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The Automatic Pistol (1919)

The Automatic Pistol (1919)

Price $106.00 Sale


Captain J. B. L. Noel

FORSTER GROOM & Co. Ltd, London, 1919

The classic automatic pistol shooting handbook, written in 1919 by the celebrated Everest mountaineer and WW1 army officer Captain John Noel. Noel was an expert marksman and weapons instructor and this book was published just after the end of WW1. A comprehensive, practical guide, the book includes virtually everything you would need to know about choosing and handling an automatic pistol.

Noel compares the various models of automatic that were in use in WW1, including the Webley & Scott .455, the Colt .45, the Luger parabellum 9mm, the 'Broomhandle' Mauser, and several other smaller calibre self-defence pistols. The book covers firing, loading, mechanisms, target and range work, combat use, safety, cleaning, stripping, and maintenance. The book is very well illustrated with black and white photographs. 

Noel had been a senior British Army weapons instructor during WW1. Along with his colleague, Captain Tracy, author of The Service Revolver (1918), he was responsible for establishing the basic principles of the modern use of pistols and revolvers in combat and self-defence. While recognising the revolver was still the standard weapon of choice at the time, Noel predicted that the automatic was the weapon of the future. Once early design problems were solved, he was confident the automatic would replace the revolver. And his prediction proved to be completely accurate.

John Baptist Lucius Noel (1890-1989) is now best known for The Epic of Everest (1924), his film of the 1924 Mount Everest expedition. A professional soldier whose regiment spent summers near the Himalayas, Noel served in WW1 before joining the 1922 Everest expedition as its official photographer and filmmaker. In 1924 Noel joined George Mallory on his ill-fated Everest expedition. Noel himself reached the North Col and used a specially adapted camera to film the final summit attempt. A note from George Mallory to Noel was the last contact anyone had with Mallory before his body was discovered high on the mountain in 1999. John Noel was also an expert marksman who wrote books on pistol shooting and navigation.


In good condition. The illustrated boards are in fair to good condition, with general signs of wear and some marks. The binding and hinges are good and secure. The text and illustrations are in fair to good condition, with some marks and general signs of use.


Published: 1919

Brown illustrated boards
Illustrated with B/W photographs
Dimensions: 110mm x 170mm
Pages: 109