“We so frequently focus on new books or products, but I believe the true measure of a good library is what classics are sitting on the shelves,” said National Firearms Museum Manager Benjamin Van Scoyoc. If you aren't able to visit the store, make your purchase by contacting Van Scoyoc at bvanscoyoc@nrahq.org or 703-267-1614. 

Here are the books NRAblog found on just two shelves: 

Rifles of the U.S. Army: 1861-1906
by John D. McAuley
This hardcover, 280-page book is an excellent guide to firearms on the market and in use from the start of the Civil War to the early 20th century. Neatly divided into 6 chapters, McAuley offers a great historical narrative as well as a useful firearms reference guide. The book features an extensive collection of photographs that give the reader a genuine sense of Civil War life and what it meant to be a gun-owner in the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries. Over 40 rifles are covered throughout the book, from breechloaders to .30 caliber rifles, and the back of the book contains an in-depth end notes section for those who want even more information. It can be yours today for $47.95!

Arming & Equipping the United States Cavalry: 1865-1902
by Dusan P. Farrington
This 600-page hardcover, first published in 2004, is an ideal source for anyone interested in firearms or United States history. Although 1865-1902 may not seem like a long time, this span of less than four decades saw many armed conflicts for American troops, all of which are expertly documented here. From Little Bighorn to San Juan Hill, all of the weapons and gear put to the test are featured in this expansive guide, which boasts 770 photos and illustrations. In addition, for those of you interested in the details, Farrington included meticulously researched information like serial numbers, reports from the field, and issue information. If you’d like to see the hundreds of photos and read Farrington’s expert descriptions that accompany them, call Benjamin Van Scoyoc and order yours today for $68.99! 

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National Firearms Museum StoreThe staff of the National Firearms Museum is always busy. Most recently, they created a book trilogy: Handguns, Rifles, and Shotguns. Jim Supica, Doug Wicklund, and Phil Schreier each produced a book. Each book contains just under 150 pages of full-color photographs of firearms and expert descriptions of the guns being showcased.

Senior Curator Wicklund authored Rifles. "There are many firearm books out there, but finding even those that provide excellent, large scale color images isn’t common," he said.

"These books are far more than coffee table tomes," Wicklund continued. "Each one represents the equivalent of an existential journey through a SHOT Show or NRA Annual Meetings exhibit hall."

Jim Supica authored Handguns. “people with a general interest in handguns will enjoy this book,” said Supica. “The introduction covers the history of handguns from the earliest days through the latest trend. The catalog section features great photos and text from current handgun manufacturers on their current product line.”

Phil Schreier, who worked extensively on Shotguns, described it as “great for someone who is interested in getting a quick and easy reference to what's currently on the market.”

While not necessarily ideal for the firearms expert, this book series is a great overview and general guide to basic gun types and history, and you can order your copy today. Each book sells for $19.95.

Soldiers and their families honored by the NRA

Eighteen soldiers and their families were honored last weekend at a NRA reception just outside the nation's capital. They were members of a Special Forces group that were the first boots on the ground in Afghanistan following 9/11. They served as the primary protection team that lead Hamid Karzai to Kandahar and were first to come under fire following the September attacks.

In addition to the reception, they also received a special VIP tour of the National Firearms Museum. Here is their story:

While Americans were riveted to their televisions and the Twin Towers and Pentagon were still smoldering, the men of ODA574 were called into action. With the rest of the world holding their breath, this elite team of Army Green Beret from the 5th Special Forces Group, Ft. Campbell North Carolina, was secretly inserted into Southern Afghanistan. The mission of this "A" team was to lead Hamid Karzai to Kandahar while building a local militia/contingency of warriors to defeat the Taliban.

For six weeks, deep in the heart of Taliban controlled territory, the men of ODA574 engaged the enemy and saved a town from certain annihilation. In early December, Kandahar was within hours of surrendering to the Taliban. Rallying to the city's defense, the men of ODA574 unexpectedly fell victim to an errant 2000 lb Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb. When the dust cleared, three members of ODA574 had fallen and the remaining men lay wounded. In broad daylight, elite rescue teams of the Air Force Special Operations Command safely extracted the dead, the dying, and the wounded. Their story, chronicled in the book "The Only Thing Worth Dying For," is a tale of daring feats, undaunted courage, and heroic actions.

Last week, on the anniversary of 9-11, the surviving members of ODA574 joined family members of the fallen, a pilot and surgeon who took part in the daring rescue, and the author of the book to share their stories with NRA Life of Duty for an upcoming multiple-part documentary.

How do the experts recommend visitors to the NRA National Firearms Museum explore the Hollywood Guns exhibit? Very, very carefully -- and with the support of the Hollywood Guns guidebook.

For those of you who haven’t seen it mentioned already on NRAblog, the Hollywood Guns exhibit is the National Firearms Museum’s newest display. More than 100 guns used in popular movies are on display in the Museum's Ruger gallery through next summer. If you have the chance to visit the Museum, hop into its gift store to purchase a copy of the exhibit's accompanying guidebook. It explains the significance of each piece in the display.

If you won’t be able to make it to the Museum within the next year, use the guidebook (and the Museum's fabulous website) to experience the exhibit from anywhere in the world. Full of glossy pictures and informative descriptions, the book guides the reader through Hollywood past and present, from The Big Trail, starring John Wayne, to 2010’s The Pacific. With an introduction by Stephen Hunter and expert gun descriptions by the National Firearms Museum’s senior curators, this is a not-to-miss collector’s item; best of all, it’s only $14.95!

Interested? Contact Van Scoyoc at bvanscoyoc@nrahq.org, or call the Store at 703-267-1614.

For those of you interested in the historical aspect of firearms, and particularly muzzle loaders, Gary Yee’s Sharpshooters 1750-1900: The Men, Their Guns, Their Story is an invaluable resource. At over 800 pages, it functions as an excellent sharpshooting reference book, with chapters divided under many different headings for easy access to subjects.

Although Civil War buffs will love Yee’s meticulous attention to detail in covering everything from the Peninsula Campaign to the Siege of Mobile, the first few chapters delve into sharpshooting’s earlier roots in the French-Indian War, the American Revolution, and the Napoleonic Era.

NRAblog had the chance to ask Doug Wicklund, Senior Curator at the National Firearms Museum, why he enjoys Yee’s approach to firearms history:

"This is a reference work long-overdue for collectors and historians on the art of sharpshooting that truly captivates. Yee continues to bring man and machine together in a voluminous, well-written Civil War section that reveals the differences in arms and tactics of Confederate and Union marksmen. From riflemen armed with crude telescopic rifles, perched in trees overlooking the battlefield, to skirmishers armed with repeating Henry rifles, the evolution and deployment of armament in the conflict that divided America is carefully related. The lessons learned then, in battles ranging from Antietam to Appomattox, still provide insight for modern land warriors in foreign lands. If I had to choose one outstanding reference dealing with sharpshooting this year, Gary Yee’s book would be it."

As the book’s jacket cover says, sharpshooters have shaped history “like an unseen hand that plucked life from among the unwary.” If you’d like to learn more about this rich history and the amazingly skilled sharpshooters who determined the fate of the Civil War and many other historical events, then visit the National Firearms Museum store here at NRA headquarters or call Store Manager Benjamin Van Scoyoc at 703-267-1608.

Theodore Roosevelt: Hunter-Conservationist by R.L. Wilson If you’ve ever had the chance to visit NRA’s National Firearms Museum, you know how impressive, educational, and fun it is. But you may not be aware that the Museum’s gift shop is also a great resource for firearms enthusiasts and collectors. Benjamin Van Scoyoc, Manager of the store, highly recommends the book Theodore Roosevelt: Hunter-Conservationist by R.L. Wilson.

The Museum store has the newly-updated 2009 version in stock, and this book is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in Theodore Roosevelt, firearms history, or the great outdoors in general. While Roosevelt is perhaps most well-known for his role as 26th President of the United States (from 1901 to 1909), he was a lifelong outdoorsman, gun collector, and hunter, and he fought bravely with his team of “rough riders” in the Spanish American War.

According to Wilson’s book, Roosevelt’s father inspired his love for shooting sports and adventure, and Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt held a lifelong regard for nature as a peaceful, uplifting refuge from the world’s hectic pace and responsibilities. Because of this, as President Teddy Roosevelt became the leader of America’s conservation movement at a time when industrial giants were threatening to destroy the natural environment, Roosevelt directed resources towards creating five National Parks and introducing stricter environmental standards for industrialists.

Noted for raising public interest in the conservation movement, Roosevelt said in a speech in 1912: “There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country. Just as we must conserve our men and women and children, so we must conserve the resources of the land on which they live.”

When asked about the book’s usefulness as an authority on Roosevelt’s passion for firearms and conservation, NRA’s own Phil Schreier, an expert on guns of all types and a scholar of Roosevelt, had this to say: “For those who want to know and understand the outdoorsman and conservationist who was Theodore Roosevelt, this book is not only the best title on this subject, but the only one.”

If you, too, find the story of our 26th President a fascinating one, then call Store Manager Benjamin Van Scoyoc at 703-267-1608 to order a copy of the book!

No, no, we're not off kicking the summer season with a batch of NRANews reruns. Instead, we're heading into tonight for part two of last week's Blue Book of Gun Values edition of Curator's Corner. Back in the mix to lead the discussion are National Firearms Museum Director Jim Supica and Blue Book Author, Editor & Publisher S.P. Fjestad.

But don't think they'll be covering the same old thing. There will be more tips and tricks of the trade when it comes to evaluating a firearm. Does it still have the original bolts? What about the finish? Is that the magazine it came with or was it replaced with a replica. Come to think of it, how can you tell if it's a replica or if it's the real McCoy?

There is a lot to consider when it comes to determining value. The more information you have, the better chance that you'll get a fair price for the firearm in question.

Even more insight will be available if you join the boys tonight at 10:20 p.m. EST as Curator's Corner hits the airwaves on NRANews.com and Sirius Patriot channel 144 & XM 166.

Curator's Corner usually focuses on the gun. That one piece of hardware that has a special place in the historical hearts of competitive shooters, gun collectors, and firearms enthusiast everywhere. This is not that kind of Curator's Corner. Instead of focusing on one gun, we're going to look at them all.

In another edition of Curator's Corner from the floor of the Tulsa Arms Show, the usually cast of characters are joined tonight by S.P. Fjestad, Author, Editor & Publisher of the Blue Book of Gun Values. S.P. will explain what to look for when it comes to evaluating guns. How has it aged? Is there rust? Has the gun been refinished? Where was it manufactured? What's the barrel length?

All these questions and more play a part in determining the value of firearm. So if you want to know what the experts look for when evaluating a gun, then tonight is the show for you.

So join National Firearms Museum Director Jim Supica along with John Popp from NRANews as they discuss the secrets behind the appraisal of gun values. That lesson and more will be shared tonight at 10:20 p.m. Eastern on NRANews.com and Sirius Patriot channel 144.

NRA members flock to the NRA's Annual Meetings for any of dozens of reasons. One of the popular ones seems to be the chance to meet and greet Second Amendment heroes, including Lt. Col. Oliver North and Chuck Norris. Below is the tentative schedule of book signings for this week's meeting here in Charlotte, NC:

Friday, May 14
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. American Heroes by Lt. Col. Oliver North
3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Blueprint by Ken Blackwell

Saturday, May 15
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Black Belt Patriotism by Chuck Norris
2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Ted White and Blue by Ted Nugent
3:30 p.m. - 5 To Save America by Newt Gingrich

Sunday, May 16
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. American Heroes by Lt. Col. Oliver North
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Ted White and Blue by Ted Nugent

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