Review: The Gun Digest Book of The AR-15
Joseph D'Alessandro Editor
One of the most appealing aspects of owning and
shooting an AR-15 is also one of its more problematic aspects;
in a quest for accuracy and the perfect fit, a knowledgeable
owner can change out almost any part, including the barrel.
Recognizing the market opportunity, shops have sprung up around
this demand, providing and endless and ever changing supply of
cosmetic and functional replacement parts and assemblies. The
Gun Digest Book of the AR-15 addresses the substantial areas of
the AR-15 and AR-10 which do not go out of date and, with a late
2005 publishing date, it is current enough to provide useful
information on trends in modifications and accessories. The
language and illustrations are clear and concise, all arranged
in a logical fashion, making it easy for people just coming to
this platform to get a quick and practical education. The author
knows the subject well enough to hi virtually every key point.
Patrick Sweeney, the author, covers the subject
firearm beginning with history, theory of operation, detail on
the critical subject of various types and selection of barrels.
Then more mundane is covered; testing, cleaning, routine
maintenance are also well illustrated and detailed in text. Not
a generic formula piece, Sweeny even sheds light on the AR-15
magazine, a weak spot in the AR-15 if not properly attended. It
is nice to see myths debunked, a head to head comparison with
the AK, as this seems always the opposing appreciation
camp.Legalities, as a section, is substantially current with the
exception of some more recent California law that permits fixed
and limited capacity magazines to be sold.
When I was researching for a purchase of an
AR-15, the round up sections covering every major manufacturer
was extremely helpful offering objective and subjective
assessment of most every major brand, pointing out supplier
history, strengths and weaknesses of product and personal
experience. This area is a bit dated, but substantially valid.
There is nothing wrong with what is presented, the issue is more
what is more recent news that is not present. As an example,
Bushmaster abandoned the .308 AR-10 type gun when the company
was recently sold and there is no reference, of course, to the
new 45 Bushmaster. However, Bushmaster products as presented are
well detailed and defined. There are new players in the market.
A company that has been producing M-16 rifles and now has moved
into the AR-15 civilian market is not listed; High Standard, a
Texas based manufacturer. Olympic Arms now offers super short
magnum and short magnum chambered models, as does Armalite.
There is coverage of cartridges that were launched in the AR-15
platform but faded away, the 502 comes to mind, but no mention
of the commercially successful 50 Beowulf and 6.5 Grendel or
Alexander Arms. The 458 SOCOM is also absent. This may be the
changing, or at least expanding face of the AR series rifles
that will require another well written book.
I ignored the AR-15 until recently because it
was not chambered in a cartridge that had big game hunting
potential. The AR-10 in 308 Winchester was too heavy and
presented too many compromises to be a good recreational and
hunting piece for me. Cartridges like the 50 Beowulf and 25 WSSM
open the door to a lot of us who are not primarily interested in
security or LE application finding a real useful purpose for
these highly accurate and versatile firearms. "The AR-15" is a
great foundation book and one that should be owned by anyone
interested in the AR-15 or AR-10; it is more than a great place
to start and education.
Book Info & Summary:
Gun Digest Books
Quality of information (1-5):
Quality of Presentation (1-5):