Instead of gathering dust on the bookshelf, the seven books chosen here are ones that after the first reading, we’ve returned to them for subsequent reads—because they are that good. They’re presented here in no particular order, but we did take care to include rifle and pistol shooting disciplines, and also titles that don’t necessarily have a narrow focus on one specific sport.
Nancy Tompkins is one of the most successful shooters in history, and in this book she breaks down the complex subjects used in long range rifle shooting in a concise way. Divided into three sections, Topkins reviews the fundamentals of rifle shooting focusing on equipment and the prone position. She moves on to mental training and finally the process of building a rifle and reloading ammo for Palma competition (with the help of her husband, fellow rifle shooting legend Mid Tompkins). Additionally, Tompkins goes over the ins and outs of rifle maintenance and troubleshooting. $45, rifleshootingbynancy.com
Team Smith & Wesson Captain Julie Golob’s treatise on competition is much more than an intro to the shooting sports. This book, as reviewer Chip Lohman put it, contains “plenty of gold nuggets for tyros and champions alike.” The book is split into chapters on subjects like the fundamentals, advanced skills, how to practice, and making it from beginner to champion. Golob’s clear style makes it easy for readers to follow along and learn her insights on topics ranging from how to handle match pressure, to proper sight alignment for rapid fire. As if you needed one more reason to read this book, here’s what the host of Shooting USA, Jim Scoutten had to say about it: “Get Julie’s book. It’s everything you need to know to start shooting safely, plus the tips and training that will improve your scores, from the world’s most successful female pro shooter.” $13 for paperback, Amazon.com
Sports performance consultant Dr. Raymond Prior works with NFL teams, PGA golf pros and of course, competitive shooters—including Olympians. You may have read some of his articles published on this site. Dr. Prior specializes in using a common sense approach to the pressures of competition. Using examples from real life, in Bullseye Mind Dr. Prior emphasizes simple solutions in 17 chapters that are easy to comprehend. His tips for handling shooting under pressure and learning mental toughness are especially helpful. West Virginia University Rifle Team Coach Jon Hammond said, “It’s a captivating book every shooter young or old, beginner or Olympian, should read and use to get better.” $18, rfpsport.com
If you read this site often, you are no stranger to articles written by high power rifle expert (and student of David Tubb) Glen Zediker. In this book, like his many others, Zediker goes beyond the basics and goes in-depth to find out exactly what constitutes championship-level performance. Filled with tips on subjects like barrel break-in, improving magazine reliability, and featuring over 800 high-resolution photographs to boot, this book is a treasure trove of information on the AR-15 rifle. In addition, there is a detailed description of the adjustment process for a Geissele two-stage competition trigger. But wait, there’s more from Zediker here, with plans for NRA Service Rifle, NRA Match Rifle, Tactical Carbine, and Varmint Rifle project builds. $35, BuyZedikerBooks.com
A talented teacher who won his first rifle trophy 54 years ago, Jim Owens’ book shares rifle tips on exactly what the title of his book states—care, cleaning and sportsmanship. The book is 197 pages and is peppered with useful knowledge. Interestingly and informatively enough, Mr. Owens reviews the early history of moly lubricants going back to the very first patents. Additionally, Mr. Owens shares his technique for removing moly from a rifle barrel. A favorite chapter of ours is number seven, which focuses on sportsmanship. This book, which is one of 11 penned by the author, includes some great tips from seven former national champions. $13, jarheadtop.com
One of the smartest folks in the world of long range shooting, in this book Litz explains the peculiarities of the sport, such as how to correct trajectories for drop, wind deflection, and more. Litz also discusses how various uncertain factors can and will affect yourhit percentage. The most enjoyable aspect of this book is the fact that it’s effective at making the technical aspects of long range shooting much easier to digest, especially beginners. The second section on accuracy is really great, showcasing the basics of accurate shooting for those looking to amp up their rifle shooting to long range successfully. Key topics included are leveling your sights, trajectory modeling, secondary trajectory effects, calibrating ballistic solutions, and live fire verification. $40, store.appliedballisticsllc.com
First printed in 1973, The Pistol Shooter’s Treasury has the look of a homemade book—the type is a bit small, the layout isn’t very sophisticated and the photo reproduction isn’t very clear. But, as reviewer Jock Elliott put it, the lack of sophistication here “gives [the book] a certain old-fashioned charm.” This highly recommended piece of pistol training gold is made up of contributions from several championship-level competitors. This treasury has articles on everything from fundamentals of marksmanship to selecting a .22LR target gun. The principles, tips and techniques outlined in this book will help pretty much anyone become a more competent pistol shooter. $45, Amazon.com