I’ll say from the outset that I’m less familiar with air guns than “traditional” guns. Air rifles, to me, have always fallen into the category of a BB gun, the “Red Rider” type that Ralphie wished for in the classic movie, A Christmas Story. A “rifle” that kids use as a precursor to getting a rimfire rifle, something they can use to understand the principles of gun safety while knocking soda cans over with an air-powered BB. This book, along with some independent research, shattered my preconceptions of the air rifle. As it turns out, the air rifle has a rich history and a variety of applications. As much as it hurts to admit, the air rifle may be a valuable tool in skirting gun control laws. As bleak as it may sound, plinking around with an air rifle may be the only option in the future.
In any event, let’s dispense with the gloom and doom and get into the world of air rifles. Exploring the details of miscellaneous weapons types is always fun. It’s even more fun when it brings you back to the days of plinking around the backyard as a kid.
The modern air rifle, in case you’re unaware, is vastly different from its predecessor. The first air rifle, it seems, dates back to around 1580 and now sits in a museum in Stockholm. After a bit of cursory research, I learned early, advanced air rifles were used for hunting wild boar and deer. Of course, these rifles were a bit more hardcore than your traditional BB Gun. In fact, old air rifles were used in military applications as well. Today’s more modern air rifle can do just that in a survival situation. And with what seems like ever-increasing risks of additional gun control measures and expensive ammunition, the air rifle makes sense to add to anyone’s collection of survival firearms. The book covers air rifles from start to finish. All types are covered: CO2 powered guns, spring guns, multi-pump pneumatics, single-stroke pneumatics, and pre-charged pneumatics. The book then moves into the many types of projectiles (more than a novice might think). For preppers, there’s even an entire chapter devoted to “The Survival Springer”. These include models of all types and price ranges. The book also covers sights, scopes, velocity, accuracy, range, targets, training tips, and accessories. Truly, this book seems to cover everything on air rifles.
Related: Back to Basics – Rifle Accuracy
After reading “Air Rifles: A Buyers and Shooter's Guide” by Steve Markwith, I’m much more familiar with the versatility of the air rifle and have a newfound respect for them. I’m even itching to buy one (or two) now. The modern air rifle could serve as an excellent, low-cost training tool for people that live in more suburban environments where shooting bullets off your back deck is less of a… neighborly thing to do.
Likes & Dislikes
Rich in photos and description, Markwith’s conversational yet informative writing style from his Survival Guns - A Beginner's Guide holds true here, too. This should be a go-to book for, as the title suggests, anyone thinking about buying an air rifle or anyone that shoots one. I don’t care if you’re a beginner or an expert air rifleman, there’s something in this book that will help.
Also Read: The Evolution of the Black Rifle
My biggest complaint is that, like Survival Guns, the images are informative but are presented in black and white. The book would be richer if they were in color. The writing is better than the image presentation. $12.95 seems fair for the paperback, but $7.95 for a Kindle version feels a bit high. I generally prefer paperback anyway, particularly where this one is in 8×10” size, but Kindle buyers should be able to get this book for something more like $5.95.
If you’re new to air rifles, or are even a moderate user, there’s something of use for you here, I’m certain of it. This book would, however, best serve the individual that’s thinking about getting an air rifle, because the money spent on the book up front would save you money many times over by both helping you choose the right air rifle to suit your needs from the outset, and also help you get the most out of it.