Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Tales of the Gun - Review

Disclosure: The A&E Network has reached out to GunBloggers to publicize their Tales of the Gun DVD series made for The History Channel. Since I'd resolved to carry no commercial advertising on this blog, I declined their Blog Ad offer, but agreed to post an honest review of a selected episode. The DVD retails for $24.95.

Tales of the Gun: Automatic Pistols held no surprises for me, since I had seen the episode on the History Channel years before (I wasn't sure when I'd selected it). The episode was richly photographed and all featured historical arms (revolvers and subject automatics) were live-fired, usually by actors in period dress.

Perhaps rightly so, but the episode was clearly Eurocentric; if your interest lies in Soviet Bloc handgun development, you'll have to look elsewhere, probably outside the TotG series. The Borchardt's clumsy beginnings led to the P-08 Luger, the Roth-Steyr, and C-96 Mauser, followed by Walther's military and police designs. The episode gave prominent treatment to the early designs of John Moses Browning (praised be his name), though JMB's disciples might be miffed at the omission of the P-35 (Browning High Power), the first "high-capacity" automatic. After the 1911, they skipped ahead to the Beretta 92F and Glock automatics in police/military use today.

Perhaps they could have shown some love to the modern SiG-Sauer or IMI Desert Eagle designs, but they had to keep to a 50-minute episode format. Of course, they had to include their vision of the future (grit your teeth here), the Smart Gun. With its (cringe) Law Enforcement Applications. As if American law enforcement wouldn't rather mandate that technology for everybody but themselves, because, you know, they're so trained. But I'm editorializing here.

If I were producing this episode, I would have included some super-slow-motion photography, especially to illustrate the unique action of the featured Webley-Fosberry automatic revolver. Still, it was cool just seeing one fired.

Like most good History Channel offerings, this episode features period photography, historical quotes and reenactments, and the occasional pop culture reference (Agent 007's Walther PPK, for one). I recommend this episode and any other that strikes your area of interest. As for the 32-disk Boxed Set (for just under $550)? It's your money, pal.



  • At 12:49 PM, Blogger Serr8d said…

    Good review, but I'll take that $550 and apply that to, oh, some historical (read: OLD) gun from the next Gun Show.

    Sitting on my arse watching TV is hard enough; watching other people shoot and not joining in approaches unbearable.

    (BTW, watched The Shooter last night; that's worth a $3 rental. I actually stayed awake during most of it...)

  • At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You beat me to it. The HC has a copy of the same DVD on the way to me for review at A-C-E.

    I agree. Great series.


  • At 8:39 AM, Blogger DirtCrashr said…

    Beat me to it too! I'm reviewing Early Machineguns.
    Would have been kewl to see a Mateba in action alongside the Webley-Fosberry...

  • At 12:14 PM, Blogger Cowboy Blob said…

    ACE, too bad they don't have a BFR episode!

  • At 3:35 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said…

    Good review too, thanks! They need to do one on "Black Plastic Polymer Pistols" so I can learn to tell them apart.


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