Sixguns By Keith


I am prejudiced in favor of Elmer Keith. We have been friends for more than a Quarter of a century. We have traveled rough trails together. We share a postdated, old West type of tough mindedness. As a friend and as gun expert no one knows him as well as I do.

Keith has exceptional mental equipment. He would have been outstanding in any science or profession upon which he had cared to focus it. It happened that he had no choice. He brought the idea of guns into the world with him when he was born. Guns have been his obsession since he could toddle.

His life began in the heart of the Civil War guerrilla country. His father and uncles knew the notorious characters personally. He listened to tales of the old gun battles in his cradle. During his sixth year the family moved to western Montana. His boyhood mentors were the Indian fighters, Vigilantes, lawmen and gunfighters of the passing frontier.

Keith’s old-time teachers are dust. Their deeds are history and legend. Their philosophies and Draconian codes live in him today. He uses a typewriter, drives a car and prefers to travel by air, but he is, anachronistically, in his innermost being, a part of the decade Charley Russell painted.

On the background of gun lore given him by his early associates, who survived because they did not make mistakes, Keith has grafted the knowledge, the improved techniques and advancements in gun know-how of the last thirty years. Out of all this a great pistol book has been born. It is a unique book. No one but Keith could have written it. Each passing day makes it more impossible for anything like it to be written. The old professors of “gunology” as much a part of yesterday as are the knights who rode in the crusades.

John Slaughter or Pat Garrett would have traded a hundred steers for a book like this and called it a bargain. What John Wesley Hardin or Doc Holliday might have been willing to do for a copy is best left to the imagination.

But this is not a book just for gunfighters. It is an all-around pistol book for target shooters, hunters, sportsmen, for everyone who loves a good hand gun. It just happens to be scented with the pungence of sage brush campfires, cold for more than half a century.


Don Martin 

Salmon, Idaho 

Circa 1955  




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