“Sixguns” by Elmer Keith is one classic
book that should be on every shooter’s bookshelf.
Elmer Keith was born in Hardin, Missouri in
1899, but lived out most of his life out West in Idaho, Oregon,
and Montana. Mr. Keith was a rancher by trade, but his love of
guns and experimentation with such led him to become a very
prolific writer, contributing to The American Rifleman
and other magazines for decades.
Mr. Keith’s work as a guide for big game
hunters, along with his experimenting with heavy loads in
revolvers, gave him unique insight into what could and could not
be done with a sixgun. Mr. Keith was the driving force behind
the development of the magnum cartridges that we have today,
particularly being credited with the development of the 44
magnum. Mr. Keith would load 44 Special handguns to their limit,
and urged Smith & Wesson to develop a hotter 44 and a gun in
which to fire the cartridge.
Elmer Keith designed his famous Keith lead
bullet for the 44 in 1926, and to this day, it is still one of
the best bullet designs ever produced. Mr. Keith designed a very
useful and practical holster, along with innovations in sixgun
grip ergonomics that is still as good as it gets today. Mr.
Keith was an early proponent of hunting with a handgun, and made
some amazing shots on game using a sixgun; not as a stunt, but
out of necessity.
Elmer Keith’s writings bridged the gap for
many of us who read his works between the Old West and where we
are today. He lived in an era in which the rifle and sixgun were
tools used in daily life. While many folks lived in that era,
Mr. Keith took the time to write it down. Some of his best is
contained within the pages of “Sixguns”. “Sixguns“
follows the development of the revolver from its beginning
through the introduction of the 44 Magnum. It is 331 pages of
entertaining and useful information, along with vintage pictures
of Mr. Keith, his family, and shooting friends. This book has
been out of print for many years, and often fetches high prices
in used book stores and at internet book sellers. “Sixguns”
is now available in paperback, and if you don’t own an
original copy, I highly recommend this book to those who are
interested in handgun shooting, revolver development, or in the
life of an amazing man.