Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights by Jim Cirillo: Review of the Excellent Book by a True Hero

I just finished reading Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter by Jim Cirillo and was very impressed.  Cirillo, a retired NYPD officer, was an exceptionally gifted shooter and police officer who won more armed confrontations than any other modern police officer I have read about.  His insights and experiences are recounted in this book.

Jim Cirillo book Guns Bullets and GunfightsFor those of you who do not know who Jim Cirillo is, let me give you the Reader’s Digest version of his professional career. Cirillo was a NYPD cop who was assigned to the highly effective Stakeout Squad in the 1970’s.  The squad was made up of 40 of the best officers the NYPD had.  Guys like Cirillo and his partner, Bill Allard, would stake out high-probability robbery targets and stop robberies when they happened.  Cirillo was involved in 17 gunfights and won them all.

Cirillo recounts several of his armed encounters, including his first stake-out, where two hours into the gig, he had already shot three armed robbers.  His insight into what happens in a gunfight and what kind of person is likely to win a shoot out is invaluable.

Cirillo also details his experiments with customizing firearms and developing self-defense ammunition.  Cirillo also details how firearms competition plays a role in your survival in a gunfight.

At only 119 pages, Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights is a quick read, but one that will really make you reconsider what you think you “know” about gun fights.  Folks like Massad Ayoob and Jeff Cooper paid attention when Cirillo would speak about shooting and combat, and they did so for good reason.

Without a doubt, this book is one of the most interesting texts I have read in a long time.  Cirillo took a very  matter-of-fact approach to his writing that engages the mind and keeps things interesting.  Jim Cirillo was killed in a car accident in 2007, so I will never have the chance to shake his hand or attend any of his training.  This book, though, helps me to understand what he learned the hard way.  I suggest this book to any police officer or armed civilian who takes their survival seriously.

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Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing on sites like Human Events, The Firearm Blog and Police & Security News.

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