Book Review – Pistol Shooters Treasury, 2nd ed (Hebard, 1972)

This very popular compilation of articles from the best pistol shooters of the 1960’s and 1970’s was reprinted many times, into the 1980’s. The inside cover describes the book as

“A collection of classic articles by world champion shooters, eminent authorities and the editor (Gil Hebard) on how to shoot a pistol and how to prepare yourself for the exacting requirements of competitive handgunning.”

This Shooting Times article provides a great overview of all of Hebard’s accomplishments and contributions to the shooting sports, which were many. If you don’t recognize the names of the authors of the articles in the table of contents below, look them up too.

If you’ve been told to use any kind of ‘relaxed’ or less-than-full-pressure grip on your pistol, take a look at the picture and text below. “Gripping hard gives you better control of the gun”. That’s true for bullseye and high speed shooting, according the top performers in both kinds of shooting. Avoiding excessive pressure with the firing hand thumb, and maximizing pressure at the base of the frame (4th and 5th fingers aligned with the heel of the hand) are concepts that matter for one and two handed gripping as well.

A variety of stances and grips, from cup and saucer (with the strongest finger of the support hand on the curved “slip and slide” of the front of the rounded trigger guard), to both arms fully extended isoceles.

Advice on, and history of shooting competition from Paul Weston, whose book I reviewed in a previous post.

The book includes a chapter on how primers work – useful information not only for reloaders but shooters of all levels, for all types of shooting that uses modern ammunition.

If you have ever shot the classic 200 gr “Hensley and Gibbs” .45 ACP bullet, here’s some tips on bullet molds from one of the experts on that topic. That particular bullet design was used by everyone that shot .45 ACP in the 1980’s and 1990’s. It’s still in use today, in lead and coated variants.

Basement .22 ranges aren’t very common any more, (and never were in Texas where houses don’t have basements). Having had my blood lead level get into the 40’s as a result of shooting those 200 grain .45 ACP H&G lead bullets on a poorly ventilated indoor range, I would NOT recommend the book’s advice to have no ventilation in a basement range. Increased lead levels from indoor range exposure is a significant health concern for those that spend a lot of time shooting indoors, and why modern ranges have costly “wind tunnel” grade ventilation at the firing points.

Unlike some of the books I review, this book is still widely available in the used market. Very few books on pistol shooting were reprinted as many times as this one has been. It is definitely a classic and influential book in the history of handgunning.

(To those that have observed that some of the page scans on this page and in other book review pages have problems on the edges: this is because I’m using a flatbed scanner to scan pages, and I’m unwilling to crack the spine on many of these older books to get them to lay perfectly flat on the scanner. In some cases this results in blurry edges on the page scans.)