I like guns. A reader about a month back
wrote in criticizing me, stating that I had never met a gun that
I did not like. Of course, he was ill at me for not writing more
bad reviews, but in a way, he was right. If a gun functions and
is reasonably accurate, I will try to find a use for it. I like
drilling holes in far away targets with a good AR-15. I like
speed-shooting bowling pins with a good auto pistol. I enjoy
busting rocks with a Barrett Big
Fifty. All of these weapons are good tools, properly
used, but they are merely tools.
However, those who know me well know that my
first love is the single action revolver. No gun stirs the soul
like an old Colt Single Action Army or an old Ruger
Flattop. There is that special feel to the action,
thumbing back that big hammer, and sending lead downrange.
Others who love the single actions know what I mean, and those
who do not, are really missing out. A Glock is a good
weapon, but it has no soul. An AR-15 is one of the better
weapons of its type in the world, but it has an empty black hole
where its soul should be. The single action revolver has a soul.
You can feel it. The only other weapon to even come close is an
old Winchester, and the souls of these two are connected.
They are connected to our past; our history. A man who can
pick up an old Colt Single Action Army, slowly thumb back the
big hammer, and feel nothing, is in danger of losing his own
soul. There is nothing else like it.
It is understandable then that the news of the
release of John Taffin’s latest book; Single
Action Sixguns, brought me great delight. This is his
fourth book, as I recall, and the only one dedicated entirely to
the single action revolver.
John Taffin is the preeminent gun writer
of our time, writing regularly for publications such as American
Handgunner, Guns, and Shoot! magazines.
He is the authority on single action revolvers, and he has the
heart of a teacher. For many years, he was a math teacher
by trade, many of whom I am convinced have no heart at all.
However, his writing style and skill show through as a man who
loves the subject of his work, and loves to share this knowledge
with others. John Taffin knows single action revolvers
better than any man alive, and his passion for these weapons
clearly is felt in reading this book. He is a man of the highest
integrity, a friend, a brother, and a fellow Shootist. Here is
just one paragraph from the beginning of this book:
"Pick up a large seashell and hear the
ocean; pick up a single action and hear and feel history. Just
holding an old Colt single action conjures up visions of the Earps
and Doc Holliday at the O.K. Corral, Theodore
Roosevelt in the Dakotas, and Lt. George Patton with Black
Jack Pershing in Mexico. We can hear bugles in the
afternoon, smell bacon and beans cooking over a campfire, feel
the dust from the hooves of a thousand cattle, and taste steak
and a big slab of apple pie washed down with hot coffee at the
Irma Hotel. A sixth sense takes over and Matt Dillon,
Paladin, Rooster Cogburn, all become real."
I wish that I could write like that. Good stuff.
I can taste that apple pie just from reading those words. There
are many more. Single Action Sixguns is filled with not only
hundreds of factual statements and descriptive detail, but with
the feeling that the reader can almost hold the gun in his hand
as Mr. Taffin describes the sixgun. Not only is the book filled
with good information, it has numerous fine quality photographs
of the sixguns being described. The pictures shown here do the
photos no justice. For the internet, we have to reduce the
quality of the pictures to make them downloadable on a dial-up
modem. The photos in the book are studio quality, and they alone
are worth more than the price of the book.
In Single Action Sixguns, John Taffin covers
every aspect and nuance of the single action, from the early
cap-and-ball percussion guns to the most modern of single
actions. He covers the old Smith & Wesson single
actions, the early Colts, Remingtons, and others. Mr.
Taffin writes not only of the guns, but of the men who
influenced their design and evolution. He writes of Elmer
Keith and Major Schofield; of Bill Grover and Hamilton
Bowen. He writes of Bill Ruger
and his extensive line of Ruger single action revolvers. Several
sections of the book are dedicated to the descriptions and
photos of grip styles and materials. Gunleather is covered
extensively. Single action sixgun customizing is covered
in detail, with the works of many custom gunsmiths listed. These
men are artists with the single action revolver, and their
talents are laid out for all to see in this book.
There are chapters covering the single action
sixgun sports, such as Cowboy
Action Shooting. There are sections devoted to handling,
concealing, loading, and shooting the single action. Mr.
Taffin’s favorite handloads are listed for many of his
sixguns. This book is 336 pages of art and prose that
could turn Gaston Glock into a diehard single action
sixgun fanatic. There are more variations of old Colts than a
person could ever encounter in a lifetime, along with pictures
and descriptions of the most modern of single action hunting
revolvers, such as the custom five-shot Rugers and the wonderful
Freedom Arms revolvers. This book is destined to become
the definitive work on the single action revolver; a reference
for gunsmiths, collectors, shooters, and all those who love the
art, the history, the function, and the feel of the single
action revolver. It is hardbound and printed on heavy
art-quality paper, with 350 color photographs. The forward to
the book was beautifully written by my good friend Terry
Murbach, wherein he artfully sets the stage for the theme of
I most highly recommend this book to any
handgunner or history buff. The author will gladly send to you
an autographed copy postpaid for $44 regular mail or $48
by Priority Mail. The pictures alone are worth twice the price,
and it will be a book to treasure for a lifetime
For an autographed copy, send a check or money
order for $48 to:
If you prefer to order your autographed copy
online using a credit card, you can order it directly from the
Shoot! Magazine website by clicking here:
Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or
disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.