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Book Review: Firearms Developed and Manufactured in Southern Africa 1949-2000

Firearms Developed and Manufactured in Southern Africa 1949-2000This weighty tome is a definitive reference guide to firearms developed during the region’s golden age of gunmaking.

It took seventeen contributors eight years to produce the book and in the process they accumulated a library of 30 000 documents. A vast amount of original research was undertaken, from interviews to digging through patent documents.

Initially planned to reach no more than 200 pages, the book takes 540 to cover some 200 local firearms, covering everything from hunting rifles, sporting weapons, handguns, machineguns and sniper rifles. Even experimental, one-off and prototype designs are covered, such as a farmer-specific BXP submachinegun, the early prototypes of the Neostead shotgun and experimental assault rifles like the Vektor CR21 and Truvelo Raptor.

Although 1949-2000 was the golden age of firearm production in Southern Africa, the book does cover many firearms up to the date of publication in a wonderful effort to conclude or complete the stories of different manufacturers. For instance Truvelo's CMS 20x42 mm weapon, referred to in the book as a 'pirate gun', is there.

Although focussed on firearms, the book also gives good coverage to the people who designed them and also provides a history of the companies that built them.

Much effort was also put into photographing firearms from every angle, inside and out, to explain the variants, internal workings and identifiers.

The book's mandate is to cover Southern Africa, but as only two such countries produced firearms, there is a comprehensive chapter on Rhodesia, focussing on the busy period of the 1970s. It also becomes evident how big an influence Rhodesian gunsmiths had on South African developments.

Southern African Firearms is a detailed and fascinating firearms study and the effort taken in producing it is clear. The book is an excellent reference work for historians, experts and aficionados alike. Collectors in particular will find the book most useful as it provides much detail on markings, serial numbers and other identifiers.

The fact that there are many firearms covered that the majority of people have never heard of before - such as the Vektor H5 Zip Gun, Quattro Derringer, TS V submachinegun, and NIAST 5.56 mm assault rifle - is testament to the depth of this book and a guarantee it will remain the definitive guide to South African firearms.

Firearms: Developed and Manufactured in Southern Africa 1949-2000
Compiled by the Pretoria Arms Ammunition Association/Pretoria Wapen En Ammunisievereniging - -
Edited By Chas Lotter
Pretoria Arms Ammunition Association 2017
540 pages
1 200 photos
ISBN 9780620728744