Book Review: The World’s Assault Rifles

Gary Paul Johnston and Thomas Nelson’s The World’s Assault Rifles is always one of the first books we turn to for information on automatic rifles. At 1200+ pages, it’s a huge tome and a massive amount of research went into it. Mr Nelson previously published two volumes on submachine guns and a book on assault rifles many years ago, but this current edition was heavily updated and republished just two years ago.

The book is available in hardcover for us reference types and also as a Kindle edition for the tech-savvy on-the-go gun nut. Take your pick from Amazon:


  1. Ian

    I bought this book and it is very good.

    It is impossible to make a complete book about assault rifles. I think that’s why the book does not make a complete approach on the theme. I was fascinated with the number of rare images and prototypes. At this point, this book is perfect.

    I’d like to make a brief comment on the chapter about Brazil.

    For the readers, gives the impression that Brazil has only those models of assault rifle in the book. In fact, we had others models and prototypes.

    We have the family MD-97 who will be replaced now by the family of rifles IA2.
    We had a rare copy of a G-43 in 30-06.
    And some other prototypes based in the FAL.

    Apart from this part, the book of Paul and Nelson is obligatory for those who like the assault rifles.

    • That’s the benefit of our Internet age – you can easuly reach people half-globe across from you to share information. I did that when Gary and Tom worked on this tome, and Gary did the same submitting some hot new stuff from USA to me.
      And if you can share something about Brazilian or any other Latin American weapons, I think both Gary and me will be quite happy to use it in future publication

  2. I would love to see more about Brazil assault rifles. I am hoping that you can help. It is an area of interest that there is so little information on.

    • I don’t have his assault rifle book, so I can’t say for sure. I do have Nelson’s submachine gun books and Max Popenker’s SMG book, and I would say that Nelson is the better of the two. There are things in both books not covered by the other, but overall I think Nelson goes into more depth.

    • It is much more detailed in regard to rifles; Our book(Tony & mine) was more about history than technical details, while book of Gary and Tom has much more technical details and illustrations. As it happened, I submitted quite a lot of details about Soviet, Russian and some other stuff to Gary and Tom, and I can say I’m proud to own their book signed to my name

  3. Good decision, Jeff! As they say, “When in doubt, do both”. I think the combination of historical information in Max Popenker’s book and the more technically-oriented information from Gary Johnston’s and Thomas Nelson’s publication would be highly complementary.

    After all, one aspect can never be wholly put into proper perspective without the other.

    Both are excellent sources of information for anyone interested in the history and workings of the assault/battle rifle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.