Book about general firearm design?


September 14, 2005, 04:46 PM

Any suggestions on a book or books that describe the most common/popular handgun and rifle designs? I don't need gunsmith-detail info, and I'm not a history buff, I just want to understand how the various actions and designs work, basically so that I can understand the more technical discussions on this forum. Hopefully something modern enough to cover the Glock design.


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September 14, 2005, 04:51 PM might want to check out I know it's not a book, but you can always download stuff and print it out. In any case, they have a lot of very informative articles about the inner workings of the 1911, including some animations of its firing cycle.

September 14, 2005, 04:55 PM
I was hoping for a one-stop answer to all my questions, but free is nice, too. So feel free to list forums or sites that are "authorities" on a particular design.

September 14, 2005, 06:10 PM
Hatcher's Notebook, by Julian Hatcher, is an excellent work covering ballistics, gunpowder, recoil, manufacturing and metals and many other topics that relate to firearms.
It is light on the specific actions, but covers so much other ground that is important. For specific action illustrations and design features, many forums have photos and descriptions of their pet weapons.

September 14, 2005, 07:20 PM
Just looked at the Amazon summary of Hatcher's Notebook and it looks like a great reference. Thanks!

Jim K
September 14, 2005, 08:40 PM
There is a web site, [URL=] that describes how guns work. The information is general, and you will have to do some searching, but I think you will find what you need at no cost.


max popenker
September 15, 2005, 04:29 AM
if you are interested in assault / automatic rifles, you also may check the ASSAULT RIFLE book (
There's plenty of discussion of gun mechanics, ballistics, as well as descriptions of various military rifles of the last 60 years

September 15, 2005, 08:45 AM
How Guns Work, by Ian V. Hogg. Borders or Barnes and Noble should either have ot or be able to get it. Try your local library first, many have it.

September 15, 2005, 05:01 PM
It's called "Guns and How They Work". I saw some of Hogg's other books, but I missed this one because it seems to be out of print. However, it looks like the best general reference out of all of his books and still readily available used. Good call. Thanks.

September 16, 2005, 02:18 PM
Try this about the glock design -> glock cut away (

September 16, 2005, 06:56 PM
"Guns and How They Work."

Wow. I own maybe ten books, and that's one of them. Had it since I was a kid. I don't know how accurate all the information is, but it's quite comprehensive.

September 16, 2005, 07:37 PM
It's quite accurate. Ian V. Hogg is one of the foremost authorities. Anything by Edward C. Ezell is top notch reading, as is any weapon analysis by Peter G. Kokalis, although I disagree with his opinion that the M-60 is the biggest piece of crap since the Chauchat. :cuss: His technical analysis of the operation of the weapons he reviews is, well, technical, but well-written, with commentary on how the design affects the operator.

4v50 Gary
September 16, 2005, 08:37 PM
W. H. B. Smith's "Small Arms of the World" will tell you how guns work. The Russians have an excellent manual which is a textbook, but so far it's only been translated to Chinese. I picked it up years ago when I visited a Norinco factory near Peking. Now, if I can get someone to translate it for me. :o

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