Book Review: Italian Small Arms of the First and Second World Wars

Good news for everyone interested in collecting Italian military firearms (yes, both of you)! Ralph Riccio has just recently published a new book on Italian Small Arms of the First and Second World Wars. Until now, there have been very limited options for English-language books on Italian guns, and Riccio’s new work is an outstanding end to that drought. It is 224 pages of very good research and even better photography, covering everything from the 1874 pattern revolver to the Breda heavy machine guns in glossy full color. So if you want to know the difference between an M91/24 and an M91/28, or what the heck the Beretta 1915, 1915-19, 1915-19 M1922, and the other early Italian pistols are, or want to see a variety of Italian experimental semiauto rifles, this is definitely the resource for you.

Copies are available for $69.99 through Schiffer – at this time it is not available through Amazon.


  1. The guns you refer to as toys, are they not 4 mm indoor rifles? Called “Zimmerstützen” in Germany.

    • There are wide variety of the small-scale Carcano lookalikes – some fired live ammo (.25 ACP, for instance), some fired Flobert type indoor cartridges, some fired blanks, some used a paper cap mounted in a dummy cartridge just to make noise, and some were spring-loaded.

  2. Hi Ian,
    I enjoyed your assessment of Ralph Riccio’s recent work. You are spot on in your analysis of this luscious reference book. I have been blessed to receive a signed copy from my friend and the author of this fine work.

    I will tell you my feelings were hurt when you neglected to mention “Italy’s Battle Rifle” by myself and Steve Woodrum. (Wink) It was released a couple years back with help from numerous sources. Our work and Ralphs both bring something different to the generalist or serious collector of the carcano. Items and information that are in our work are not in Ralph’s work and vice-versa. Both books can stand alone for the generalisr, but for the serious carcano collector or for one that “wants more” both books alongside the D’Giorgio and Riepe (foreign language) books will be fully satisfied. There are still many unknowns within the carcano world and myself, Woodrum, Riccio, Di Giorgio and the fine website Il.91 and other interested collectors will continue to ask questions as the carcano is our passion.

    Please do not forget our (Arendell & Woodrum) hard work Sir! (Wink). By the way, myself and three other authors are going to release an update to “Italy at War” soon. A militaria book on Italian uniforms, equipment, weaponry and ephemera of the 1935-1945 period. If you will honor us, I will send a copy for review. I check on you site weekly Ian. Keep up the great work.
    Respecfully, Russ Arendell

  3. Does any of the books mentioned go into detail about 7.35 mm ballistics (bullet velocities at given range)?

  4. Phenomenal review, Ian. We currently offer this book on our website,, along with hundreds of other militaria and firearms reference books.

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