The author of this well-researched, oversized (8 ¼ x 11) compendium on self-defense firearms pinpoints his target audience this way: Are you “certain of your ability to KILL (or be KILLED)?” If you answer in the affirmative and are “going to use a gun to defend your life,” the author implores you to “read this book for a solid foundation on how firearms work.”
Whether you have no knowledge of firearms or consider yourself well informed, you will learn something from Daniel R. Engel’s massive compilation of facts about how firearms work, how to shoot, what ammunition to use, and how to safely carry a concealed weapon. Although primarily about handguns, the book also covers in detail rifles and shotguns for self-defense. Topics such as recoil, velocity, barrel lengths, penetration tests, sights, safeties, shooting techniques, body armor, concealed carry holsters, self-defense insurance, and guidelines if you’re forced to fire in defense of your life are all included.
The book, essentially one 250-page chapter, would have benefitted greatly from a strong edit. Aside from the needed chapter breaks, there are many run-on sentences (one of which contains 107 words) where the author’s meandering prose jumps from one topic to another. Engel overuses repetition as a means of underscoring certain points and intermittently includes overly complicated detail. (Most readers won’t need to go through the mathematical formulas for velocity of a cartridge, for example, to believe the data Engel presents.)
Nonetheless, he separates critical fact from Hollywood fantasy and ill-informed opinion (which comes all too often from self-proclaimed gun experts).
Readers who have decided to use a firearm for self-defense, and who can persevere through this book despite its narrative challenges, are likely to avoid becoming one of the all-too numerous statistics on gun mishaps and can even learn something that might save their lives.
Also available as an ebook.