I have been reading gun magazines off and on to get 20 years and have come to the conclusion that gun articles are just thinly veiled advertisements for the industry. At one point, I subscribed to seven monthly gun magazines at the same time intended for 6 years. It was during this six yr period, I began to notice several interesting problems in the gun posts I read and I would like to get on my soap box and get all of them off my chest.
I activated to and read gun mags because I am very interested in handguns and rifles and have owned plus traded many over a twenty year period. I subscribed to plus read the gun magazines to gain knowledge, and look to experts with more encounter then me for advice or recommendations. Now the writers’ in the gun magazines and the gun magazines themselves try to give the impression they do product evaluations of weapons and other related accessories. Some even say they are writing the article specifically to try the gun or ammunition for your readers benefit.
Now back in university, when you said you were going to perform a test and evaluation, that required certain protocols to ensure that the results were not unwarranted, but were valid and repeatable. Now, the only way to give results along with any validity is proper “research design”. Unless the testing process provides barriers against any unknown factors, tester bias and maintains consistent methods, the entire procedure and results are useless. Good research design is not that hard and can be done with just a little planning. Unfortunately the gun authors often stumble on the first stage.
For example , gun writers often begin a test and evaluation article by saying that a particular gun was mailed to them for testing by the manufacturer so that they grabbed what ever ammunition was offered or called an ammunition manufacturer for some more free ammunition. If you feel about this for a minute you will recognize immediately that there is already inconsistency within the ammunition tested, and a potential turmoil of interest in the results. Ammunition is a key factor in how in how a gun performs.
A 230 hemp. 45 caliber cartridge from Winchester is not the same as a 230 wheat. 45 caliber cartridge from Golden Saber. A given cartridge consists of a number of parts such as the bullet, powder, brass case and primer. A change in different one component can drastically affect the accuracy and performance of the bullet. Additionally , if the gun writer phone calls up an ammunition company plus requests free ammunition, there is a discord of interest here. Can I trust the particular gun writer to give me a good evaluation of the cartridges performance? In case he gives a bad review, really does the company stop sending him free of charge ammunition? Would you give free stuff 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 with different brands of ammunition of different weights plus types, is the comparison valid? I actually often find it amusing that they give an impression of trying to be serious and precise when the basis analysis design testing procedure is so mistaken, the results are not valid.
The gun articles also tend to just be mainly puff pieces instead of concise and complete reviews of the product. I often try and guess in what paragraph the particular 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 actual beginning of the article in the second or even third paragraph, but for the majority of weapon writers I find the actual content 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 write-up.
Next time you read a gun article read it from the point of view of the good editor. Does the author tell me what the object of the post 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 and key points of the article you will be amazed how much filler there is and how a lot text you could delete and make the 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 instantly. So they grabbed what ever ammunition had been available and went to the range. Incidents where say they didn’t have a particular brand or the type they preferred at home so they could not test the gun with that ammunition.
At this point you have to laugh. When I read statements such as this I find myself saying to the article ” Then go purchase 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 guns differently. Even writers for the similar magazine do not have similar testing methods. They test at different temps, benches, and gun rests. Several will test with Ransom Sits and some do not. The best laughs We get are from the writers who else refer to themselves as old seniors with bad eye sight. After acknowledging their bad eyesight, they then go to shoot the gun for precision and give an opinion on how well the gun shot!
Now, I do not really know about you, but if I was a gun manufacturer, I would not want my brand new gun to be evaluated by several self described person with bad eye sight. Moreover the magazines by themselves should try to establish some testing methods and younger shooters to do the testing.
Now after the shooting at the range, the writer says the gun shoots well and then describes their six shots into a 4 in . circle at 24 yards or even some similar grouping. Ok, We are thinking, what does this 4 inch group represent, given the inconsistency in testing procedures? Is this 4 inch group a result of the good or even bad ammunition, the guns natural accuracy/inaccuracy or the shooters bad eyesight or all three? If all three factors are involved, what does the 4 inch group really represent?
Finally, after reading hundreds of articles, I can ever recall reading an article in which the writer said the gun was a bad design, the finish was bad, and that they would not recommend it. Also on guns that are on the reduced end of a product line or are from manufactures that make junk guns, no negative reviews, if deserved, are ever given. Especially if the particular accuracy resembles more of a shot weapon pattern, the writer often says “the gun displayed good battle accuracy”. Since most shootings take place at about 3 to 8 feet, 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 8 inch target at 15 back yards if your life depended on it.
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Because gun writers and the mags do not buy the guns they test, they get free test models. Only “Gun Tests” magazine buys their very own guns. So the writers have to say just good things about the gun and straight down 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 whichever the writer is saying? For me, I do not. In fact , I pretty much let all my subscriptions run out years ago, aside from American Rifleman.
Now, I go through mostly read articles on historic guns. Not articles trying to SELL me on a gun, sight, laser, or even certain bullet.
Repetition to Dying is also another gripe of mine. Over the years, not that many truly brand new gun models have come out. Mainly manufacturs’ will issue an existing gun with a new color, night sights, complete or some other minor feature. The problem is the gun magazines and authors treat the new gun color as if it’s the best thing since sliced breads and write a four page article. These articles are usually the particular articles that contain information that is 95% rehash of information already said for a long time about the particular gun. Usually during these four page articles only two paragraphs is actually new information or even 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 articles in gun magazines each and every month. Now the 1911 came out in 1911, and has been written about since. Is there really anything out there not known about the 1911? If a new feature on the 1911 is created, does it JUSTIFY a four page article on a “feature” that could easily be effectively described in a few paragraphs?