Bill Wilson’s book Gun Guy is a good a history and how he was instrumental in developing the gun industry as ANY book written. That is a tall order but Bill’s book even surpasses even that unique achievement. Gun Guy will be read with interest by small businessmen and women, competitive shooters, members of IDPA and USPSA, gun collectors, people who wonder EXACTLY WHY a pistol can be worth several thousand dollars and by folks looking for motivation to do what they love – and do it well – to turn their life-long focus into a successful business and career as Bill Wilson did. It is all that but even more.
Bill Wilson is the founder and hard-working genius behind the company bearing his name – Wilson Combat. WC is best known for the highest quality firearms such as his line of 1911’s and now AR’s. Since 1974 Bill has turned WC into the most successful custom firearms companies around while never venturing very far from his roots in Berryville, Arkansas.
But how good and interesting is his well illustrated book? I was reading the book on airplanes and while travelling and started to stick in slips of paper, ticket stubs, sticky notes and napkins on pages that I found a good “aha”, tidbit of information or just plain interesting text. Looking back I ended up with almost thirty placekeepers nestled between the pages. It is THAT full of interesting tidbits. What is in there?
- How Bill set up a small business with bare bones support
- His views on handloading and reloading ammunition
- The pros and cons of .45 ACP, 9mm, .38 Super and other cartridges and guns
- The secrets of a reliable magazine
- The success of the .458 SOCOM AR (the BEST hog gun I have ever used)
- What makes a good/better/best pistol sight
- Carry guns and carry holsters
- The usefulness of suppressors
- The disassembly, maintenance and how (and where) to lubricate of firearms
- How to set up and run active shooting stages for practice and competitions
- A pictorial review of incredible and collectable pistols
Also in the book are stories and lore about going after big game not found anywhere but related around campfires in the Veldt after a hunt, or in a lodge sipping an Irish single-malt while relaxing deep in a leather couch. These amazing stories comes with plenty of does and don’t found out the hard way.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a book that is a chest-beating, rah-rah, I am the greatest gun guy around book. In fact Gun Guy shows more mistakes, uncertainty and just plain “lucky to be here” stories than anything else. What is clear is that Bill Wilson worked very, very hard using the highest standards while collecting a close knit group of shooting friends – all who became legends in our industry – to become probably the biggest single gunmaker in America. Ok, Ok, Ok, that is exaggerating a bit, but Wilson Combat was always one guy – first with Bill and now with Ryan – who made, built and delivered incredibly valuable and reliable firearms that were not pushed out the door to make money, but to fulfill specific needs in competitive shooting that Bill discovered over his decades of shooting. You get the idea that it was ALWAYS shooting first and business second as if there was a choice to make money, or do it better, the choice was ALWAYS to do it right.
In short; if you want a firearm that WILL WORK right out of the box (or Bill will exhaust himself making it right) then invest in a WC firearm. If you want to know how competitive, action shooting got started and developed into today’s huge sport which includes discussing the politics and layers of regulations that everybody – including Bill – pretty much despises. Why? Well the proliferation of rule-making to their current onerous amount just takes away from his initial focus which was to simulate real-life defensive shooting.
Also mentioned is what guns are best to go big game hunting with, which bullets work and why, what it takes to be a winner both in business and on the range. How? Let me give you a hint, he never relents on his demand for excellence both professionally and personally so he shoots every day and he never stops learning. Bill is quick to act and expects others around him to mirror his focused ability so when he sees a running coyote at two hundred yards close to dusk and tells you to take the shot – and when you don’t; he does – and then nailing it with one shot! That is Bill in one act.
Get Bill Wilson’s Gun Guy any way you can so like me you can sit there as you read it and say over and over – “damn, I didn’t know that!”