APRIL 19, 2018

Skill Set: Good Reads

There are a lot of good books to read out there, in fact so many it’s sometimes hard to pick out one.  Here are a few suggestions that I think everyone will benefit from, and enjoy.

The first book by Mark Bowden I ever read was “Black Hawk Down,” a classic that should be read by all.  Since then I’ve read about everything he’s written, and have never been disappointed.  Last year he came out with “Hue 1968,” covering the Tet offensive in Vietnam.  The Tet offensive was a push by North Vietnam that was part military action and part “popular” uprising.    The communists launched military offensives in various parts of South Vietnam, with the hopes that people in these areas would rise up in revolt, joining in the attacks against American forces.  Their biggest push was in Hue, the capital of South Vietnam.  On the first day of the Lunar New Year – January 31st – then thousand troops emerged from the surrounding jungles to attack Hue.  These troops were assisted and guided into the city by locals, who had smuggled in weapons prior to the attack.

At first reports were sketchy, and the full scale of the assault was underrated by the U.S. commanders in country and politicians at home.  That day the city fell, all except for two small military posts.  What followed was some of the bloodiest urban battles America has ever faced.  Bowden covers this offensive in detail, with info from American, South Vietnam and troops from the north.  This is an incredible story, and one I highly recommend.

Another author I’ve read, and reported in the Wire, is Dustin Salomon.  His book “Building Shooters” is a mandatory work.  His newest book, “Mentoring Shooters,” is a must read as well.  The primary focus is on firearms instruction, but even if you don’t teach you’ll learn a lot from studying this book.  Get it, read it, and then study it well.  You won’t be disappointed.

“Evaluating Police Tactics – An Empirical Assessment of Room Clearing Entry Techniques” by Blair and Martaindale is a technical book, but one I think most will find interesting and informative.  This covers tactics used by officers for room clearing, specifically rooms that contain a threat, but it has information that all will find useful.  The authors cover various techniques, but then supply hard information on what techniques work best.  Again, more a technical book, but a recommended read for anyone interested in these skills.

I’ve always been a fan of the Scout Rifle concept as presented by Jeff Cooper.  I have a Steyr Scout, one of the first ones to come into the country; in the “If you could only have one” contest this would be it.  So when a good friend of mine gave me a copy of “The Scout Rifle Study, The History Of The Scout Rifle And Its Place In The 21st Century,” I dove right into it.  Richard Mann covers the Scout concept with details on Cooper’s writings on the subject, starting in 1966.  Chapters are broken down into the various elements, such as the weight, length, caliber, stock and all the other parts to the Scout concept.  If you’re interested in Cooper’s work in general or the Scout in particular you’ll enjoy Mann’s book.

Gun work, especially the tactical side of it, is an interesting subject.  You can look at it from a variety of angles – historically, from an individual viewpoint and the work of others.  Reading and research in all these will make you a better shooter, regardless of the discipline.  Read on, and stay safe.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama.  He is the author of “The Book of Two Guns” - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk’s DVD, “Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html  McKee’s new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite’s website: http://shootrite.org/AR15SkillsBook/AR15SkillsBook.html