Firearms Guide Continues to Improve with 4th Edition

Firearms Guide 4th EditionThe latest installment in the Firearms Guide series released this month by Impressum Media demonstrates the publisher’s continuing efforts to improve the product.  Arriving on the scene almost one year after the previous version, the 4th Edition Firearms Guide continues to grow.

More, more, more!

The addition of several thousand entries pushes the total over 57,000 firearms, air gun and ammunition entries from more than 630 manufacturers – more than doubling the 250 manufacturers represented in the 3rd edition of the guide.  Among these entries are over 4,300 printable high-resolution firearms schematics, which are great for routine maintenance or for figuring out how to put your firearm back together after a spring lets loose and sends that doohickey flying across the room.

Larue OBRIf you prefer to leave the gunsmithing to professionals, don’t worry; there is much more to the Firearms Guide than just schematics.  The guide also showcases over 39,000 high-resolution photographs as well as providing information including technical specifications, prices and values, ballistics and more for firearms ranging from new 2013 models to historical weapons.  For the 4th Edition, the Firearms Guide team made a special effort to present hundreds of historic civilian and military firearms used in every conflict or war from the 18th century through modern times.  It presents weapons from all sides of the European pre-WWI wars, American Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam war and others, turning Firearms Guide 4th Edition into an extensive guide for historical firearms.

Not Just Guns

The guide doesn’t just present information on firearms, either.  It also features an ammunition database containing nearly 6,000 rounds as well as a US-EU caliber chart.  The ammunition database is even tied to the firearms library, making it easy to see which ammo goes with which firearm and vice-versa.

Just how much information is contained in the guide?  Enough to fill the dual-layer DVD that it comes on to capacity.  It takes up a lot less space and is a lot easier to search through than a stack of several thousand firearms owners manuals.  Especially when you don’t have to hunt down and purchase manuals for rare or out-of-production models.

As with previous editions, the Firearms guide is well organized and easy to search or browse by over a dozen fields, which keeps the huge volume of information from becoming unwieldy or overwhelming.

The Firearms Guide 4th Edition also retains other “bonus” features of previous editions.  In addition to the mountains of firearm and ammunition data, photos and schematics, it also contains a directory of more than 62,000 Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders to help you find dealers in your area.  On top of that, the guide also has 500 printable targets including game animals, silhouettes, traditional targets and more.Ammunition Screenshot

Overall Impressions

Overall, we really like the Firearms Guide 4th Edition and appreciate the hard work and continued improvements that have gone into the series.  The new “Military” category is a welcome addition that might end up taking up a lot of time drooling over the hardware therein.

Despite all the good, we do have a couple of nits to pick – mainly with the interface.  While the information is well laid out and easy to navigate, there is still a little room for improvement.  For instance, firearms are logically organized into categories including rifles, shotguns, handguns, military weapons and so on.  Let’s say you want to look up your Ruger SR22 but you can’t remember the model number so you plug in the criteria to find a Ruger in .22LR with a stainless barrel – and you see a bunch of 10/22 rifles and not much else.  Oops, you’re in the default rifle category so no pistols are displayed.  Clicking over to the handgun category resets all of the search filters so you have to start over.  It would be nice to be able to switch back and forth and have the filters stay put.  This isn’t a huge deal, though, as the filters are easy to reapply.

Another interface issue that could be improved is linking the schematics library to the general gun info library.  As it is, they are two separate searches, so you can’t look up the info on your Colt 1911A1 to check the value and then bring the schematic up.  Instead, you must go back to the home screen, enter the schematic library and search again.  The firearms info is linked to the ammunition library; it would be great to see the same thing for schematics.

One other thing that stood out about the interface was the Chiappa logo that just sort of hangs out up at the top of the screen (and the Crosman logo when in the airguns category).  At first I thought it was a bug and the logo just wasn’t updating to reflect that of the currently displayed firearm.  This logo and the prominence of the Rhino on the front cover of the packaging might be a hint that either the publishers are big fans of Chiappa or perhaps they struck some sort of advertising deal – either way, it is a little distracting and might confuse users into associating that brand with firearms from other manufacturers.

Aside from these small things, the Firearms Guide 4th Edition looks like a great product that is not only useful but also fun to use.  We’re not sure if it makes the must-have list for firearms owners but it certainly makes getting detailed information on firearms easy and would be a welcome supplement to any firearms enthusiast’s collection.

The Firearms Guide 4th Edition retails for just under $40 and can be purchased directly from their website.  If you want to save a few bucks and think you might not need some of the newest bells and whistles, they are still selling copies of the 3rd Edition guide for just under $30.  Be sure to specify whether you need a Windows or Mac (OS X v 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8) version when ordering.

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