5 Books Every Gun Enthusiast Should Read

There are some great books out there about the history of guns, the famous people who carried them, and their inventors. Today people tend to watch movies or google everything they want to know, but reading a book is still a great way to learn something new. Most of the time, you gain much more information from reading a book compared to asking Siri or Alexa about it. But the problem with books is you never know if you picked a good one or a bore-you-to-death one. I don’t know how many books I’ve tried to read only to keep waking up from a three-second nap on the first chapter.

But other books grab your attention right away and keep it throughout the book. It would be hard to list every good book in one article, but I thought I would share some of my favorite ones here. Two books in this list are about gun inventors, two are about famous people and the guns they carried, and one is about the history of modern guns in the US.

If you love guns, these are great books whether you are just learning about guns or graduated from the guns-are-us academy (that’s not a real school). You will find these books interesting, insightful, and even inspiring. I have always loved shooting and even collecting guns, but they never had as much meaning as they do now.

When I started learning more about the inventors behind each gun, and the people who carried them, they took on a new meaning. So, if you like guns and haven’t read the books on this list, I would encourage you to check them out. Here’s a snippet about each one.

The Guns of John Moses Browning

If we are going to talk about guns and their inventors, it’s only right that we start off with the father of modern guns. John Moses Browning contributed more to the firearms industry than any other inventor to date. He didn’t just come up with that “famous” gun like many other great inventors, he came up with a bunch of them.

And most of those other guns use designs that were influenced or downright copied from Browning. The book “The Guns of John Moses Browning” by Nathan Gorenstein, covers the life of Browning from childhood through death and even beyond. Unlike other books that focus solely on his guns, this book gives some insight into his family, friends, and life outside of guns.

Book about John Moses Browning.
“The Guns of John Moses Browning” by Nathan Gorenstein. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Those insights are important to know if you really want to understand the great inventor. This book opens with a story about the first gun Browning ever built, a shady shotgun made from a musket barrel. It talks about the influence Browning’s father, Jonathan Browning. Jonathon was a gunsmith as well as other things, which probably led to John’s fascination with guns and how they work.

His interest in fixing guns and making them better led to his own inventions that improved the guns of his time. While Browning tried to build and sell his own guns, he ultimately sold nearly all of his 100+ patents to Winchester, Colt, and Fabrique Nationale (FN). I can’t think of a better all-round gun book than this one so if you’re in the mood for reading, start here.

American Gun

This book was being written by the legendary sniper and Navy Seal, Chris Kyle, when he was shot and killed. His wife Taya, set out to finish the book and enlisted the help of award-winning author William Doyle to finish it. This book covers 10 firearms that were selected by Kyle because of their historical significance. From the American longrifle to the M16 rifle, Kyle talks about the history of each gun and why it was an important part of American history.

Book: American Gun by Chris Kyle.
American Gun by Chris Kyle and William Doyle. {Photo: Jason Mosher]

Kyle writes with a view that few people have because of his combat experience mixed with his extensive knowledge of guns. Like the other books on this list, the first chapter is all it takes to glue your face to the following pages. He opens with a story about a sharpshooter from the Revolutionary War (the closest thing to a sniper back then) and how one soldier’s marksmanship saved the lives of others. Kyle explains some of the basic terminologies about guns for those new to the gun world and walks through history with each firearm. This makes it an easy read for advanced and new shooters alike.

Texas Ranger

John Boessenecker’s book “Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, The Man Who Killed Bonnie and Clyde” is one of the best books about Frank Hamer I have read. While most people know the name Frank Hamer because of the Bonnie and Clyde story, Hamer was a legendary Texas Ranger, and Bonnie and Clyde had very little to do with it.

This book takes you back to a young Hammer that was recruited into the Rangers at a very young age. The story of Hamer is fascinating because of the time he lived in. He was one of the last true cowboys from the wild days that transformed into a more organized, sophisticated time.

Book: Texas Ranger by John Boessenecker.
Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, The Man Who Killed Bonnie and Clyde. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Shot multiple times himself, Hamer had a reputation for shooting people that resisted arrest. On several occasions, he quieted a mob just by standing in front of them and telling them who he was and what would happen if anyone tried to pass him. He started out on horseback chasing down bandits and ended his career in the days of automobiles, bank robbers, and notorious killers like Bonnie and Clyde. If you like to read about guns and the people who carried them, this is a must-read for any firearms enthusiast.

Bonnie and Clyde

Written by Paul Schneider, this is the best book about Bonnie and Clyde I have read. While other books cover their famous shootouts and robberies in detail, Schneider starts by giving a brief history of Bonnie and Clyde’s childhood. He takes note of Bonnie’s interest in fashion and poetry (yes, she wanted to be a poet). He shares some insight into Clyde’s time in prison and how his early life contributed to the violent person he would become.

Clyde had a strange politeness about him that most violent criminals do not have. He would often thank people for their vehicle after taking it at gunpoint and, on several occasions, even gave people cash to help get back to town. While he helped some, he and Bonnie also gunned down others without blinking an eye.

Book: Bonnie and Clyde by Paul Schneider.
“Bonnie and Clyde” by Paul Schneider. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Schneider talks a great deal about the guns of Bonnie and Clyde and how they obtained their guns throughout their rampage. From Clyde’s favorite sawn-off shotgun and cut-down BAR to Bonnie’s shotgun and pistol, he covers their entire life. From childhood sweethearts to their bloody death by Frank Hamer, he tells the whole story.

If you want to read this book, I would recommend reading Texas Ranger first and this one next. This book focuses on Bonnie and Clyde more than Frank Hamer so having the background on him is helpful when his name comes up in this book.

Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun

The book “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun” by Paul M. Barrett is a fascinating book if you like reading about guns, how they function, and what makes them stand apart. Barrett does a great job in his book explaining how Gaston Glock got into the firearms business, the struggles he faced, and how the gun company grew to be the best-selling handgun in the world.

Today Glocks are known for being the “police” gun, but law enforcement wasn’t impressed with them in the beginning. Many in the US wanted to keep Glocks from being imported into the US and the company was plagued early on with rumors about the danger of not having a manual safety. For a while, people believed that Glock handguns could go undetected through metal detectors. This of course is not true, but rumors are hard to get rid of once they spread around. They wanted nothing to do with it. But the Glock pistol held its own ground and set a new standard in safety and reliability.

Book: Glock by Paul M Barrett.
“Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun” tells the story of Gaston Glock and the empire he created. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
It is hard to find another gun that has been tested, abused, and scrutinized as much as Glock has. This book covers the details of the invention, the scaling of the business, and even the scandals that plagued the company throughout the years. You won’t find a better story on the man, the company, and the gun than this book.

Are you reading a book?

Some people like to read more than others, but I firmly believe everyone should read books from time to time. If you have trouble finding the time, try using an audiobook. But if you want to learn about the history of our guns, inventors, and some crazy events from the past, check out one of these books. They are easy to read, interesting, and sure to leave your brain wanting one more book to read.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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