I had a lot of gun books in my collection, because they take up half a wall in my room. (Includes magazines though...)


That is, until I read your list...


Well, 30 more years and maybe I'll be close!


I've noticed that gun books tend to run pretty high in price. Like Richard Laws Backbone of the Wehrmacht , which runs around $60 bucks or so. I've wanted that one for a while but it seems I spend all my money on guns, reloading supplies, beer, and women instead. (The rest always gets wasted...)


I get most of my books from ebay, as you can get some real deals there. I recently picked up the reprint version of the first Gun Digest for $2.50, which I thought was a real deal!

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Fantastic list and very helpful. Thanks much!
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Makes me feel good about having the majority of these books! I started in 1950's with some of the 75-cent Fawcett "how to" books and there was a series of them, including "Lucian Cary on Guns" "Famous Guns from the Winchester Collection" and many others. (Still have them.)


Over the years I've been class 3 ( since 1971) I have often been surprised to find that many doctors, lawyers, and other professionals will spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a valuable firearm but won't spend the $85 to $125 that some of the best reference books run. A $100 investment in a good reference book can save you $10,000 to $20,000 in a "bad purchase" of a firearm.


And many of the $50 to $150 books, or sets of books, become investments themselves as the books go out of print and become rare collectors items.


You've done a tremendous service by publishing this list of reference books. I'll bet there are a lot of collectors who have many of the books on your list. Those who don't, you now have a "shopping list." Christmas is coming....!


Bill Douglas



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You know what, Dave? It looks like you are showing us a geat library! And I agree it is an excellent list!


But - since I mentioned library - what are the "lending" terms? http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/laugh.gif


I'll refer to my books as a collection"....


Thanks for the list!

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I don't lend any of the books, but if you're in a bind, and there is some specific information you are looking for, feel free to contact me. I will do my best to find whatever I can, time allowing.


I have a lot of other informational resources for the following weapons:


Thompson SMG's

ANM2/MG-40's (Lots of information on these weapons from U.S. military, U.S. commercial, Finnish, Argentine, and British military sources.)

Hyde Model 35 SMG (I have most of the information that exists on this weapon.)

Reising SMG

S&W Model 76 SMG

Sten SMG


Early Colt AR-15 stuff (1960-1965)



Many pdf's of firearm manuals can be downloaded at our other website- Biggerhammer.net




There are a lot of other good firearm books out there. The Collector Grade and Mowbray books are always good on the subjects they cover. You should also purchase every one of Frank Iannamico's books, if you have not already done so. Let's keep him busy with some orders!


David Albert









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Yes, I forgot to mention that a lot of information on the following is available on our website:


Detonics Pistols (Try Detonics.com, and see what happens...)

M96 Expeditionary Rifle

SIG AMT/PE57/550

Stoner SR-25


Bushmaster Armpistol

Barrett .50's


AR15/M16 FAQ's





David Albert





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There are a couple of books on AK's which I did not list. I've never been a huge fan of the AK series of weapons myself, but I know many are, and with good reason. I do have a nice Yugoslavian SKS, as well as an old Chinese SKS in my collection, though.


If I were to recommend a book on AK's, it would be the Collector Grade book titled "Kalashnikov - The Arms and the Man," by Edward Clinton Ezell in 2001. I don't have the book in my collection, but have looked through it a couple of times. I do own the book "Kalashnikov," by John Walter in 1999. I did not rate this book in my top 100. I usually find any information I might need on AK's in the later Small Arms of the World editions.


David Albert


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