Pete Dickey 1931-2010

Pete Dickey 1931-2010

Former NRA Technical Editor dies at age 79.

Peter Dickey

Age: 79

Cause of death: Respiratory arrest as a result of emphysema

Died: 5am January 3, 2010 Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax, VA

Place of birth: Po, France

Residence: Reston, Virginia. Lifetime resident of Washington DC area.

Work History:

In 1943 Pete Dickey became the youngest person ever to serve as a page in the United States Senate. After attending the University of Virginia, he served as a medic in the Korean War, then held leading positions at Garcia Corporation and Firearms International. In 1974, he became Technical Editor of American Rifleman magazine where he authored more than 140 feature articles as well as hundreds of columns and book and product reviews. He also ran the National Rifle Association's Technical Department, including the acquisition and return of test guns and the management of its extensive gun inventory.


His knowledge of the design and engineering of firearms was respected throughout the firearms industry and he was sought out by firearms company owners and designers for his insights and opinions throughout his career. Colleagues agreed that Dickey was able to describe and explain the technical aspects of any firearm with an economy of words far surpassing that of other writers in the field. The enthusiasm he brought to describing the rich history of firearms and his ability to convey a nearly unrivaled knowledge of the ways in which different types of guns actually work earned him a worldwide reputation in the field. Dickey's tenure at NRA continues to impact the firearms industry as a whole and many of the men who worked on his Technical Staff are now editorial leaders in the firearms industry.


He is survived by his wife Janet Gilchrist Dickey of Reston, Virginia, two brothers, B. Gordon Dickey of Front Royal, VA and Col. Robert R. Dickey, USMC (Ret.) of Huntly, VA, a son, Alec Dickey of Alexandria, VA and a daughter, Eleanor Dickey of Reston, VA.


In addition to his firearms technical knowledge, Pete Dickey was well know for his smoking that began at an early age.

Additional information provided by NRA colleagues:

Dickey oversaw the move of NRA Publication's Technical Staff from it's Washington, DC, headquarters to Herndon, VA, in 1987 and again from Herndon, VA, to NRA's new headquarters in Fairfax, VA in 1994. He revived the NRA Firearms Fact Book, and constantly devised clever tools and mechanisms that made the Technical Staff's work easier and more precise.

Though in a position where he could obtain nearly any firearm he wanted, Dickey remained utterly indifferent to expensive firearms. Former American Rifleman Managing Editor, Ron Keysor, recalls, "Someone once gave me a Stevens Favorite rifle action with some of the parts missing. Pete promptly traded me out of this forlorn remnant of an inexpensive boy's rifle and set about locating the parts to put it back into operation. He loved to make or fix things, and his brass knuckle knives, cane guns and other creations were memorable."

Dickey was more than just an editor or co-worker to NRA Publications and his Technical Staff. His directness and utter honesty appealed to all, though all had their turn on the receiving end of some of his comments.


A Man of Contradictions By Doug Barnes

Pete could . . .

develop a detailed technical manual for firearms enthusiasts or hand make a Christmas card featuring a picture from his recent colonoscopy.


tell his boss he really needed to screw himself or tell a 6 six-year old girl his favorite movie was also the Little Mermaid.

develop a new semi-auto handgun or design and build a birdhouse from a soup can lampooning Bill Clinton and "the cigar."

show his table manners and dine 5 star with Janet or hand you a MRE and tell you it was delicious (with the exception of the bean component marked: do not consume before flight.)

shoot a bumble bee from the air with a pistol or shoot a summer sausage from a cannon inside the house, through the open kitchen door.

make no distinctions based on your race but condemn you as a fool based on one statement.

seem to be a liberal or a conservative within a five minute span.

be unwilling to participate in any "foolishness" one minute or have you rolling on the floor with a cutting comment directed at . . . well, anyone the next minute.

never saw the value in competition but refused to lose when it came to authority (perceived or real) telling him what to do.

never heard what you said but was willing to shout "Say again!" as many times as it took for you to increase your decibel level.

Recommended for You

The 1911 Ultra Compact pistol from SIG SAUER is offered in .45 ACP and 9mm with an all-black nitride finish and blackwood grips, with a nickel PVD finish and G10 grips, or with a two-tone finish and rosewood grips. Handguns

SIG 1911 Ultra Compact 9mm Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft

The 1911 Ultra Compact pistol from SIG SAUER is offered in .45 ACP and 9mm with an all-black...

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable, ergonomic, accurate, and priced right. Handguns

Stoeger STR-9 Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...

True Velocity is exploring options to make its distinctive ammo available to civilians. Ammo

True Velocity Rifle Ammo

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 31, 2019

True Velocity is exploring options to make its distinctive ammo available to civilians.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

The Future Of Special Operations Small Arms

We're taking a look at what the Army's Elite Units are using for service rifles and what the future of SOCOM sniping looks like.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Harvey A. Donaldson may be best known for his .219 Donaldson Wasp wildcat cartridge, but during his lifetime he was popularly called the “pioneer benchrester.”  Gunsmithing

Harvey Donaldson: Pioneer Benchrester

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 07, 2019

Harvey A. Donaldson may be best known for his .219 Donaldson Wasp wildcat cartridge, but...

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable, ergonomic, accurate, and priced right. Handguns

Stoeger STR-9 Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...

Daniel Defense has blazed a new trail with its first-ever bolt-action rifle, the Daniel Defense Delta 5. Rifles

Daniel Defense Delta 5 Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 31, 2019

Daniel Defense has blazed a new trail with its first-ever bolt-action rifle, the Daniel...

See More Stories

More Industry

Ever since his father introduced him to hunting and the outdoors at an early age, David Industry

Federal Premium Ammunition Announces Honorary Company Historian

Shooting Times Online Editors - April 14, 2015

Ever since his father introduced him to hunting and the outdoors at an early age, David "Doc"

Hodgdon announces the release of the 2019 Hodgdon Annual Manual (the 16th annual edition). Industry

Hodgdon Releases the 2019 Hodgdon Annual Manual

Shooting Times Digital Staff - December 11, 2018

Hodgdon announces the release of the 2019 Hodgdon Annual Manual (the 16th annual edition).

RCBS is celebrating 75 years in business this month! Industry

RCBS is Celebrating 75 Years

Shooting Times Online Editors - June 29, 2018

RCBS is celebrating 75 years in business this month!

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.