Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2007
Since this is a reprint of a 46 (1961) year old publication my main criticism is that it was just copied and all of the original omissions and mistakes are presented again, just as they were in 1961. As a collector of 19th century Smith & Wesson's and it's predecessors, this book misses the factual marks of that manufacturer repeatedly. It lists the products of the first Smith & Wesson company (1852-1854) as being produced by another company (Volcanic Arms) and it plays down the significance of the development of self-contained cartridge firing handguns by Smith & Wesson throughout it's presentation. It truly glorifies the development of the cartridge firing revolvers by Colt's and almost ignores those by Smith & Wesson even though the number of Smith & Wesson revolvers produced prior to the turn of the 19th century was far greater than the number produced by Colt's. No wonder most uninformed people believe that the Single Action Army revolver was the only gun popular in the Old West when there were far more Smith & Wesson's produced and sold during that time period.
The sections on pre-Civil War arms was well done except I did notice the very limited mention of the U.S. Model 1841 so-called Mississippi Rifle which was very important during both the War with Mexico and the Civil War.
If you are looking for a definitive reference on the Guns of the Old West, this really isn't it, however some of the background information and stories are wonderful.