Out of Nowhere by Martin Pegler | Books in Review

Martin Pegler , who spent nearly two decades as Senior Curator of Weapons at England’s Royal Armouries Museum , is an expert on—among other things—snipers. He has written three books on the subject, including Out of Nowhere: A History of the Military Sniper, From the Sharpshooter to Afghanistan , which originally was published in 2004, and now is out in a revised, paperback edition (Osprey, 303 pp., $14.95).

The book is a detailed history of the sniper, beginning in the early 16th century. It is a mixure of technical info and anecdotes on snipers’ day-to-day lives. Pegler provides details on training,  tactics, equipment, and the psychology of sniping. The book includes a short chapter on the Vietnam War. In it, Pegler goes over the various weapons used by the American Army and Marines, as well as those employed by the VC and NVA.

As the war wore on, Pegler says, “the number of American snipers working in Vietnam began to increase to the point where they could rightfully claim the jungle as theirs during the day, although few would argue that the VC owned it at night.”

By the end of the American war, he notes, “the NVA had put a bounty on the head of any American sniper killed.”

—Marc Leepson

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