Learn everything you want to know about revolvers and pistols from the most definitive book ever written on the subject!

As the Cleveland Plain Dealer puts it, “Other books have been written on the revolver–other books will be written–but…Sixguns by Elmer Keith is and will remain the final authority.”

The author documents in this invaluable reference work his lifetime experiences and findings on the pistol and revolver, a truly historic weapon. Elmer Keith, recognized as the world expert on guns, reports on 20th Century developments in arms and ammunition with a variety of splendid photographs of old and rare guns along with 20th Century American revolvers and pistols. Included in his remarks is a treasury of absorbing information about marksmen with numerous illustrations of trick shooting, quick draws, hip-shooting and police training.

Learn about the history of the revolver and how to accurately shoot a handgun for self-defense, target shooting, and hunting with the 350 pages of detailed and entertaining content.
Over 400 photographs and illustrations are also included in Sixguns so that you can see the firearms and techniques discussed in the text.

More than fifty years of experience and experimentation in handguns with Indian fighters, vigilantes and frontier lawmen makes Mr. Keith a specialist in his field.

This 1961 revised edition contains a supplemental chapter which includes information about the .44 Magnum and other firearms developments that were groundbreaking in 1961.

Some of the topics covered in this comprehensive book include:

  • The history of revolvers in the United States
  • A discussion of the development of the .44 Magnum cartridge and its usefulness for hunting and self-defense
  • Comparison of the revolver versus the automatic pistol
  • How to care for and clean the pistol or revolver

See Sixguns by Elmer Keith featured by GunBlast and other well-respected revolver enthusiasts:

Learn more about the author Elmer Keith:

Elmer Keith (1899-1984) was a rancher, hunting guide, and firearms expert who helped to develop the .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, and .44 Magnum, among other cartridges.

Keith, an expert cartridge reloader, also developed his own style of semi-wadcutter bullet, called the Keith bullet, which remains one of the most popular styles of bullets to this day.

Elmer Keith served as a key link between the gunmen of the late 1800’s and modern firearm enthusiasts. His interactions with Civil War veterans and western gunfighters gave Keith unique knowledge which he carried well into the 20th century.

Renowned in his time as an expert with a revolver, Elmer Keith’s writings and philosophy of hunting and shooting still remain popular today with firearm enthusiasts and collectors.

See what people have to say about Sixguns by Elmer Keith:

    “This is a most enjoyable read when it comes to all things Sixguns. Mr. Keith shares lots of personal experiences including very valuable lessons and observations. Especially enjoy his accounts of shooting long range targets…this information is as valuable now as it was when he first wrote about it. The supplement at the end is really insightful and much of his observations indeed did come to pass. I consider this man to have been a national treasure. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in sixgun history.” —Ritchie

     “This book is a must read for any single action revolver fan. I would suggest it to anyone who shoots any type of hand gun.” —Charles

     “This book is another winner by Elmer Keith…anybody that learns to shoot should read the history of a man that lived it. The book was written so that anybody could understand it, shooter or not. Highly recommended.” —Bruce

    “Elmer Keith’s knowledge of every facet of handguns in general and sixshooters in particular is truly remarkable. He covers it all, from history to game shooting to gunfighting and much more. Although this book was written before the advent of the .44 Magnum, Mr. Keith’s knowledge and experience are invaluable, with his game shooting and long range abilities most impressive of all. Elmer also covers slip shooting with the Colt SAA, a fascinating and surprisingly effective technique generally ignored by modern writers. But most important, Elmer’s honesty and integrity were his greatest attributes to those who knew him. If you love good old sixshooters, you must have this book.” —David

     “A legendary book from a legendary man. The iconic Elmer Keith is known for many things, the father of the .41 and .44 magnums just to name 2 of his creations. The knowledge in this book is nothing short of a must have for anyone interested in firearms, especially 6 guns.” —Chris

Here is a chapter by chapter synopsis of Sixguns by Elmer Keith, so you know exactly what you are getting:

  • 1. History of the Sixgun–Covers the history of firearms in the United States from the earliest flintlock and percussion firearms through the development of modern Colt and Smith & Wesson firearms in the mid 20th Century.
  • 2. Selecting the Handgun–Learn what to look for in a revolver or pistol for hunting, target shooting, self-defense, or mere pleasure shooting. Includes a section on examining used revolvers for fit and function.
  • 3. Learning to Shoot–A complete process for learning to shoot a handgun accurately whether you are a beginner or experienced. Includes topics such as how to hold the handgun and how to correctly align the sights on the target.
  • 4. Sixgun Sights–Covers the various styles of sights for handguns and their usefulness for self-defense, target shooting, and hunting.
  • 5. Long Range Shooting–A skill pioneered by Elmer Keith himself, this chapter covers how to shoot accurately over extremely long ranges with a handgun–distances of up to 500 yards or more. Includes positions to assume for stable shooting at these long distances.
  • 6. Game Shooting–This chapter covers how to use the handgun to hunt game, both large and small. Also includes many interesting and fascinating hunting stories that the author himself was involved in.
  • 7. Double Action Shooting–A discussion of double action shooting for self-defense and trick shooting and other scenarios that require quick follow-up shots.
  • 8. Gun Rigs and Holsters–Learn what holsters and belts are best for various situations and what models the author prefers.
  • 9. Quick Draw and Hip Shooting–How to learn the skills of quick draw and instinctive shooting without using the handgun sights.
  • 10. Gun Fighting–Includes stories of some gun fights as well as some strategies to use in gun fights.
  • 11. Revolver Versus Auto Pistol–Compares revolvers to automatic pistols and details which is the best choice for various uses such as target shooting, self-defense, and hunting.
  • 12. Aerial and Trick Shooting–Learn how to shoot aerial targets. Includes a course of study and practice to develop the skill.
  • 13. Slip Shooting, Fanning, Cavalry Guns–When using a single action revolver, slip shooting and fanning are some ways to include your rate of fire. This chapter also includes a description of how to shoot a handgun from a horse.
  • 14. Loading and Management of Cap and Ball Sixguns–A chapter dedicated to the shooting of black powder cap and ball revolvers. Includes information about loading, sighting, and cleaning cap and ball revolvers.
  • 15. Repairs, Remodeling, Resighting–Provides general information about popular modifications and repairs that can be done to pistols and revolvers to make them more efficient.
  • 16. A Bullet Chapter–This chapter covers the various styles of bullets that can be found in factory ammunition and used for hand-loaded ammunition. Includes the advantages and disadvantages of the styles and which the author prefers for hunting, self-defense, and target shooting.
  • 17. Cartridge Reloading–Step by step process for reloading handgun cartridges to save money on ammunition. Elmer Keith discusses the tools and components that go into reloading as well as his favorite loads for all the popular calibers including .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44-40, .45 Colt, .45 ACP, and .45 Auto-Rim.
  • 18. Selection of Gun Cartridges–Learn which caliber and cartridge to select for your handgun given your preferred sport; hunting, target shooting, etc.
  • 19. Ornamentation–Learn about possible ways to customize and personalize your handgun. Topics include firearm finishes such as bluing and nickel plating. Keith also writes about engraving, inlays, gilding, and grip material for the handgun such as ivory, plastic, wood, and pearl.
  • 20. Care and Cleaning–How to properly store and clean the pistol or revolver after using it. Covers solvents, tools, and how to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • 21. 1961 Supplement–Covers the development of the .44 Magnum and the Ruger Super Blackhawk and Smith & Wesson 29, and the role that the author played in the development of the cartridge and these revolvers. Other topics include handloading the .44 Magnum and the Ruger Bearcat revolver.