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Book Review: The British Sniper – A Century of Evolution

If you are into sniper rifles and the history of sniping, you will want to add this reference book to your library!

Book Review: The British Sniper – A Century of Evolution

If you are interested in the world of sniping and sniper equipment, here are two reference books you will want for your library!

This is a book you should be aware of if you are interested in sniping, sniper rifles and the specialized equipment used by snipers. This is especially true if you are a fan of British sniper rifles and equipment. The British Sniper, A Century of Evolution provides a chronological study of the British sniper and his equipment from 1915 until the present. What sets this title apart from the run-of-the-mill works is how comprehensive it is, and how well illustrated it is.

I find the story of modern British sniping fascinating, with its origins in the trenches of World War I. In these early days German snipers made life in the trenches hell for British troops. Morale was shaken and in time the British countered the German threat with snipers, sniper rifles, equipment and training of their own. While badly outclassed in 1915, over time the British would eventually become the masters of sniping. Their sniper schools, instructors and equipment would eventually become highly respected. This reference works covers this evolution.

If you ask most firearms enthusiasts about British sniper rifles most will immediately think of the famous .303-inch No. 4 (T) and perhaps the Accuracy International L96A1. In reality there is much more to the story though beyond these two iconic sniper rifles. There were a host of rifle, optic and mount combinations developed, tested, some fielded and then eventually discarded over the decades. Understand, this isn’t just a book about the well-known models.

Literally ALL of the sniper rifles issued by the British Army over the past 100+ years are included in full color. Yet, while the rifle info and images are impressive, this book is about much more than just rifles. When you crack it open you’ll find all the riflescopes, spotting scopes and binoculars covered and illustrated in full color. Not only that, but all the uniforms and garments worn by snipers are covered and illustrated in full color. For you techies, Night Vision and the introduction of Thermal Vision are even covered. The photography is excellent, and worth the price of admission by itself. However, the writing, technical data and sheer volume of information takes it over the top.


Better still, personal accounts from the snipers themselves add depth and perspective. You will find these throughout the book. Approximately 800 images are featured. Steve Houghton is to be commended for his hard work and dedication in bringing this information to print. This is a hardback collector’s edition limited to just 2,000 copies signed and numbered by the author Steve Houghton. An extremely valuable work, this belongs in the library of any serious student of military firearms history and those interested in sniping. I would expect a run of non-collector grade books to be printed in the future.


The Green Meaning L96A1

Steve Houghton followed up The British Sniper- A Century of Evolution with The Green Meanie L96A1. This, as its name implies, traces the development, trials, adoption, fielding and service career of the 7.62mm L96A1 sniper rifle. The L96A1 was a huge leap in thinking beyond the Lee Enfield-based 7.62mm L42A1 that came before it, as well as other rifles of the time such as the US M40A1, US, M21, British Parker-Hale, and French 7.5/7.62mm FR F1. Plus, its capabilities greatly outclassed its Combloc foes such as the 7.62x54mmR SVD-63 and PSL as well as the Yugoslav M76.

I’m looking to get my hands on a copy of The Green Meanie L96A1 and you will see a full review when I do. Like The British Sniper- A Century of Evolution, The Green Meanie L96A1 will be released as a hardback collector’s edition limited to just 2,000 copies signed and numbered by the author. If either of these works by Steve Houghton interest you, visit https://www.swiftandboldpublishing.co.uk/the-book/ for more information.


If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com


About the Author:

David M. Fortier has been covering firearms, ammunition and optics since 1998. He is a recipient of the Carl Zeiss Outdoor Writer of the Year award and his writing has been recognized by the Civil Rights organization JPFO. In 2007 he covered the war in Iraq as an embedded journalist.




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