The Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Rifle
Review by, Ohan Finder
For those looking for a new tactical long-arm, there are innumerable options. And while the
majority of the country is content with one of the literal hundreds or AR-15 systems that fill our
gun shops, police agencies, and 70-some percent of the military, some of us aren't. We want
something a little more compact, reliable, and/or powerful. And not many people can tell us about
these various less common weapon systems, because everybody has an AR. Thankfully, Pat
Sweeney has decided to change that with The Gun Digest Book of the tactical rifle.
From FALs to M14s, from FN SCARs--in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm--to Kel-Tec RFBs, AK-
47s (and 74s), SIG 556s, sniper rifles, PDWs, and more, Sweeney covers the complete range of
non-Stoner tactical rifles. (Excluding one piston-driven .308 AR, the LWRCI REPR, and lots
of pictures, he avoids them all together.) Sweeney shares his opinions on all of these weapons
after testing them extensively using techniques he learned as the Editor in Chief of Guns and
Ammo magazine. He also discusses their characteristics, capabilities, and components of these
weapon systems. Sweeney also discusses their drawbacks, including mechanical complexity, poor
accuracy, terrible triggers, and other negative aspects specific to the different models of rifle.
Finally, Sweeney explains the basics of field-stripping and maintaining one's weapon
Easily the most insightful chapter of Sweeney's masterpiece was the ammunition section. He
describes the ammunition choices for each of the major calibers, their advantages, and their
drawbacks. This is incredibly important as not every rifle will happily digest every type of ammo.
He also describes what to and not to use each flavor of projectile for. (Example: for 5.56x45mm
ammo, M855 is great for dealing with cars and other "hard" targets, however it just goes right
through the bad guy and does not kill him.)
One last selling point of this book is Pat Sweeney's wonderfully snarky anti-government humour.
He criticizes everybody!! No bias whatsoever. It is quite a refresher to hear negative comments
about our government in general, no matter who is/was running it.
Overall, I recommend this book to anybody who A) wants a new non-AR toy/tool, or B) is new at
this whole high-speed/low-drag tactical thing. For the latter, there is a nice chapter on tactics and
how to operate your weapon. For the former, it's always nice to have some insight before you buy.
Final words: keep shooting, read this book and go get a nice tactical rifle!