t could be said that Charles Askins was the last real “gunfighter” or in the very least one of the last if grouped with friends like Bill Jordan and Skeeter Skelton. His book, “Unrepentant Sinner” is remarkable and I have rated it five stars not for its literary quality, but for the simple fact that its a rare thing to see someone open up so honestly on paper about themselves. Critics of Colonel Askins book are correct, it is “self-serving” and often bigoted. Askins who has now been deceased since the 1990s was very much a product of the early 1900s, even a throw back to a time even earlier than that. His career as a professional gun handler, both in Law Enforcement and in the US Army spans the end of the “Wild West” to Vietnam, during which time he worked for the USFS, fought Prohibition era smugglers with the Border Patrol, won dozens of professional shooting matches, served in North Africa, Sicily and in the ETO during WWII, became a Paratrooper and later served in a number of post-war occupations with the Army in Spain and Vietnam. Throughout these chapters of his life he was also considered one of the country’s foremost “gun-writers” and wrote numerous books and articles on guns and shooting.
But he was also controversial, and will probably remain so. In addition to racially charged comments which are sure to offend many modern readers, Askins also appears to have bent the rules (and some laws) in more than one instance. Several of his Border Patrol gunfights would probably make international news today and that’s probably putting it mildly. He also seems to have enjoyed pushing the limits during his competitive shooting career. Its worth noting that his resignation from the BP resulted from his use of unconventional pistol during one of his later matches.
Nevertheless the story of Askins’ life is fascinating.