The Truth About Handguns book cover

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This book is the direct result of an article titled “Handgun Myths Exploded” that I wrote for Petersen’s Handguns, a nationally distributed gun magazine. For years it’s seemed to me there is an incredible amount of myth, dogma and outright silliness accepted as solemn truth in the world of the handgun, and in my article I addressed what I thought were some of the more outrageous examples. A book publisher was so impressed with that piece he had his editor call me up and ask if I’d be willing to expand it into a book. My reply: “Sure. Why not?”

Since this book’s publications I’ve gotten a lot of positive response on it. The chapter on Alvin York in particular seems to have touched people. I’ve had more than one person tell me, “I cried while reading that.” I’m not surprised – I cried while writing it.

This book was originally published by Paladin Press in 1997 and has since become something of a cult item. As one reviewer put it, “Unfortunately this is a hard book to find, I got my used copy from England!” I have seen USED copies of this book selling on for $178.25, then $202.91, then $235.75 and New Condition copies topping out at a mind-blowing $2,583.76. Well, there’s no way on Earth I can see charging anyone that much money for a copy of my book, but it did clue me in that (the publication rights having since reverted to me) there just might be a market for a reasonably priced “copy” of this book offered as a digital download – so here it is.

IMPORTANT DOWNLOADING TIP #1: IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN ACTUAL KINDLE DEVICE, BUY THE PDF VERSION INSTEAD. Occasionally we see people have trouble making a Kindle download work. Invariably they are trying to download it to an Apple device (something that starts with an “i” – iPad, iPhone, etc.) or an Android. The “i” devices are Apple products, and Apple is very proprietary, i.e. they just don’t play well with anything that is not also an Apple product. Kindle is not an Apple product, it’s an product. Apple devices don’t come set up out-of-the-box to work with Kindle. Also, most PCs don’t come with Kindle installed. Theoretically you can deal with this problem by downloading the Kindle app off the ‘net for free to your device. It works for me, on my Windows system. However, it does not seem to work for everyone. The PDF version, by contrast, will be readable on anything. Also this gives you the option of running off paper copies of the pages, which Kindle doesn’t. On the other hand, if your device says “Kindle” in its name (Kindle HD, Kindle Fire, etc.) and you just flat want a Kindle book, you’re golden.

IMPORTANT DOWNLOADING TIP #2: When downloading to a Kindle app, the system will ask you, after the download is complete, whether you want to Save or Open With Kindle. The logical answer is we want to Save, right? WRONG. Save will simply save the file somewhere on your computer, but it won’t download it into your Kindle Library. It’s Open With Kindle that downloads the file into your Kindle Library, and as an added bonus instantly opens it for you. Choose Open With Kindle.

Once you have the Kindle app on your PC/device, and choose Open With Kindle, the book SHOULD download and open fast and easily.


ManMagnum, January 1999
Duane Thomas is one of the newer breed of US gun writers and a highly entertaining one at that. An ex-US Army paratrooper stationed initially at Fort Bragg he was also an Administrative Sergeant – he describes this title to mean ‘clerk typist’ – who left the army after 10 years with an interest in firearms and the ability to type 100 words per minute.

A career as a freelance gun writer seemed about the best way to combine the two. Thomas’s book follows no fixed formula; in fact it is sort of a potpourri of material related to pistols and revolvers. He subtitles this work Exploding the Myths, Hype and Misinformation, obviously about handguns. Thomas covers subjects as widely diverse as The King of Combat Handguns – the .45 auto, pros and cons; Double-Action Autos – he carries, or did carry a SIG-Sauer P228 in 9mm Luger; Handgun Stopping Power; Firepower vs. the “One Shot Stop”; Are Revolvers Obsolete?; and Just How Good is the .40 S&W? Particularly good is the piece on the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge and Thomas makes a valid point – with data to back it up – that this cartridge should only live in .45-size frame guns, not those who began their careers as 9mms. Equally thought-provoking is the chapter on Handgun Stopping Power and his conclusion about defensive shooting is worth noting, even if it is a little on the rich-mixture side for the politically correct: “If someone is trying to kill you, shoot him as accurately and as swiftly as possible and keep shooting, as many times as necessary. Only stop when he stops…trying to kill you, that is.”

The Geis Newsletter #43
From the first page of his Introduction, Duane Thomas, a prolific writer about guns for magazines, and a man whom I would class as a hands-on expert, shows a very engaging writing style, a clear, informal, detailed technical knowledge and an involving story-telling manner.

It is a joy to read his inside information and judgments.

He deals first with the controversy over the ‘King of Combat Handguns’ – the Colt .45 auto (which he admires but feels is flawed…), and then takes on the pros and cons of Double-Action Autos…, discusses Handgun Stopping Power…, Alvin York: Hero With a .45 Auto…, Firepower vs. the “One Shot Stop”…, Are Revolvers Obsolete?…, Just How Good is the .40 S&W?…

And he delves into the arguments for and against owning a handgun, leaving most peoples’ pretensions and nonthink in a shambles.

There is a Gun Trivia Quiz, and A Few Closing Comments: City Slickers & Gun Nuts. Invaluable info and perceptions – especially for any writer who often or occasionally needs to put handguns in a story or novel. This is a keeper.

GoodReads, review by Chris Orr, November 2017
The author has a way with words!

I used to love reading Duane Thomas’s articles in G&A Handguns Magazine as a teenager back in the 1990s, and after Friending him on Facebook in 2010 and especially after reading this book, I’m reminded why: the author not only slays many sacred cows and common misconceptions about handguns, but does so with a writing style that’s highly entertaining, witty, and shows he’s got a way with words!


–“The beautiful women are none of your business.” Heh heh heh, tell me more, tell me more….

–“van Vuuren in South Africa”–any relation to Harry?

–Look up: Lt Sam Woodfill, Sgt Herbert Henry Hanneken

–“The 1911 is in many ways a fairly fragile handgun, and small parts breakage is common.” THANK you!!!! I’ve seen more hiccups by far with 1911s on static range environments and in IDPA matches alike with 1911s than any other handgun platform.

–2d Lt Lourens Marthinus Jaanse van Vuuren: 11 kills (Cuban soldiers) with 17 rounds of 9mm ball out of a Star BS, 1975. First 9 rounds weak-hand only = 4 kills! Wow!!

–.45 fans = born-again Christians /9mm fans = Satanists analogy, haha, priceless!

–Meth not a popular drug? Maybe so at the original time of writing. Today it’s a frighteningly different story.

–Okay, I’m not as pessimistic about the prospect of head shots as the author is (he and I had a respectful disagreement about this in a discussion thread on my FB page back in circa 2011).

–“Still, the more I’ve learned about the .40 S&W cartridge, the more I’ve come to doubt that it’s really all that great an idea.” Amen!! (I base my concurrence on having carried a .40 cal HK P2000 LEM as a CBP Officer and a SIG P229 DAK as an ICE Special Agent.)

–Ugh, wow, sure makes me even gladder I left ICE and thus no longer have to carry that damn SIG P229 DAK.

–Winchester and Hansen = only ammo companies making roundnose (as opposed to JTC) ogive for .40 S&W–good to know!

–“while others regard a .38 revolver with all the horror of a Jehovah’s Witness attending a pagan mass.” Haha, Duane sure has a way with words!

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