I normally don’t have all that much interest in coffee table type gun books – the glossy photos are nice, but they generally don’t have all that much actual information. I had assumed initially that “Handguns of the World” was another of these books, but I was quite mistaken. I initially gave it a second look because of the author – Edward Ezell is a very well-respected author of gun books, and I really enjoyed and appreciated his doctoral-thesis-turned-book, The Great Rifle Controversy.
What I found when I opened up his “Handguns of the World” was not a glitzy picture book, but instead an illustrated technical history of military handguns. The book (all 704 pages) is in black and white, but includes copious drawings, diagrams, and photographs of some pretty unusual and interesting handguns. What really grabbed me was the amount of research that went into the work, as Ezell goes into detail explaining the history and development of many of the families of pistols we know today, like the 1911 and the progression of open-slide Beretta automatics. And this doesn’t just cover self-loaders; military revolvers and their heritage back to the early Colt Paterson are covered in equal detail.
As of the time of writing, prices for used copies start at $1.63, which is basically like finding a copy just lying in your front yard. So if you’re interested, don’t delay – this is definitely a steal: