I have been studying gun publications on and off for two decades and have arrived at the conclusion that gun articles are merely thinly-veiled ads for the industry. At one point, I fell to seven monthly gun publications at once for 6 years. It had been in this six year period, I began to notice some interesting problems in the gun articles I read and I’d want to get on my soap box and have them off my chest.
I held and read gun magazine because I’m very interested in rifles and handguns and have subscribed to and traded many over a twenty year period. I fell to and browse the gun magazines to get knowledge, and check out experts with more experience 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 components. Some even say they’re writing the content specifically to check the gun or ammunition for your visitors benefit.
Now right back in school, when you said you were planning to do a test and analysis, that required specific standards to make sure that the results weren’t unfounded, but were valid and repeatable. Now, the only way to offer results with any truth is proper ‘research design.’ Un-less the assessment process provides barriers against any unknown variables, specialist prejudice and maintains constant practices, the complete procedure and results are useless. Good re-search design isn’t that difficult and can be achieved with slightly planning. Regrettably the gun writers usually come on-the first step.
For example, gun writers often begin a test and evaluation report by saying that a particular gun was mailed to them for assessment by the manufacturer so they grabbed what ever ammunition was available or called an ammunition manufacturer for some more free ammunition. You will recognize straight away that there’s already inconsistency in the ammunition tried, and a possible conflict of interest in the results if you consider this for one minute. Ammunition is a critical element in how in how a gun performs.
A 230 grain.45 caliber cartridge from Winchester isn’t exactly like a 230 grain.45 caliber cartridge from Golden Saber. A given tube consists of several elements like the dust, bullet, metal case and primer. An alteration in any one element can drastically influence the performance and accuracy of the bullet. Also, when the gun writer calls up an ammunition company and needs free ammunition, there is a conflict of interest here. Can I trust the gun author to provide an honest analysis to me of the tubes performance? Does the business end sending him free ammunition, if h-e provides negative review? Could you give free material to some one who gave you a negative review annually ago?
Furthermore, should you test Gun A with a 5 different brands of bullets of various weights and types and then compare it to your test of Gun B with different brands of ammunition of different weights and types, is the comparison valid? I usually believe it is amusing that they give an impression of wanting to be serious and precise once the basis study design testing process is indeed problematic, the outcomes aren’t valid.
The gun articles also often you need to be mainly smoke parts in place of concise and comprehensive reviews of the product. I guess and usually decide to try in what passage the author will in actuality start to immediately discuss the solution or what the thesis of this article is. In a tiny group of writers, I might find the actual beginning of the article in the second or third paragraph, but also for the most gun writers I find the actual article starts in the 10th or more paragraph. The first ten lines were personal view on living, the shooting publics’ views of hand guns or some Walter Mitty desire of being in a dangerous position where you could count on the product that is the matter of the article.
Next time you read a gun article read it from the point of view of a great manager. Does the writer tell me what the object of the article is in the very first sentence, and produce a position or belief? How much actual relevant information directly associated with the product is in the article versus filler and nonsense about other matters. If you hi-light in yellow the facts and tips of the article you will be surprised how much gel there’s and how much text you can remove and make the article better. and shorter
I have even read some articles where the author even states they only received the gun and were excited to try the gun quickly. So they grabbed what ever ammunition was available and went to the product range. Some even say they didn’t have a particular company or the type they preferred at home so they couldn’t test the gun with that ammunition.
At this time you’ve to laugh. When I read statements like this I find myself saying for the article ‘Then go get some’! or ‘Delay the test before the desired ammunition can be had.’ Duh!
Then when the authors gets to the range each of them test fire the guns differently. Even writers for the same magazine don’t have similar assessment methods. They check at different temperatures, benches, and gun rests. Some will test with Ransom Rests and some do not. The best laughs I get are from the writers who refer to them-selves as old geezers with poor vision. After acknowledging their bad eyesight, then they check out throw the gun for accuracy and give an impression on how well the gun shot!
Now, I don’t find out about you, but I’d not want my new gun to be assessed by some self defined person with bad eye sight, if I was a gun maker. Moreover the magazines themselves should try to identify some testing protocols and younger photographers to accomplish the testing.
Now following the shooting at the-range, the author says the gun shoots effectively and then describes his six shots in to a 4-inch circle at 2-4 yards or some similar collection. Okay, I am thinking, what does this 4-inch team symbolize, provided the inconsistency in assessment methods? Is this 4-inch group due to the good or bad ammunition, the guns inherent accuracy/inaccuracy or the shooters bad eyesight or all three? If all three factors are involved, what does the 4 inch team really represent?
Lastly, after reading countless articles, I can not actually recall reading a write-up where the writer said the gun was a bad style, wouldn’t recommend it, and that the final was bad. Also on guns that are on the lower end of the product line or are from manufactures that make junk guns, no negative reviews, if deserved, are ever given. Especially if the accuracy resembles more of a shot gun pattern, the author often says ‘the gun displayed great fight accuracy.’ Since many shootings arise at about 3 to 8 feet, this means the gun can hit your 30-inch wide enemy at 5 feet away. (I really hope so!) They will not say the gun is just a piece of junk that could not hit a 8-inch target at 15 yards if your life depended on it.
Why? Because the magazines and gun writers don’t choose the guns they test, they get free test types. Only ‘Gun Tests’ magazine buys their very own guns. So the writers have to mention only good things about the gun and down-play concerns, or even the company ‘Black Balls’ them from future guns. The harm is you, the customer. You receive faulty reviews.
How do you trust what-ever the writer is saying? For me personally, I do not. In fact, I more or less let all my subscribers run out years ago, except for American Rifleman.
Now, I read mostly read articles on guns. Not articles selling me on a gun, sight, laser, or specific bullet.
Repetition to Death is also yet another gripe of mine. Through the years, not that lots of truly new gun models have come out. Largely manufacturs’ will issue a preexisting gun with a fresh color, night sights, finish or another minor feature. The trouble could be the gun magazines and writers handle the new gun color as if it is the best thing since sliced bread and produce a four page article. These articles usually are the articles that contain information that is 95% rehash of information already said for decades about the particular gun. Often in these four-page articles only two paragraphs is obviously new information or interesting.
The gun publications also often repeat articles in regards to the same gun in the same year and year after year. The 1911 is an excellent example. Start checking the number of times the model is the subject of articles in every month and gun magazines each. Now the 1911 came out in 1911, and has-been discussing from the time. Is there really something out there as yet not known regarding the 1911? If a new feature on the 1911 is established, does it WARRANT a four page report on a ‘feature’ that could easily be adequately described in several paragraphs?
Only read them with a critical eye, If you like to read gun magazines go-ahead. When I read. I read for content. I try and get the following from an article:
1. What may be the writers’ reason behind writing?
2. What will be the author actually saying?
3. What new information was conveyed?
4. Are the outcome of any assessment process defined valid?
5. Did the author give any back ground skills or experience?
6. What do I remove from the article?
Handguns are high priced, and unfortuitously the magazines aren’t much help in providing an honest evaluation for your beginner. They only say things about all weapons, the and never criticize a brand and or design. ‘They are all good weapons, some are only better then others’? Yes right.
My recommendation to the novice. Keep in touch with a person who has been shooting for awhile and has shot and held a variety of different weapons, and has no vested interest advocating one product or brand.
More details are available here.
These are merely my ideas, but after years of studying the gun articles, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the writers do perhaps not learn how to do regular testing, and the authors have very low standards for accepting articles. I love shooting and am not great either, but I would not say every PMAGs in stock is really a quality gun or deserves to be purchased.