If you are like me and love the AR-15 platform, then you should consider reading the new book by Jeff Zimba called The Evolution of the Black Rifle: 20 Years of Upgrades and Accessories. As you can infer from the title, the book was written with 20 years of experience by a person who knows the AR-10/AR-15 platform inside and out. The book starts off by covering the basics of the Eugene Stoner platform but picks up very quickly after that. Most of the early sections of the book will be well known to the fans of this rifle platform but for those who are new to the rifle or not familiar with the most famous black rifle in history, the information will be well received.
About The Author
Jeff Zimba was on the ground level in starting a new magazine, Small Arms Review, primarily covering NFA firearms (Machine Guns, Sound Suppressors, Destructive Devices, Short Barreled Rifles and Shotguns, etc.) and served as the Production Manager and Staff Writer for almost 16 years, specializing in articles on the Testing and Evaluation of systems, both new and old. He also continued to assist manufacturers in Research and Development on new designs, and continues to be active in the industry to this day. His articles have been published in numerous gun magazines in several countries including Machine Gun News (USA), Small Arms Review Magazine (USA), Shotgun News (USA), The American Rifleman (USA), AK-47 & Soviet Weapons Annuals (USA), ARMI Magazine (Germany), PLATOON Magazine (South Korea), and several others.
The Evolution of the Black Rifle: 20 Years of Upgrades, Options, and Accessories is a “twenty-year journey” on the development of American battle rifles, including but not limited to the AR-15, M4, and M16. Zimba includes a series of previously published and award-winning articles, such as “The Evolution of the Modern Black Rifle,” that consist of his reviews, tests, findings, knowledge, history, and more that provides all audiences of all skill levels with expert advice and assessment exclusively on the black rifle. With a preface by gun rights activist Ted Nugent and a foreword by REDCELL and SEAL Team Six member T. Daniel Capel, Black Rifle is one of the most impressive and complete editions of firearms information available.
American rock musician and NRA board member Ted Nugent opens with a preface, after the author biography and dedications. Nugent briefly yet earnestly describes his relationship with Zimba and his work, which establishes a positive tone for the book and helps readers feel compelled, regardless of whether they’re new to or familiar with Zimba’s work.
This tone is demonstrated even further with former SEAL Team Six member and Black Canyon Industries CEO and President T. Daniel Capel’s foreword. He grounds the audience with the truth about gun testing – how it can simply exist just to ensure lots of sales, and free products for the testers. Both parties, the tester and manufacturer, win in the end, oftentimes leaving the customer more than unsatisfied with their purchase – perhaps even injured or dead. Capel introduces us to Zimba’s testing with this information, with newbies already learning something or experienced enthusiasts nodding their heads in agreement – something all audiences will find themselves doing throughout the book, guaranteed.
The structure of each article is concise and consistent, beginning with an introduction, findings, information, and a conclusion, providing organization that effectively frames the facts. For example, in “The Evolution of the Modern Black Rifle,” we’re introduced to how battles such as the Vietnam Conflict and the War on Terror have asserted constant change and reform of the black rifle system, despite that every conflict is different. Yet, “the familiar M16 is still going strong,” and Zimba describes the weapon system’s many combinations and functions. The article contains some more basic history, detailed description of anatomy and modifications with photographs, information regarding magazine designs, and much more. The precision of the organization of information provides structure to the book as a whole.
Some other important details include charts and graphs, such as a complete list of specifics on the Ares Defense Shrike 5.56 Advanced Weapons System from the article “STAG-15L: The Sinistral Semi-automatic from Stag Arms,” and comparison charts between .22 Long Rifle rates of fire and muzzle velocities from the article “The LM-7: Belt-Fed AR-15/M16 in .22LR.”
It’s difficult to find faults in The Evolution of the Black Rifle because it’s in-depth and detailed. The images are in black-and-white, which might be a disappointment for those looking for visual information. Others may be turned off by the fact that some of the reviews are of older accessories and features, but they are timeless nonetheless.
Information is in abundance in The Evolution of the Black Rifle, and if that’s what you’re looking for, then you won’t be disappointed. This book is ideal for all skill levels interested in learning more about the black rifle, and is even optimal as an introduction for battle rifles exclusively. In a day and age where the black rifle is viewed negatively by the media, the information this book provides more than enough for the public on its history and how it works – and on the firearm in general. The best part about reading this book is that the next time you venture down to your local gun store and see your favorite Open Carry Mall Ninja hanging out telling customers ridiculously false information based on his “Call of Duty” battle experience, you can drop some serious knowledge on him about the black rifle and it’s history.
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