A lifelong fascination with the technology and development of firearms led to Martin Pegler joining the Royal Armouries Museum, where he worked as Senior Curator of Weapons for almost 20 years. Initially based at the historic Tower of London he then moved with the collection to a new museum in Leeds which opened in 1996.


Royal Armouries at night
Tower of London


Once in this unique museum environment, Martin became particularly fascinated with the history of military sniping and through his many books and lectures is now known as the country's foremost authority on the subject. He is in the unique position of having fired virtually every type of military weapon, but specifically has used every model of sniping rifle and he has also developed an expert knowledge of ammunition and ballistics.


Martin shooting Thompson
Martin shooting Vickers
Sniping rifle


He uses his expertise to advise authors and researchers on the use and capabilities of firearms. It is worth noting that his involvement in the relocation of the Royal Armouries Museum, which is the national museum of arms and armour, has led to him advising many other museums on all aspects of the care, display and legal ramifications of exhibiting firearms. In particular, he helped the Air Gunners Room at the Yorkshire Air Museum which was subsequently shortlisted for the Small Museum of the Year Award.


Air Gunners Room
Leeds Royal Armouries Vickers gun display


Drawing on his encyclopaedic knowledge of firearms, Martin has lectured widely and has been a popular judge at annual National Rifle Association gun shows in the USA. In particular, he has developed specialist knowledge of American firearms legislation and the problems relating to gun control in a country with a unique and deep-rooted gun culture.


Martin is a Visiting Research Fellow at University of Huddersfield, Yorkshire.


He has advised film and television companies plus national news programmes on weapons and has also appeared on several TV series connected with firearms (notably Two Men in a Trench, Timewatch and Battlefield Detectives). He acts as technical consultant in the making of the hugely successful Sniper Elite computer games by Rebellion.


Martin with Josey Wales guns
Sniper Elite
Sniper Elite


A particular interest within the general subject of weapons was Martin's passion for the Great War, which had fascinated him since childhood. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he and his wife, Kate, met and interviewed many veterans of the 1914-1918 war as part of a team of volunteers working with the author, Lyn Macdonald, aiding with research for her highly-respected books.


Martin's practical knowledge of Great War tanks extends beyond the theoretical as he has helped to crew a Mark IV tank at Bovingdon Tank Museum when it was used for filming for the BBC TV series 'Soldiers'. He says that it was the most fascinating and uncomfortable morning he has ever spent in his life and as a result he has the greatest admiration for the men who fought in them.


tank MK IV
Pte A.E. Lee, M.M., Tank Corps


Martin has always been busy as an author, mostly writing on the subjects of military firearms and the Great War but is probably best known for his undoubted expertise and knowledge on the history and skills of sniping, about which he has written many books. You can find his full publications list here.


In 2010 Martin joined the BBC Television's popular Antiques Roadshow as a militaria specialist and was recently heavily involved with the preparations for the Great War centenary programmes, which was filmed on the Somme in 2013. These are due to be shown in two parts in 2014.


Medal Collector - Cameron
Spies Story
Martin Pegler


He is well known for arriving at the venues on his BMW motorcycle but still somehow manages to be one of the smartest dressed specialists on filming days!


Uniquely, Martin also uses his bike to lead battlefields tours of France and Flanders. He has ridden motorcycles all his life and it is his preferred method of travel whenever possible.


Martin on BMW
Martin at racetrack
Martin at Antiques Roadshow


Despite exposure to all periods of military history and weapons, the First World War remains his passion to the extent that after many years of visiting the France and Flanders battlefields, he and Kate now live on the Somme battlefield in Northern France, where they run a successful bed and breakfast guest house and enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of the region with guests.


Orchard Farm
Iron Harvest