The best gun magazine you never heard of

Gun magazines come and go. In the 1960s, I learned a lot from my uncle’s copies of American Rifleman, then the only NRA magazine. In the 1980s, we read titles like Combat Weapons and often learned of new small arms developments in the mag we called Soldier of Fiction — but read every month regardless.

But if you’re interested in the mechanics of guns, or their history, the best magazine ever published had a short run, from 1974 to 2001, in 123 quarterly issues. Waffen Revue magazine was small, and in the German language. Each had 164 or so pages of editorial content — the only ads were a couple of pages promoting the publisher, Journal-Verlag Schwend, of Schwäbisch Hall’s, other books and magazines.

Waffen Revue was what it was because of the excellent archive that its founder, Karl L. Pawlas of Nuremburg, had amassed. There was no question about the magazine’s accuracy on, say, the development of the MP44, because the article would reprint the original source documents. Weapons functions are clearly explained, with crisp — usually factory-original  — cutaway drawings and disassembled photos, or sometimes with pictures from original manuals. 

The magazine did not only cover small arms but also artillery, mines (getting into 18C territory there), combat and prime-mover vehicles, and much more. The Pawlas archive, we believe, passed into the hands of the publisher when Herr Pawlas passed away. Of course, it is all in German, and the subject matter is German-centric. But that’s not a bad thing.