I have been reading gun magazines off and on intended for 20 years and have come to the conclusion that gun articles are just thinly veiled advertisements for the industry.
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At 1 point, I subscribed to 7 monthly gun magazines at the same time intended for 6 years. It was during this six season period, I began to notice some interesting problems in the gun posts I read and I would like to get on my soap box and get them off my chest.
I subscribed to and read gun publications because I am very interested in handguns and rifles and have owned plus traded many over a twenty yr period. I subscribed to and read the gun magazines to gain knowledge, and look to experts with more encounter then me for advice or even recommendations. Now the writers’ within the gun magazines and the gun mags themselves try to give the impression they do product evaluations of weapons and other related accessories. Some even state they are writing the article specifically to test the gun or ammunition for that readers benefit.
Now back in university, when you said you were going to perform a test and evaluation, that required particular protocols to ensure that the results were not unwarranted, but were valid and repeatable. Now, the only way to give results with any validity is proper “research design”. Unless the testing process offers barriers against any unknown factors, tester bias and maintains constant methods, the entire procedure and results are useless. Good research design is not that hard and can be done with somewhat planning. Unfortunately the gun writers often stumble on the first action.
For example , gun writers often begin a test and evaluation article by saying a particular gun was mailed for them for testing by the manufacturer so that they grabbed what ever ammunition was available or called an ammunition manufacturer for some more free ammunition. If you believe about this for a minute you will recognize immediately that there is already inconsistency in the ammunition tested, and a potential conflict of interest in the results. Ammunition is a key factor in how in what sort of gun performs.
A 230 hemp. 45 caliber cartridge from Winchester is not the same as a 230 feed. 45 caliber cartridge from Golden Saber. A given cartridge consists of several parts such as the bullet, powder, metal case and primer. A change in different one component can drastically affect the accuracy and performance of the topic. Additionally , if the gun writer calls up an ammunition company plus requests free ammunition, there is an issue of interest here. Can I trust the particular gun writer to give me a good evaluation of the cartridges performance? In the event that he gives a bad review, will the company stop sending him totally free ammunition? Would you give free things to some one who gave you a bad review a year ago?
Moreover, if you test Gun A with a 5 various brands of bullets of various weights plus types and then compare it to some test of Gun B based on a brands of ammunition of different weights and types, is the comparison valid? I often find it amusing that they provide an impression of trying to be severe and precise when the basis analysis design testing procedure is so problematic, the results are not valid.
The gun articles also tend to just be traditionally puff pieces instead of concise and complete reviews of the product. I frequently try and guess in what paragraph the writer will actually begin to directly talk about the product or what the thesis of the article is. In a small group of writers, I may find the real beginning of the article in the second or even third paragraph, but for the majority of weapon writers I find the actual article starts in the 10th or more paragraph. The first ten paragraphs were personal opinion on life, the shooting publics’ perceptions of hand guns or some Walter Mitty dream of being in a dangerous spot where you can rely on the product that is the subject of the content.
Next time you read a gun write-up read it from the point of view of a good editor. Does the writer tell me what the object of the article is in the first paragraph, and formulate a position or opinion? How much actual relevant information directly related to the item is in the article versus fluff and filler about other topics. If you hi-light in yellow the facts plus key points of the article you will be surprised how much filler there is and how much text you could delete and associated with article shorter and better.
I possess even read some articles in which the author even states that they just received the gun and had been excited to test the gun immediately. So they grabbed what ever ammunition was available and went to the range. Incidents where say they didn’t have a certain brand or the type they favored at home so they could not test the particular gun with that ammunition.
At this point you have to laugh. When I read statements like this I find myself saying towards the article ” Then go buy some! ” or “Delay quality until the desired ammunition can be obtained”. Duh!
Then when the writers gets to the range they all test fire the particular guns differently. Even writers for the same magazine do not have similar testing methods. They test at different temperatures, benches, and gun rests. Some will test with Ransom Rests and some do not. The best laughs I actually get are from the writers which refer to themselves as old seniors with bad eye sight. After recognizing their bad eyesight, they then go to shoot the gun for precision and give an opinion on how well the particular gun shot!
Now, I do not know about you, but if I was that gun manufacturer, I would not want my brand new gun to be evaluated by several self described person with poor eye sight. Moreover the magazines them selves should try to establish some testing methods and younger shooters to do the testing.
Now after the shooting at the variety, the writer says the weapon shoots well and then describes their six shots into a 4 in . circle at 24 yards or some similar grouping. Ok, I am thinking, what does this 4 in . group represent, given the inconsistency in testing procedures? Is this 4 inch group a result of the good or even bad ammunition, the guns inherent accuracy/inaccuracy or the shooters bad eye-sight or all three? If all three factors are involved, what does the four inch group really represent?
Finally, after reading hundreds of articles, Constantly ever recall reading an article where the writer said the gun was obviously a bad design, the finish was poor, and that they would not recommend it. Even on guns that are on the lower end of a product line or are usually from manufactures that make junk weapons, no negative reviews, if deserved, are ever given. Especially if the accuracy resembles more of a shot gun pattern, the writer often says “the gun displayed good overcome accuracy”. Since most shootings happen at about 3 to 8 foot, this means the gun will strike your 30 inch wide attacker at 5 feet away. (I hope so! ) They will not say the gun is a piece of rubbish that could not hit an 6 inch target at 15 yards if your life depended on it.
Precisely why? Because gun writers and the publications do not buy the guns they check, they get free test models. Just “Gun Tests” magazine buys their own guns. So the writers have to say just good things about the gun and lower play negatives, or the manufacturer “Black Balls” them from future guns. The disservice is you, the consumer. You receive faulty reviews.
How do you trust which ever the writer is saying? For me, I actually do not. In fact , I pretty much let all my subscriptions run out years ago, except for American Rifleman.
Now, I examine mostly read articles on historic guns. Not articles trying to SELL myself on a gun, sight, laser, or even certain bullet.
Repetition to Demise is also another gripe of mine. Over the years, not that many truly new gun models have come out. Mostly manufacturs’ will issue an existing gun with a new color, night sights, finish or some other minor feature. The problem is the gun magazines and writers treat the new gun color as if it’s the best thing since sliced bread and write a four page article. These articles are usually the articles that contain information that is 95% rehash of information already said for years about the particular gun. Usually during these four page articles only two paragraphs is actually new information or interesting.
The gun magazines also tend to repeat articles about the same gun in the same year and every single year. The 1911 is a great example. Start keeping track of the number of times the 1911 model is the subject of posts in gun magazines each and every month. Now the 1911 came out within 1911, and has been written about since. Is there really anything out there unfamiliar about the 1911? If a new function on the 1911 is created, does it BRING ABOUT a four page article on a “feature” that could easily be adequately described in a few paragraphs?