Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Review of a Blogger's Work.

Sumdood named Frank James wrote a book: Effective Handgun Defense: A Comprehensive Guide to Concealed Carry.

Of course he was a gun writer long before someone abbreviated 'web log' to blog... Or before broadband existed.

It is my understanding that the author wasn't pleased with the title, but was saddled with it by the publisher.  I'm wondering what title he would have preferred?  Maybe Fighting Handguns: Selection and Mental Preparation for Concealed Carry

That aside, I liked reading it.  I recognized a lot of the guns pictured as they've appeared on Frank's blog a few times.  His blog is a daily indulgence I rarely miss, and this book is like getting a good long post where he can flesh out themes a bit better, so thanks for the extras.   

Frank James' firearms philosophy is similar to mine in many areas so I found myself nodding in agreement with his revolver love, liking shoulder holster utility where they are appropriate, et. al.  Where he and I diverge it's often for geographic reasons.  I don't have to drop varmints on vast acreage, and he doesn't have to tote around suburban DC, across the river.  I don't need a .41 so much, where it makes more sense on pest control.  Add that to the expense of a newbie shooter feeding a .41.

Now, as to the utility of this book...  Had I gotten this book back in 2005 it would have not have changed my preferences in the ensuing 6 years.  I was heading down the same road, and would have made similar purchases along the way that I have sans book.  It would have reinforced my decisions, yes, had I had this book for my guideposts.  I'm pleased my gut instincts match those of a more seasoned shooter like Frank.

But... I run into a lot of VERY newbie shooters.  And I will be loaning this book out to them if they need some thoughts on forming a first gun purchase.  It would convey the way I have been trying to guide new shooters with more authority than I can demonstrate.  Mr. James has preferences, but he's certainly not the fanboi internet forum source I'd otherwise have to point my friends to.  The inside baseball "Glock vs. 1911" sorta fights we love to engage in online might not be the most conducive to firearms introduction.  And Frank's tone is more serious in his tone and that matches the seriousness of the topic a bit better than standard web-silliness, where separating the wheat from the chaff is sometime a challenge without a lot of attention.

Aside from the parts that were sort of a review for me, I did enjoy the 19th Century gunfight examples he drew upon, and, more importantly, the details of the response to the 1986 Miami Dade shootout that Mr James was able to impart because he paid close attention to the events that unfolded when they happened, as well as a good summarized history of handgun technological development over time.  He also has a revolver reloading drill I'm going to practice, the fine motor skill required being a weakness, attention to reloading must be paid.


Frank W. James said...

Thunderbolt: Those are very kind words. Thank you.

MY TITLE was going to "CONCEALED CARRY FIGHTIN' HANDGUNS", but the old ladies in 'sales' at Krause objected to the word FIGHTIN', so we got the compromise title (literally at the last minute because I was going to kill the damn thing for a 2nd time) and all compromises are cattle that become camels afterwards.

Thanks again for the very kind words...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

MaddMedic said...

Have been following Mr James blog for a while and his articles in Shotgun News. Always informative.
Book? Dang missed that! Have to get it!!

Bubblehead Les. said...

Mr. James is friends with those Ladies over towards Indy way. You might know them: Tam, Booby X, Brigid. And if one is judged by the company one keeps... Mr. James always has good knowledge to pass along. Smart Young People should always listen to the Elders of the Tribe if they want to make it through the Bad Days Ahead (which means to those iPad People, check out his Blog and its Archives, you don't even need an App for it!) Maybe he'll be at the NRA Con, but with Spring Planting happening....

Tam said...

Frank James is on the short list of "People I Listen To When They Talk Because They Probably Know What They're Talking About."

Boat Guy said...

At one of the schools I was sent to attend (THANK YOU taxpayers) one of those "wouldn't have thought of that until it was too late" kind of things was mentioned with regard to the 1986 FBI shoot out; the "difficulty in reloading revolvers" was compounded by blood and bits o' bone from one of the SA's who was hit getting under the extractor star .
Practicing reloads with snap caps using "nondominant hand only" is an important part of training, (so is using cover to help minimize the chances of getting shot - or shot more/worse). You'll note many of the injuries to folks were to arms and hands - folks will tend to shoot at the gun (the threat). I had that demonstrated in a simunitions fight later in that class when I got hit on the proximal thumb joint of my shooting hand. I "won" that fight but I'm pretty sure I'd be missing my right thumb today had that been a "real bullet".