View Full Version : Are Gun Mag articles and truth oxymoronic?

Dave McC
June 1, 2000, 10:00 AM
Someone mentioned a favorable writeup on a shotgun in one of the more popular gun mags here, and I'd like to open up that can of worms.

Mags survive on ads, not retail buyers,and the,uh, objectivity of some articles is open to question.

How many times have YOU seen an article describing the new Loudenboomer SP as the best invention since indoor plumbing,and a full color, full page ad for that weapon in that issue?

And how many times have you learned the hard way that ads are not to be believed out of hand, and some articles are naught but ads?

I trust the writeups the NRA does. Anyone know of a gun rag that has a similiarly honest and objective T&E program, or do they ALL blow smoke?

Questions, comments, donations?....

June 1, 2000, 10:22 AM
It's part of the new reality. Remember the caveat "Don't believe everything you read"? Seems to apply here, in spades...

The scope of magazine "articles" being geared toward preserving ad revenue is widespread, by the way. It is not only a gun industry thing.

I've stopped reading: bicycle; backpacking; fitness; and "new economy" magazines, mainly for the same reason. I just can't stomach the glossy ads. My (fill in the blank) experience would be SO much better if I would just give in and purchase the latestgreatest MP250doublejumper. Forget that!

I've stopped reading the LA Times, for the same reason (There's a real laughable scandal going on within the "hallowed" halls there right now!)

That being stated, I will admit to an occasional impulse buy, when a shiny cover promises to "tell it all" or offers a "new look" at some age old question. Invariably I'm disappointed.

I suppose the bottom line is that if you doubt the journalistic integrity of an organization or periodical, don't read their publication for News. You won't like the slant.


Jeff, CA
June 1, 2000, 10:31 AM
There's "Gun Tests". They don't take advertising, and they buy all their gear retail (so they say). It's not slick & glossy, in fact all pix are B&W, and it has about half the page count of the mainstream mags, but they seem forthright. The main problem is timimg - you might have to wait, or scrounge through back issues, to see the review you want.

June 1, 2000, 10:40 AM
Yes you are correct to think it would be bad business for "most" gun mags to call a crap gun for what it really is.

There is however a magazine called
"GUN TEST MAGAZINE" they do not carry advertisments from gun companies they take popular relevant rifles, shotguns, and handguns and pit brand against brand in shooting and reliability tests.

If one performs well they tell you, if one breaks apart they tell you. They let you know that one is a good buy and if they feel a particular weapon is a waste of money, they come right out and tell you "Do Not Buy This Weapon".

I find their articles very interesting.

June 1, 2000, 11:28 AM
I recently picked up a copy of Surplus Firearms and found it to be quite credible. As for most of the rest, well...

June 1, 2000, 11:42 AM
Here's my little rant on this topic.

I used to subscribe to a lot of gun rags until I just couldn't stand the two-faced product reviews any more ("Gun Tests" being the exception). I remember one rag that fulsomely praised a 9mm Series 70 Colt's GM. The only negative was a breezy note about a "minor extractor misfitting." Reading between the lines: the gun stovepiped, regularly failed to extract and eject, and was generally unreliable.

Then there was the review of an expensive S&W Mountain Gun. According to the rag, this was a revolver of outstanding quality in every respect, except, oh yes, the barrel/cylinder gap measured 0.011. The rag's take: S&W is a great company that inexplicably overlooked the gap on this fine product, but there shouldn't be another Mountain Gun with the same problem, so go right out and buy one. Actually, in my experience, S&W barrel/cylinder gaps may be anywhere between 0.003 and 0.014 and are often wider on one side of the barrel than the other!

Anyway, I guess it's tough to be all things to all people without running the risk of being nothing to anybody.

June 1, 2000, 01:35 PM

How many ultimate mini 9mm's, 45's...etc can there be? Most rags are good for showing new products and take everything else inside with a pound of salt!

June 1, 2000, 05:37 PM
How bout the mags that recycle the articles every few years under a different title and with different photos.

Geoff Ross

June 1, 2000, 09:15 PM
You mean like;
Auto VS Wheel Gun
Mini 45 shoot off!
The Ultimate Hunting Battery! (I love that word battery)
Which .357 hideout?
The Ultimate (insert caliber here)

Oh man it sucks! These guys don't have a bad thing to say about any guns. When is the last time you saw one of them write about some jam o matic or bad mouthed any product? I don't know how they sleep at night.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times to spit on his hands,hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." H.L. Mencken

Glenn E. Meyer
June 1, 2000, 11:47 PM
Recycled articles.

There is actually a method to that madness.
The mags have realized that a lot of their readership is newbies with a three year span of attention and then they drop off buying.

Thus they recycle the topics as they are fresh to a lot of their readers and interesting.

It's like Bride Magazine - once you get hitched you drop the subscription and maybe sign up for Divorce Magazine :)

I do agree with you about the glowing reviews
of guns - yuk!

June 2, 2000, 12:12 AM
I'll play the Devil's Advocate here. I believe that the "mainstream" rags have broken the news on a lot of things over the years. Though perhaps, not as quickly as we may have liked.
IIRC, Wiley Clapp wrote of KBs with the then new G22s when they were tested for possible adoption by the CHP. I'll defer to the Glockites here, but, the second receiver cross pins above the .40 triggers weren't initially there. They are a buttress added after problems began to surface with the .40s in actual use.
The fact that .357 K frames experience flame cutting and increased wear was exposed after PDs started actually using magnum loads for training. What about the early issues with galling relevant to the first stainless guns? What about all of the times you've read cautions against LLamas, Rossi's and early Tauri regarding quality issues?
I for one, do consider them only as entertainment, first and foremost. But once in a while, you can find some useful stuff. Mas Ayoob(take him or leave him) doesn't seem shy about voicing concern or reservation about gun(s) which may need it. American HG, and its sister, Guns Mag, are the best in that regard.

Dave McC
June 2, 2000, 05:17 AM
Thanks, it's obvious I'm not alone on this. That Gun Tests Mag has been around for a while, but it's hard to find here in Md. Other than that, no commercial mag seems to be objective in their evaluations and reports.Again, the NRA mags prove an exception.

OTOH, forums like this'un are a great source of info, opinionated and biased as we may be(G)....

June 2, 2000, 08:16 AM
I'll add that there are other good sources for info available online, but you have to look far and wide to find them.

Many of thd bbs are inhabited by sophmore-types spewing dogmatic non-sense like "my gun's better than your gun".

IMO, the best and most informative websites, (like http://home.earthlink.net/~spwenger/ )tend to relay time honored wisdom like "there is no ONE BEST way" and "find what works best for YOU", even "forgo the extra gadgets and GET SOME TRAINING" (courtesy of Dave McC!)

I'm reading Louis Awerbuck, and it's great! Aside from being hillarious, his best writing teaches "Use your head, your gun won't think for you". That sentiment would never fly in a glossy rag.

I guess the bottom line is CONSIDER THE SOURCE.


Dave McC
June 3, 2000, 11:45 AM
Thanks,Brian, it's nice to know someone's paying attention...

Last year I was at an indoor range getting in a little practice with the handgun. Amiable fellow next to me had a Wilson Custom, and he bragged on it some as he set up. At 25 feet he wasn't keeping them on paper. While my groups haven't been as good as formerly since I got these accursed bifocals, he regarded them as superb. He asked how he could shoot like that. My answer was, get some qualified instruction.

If he did, chances are he can outshoot me next time. If not, he's either still dangerous to the wrong people(instead of dangerous to the RIGHT people) or he's given up.

And that's a danger here. Some folks think a new addon will make the difference, some utter names like Vang as incantations, some keep silent and don't ask the questions that NEED to be asked.

Form and training are interlinked, and maybe 95% of effectiveness is that. The rest is the bells,whistles,fenderskirts, etc.

Al Thompson
June 3, 2000, 04:56 PM
Small warstory - best friend did some writing for Pederson's Publishing. He started copyrighting his stories as Peterson's had a habit of changing numbers they didn't like - muzzle velocitys for instance. When his articles came in with the copyright "C", they stopped buying them..

Precision Shooting/American Handgunner/Tactical Shooter are the ones I subscribe too.


Al Thompson
June 4, 2000, 07:30 AM
Forgot Rifle magazine now that Ross Seyfried is writing for them.

For those that are interested - Tactical Shooter is a pretty good read. Few mainstream writers - lots of operators and dedicated hobby guys. You can get a free copy by requesting one. The number is (860) 645.8776. They advertise this service - especially as they do not sell on book store shelves.


June 4, 2000, 01:12 PM
How about Shotguns. Except for the occasional review in American Rifleman most of the reviews written on scatterguns are more like advertisements for the manufacturers. After getting burned badly reading glowing reviews on a gun that turned out to be junk I take all reviews with a grain of salt. I even shoot ( Ok he is a member of my monthly travelling club and I always get put in the squad behind him) with one of the authors who does reviews for several magazines and I know his biases and would never ask him for advice on buying a gun.

The best review of a gun is to go to a range where the guns are shot and see what the other shooters are shooting, then ask questions and ask to shoot the guns. Junk doesn't last long on the trap or skeet fields.

(Anybody interested in a Remington Peerless 12 ga 30" bbls with 15 1/4 lop.) He He He!

Geoff Ross

One reason to vote in the next Presidential election.

It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!

[This message has been edited by K80Geoff (edited June 04, 2000).]

Bil Mattern
June 5, 2000, 06:31 AM
I can just hear Pat Rogers shouting ,"Tactical Shooter...the rest of you 'h***s can read Guns & Bull-CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- magazine!"

June 7, 2000, 05:32 PM
I've been involved in a lot of different endeavors over many years, and I can say without doubt that the gun magazines are the most venal publications I have encountered. There are useful things scattered around in some of them, but the amount of rubbish gets me so upset that I've quit buying them. I held Ayoob in high regard until he published a piece declaring that the killing of that Japanese student in Baton Rouge was a good shoot because the shooter "wasn't properly trained." This evidently means, in his book, that so long as you fon't know what you're doing you can blow away anyone you please. I subscribe to Gun Tests, which is at least honest, if too limited to be entirely reliable.