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Old October 3, 2012, 06:34 PM   #1
idek
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"Gun Test" magazine any good?

While I enjoy flipping through most gun magazines, I don't find them especially helpful since they are all afraid to say anything negative about a gun. Gun Test magazine claims to be different since they don't take money from advertisers. But I don't see the magazines in stores, so I don't know how good they are. Can anyone share their opinions and if you think it's worth a subscription?
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Old October 3, 2012, 06:52 PM   #2
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They do tell it like it is.

Been a number of years since I subscribed and their claims of impartiality are true. I say this because they will not hesitate to note the junk guns. They do an excellent job of qualifying what they find wrong. They will also note what is good as well. I've seen them really rip into them where I have never seen any of the news stand magazines, put down anythng. .....

I will say that unless you are really active, in a variety of firearms, such as a smith or dealer, most of the acticles will not benefit the average enthusiast. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old October 3, 2012, 07:06 PM   #3
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I have been subscribing to Gun Tests since the early 90’s. I like the magazine, they evaluate a firearm based on their preferences, but I don’t they are they too far off from main stream. I really get uphappy when they bash something I own, but if they got a lemon, then they got a lemon.

I don’t care for the occasional comparison between used or custom guns.

It is a different read than magazines that are required to shill for the industry. You are going to read negative reviews, that makes some people unhappy, as I have found, folks really only want to read happy, happy, joy, joy.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:01 PM   #4
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The writers are not all that knowledgeable, and their conclusions ultimately are based more on their biases and prejudices than on the factual results of their testing. It's not unusual to read the final recommendation and wonder who the heck they reached that conclusion based on the facts they presented.

Also -- they lie. They claim they are totally impartial because they buy the guns they test. A couple or three years ago, they totally trash-mouthed some pistol. I don't recall the brand, but the manufacturer wrote to take them to task for it. They claimed they stood by their statements -- whereupon the manufacturer produced photographs of the SAME pistol (same serial number) being tested by another publication, for which publication it exhibited none of the problems allegedly uncovered by Gun Tests. As far as I know, they have not to this day acknowledged that they lied about having bought that test gun on the open market.

IMHO they have exactly zero credibility.

http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/i.../t-212910.html

Scroll down abut five posts, to the one by member name "foob."

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; October 3, 2012 at 10:07 PM.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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They claimed they stood by their statements -- whereupon the manufacturer produced photographs of the SAME pistol (same serial number) being tested by another publication, for which publication it exhibited none of the problems allegedly uncovered by Gun Tests.
It is unpossible, I suppose, that the manufacturer managed to buy that self same gun on the open market ( who would keep a gn they found to be craptastic?) ......... and took it to another gunrag that would shill for them?

I lost faith in the gunrags after the Taurus Judge was awarded "Handgun of Teh Year" awhile back.... I then understood the power of Marketing and Ad Budgets. I now believe only what my own lying eyes tell me and what is confirmed by testing... done by me.
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Old October 3, 2012, 10:19 PM   #6
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What AB says is about right as far as I determined over years of subscribing, except maybe the part about lying. I can't say that I saw that (and I know I didn't see the particular example he noted), but questioning their competence is spot-on.

They are not biased by advertising, but they are biased and it comes across. Many of the biases weren't a problem for me, but then they seemed to gain validity. As AB noted, sometimes you can't understand why they picked a particular gun out of a group as best. In one case that I recall, they tested 3 9mm carbines and the least accurate and least reliable was given the highest overall rating because it was an AR15 platform and the others were not. The author was sure that if you could find the right ammo for the gun, it would work as well as the others and so being a platform more familiar to people, it is obviously the best of the three. Never mind that accuracy was poor as was reliability.

Don't waste your money.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:20 PM   #7
idek
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Thanks for the responses. I may just stick with forum opinions and information for the time being. Of course, forums can be full of biases and misinformation as well, but after a while, I can at least figure out which people are objective (or at least who's biases match my own )

Last edited by idek; October 3, 2012 at 11:40 PM.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
The writers are not all that knowledgeable...
That's been my experience too.

I read a recent review of a Caracal pistol from Gun Tests and noted the following errors among others.

The reviewer stated that the steel slide rails were molded into the plastic. Field stripping the gun clearly reveals that they are part of a removable steel receiver unit that is pinned into the polymer grip frame.

The reviewer stated that the rear sight was part of the slide cap. Again, a simple field strip makes it obvious that there is no slide cap, the rear sight is part of a fairly large removable steel unit that is pinned into the slide and contains the firing pin and firing pin safety.

Don't even get me started on the accuracy testing they were doing from a rest at 15 yards against turning targets that limited the number of shots they could get off.

I soured on the magazine many years ago when a reviewer panned a Makarov pistol because they said the safety lever came off when they twisted it the wrong way. Of course it does--that's how you remove the safety lever from the gun. He failed to mention that there is a spring detent which prevents the safety from being twisted around backwards by accident.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:49 PM   #9
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It is unpossible, I suppose, that the manufacturer managed to buy that self same gun on the open market ( who would keep a gn they found to be craptastic?) ......... and took it to another gunrag that would shill for them?
First of all, never read Gun Tests, and I generally stay away from must gun mags except to look at the pictures, and ignore the articles.

That said, you should have read the attached forum post. Gun Tests say they buy all their guns. Manufacturer of the gun says they sent the gun to them as an evaluation piece. They said that a month prior, they sent it to American Handgunner (who I will admit, could be a shill) who had a completely different experience. Then, a week after they returned said firearm, it was given to Mas Ayoob to shoot, and he had a different experience than Gun Tests did.

Again, the possibility of a shill is still there, but it might be worth accepting the possibility that Gun Tests isn't 100% accurate/truthful when it comes to their reviews. As for me, I don't care. The best evaluation for me, is my own. I don't care what a gun rag says.

Last edited by JohnKSa; October 3, 2012 at 11:50 PM. Reason: .
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:35 AM   #10
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The best evaluation for me, is my own. I don't care what a gun rag says.
Yes, while it may bother some people to have a gun slammed by a gun rag, wanting to know what the gun rag people think about a gun after you own one isn't why most folks want reviews. They are looking for information to help them in making (potential) purchases. They haven't done their own reviews because gunmakers don't send them guns for free in advance to road test. The idea is that gun rags have some professional gun people put a gun through its paces, evaluate it on various levels, and deliver an assessment BEFORE Joe Consumer buys one and so Joe Consumer will buy their rag to learn more about the gun.

There are problems with the process in most cases other than Gun Tests, however. Gun rags can't come up with negative reviews if they take advertising from gunmakers. If they get a gun that doesn't work right, you might hear about it in print, or not. They may send it back to the manufacturer and have them resubmit. They might report there was a small problem and praise the customer service of the manufacturer for taking care of it so quickly (which of course will be the case when a gun is being reviewed for publication. CS isn'g going to jerk around the reviewers). Or, the gun never performs well and the gun rag simply does not publish the review. The manufacturer does not lose face and doesn't cut off advertising.

The other problem is that reviews in most gun rags are not blind. The manufacturer sends a gun in that is supposedly (usually) pulled from the line randomly, but I highly doubt they do this. They are going to check over the gun from top to bottom before sending it for review. Gun Tests, however buys (or used to) guns blind, through a vendor, such that the manufacturer isn't giving a gun special treatment before a review. The gun Gun Tests purchased would have been a gun any of us could have purchased.

For all of us, the best evaluation is our own. Either the products we have work properly or they do not. Either they meet our expectations or they do not. AFter all, reviews don't determine function and all we really care about is that our hard earned money isn't wasted.
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:46 AM   #11
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I ordered a free subscription to Gun Tests a few years ago. I thought so much of it, that I canceled it before the free test was over, figuring it wasn't worth what I had paid for it.

YMMV.
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:25 AM   #12
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I actually agree with what you have to say Double Naught Spy. But it's exactly the reason I don't take stock in gun reviews of any gun rag. There's sometimes good non-review articles, and it's always nice to look at the pretty pictures of all the guns. It appears that Gun Test magazine's process isn't completely blind either. Certainly, they aren't shilling for a particular company, but from what I'm reading here, they have their own problems and biases. Like selecting one rifle that did worse than the other two in accuracy and other tests simply because it was an AR platform.

Again, I've never read Gun Test, and I don't plan to unless I come across a copy in the Doctors office (highly unlikely) that I can look through. I've come to trust the guys at the gun shop, and the guys that run my local range. They have no problem telling me about guns they constantly see problems with. That's my first filter. My second filter is when I rent or borrow a gun to test it out. I've heard very little bad about Sig Sauer, like, ever (except the one time the gun shop owner told me they have seen nothing but trouble with the Sig 250, which contradicts basically everything you read in the gun rags), but I don't like them, and will never own one for myself (my wife's first and only handgun is a Sig P2022, which she loves, and I hate). I haven't found a Sig yet that feels good in my hands. I have pretty thick and meaty hands and I physically can't pull the trigger on my wife's 2022 without modifying my grip greatly (my thick finger binds up on the trigger guard and I can't physically pull the trigger back far enough to fire).

Having said that, if your first filter is a gun rag, as long as you're doing your own homework and not believing everything you read, then there's no problem using any gun rags review. For me, I don't believe anything they say. If I did, I'd own a Judge, because after all, it was gun of the year!
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Old October 4, 2012, 02:12 PM   #13
chiefr
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IMHO Gun Tests is the best "Consumer Report" style magazine in circulation for firearms
What else is there? I have read many reviews from the other gun rags, IE: G&A, ST, Guns etc where a new product was tested and all aspects of the Gun was exemplary, beyond reproach, sub MOA accuracy, and 100% reliable and you must stop all you are doing and buy it now.
I have rarely seen a negative article about a product that accepts advertising dollars,
.
Having said that and empirically speaking, what I have seen at the range does not always reflects what these gunwriters are telling you.

At least with Gun Tests you learn that not all firearms are perfect. Yes there may be inconsistencies, but is there another honest or at least halfway honest publication out there?
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Old October 4, 2012, 02:45 PM   #14
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Love them. Now they don't do kind of an ongoing road test, but straight reviews only. They also don't receive the firearms directly from the dealer. The used guns they review tend to be from locals - often on loan only for the test.

They got into a bit of kerfluffle when the flunked a Fulton Arms Titan, and have given the M&Pc a "D" because of feeding issues. Often they'll say it flunked or did poorly because of a factor and send it off to repair and rediscuss it.

I like their reviews and their "best buys" which aren't necessarily the best of a comparable group, just the best for the price.
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Old October 4, 2012, 03:12 PM   #15
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Almost all gun reviews share one huge problem, in my mind - a sample size of one.
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Old October 4, 2012, 03:26 PM   #16
Double Naught Spy
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IMHO Gun Tests is the best "Consumer Report" style magazine in circulation for firearms
It may sort of seem like CR style, but definitely is not done by CR protocols or by actual engineers and specialists like CR. GT doesn't even try to have uniform tests from issue to issue. Snubbies in one issue may be tested at 15 feet, but tested at 25 in another and 15 yards in yet another. The brainds of ammo used in one test will not be the same used in the next test of the same style of gun.
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Old October 4, 2012, 03:57 PM   #17
Aguila Blanca
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Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
They might report there was a small problem and praise the customer service of the manufacturer for taking care of it so quickly (which of course will be the case when a gun is being reviewed for publication. CS isn'g going to jerk around the reviewers).
Want to bet?

You'd be surprised at some of the stories I've gooten when contacting manufacturers about problems with guns we have for review ...

It certainly gives pause. If they treat someone who is going to write about their product that cavalierly, I pity anyone who might buy a gun from certain manufacturers.
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Old October 4, 2012, 04:15 PM   #18
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I would definitely note that in the actual report. CS is a big deal.

Not every article is 100% to everyone, but its a nice read -especially when they are critical of something. Now I have other gun mags (the Wife calls it my gun **** collection) as well, but would recommend it if you're just looking for interesting breakdowns of different firearms because you're interested in that sort of thing.
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Old October 4, 2012, 04:56 PM   #19
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I enjoyed reading it all those years my father had a cheap subscription from somewhere. But it's nowhere near Consumer Reports.

The issue with the GT review of the Rohrbaugh was huge because of the sheer number of errors. Including the fact the R9 was provided by the factory.

Here's the letter.

www.rohrbaughforum.com/index.php?topic=4746.0
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Old October 4, 2012, 05:50 PM   #20
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Back in the early 80s, there was a magazine called Gun Tests that was published by a guy named Phil Engeldrum. He also published Magnum Power and Pistolero. The new version of Gun Tests is nothing like Engledrums magazines.
The original Gun Tests told it like it is when a gun did not work. The magazine featured a "Turkey of the month". I can remember them tested a pistol and the forcing cone cracked and there were problems with several guns praised by main stream gun writers.. They quit publishing around 1985, I think.
I sure wish Engledrums publications were still around. They were absolutely the best gun rags I ever read.
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:53 PM   #21
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And, the old "hand picked sample" thing that never dies is still horsepuckey.
I just got a gun in from a major name with a case fired 9-25 that has so many dents & dings it looks like a used gun.

Hand picked, like hell.

Re Rohrbaugh, GT got their test sample from the same place I got mine- Rohrbaugh, and they botched that one so bad it was embarrassing.
May interest you to know that the first sample I got from that maker was non-functional.
When I returned it, Rohrbaugh apologised & said he'd just picked up the first one handy to meet my request without paying any attention to it. Turned out to be a known non-functional sample that had just gotten back to them after being sent out to a photographer for pictures only, and it hadn't been properly put away. In other words- a stunt double.
So much for "hand picked".

And, I've mentioned several other non-functional sample incidents from major players in past go-rounds about the perennially popular gunmag pile-ons.
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:11 PM   #22
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The paper is too rough. I'll stick with Charmin.
Speaking of that, Gun Tests magazine is crap, written by idiots.
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Old October 5, 2012, 11:59 AM   #23
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Seems to me that I read that there were issues also with credit card info being used inappropriately and re-newels being done without consent. Anyone else see that? Never saw this myself, I had a subscription for about a year and did not renew for all the issues mentioned above.
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:05 PM   #24
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I had mixed feelings. I thought their reviews were amateurish, but I liked that they had multiple people shoot them and give their impressions, and I liked that they provided chrono data for a wide variety of ammunition.

The reason I didn't renew my subscription was actually because their issues are so thin, there would only be an article on something I was interested in maybe one month in two or three.

Also, they seemed to have a penchant for doing rerun reviews and comparing dissimilar guns.
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Old October 5, 2012, 08:07 PM   #25
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"the first sample I got from that maker was non-functional."

Now that's funny. Stuff happens when you're new and only a one- or two-person shop.

I wish I could still read GT for free. They need to sell more advertising and make it free online.

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