Reviews: The Modern Day Gunslinger: The Ultimate Handgun Training Manual


The PIPE-HITTER’s Bible to Pistolcraft!

The “Modern Day Gunslinger: The Ultimate Handgun Training Manual” is by far one of the most detailed compendiums on pistolcraft I have read in a longtime. The book covers a lot of information not covered in most pistol books; topics range from the mental aspects to the hardware, as well as the dynamics and mechanics of gunfighting and advanced marksmanship. If I was to make one complaint of the book it would be in the quality of the paper the book is printed on, which is flimsy and not a quality durable paper found in most other books. But I bought the book for the information not the quality of the paper. I highly recommend this book to military and law enforcement personal as well as the concerned and armed citizen.

If You Buy Only One Book on Shooting…

By D. Buxman “A Seeker of Truth” (Pueblo, CO United States)
The Modern Day Gunslinger is the one to buy. This book is the most comprehensive and well-written book on practical pistol shooting skills that I have ever read. Starting with the indispensable basics of gun and range safety, Don Mann covers every base from the Combat Mindset and weapon selection, to stance and practical shooting drills. When I got the book today, I couldn’t put it down, but I will certainly read it again and keep it handy for future reference. This book has practical and useful information for both beginners and experts. It is liberally illustrated with informative photographs that compliment the narrative. I appreciated the fact that the author didn’t make universal value judgments where they weren’t required. While the rules of gun safety leave little room for debate, the choice of caliber or concealment methods are a matter of unique personal choice, based upon individual needs and characteristics. The author understands this distinction and provides the information each shooter needs to make his or her own choices. The Modern Day Gunslinger is a book to be studied, contemplated and implemented on the firing line. I recommend it without reservation.

Read First If You Intend to Carry

Imagine that you are in a situation where you have every reason to believe that you are about to be murdered or at the least seriously injured. In this case you have two and one half seconds to kill the threat that 92% of the time will be within twenty feet of you. This is the subject of The Modern Day Gunslinger by Don Mann. Of course there are important considerations: what can you do to minimize the danger in the first place? What are the legal risks, i.e., where you reasonable? If not, you may be on your way to jail. And of course, how can you prepare yourself to do what you must do in the two and a half seconds that you have to do it. And then, what if there is more than one threat? This book is a training manual and all throughout there are helpful shooting tips that alone are worth the price but don’t look for any brand or type recommendation as there aren’t any. Don Mann spent twelve years writing this book and we – that is all of us who are carrying or considering carrying – owe him a debt of gratitude.

Interesting read.

By Milo W. Slater (Tulsa,Ok.)
If you keep everything in perspective that you read in this book, it’s really pretty good. I keep it next to my end table while watching TV and pick it up to read over and over several nights a week. Good info and entertaining. Shipping was on the mark.

Better than I could have hoped. 

by D. Dillon
I can’t find a downside to this book. I know others have been critical in their reviews, and of course, we all see things differently. I am not an expert on the subjects covered in this book. Still, I read many books written by people who I believe to be experts, in matters of Home Defense, personal protection, and gun fighting tactics. I also watch all of the TV shows I can find on these subjects, on the Outdoor and Sportsman channels, especially shows produced by the very knowledgeable and very well-trained, Michael Bane. (“Best Defense, Survival” has to be the top show out there, bar-none, in my opinion; and by the way, Michael Bane has stated in his Podcast that he is extremely careful about who he has on his shows, because bad training can get people killed. He hires only the TOP people in their fields)! I mention all this, because this book, POINT-by-POINT, agrees with the tactics taught by people I believe to be truly tops in Firearms training. The price is very reasonable; it really is. I’ve been doing too much underlining and highlighting in the book, (so I’m trying to cut back). Honestly, you won’t be sorry if you buy this book. Unless you’re Ken Hackathorn, you WILL learn something from this book!

An encyclopedia of gunfighting and tactical preparedness

By Judson I. Miers “jmiers” (Oklahoma City, OK)
There’s not a lot of information I can add to the reviews, but I wanted to add what I could.

1) If you been in the shooting culture for a while, there is not a lot of “new information.” That is not a detractor because there are LOTS of people and trainers who are drawn from, so you’ll see information from Col. Cooper, Clint Smith, Rob Pincus, and others. What IS nice is that they’re compiled together in a single resource.
2) The topics are quite broad and expansive, which makes it a great read but also a great reference on the shelf and a companion to either a video series or training class. It’s the reinforcement that drives patterns home.
3) There are NUMEROUS pics!

Cons (very minor indeed):
1) I would’ve liked to see more of the technical side of Mann’s teachings such as range diagrams, gel blocks showing different round penetrations, etc.
2) I would have liked to have wider margins for note-taking, but that’s just a personal preference.
3) Comb binding or a larger format book would be better, but again, that’s just a personal preference.
4) While difficult to not offend some, I would have liked to have seen product evaluations for newbies such as pros and cons for an against leather vs kydex holsters, 1911 designs, Glocks, SIGs, Kel-Tecs, S&W, Rugers, etc. I would imagine they are not in here because of not wanting to sound biased, and I can understand that all too well.

All in all, I highly recommend this text and will be recommending it to those who go through my NRA courses. My cons are fairly minor and nit-picking, so don’t let them detract from the overall presentation of the material, the breadth of topics covered and the depth to which they are covered.

You did good, Don!

Great source for the aspiring gunfighter

by George Johnson

For an aspiring handgunner who is not well read in the material of the trade, this is an excellent primer. Imagine a gunowner who owns and shoots handguns periodically, reads guns and ammo and gun digest every year. He knows a fair amount about the mechnical aspects of guns but is not “well trained.” There comes a point where some will trasition to doing it seriously, getting trained, reading, studying. This is a good book to make that tranistion to a software focused shooter.

Much of the material is a rehash of the material of others and his explanations are sometimes a bit simplistic. A certain amount of this is expected since he is, for example, condensing two books of Grossman into a chapter of his book. However if you have not read the works of Grossman, Ayoob, Cooper, Cirillo, Brian Enos, etc. this book is a good place to start…and should be followed with these source works that the author cites.

I am not disappointed that I got it and intend to get this as gifts in the future for buddies who seem to be on the verge of making that transition from plinker to serious shooter.

A blueprint for handgun training

by Andy

The author has done an excellent job with this book. He merges his practical experience as a SEAL and firearms trainer with the experience of other experts in the firearm community, including top competition shooters and the soldiers and cops who have shot at targets that actually shot back. The book also draws on classic military and strategic theory such as the work of Sun Tzu and the discerning reader will find other influences such as Musashi and Von Clausewitz between the lines.

The material is well structured and comprehensive, opening the reader’s eyes to many of the issues that must be taken into account if one carries a handgun for defensive purposes. Many of the principles are equally applicable to anyone in a self-defence situation even if you aren’t armed with a gun. He deals with issues of strategy, tactics, operational plans, training, equipment, after-action plans and a host of other things often neglected in personal defence training.

In many cases the book does no more than sensitize the reader to issues, and the author is the first to acknowledge that. The book may be a starting point or a companion to other readings but the author is the first to recommend that anyone serious about personal protection needs to read as much as they can on the subject. This book does however draw from and summarize the salient points of many other significant works, including those of Dave Grossman.

I expected a little more from the chapter on shooting drills and perhaps the next edition will offer some more detail here. However, anyone reading this book will come away with a good foundation for personal protection with a handgun. A definite 4 1/2 stars.

Great book!

By Travis Zee (South Dakota)
This was a great book on defensive shooting! The author does a good job of teaching the techniques without trying to make them overcomplicated. He gives you many options for different situations (like stances) while saying which one he (and the shooting community in general) likes but that there are other options that might work better for you. He offers shooting drills and different ways of learning how to shoot. Really good book.

Should be a must read for all U.S. citizens.

Even if you are anti-gun you should give this book a read, as it will give you the understanding to handling a handgun should the situation arise (I don’t mean the jersey shore joker). The M.D.G. walks through all the safety precautions of handling a handgun, shows practical lifesaving close quarters techniques, and gives the tips of a seasoned shooter. If you have taken the CHP class you will find some redundant info, but the rest of the read is worth it to make you a competent, efficient, and safe handgun owner.

Good Bull

This book is good for both a novice and a professional. It reaffirms what a pro should know, and gets him back in the “mode”

The Modern Day Gunslinger, great tips and techniques

This book covers things from the very basics of Safety and how to hold a firearm, to advanced techniques for shooting, accuracy, and self defense. Very informative no matter what level you are or what you are looking for, there is something for you in this book.

The best handgun book I have found

This is one awesome book! To me, it’s a great collection of some of the best firearms training I have ever had.

The author, Don Mann, is obviously very experienced and knowledgeable. The way this book is put together allows the reader to get great information but not be overwhelmed with a lot of technical information all at once. His instructions are clear, concise and listed in a way that is easy to follow.

I have recommended this book to many of my fiends in law enforcement and the military as well as civilians. If you are going to carry a pistol, whether professionally or for personal protection, I believe that this book is a must!

The new “go to” source for all things hand gun/carry questions

From Texas Game and Fishing magazine, by Steve LaMascus, Texas Ranger
Don Mann’s new book, the Modern day Gunslinger is the new “go to” source for all things hand gun/carry questions.

I’ve been glued to it since opening it.

by Vincent Savage
Don, I am a multiple gunfight survivor as well as former firearms instructor now living in Colombia full time.

I had a pal send me your book, The Modern Day Gunslinger, from the states. I’ve been glued to it since opening it. You have done a great job writing this book. Everything from the way you explain clearly the lessons to the technical and tactical value found in the chapters. I frequent a forum called Warriortalk. I will make a thread over there suggesting your book. Even the instructors staff needs to get hands on your book IMHO to become more rounded. 

Nothing but kudos for an amazing volume on gunfighting!

by Vincent Savage

I am a Multiple Gunfight survivor / winner. I have had armed confrontations in several locals including Colombia! I have trained with many of todays best combat instructors and have also served as a firearms / combat instructor in several foreign countries. I thought i had i was pretty squared away. Then i read The modern day gunfighter! Wow, just Wow!! I was blown away by the debt of the instruction, both Technical and tactical. The practical approach to gunfight instruction has me awestruck. I am planning on sending a link to thgis book to my friends in the tactical community. We all can learn something from this book! Only a fool stops learning! My friends at the US Marshals service, The D.E.A. and Ejercito Nacional De Colombia are all getting a copy! Its that good!! I have been a student / Instructor and active participant in armed confrontations………….. nothing i have seen to date comes close in explaining whats needed to prevail in a gunfight. If your serious about study and training in this art……….. this book is a must! Vincent Savage : Popayan , Cauca , Colombia

Comprehensive Manual

by Alan Rice

Dear Chief Mann,

Thank you for your service to our country.

I just picked up a copy of The Modern Day Gunslinger. I have been a firearms instructor, both law enforcement and civilian for close to 20 years. I have taught thousands of people how to safely and properly handle and shoot all types of firearms. I have trained citizens for self defense and sport and recreation and police in the proper use of firearms both and off duty. 

I have not found a manual that is as comprehensive as yours. Especially the photos. Sure there are other manuals, but they leave out a lot of material or they include irrelevant material. Have you considered publishing The Modern Day Gunslinger in a looseleaf or spiral bound format so that instructors can use it as a training manual? Perhaps you could add content and notes specifically for instructors to use in courses?

I note that in your disclaimer you state that: ” This book is not designed to take the place of of a qualified and competent instructor; rather, it is a resource designed to supplement quality training.” I use material from many different sources in my training programs, having The Modern Day Gunslinger in a different type of format is a resource that I would use and I suspect many other instructors would use as well. 

Thanks for your consideration, Alan Rice


Excellent Book 

by Wayne L.

I just received a copy of Don Mann’s  excellent book – The Modern Day Gunslinger. While Mann rightfully gave credit to William Fairbairn and Eric Sykes for their innovations in police shooting (revolver) techniques, Fairbairn in particular had made an extensive study of the secrets and techniques of America’s Old Western gunfighters. After having read of their exploits, he pursued every published book and article about the Western gunfighters or ‘pistol men’ he could find, and based his own techniques on their accounts, or on the accounts of the various authors who recorded them.

The era’s fighting was conducted with revolvers, of course: While Otto Krnka had pioneered an automatic (semiautomatic) pistol only twenty years after the introduction of the fixed metallic cartridge made it possible, viable (combat reliable) pistols had to wait until the 1890s to appear; and they were not immediately popular. The Anglo/American preference for revolvers was both deeply ingrained and very wise given the times; and I have noted that the widespread shift by police to the automatic has caused far more problems with accidental discharges and malfunctions than were had with revolvers, through the latter may be due to large part to poor training of police officers.

I still am of the opinion that the revolver is superior for very close combat and fast drawing despite the limited firepower. When I worked, I usually carried a pistol (9-mm. Browning P35 preferred) and backed it up with a revolver, usually a snub Smith .38 Special. I would never carry a pistol without a secondary revolver, but I often carried a revolver without another weapon.

Everything Fairbairn knew, he learned from people as diverse as Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and John Hardin.

Love the book!

Recommending your book

by Ryan

I am taking the time to write to you (Don Mann)  regarding your book, “The Modern Day Gunslinger”. I have been a student of the “game” for over a decade and have had the privilege of reading some amazing books, and videos by many amazing people. I have recommended your book to many people as being the single best book on the subject that I have ever read. There are few new things under the sun but your book manages to get so much valuable insight into a single text. I sincerely hope you consider further titles in the future, perhaps relating to carbines, shotguns, or whatever.

I’ve also read your autobiography, “Inside SEAL Team Six” and the Survival Handbook you co-authored with Pezzullo. Two other fantastic reads.

Thanks for your service and I hope to read more of your writings in the future.

Very well done

by K. Murphy

As a former firearms trainer and 20 year law enforcement officer I am very pleased with this book. Well written, informative and easy to understand. Of all the books I have on the subject this is the best.

Excellent resource for the firearms enthusiast!

By Morris T. Collins, Jr.

A well written book for the novice or the experienced fire arms enthusiast! Something useful for any level of knowledge or skill.

Gunfighting hasn’t changed all that much in the last five decades

by Temple V. Nash Jr.

The old stuff tended to be a bit boring, but bear in mind, I have been doing this kind of thing for over fifty years. There were a few things that I had forgotten, and I did appreciate the reminder. What are my qualifications to make these comments? As long as I have been at it, I have never had to shoot anybody. Sent a lot of them to jail however, peacefully. When asked how I managed that, my Reply is simple and direct, “Suicide is not nearly as popular as some tend to think it is.”


Sean F. Alexander “Ghillie”

Very good read and alot of info. I’ve been shooting for over 25 years and the book provides material that is either new to me or a refresher….Thank you Sir for writing this…..

Great book!

by John

Very informative, well written. Covers everything including holsters, basic safe firearm rules, target to everyday carry.
More like an owners manual, this is not a novel.A “should have” for anyone interested in the safe use and carry of handguns.

A valuable purchase with one stain

By Brady J. Frey

An excellent primer for those of us starting out in this world; the author, with an extensive, real world background, takes you through everything from basic gun handling to holsters to training regimes to low light techniques. I found it an excellent supplemental to my coursework and range practice!

Unfortunately in the earlier part of the book, the author jumps on his soapbox for 20 pages on violence in the media, and it’s effect on America. Professional citations aside, this opinion has worn itself thin with a younger generation, and the book cherry picks facts to beg the question. Fallacious and lacking in logic, this self-perpetuating argument left a poor taste in my mouth. I tried hard to ignore it- I tried hard to remember the statement is from someone digging for answers and should not taint the rest of the well founded book. Don’t forget it, but don’t let it weigh you down either. Nevertheless, it would have been a far more enjoyable read had this political angle been left as a personal notation, and not an unexpected chapter in an otherwise manual-focused book.

A must read if you use, think about or around sidearms

by Procussionist

There is a lot of information to take in with this book whether you are a rookie of a veteran. You won’t be bored or disappointed. (And yes, the author loves his Glock!)

Practical book for experienced and beginner shooters

by Shaun Sundahl, Chino Hills Private Investigator

As a BSIS firearms permit instructor in Chino Hills,CA, I was looking for a good read to remind me of the fundamentals of shooting. I stumbled on the Kindle edition of Mr Mann’s book. On the negative side, I wish Mr. Mann would have provided us with more pictures on handling different handguns, especially the revolver. On the positive side, Mr. Mann did an excellent job reminding us of the techniques used by the “pros” such as Jeff Copper. In addition, I liked how he used photos to compliment each of his discussions. Overall, Mr. Mann’s book was worth every dime I paid. 

                                                      New! Purchase an autographed copy directly from Don Mann
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