In memoriam: Kevin O’Brien, a.k.a. Hognose of WeaponsMan

‘Hognose’, in reality Kevin O’Brien, well-known for his WeaponsMan blog, has died suddenly.  A post by his brother on that blog states, in part:

He was born in 1958 to Robert and Barbara O’Brien.  We grew up in Westborough, Mass.  Kevin graduated from high school in 1975 and joined the Army in (I believe) 1979.  He learned Czech at DLI and became a Ranger and a member of Special Forces.

Kevin’s happiest times were in the Army.  He loved the service and was deeply committed to it.  We were so proud when he earned the Green Beret.  He was active duty for eight years and then stayed in the Reserves and National Guard for many years, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003.  He told me after that that Afghan tour was when he felt he had made his strongest contribution to the world.

Kevin worked for a number of companies after leaving active duty.  He had always loved weapons, history, the military, and writing, and saw a chance to combine all of his interests by creating  I think the quality of the writing was what always brought people back.

. . .

He … called 911 on Friday afternoon and was taken to the ER with what turned out to be a massive heart attack.  Evidently he was conscious when he was brought in, but his heart stopped and he was revived after 60 minutes of CPR.  He never reawakened.

On Saturday, he was transported to Brigham and Women’s where the medical staff made absolutely heroic efforts to save his life.  Our dad came up on Sunday and we visited him Sunday, Monday, and today.  Each day his condition became worse.

As of last night, it was obvious to everyone that he had almost no chance of survival; and that if he did by some chance survive, he would have no quality of life.  Kevin’s heart was damaged beyond repair, his kidneys were not functioning, he had not regained consciousness, and he had internal bleeding that could not be stopped.  We made the decision this morning to terminate life support.

There’s more at the link, including a contact e-mail for anyone wishing to express condolences.

I’m particularly saddened by Kevin’s death for a number of reasons.  The most important, of course, is his encyclopedic knowledge of firearms, which is now lost to us.  Few individuals knew as much as he on the subject, or were as generous in sharing their knowledge with the rest of us.  Kevin also did me the honor of reading here, and quoted me on occasion on his own blog, which was very kind of him.

I’m also sad because Kevin and I were of an age, and he was struck down by an unexpected heart attack that came out of nowhere, just as I was in 2009.  I survived mine, but his must have been far worse.  I suppose it’s a reminder that “in the midst of life, we are in death”, as the traditional funeral service goes.  None of us know the day or the hour on which we’ll be taken.  All we can do is live each day to its fullest, and make the most of it.  It sounds as if his family didn’t have time to talk to him, although they were able to be with him during his last days.  That, at least, is a small mercy.

I don’t know whether the WeaponsMan blog will remain available or not.  If any of you have favorite posts there that have been useful to you, it might be a very good idea to save copies of them over the next couple of days, just in case.

May Kevin rest in peace, and may his sins be forgiven him.  He will be missed.



  1. I was extremely saddened to learn of Hognose's death. His website was at the top of my blog roll. RIP Kevin.

  2. I heard of this and am deeply saddened for many reasons. God, grant him peace and forgiveness of debt and trespass. May his family know peace.

  3. Heartbreaking. I saw it this morning and I'm still stung.

    Hognose wasn't just an excellent source of info on firearms, but a surprisingly talented wordsmith in his own right. I was going to suggest he write a book at some point, and now he never will (at least, not here on Earth).

  4. Since his brother was able to post to his blog hopefully we'll see his writing preserved. Folks should give thought to sharing credentials to their social media with a trusted somebody in the event of untimely incapacity or demise.

  5. Peter, I tried this morning to post a comment, but am sometimes ignorant in the ways of getting comments posted on some sites. I have been enjoying your blog for at least a year now. I wish I had found it earlier—as I thoroughly enjoy coming to your site—which I do every day.

    I also enjoyed going to WM. I don't know diddly about guns, but so much that Hog posted was entertaining and educational—so I read almost everything he posted.

    I am so saddened by his death, a person I've never met –which seems odd. I just want you to know that I also enjoy your site and thanks for acknowledging Hognose's death (Kevin O'Brien). Life is so short and so sweet. I lost my husband April 28, 2016 and I am still grieving and crying for him and now for 'Hog'.

  6. The first thing I did every morning for years was make breakfast and then visit Weaponsman. He was a good bloke, a writer of genius and a funny bastard (in the Australian sense of the term).

    Jeez I'm gonna miss him.

  7. Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends he leaves behind.

    We are not promised tomorrow. Events like this grab us by the collar and force us to confront that fact. May we all be convicted of that fact and conduct our lives in light of it. My wife and I never let a rare quarrel go unresolved and embrace and tell each other we love the other every morning before work or we otherwise separate. Far too many times I've found myself standing over the casket of a loved one wishing I would've spoke the things I'd left unsaid and bitterly regretting other things I had.

  8. Kevin's passing and your own mention of a heart attack prompts me to tell you how much I appareicate your work. I'm pretty sure that Kevin knew of my esteem from our correspondence but some things should be said straight-on;
    Thank you for your work, Peter.
    God bless you and your loved ones.
    Boat Guy

  9. Someone wondered if he did not experience the same type of "heart attack" that Breitbart did….he seemed to be i perfect health…

  10. I served with Kevin at MI Co, 10th SFGA at Ft Devens. He was a friend and colleague. We both were graduates of the Czech Language Program at DLI and shared more than one or two beers together. I'll miss him. He was a good friend and the SF Community is mourning the loss of a Great Soldier.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *