Party, Boston T. Boston's Gun Bible. united states of America:Javelin press , 2008.
A note: Boston T. Party is a pen name for Kenneth Royce. I am reviewing the 2008 edition of this book, which was originally published in 1998 with revisions in 2000 and 2002.
BLUF: A politically charged rantfest that is still sprinkled liberally with useful information; great section on historical battle rifles.
Wow, where to begin. Boston himself states that his primary goal is to "dispel many potentially dangerous gun misconceptions." His secondary goal is to "compose the single most useful gun encyclopedia for the modern gunowner." He thinks he's succeeded; I have more mixed feelings.
First, some cursory content analysis. The book is a hefty brick around 3" thick. There are 46 chapters in 6 parts.
PART I: The Basics (6 chapters)
PART II: Battle Rifles (13 chapters)
PART III: All Other Guns (6 chapters)
PART IV: Acquisition (4 chapters)
PART V: Disarmament (10 chapters)
PART VI: Courage (7 chapters)
As you can see, Boston's top priority is rating battle rifles. Then, there's a strong focus on political/social/liberty issues. Everything else has relatively little devoted to it. So, right off the bat, his claim to be an end-all be-all definitive encyclopedia is a bit off (although, it could still be the most useful compilation).
First, let's look at what went right with this book, from my perspective. First, there is a lot of good information in here. Jeff Cooper's alertness scale, gun safety rules, basic tactics, fundamentals of rifle marksmanship -- this is all good. It puts a lot of very useful concepts from a wide variety of sources into one book. Next, the information on historical battle rifles is pure gold. Now, I know the difference between the Lee-Enfield, Mauser, and Mosin-Nagant rifle families. As a history buff, this is good info. I now understand the difference between a battle rifle and an assault rifle, and I learned a lot about my M16 (and the AK!) that might save my life someday. Boston has gotten me excited about owning a milsurp historic rifle and he's given me the info to start researching a wise choice.
Another thing I really like about this book is its no-holds barred prescriptive tone. Boston has strong opinions on many subjects and he is not afraid to tell you what to do. He'll weigh all the options and then give you his bottom line; "Buy THIS first, buy THAT second, etc." That's very helpful for the individual new to this hobby. There's a lot of choices out there and Boston does a good job of eliminating the worst ones, listing the decent ones, and giving you his pick.
Finally, there's a pretty good table of contents (although no index).
Now for the bad. This book shows its age in parts. In "creeping citizen disarmament," the dates for predictions for more restrictive legislation have already passed. There's a lot of material on the 1994 AWB. New developments in firearms are not necessarily covered, and a lot of pricing information has gotten sorely dated (although, it does reinforce his point that the time to buy is now, because prices will only go UP!), which would have an impact on the recommendations. A rifle that was a bargain at <$100 a few years ago that now costs $300+ may not be a good buy.
Additionally, there's a lot of political material in here. Some of it might be eye opening, but read with a grain of salt. Boston has an agenda, and while there may be some truth in there, there's also propaganda. I don't see how some of the material contributes to his goals. For example, he refuses to use the "$" sign. He instead uses a symbol which refers to "Federal Reserve Notes." Ok, we get it -- you think paper currency is worthless. There's a symbol that represents that inflation-prone fiat money, and its the dollar sign. Why bother with the distraction?
The section on "rating the battle rifles," which really is the meat and potatoes of the book, is mind-numbing. Boston's methodology, while on the surface thorough, is really fundamentally arbitrary. His qualitative methodology takes up 1/20th the space and reaches the same conclusions while possible being more accurate. I think Boston could have used some more rigorous analytical techniques such as the Delphi Method to rank the battle rifles, and it would have been better to read and deeper analysis. Boston dismisses the SKS and AK-47 entirely, even though these are common and popular weapons. I understand his point about the .30 caliber round's advantages, but despite that, the Russian 7.62 is very popular. I think he might also be a bit dismissive of the 5.56/AR-15. Sure, it has limitations, but there are strong advantages as well. Boston does not consider the use of 5.56 in urban areas, CQB, or supporting government forces. If, as he postulates, it is TEOTWAWKI, there might be some value in having interchangeable equipment with your local national guard so that you can cooperate with them, no? Also, his dismissal of the 5.56 and AK make me think a lot of Jeff Cooper's derisiveness of the "poodle shooter;" It makes me wonder if Boston is just parroting Col Cooper.
Now, the ugly. First, some parts of this book are blatant copy-paste sales pitch. For example, his chapter on Body Armor is ripped from the folks at BulletProofMe.com. Is it good info? Maybe. Are they trying to sell something? Definitely. It makes the sourcing questionable, and makes me wonder what else has been accepted as gospel directly from some other salesman.
Boston slams Gavin De Becker's The Gift of Fear. Now, I've never read this book. However, the critique is stuck into section 1, which otherwise is excellent and covers safety, basic tactics, etc. His critique more appropriately belongs in one of the later sections. It was particularly jarring right up front, and nearly turned me off from reading further.
There are sections that are just plain questionable in legality; what does adding a chapter on how to have a "cold" gun add? Really? 99.9999999999% (or more!) of law abiding gun owners will never need this information. Including it makes the whole book suspect to include in a law-abiding gun owner's library.
I think his treatment of handguns is not necessarily even handed -- Boston loves his glocks. For example, he slams Double Action Only handguns. However, these handguns have a valuable purpose for the law abiding citizen. There's a reason cops use the heavier trigger pull, and it makes sense for armed citizens too. Boston is thinking a bit too much of TEOTWAWKI, and not enough about the here and now of practical armed self-defense in an urban or suburban environment. Sure, your handgun is something you use to fight your way back to your rifle -- but not in the majority of the real self-defense situations armed citizens actually find themselves in.
If its not a battle rifle, expect Boston to dump on it. Shotguns, pistol caliber carbines, handguns, assault rifles -- Boston has no love lost for these, even though they make viable choices for many purposes. Be warned. At least he makes you think and defend your reasons for selecting these firearms, if you do choose them, but I don't agree with him on all points. Also, the only inexpensive stuff Boston advocates seems to be milsurp; not everyone can afford to drop a grand on a good gun, and not everyone wants to deal with milsurp. Boston ignores or is dismissive of cheaper options like Hi-Point, which make perfectly serviceable bargain guns.
Well, this is getting lengthy, but a long tome like this deserves a long review. I'd best wrap this up. Boston's Gun Bible is a controversial book. Its got some very good parts in it. If you are not a political activist and are interested in guns just for practical self-defense (i.e., handguns) or sporting purposes, you may be turned off by parts of this "encyclopedia." If you can skip the parts you don't find useful, there's a lot of good gouge to be gleaned here. Part I, "The Basics," and the concise and well organized historical overview of rifle technology is worth the price of admission alone in my opinion.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5. If you're interested in a compilation of basic info, info on battle rifles, or a political pro-gun shot in the arm, read away. The reasonable price saves this book from a lower rating; I'd be hesitant to pay much more than I did.
Dumb idea, also won’t happen
23 minutes ago