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This years updated issue the 8th edition landed on my doormat this week and I have been a busy boy indeed. Its a DVD Rom which is nicely packaged and is compatible with both Windows and Mac, as a Windows user I will have to believe the bit about the mac compatibility.
It is a database which is searchable by almost every variable possible but I used the drop down box on the left to view manufacturer first. It boast 67,000 Firearms, Airguns and ammo entries from 1,000 manufacturers and believe me it certainly feels like those figures are spot on. High resolution pictures are very good as are the schematics which are detailed enough for part ordering if required. The level of detail is so complete that the images alone could be used for a variety of purposes, including digital modelling purposes, of which there's a big demand in the computer and console gaming industry for these kind of resources.
I found the ammunition section to be very helpful listing velocities of ammunition among other useful items. Something really handy when considering matching a hand load to a factory offering. Yup something for the home loader at last.
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An example of the search system and some returns. GPMG... Oooooohhh.
I may pinch a line from the home page: “BETTER THAN GOOGLE: By combining up to 14 search criteria you can perform simple or complex searches that you cannot do with Google and get instant and precise search result every time. For example, if you type in Google “polymer frame pistol in 9mm“ your search result is 482,000 web pages. The same search in Firearms Guide will bring up 300 relevant pistols.“ Not a bad boast and if you are in the USA it offers discounts on the weapons for potential buyers!
I must admit that despite my interest in modern sporting rifles my real love is historic military and sporting arms, this does colour my view and I accept that not every database can capture everything but some things are missing that stand out and once you start looking for what we might consider obvious models, their absence is quite stark.
Changes and improvements to the system in general are there to be seen, and in particular I like the ammunition manufacturers section which even gives factory ammo performance specifications. It’s a US product so you are unlikely to find small output UK based manufacturers such as HPS but many other UK based companies along with our European friends do appear. This is a very nice touch and seeing the US production does allow you to badger your UK supplier for stuff to be imported.
The printable target section is of the usual high quality and some fun and serious targets are there for use, I doubt the UKNRA would approve but never mind.
Manufacturers of firearms is improved but some historic European ones are missing sadly. This means that you are unlikely to find the schematics for your 1905 Viguero Mauser but sometimes by looking at Ludwig Loewe you can find weapons built as Mausers but under contract and therefore not shown as Mauser.
Missing from the MAS section is everything post MAS Model 1936, a shame as their production is well documented.
Enfield is included as RSAF as is Fazakerly but nothing for BSA or LSA which is a glaring omission for UK historical arms fans.
I find the historic database to be disappointing, a bit of decent research would correct this and it wouldn’t need updating unlike current manufacturers.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Norinco listed and their output is considerable even if most of it can’t be owned in the USA or the UK.
Apart from that it’s a well laid out, reasonably easy to use product. The learning time to get your head around it is minimal, and it's more a case of coming to terms with the sheer amount of search options. I suspect it would be a welcome stocking filler for the gun nut in your family.
In terms of subscription costs, it works out at around £23 a year if you just want internet based access, although there are options for discs, USB's, etc and if you check below, you'll find some helpful discount codes which really do make this a bit of a no-brainer.
Also... Sorry folks but don’t look for that Rifle. It’s not there. Not in any guise by any manufacturer. Nor is its Tupperware and tin replacement!
Overall, a great database, let down only by the glaring gaps in some of the historical information as well as the absence of some weapons very dear to our hearts here at ARRSE!
Find out more about the pricing and how to sign up to the Firearm 8th Edition HERE.
Note: Firearms Edition have a Black Friday code that'll save you $10 off the price. Use the code BF10 at the checkout. Once Black Friday is finished, they've kindly given us an ARRSE discount of $5 that'll run to the 1st of December 2018 if you use ARMYRUMOUR at the checkout. Really, at those prices it's almost worth getting it just for the odd shits and giggles.