View Full Version : Consumer reports doesn't do this...

October 31, 2002, 11:38 AM
When's the last time somebody's shot up a few vests in the name of science and/or investigative reporting?

These things ain't exactly cheap, and the few times I've considered buying, I'm stymied by thoughts of "How well do these things really work? Is Brand X really better than Brand Y?"...

October 31, 2002, 12:43 PM
I read somewhere that Chuck Taylor used to model them while his friends put some rounds into em. Maybe it was here?

October 31, 2002, 01:54 PM
Richard Davis, head of Second Chance Body Armor, used to shoot himself while wearing one of his vests four or five times a year. He has slowed down a bit recently, but still tests his vests that way.

If I was buying body armor I'd buy Second Chance.

Denny Hansen
October 31, 2002, 02:47 PM
S.W.A.T. has performed testing in the past, including backface deformation testing. We plan on more in the future. One of the reports pending is sure to shake up the industry.

Derek Zeanah
October 31, 2002, 03:24 PM
One of the reports pending is sure to shake up the industry.

MadDog wouldn't be part of that report, would he? ;)

Been wondering when he'd follow-up on previous postings...

Denny Hansen
October 31, 2002, 05:53 PM
Yep! ;)

October 31, 2002, 07:36 PM
Hey, Denny, is SWAT going to run Leroy's data on vest testing?!?!?!:D ROTFLMAO! :D (Sometimes I do the jokes just for me).

November 1, 2002, 02:01 AM
I saw a short report on FOX News about 4 weeks ago regarding a vest manufacturer.
Apparently the vests they were making weren't stopping bullets in tests. NYPD did a big recall.
The name of the company eludes me at the moment though, something to the effect of BHP?:confused:

November 1, 2002, 10:06 AM
The vest company with the problems mentioned was Point Blank.

November 4, 2002, 10:34 AM
Second chance may send you squares of fabric for testing if you call them.

November 4, 2002, 01:22 PM
Rich Davis is a VERY cool guy.

Hence, we should buy his stuff. Always support the cool people.

Besides, his stuff works as advertised.

Crimson Trace
November 4, 2002, 01:39 PM
As a current Point Blank wearer, can someone fill me in on this, my pucker factor just went skyrocketing.

Any particular models in question?

Department owes me a new vest soon anyway, but...


Rich Lucibella
November 4, 2002, 02:33 PM
Hey. Mike. Do a search at TacticalForums.com
Mad Dog's been real busy with this research.
Rich Lucibella

Rob Pincus
November 4, 2002, 03:54 PM

The thread at TF is at:

I hope you're not affected!

Crimson Trace
November 5, 2002, 02:00 PM
I'm "affected" alright, but my vest seems to be OK.

Next time 2nd Chance or Safariland.

Thanks for the links. Appreciate it.

Stay safe.


Double Naught Spy
November 5, 2002, 03:57 PM
Nope, the folks at Consumer Reports don't do that sort of thing with live people. Why? Because too many product makers fudge their data. Consumer reports does do a tremendous amount of testing of various types of items, regardless of cost, but they refuse to do tests that will directly put a person's life in jeopardy. As a result, they are able to keep their staff without any hassles.

Unfortunately, rags like SWAT have a history of reviewing products by manufacturers who are buying large amounts of advertising space in the rag. That sort of casts dispersions on whether the tests are actually fair or valid. That doesn't mean they aren't, however.

Rich Lucibella
November 5, 2002, 04:04 PM
"Rags like SWAT have a history of reviewing products by manufacturers who are buying large amounts of advertising space in the rag. That sort of casts dispersions on whether the tests are actually fair or valid."???

Now there's an intelligent comment....simple way to prove it, 00. Open any copy of SWAT....run thru the companies featured, then compare 'em to the Advertiser Index....let us know what kind of correlation you find.

Altenatively, ask yourself this:
What would possibly motivate SWAT to provide a feature that SLAMMED a recently introduced Shotgun when that company was a FULL PAGE advertiser..they naturally, pulled out on us.
Could it be:
A) Because we thought the advertiser would say "Thank You"
B) Because we're MORONS
C) Because we have have some pride in our personal reputations

When you go around making comments like that, you generally wanna be able to back 'em up. Otherwise, people are likely to stop taking you, ummm, "seriously".

Crimson Trace
November 5, 2002, 06:24 PM


casting doubt?

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.

p.s. In Rich's defense, he does an admirable job of separating sales from editorial.

Pat Rogers
November 5, 2002, 06:34 PM
I'm gonna' take personal offense at your comments.
Can you be a bit more specific as to who, what, where, when or why?
The magazine has a standard of ethics, and I'm sure that Denny would be happy to pass on to you what the writers are required to do when testing anything. Why would the magazine be held to a lower standard? Are you questioning the integrity of Rich, who has done a fair amount to keep the fight against those who hate us proceeding on an even keel.
How about Denny? Questioning his ethics. Partner, you are dead wrong if you are.
Don't confuse SWAT, the management or the worker bees with something else in your past.
I write for SWAT for a reason, and that reason is the integrity of those involved.
We- all of us- are in business to make money. However, i can tell you that no one is getting rich at SWAT, regardless of their capacity. Certainly no one here is going to hit the big one based on the advertising that comes from lying about a piece of kit- and the loss of credibility would be the cruelest cut of all.
Advertising is a fact of life, and generates the cash flow necessary to keep the magazine alive.
Unless they raise the price of the mag to about the nth degree.

I'm not a big fan of "tests", because they usually involve an insignifigant statistical sampling of a particular item. However, sophisticated testing is not generally viable for a specialty magazine of this type. How would a maker react when you tell him that you want 1000 Fortortna 2000's to test until destruction, and by the way, could the ammo guy please give us 100K worth of Uncle Cheech's garlic soaked heat seekers to run through them?

What you get are impressions based on the users observations and modified by his experience. If the writer has a frame of reference that includes T&E, and has the time and facilities available, you will get a fair representation of what a particular item is capable of doing.
I'll speak for myself here, but anything that i write about is gear that i have been issued or purchased and have carried and used in training and operationally, and the results are based on the user community's input.
Want to talk about other mags? Have at it. Just don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

Denny Hansen
November 5, 2002, 06:46 PM
I would simply direct those with any question to the Authors Area of the S.W.A.T. website. Look under Product Policy. http://swatmagazine.com/authors.htm

BTW, Rich and I hold ourselves to the same policy as our authors.


November 5, 2002, 07:08 PM
00, shor nuff (a little Tejas lingo). [switching accents] Oh, yes they do (product test on live persons)!!! Or at least SWAT writers do!

Anytime a gun rag writer stands behind a product enough to shoot himself, you have to be impressed--advertising Benjamins concerns aside!

Denny Hansen
November 6, 2002, 10:02 AM
A little clarification:
Years ago (and before my time) several writers for S.W.A.T. did let themselves get shot while testing vests.

I'm not going to have any of my guys get shot as I feel that is totally irresponsbile. Not going to do it myself either. I already have one award from the Kevlar Suvivor's Club and feel no need to get a second. Everyone will just have to settle for "lab" type tests.


Double Naught Spy
November 6, 2002, 06:12 PM
While I do enjoy SWAT and several other rags, I am continually surprised by the high number of glowing reviews of products they describe. That is my opinion. I will do as Rich suggests and see if I can find any makers advertising products in SWAT that SWAT has tested. Fair enough challenge and SWAT will get another sale as I go to buy a copy.

Rich Davis of Second Chance did in fact used to let himself get shot several times at year. I know at at one point while doing a demo that was taped, I found out that he used phone books under the vests to help offset blunt force trauma. Of course, that doesn't exactly give the proper impression of the ballistic vest's performance when you have something like that to take all the collateral damage out of the shooting. At the time, it was noted that Davis couldn't be repeated shot as it would eventually take its toll on him. Well of course it would because while vests my provide pretty good protection, the wearer doesn't necessarily get off completely free.

Putting people in ballistic vests to test them to see if they are really a good form of ballistic protection isn't a great idea. Ballistic vests don't always work, hence why they aren't called "bullet proof" and every so often, just like with other products, there are bad batches. Ask a NY officer about the wonderful vests they had to replace from Point Blank.

Rob Pincus
November 6, 2002, 06:21 PM

As another SWAT staff writer, I would encourage you to go back over the last 18 months of SWAT Magazine and familiarize yourself with what we are all about. Yes, you will find some glowing reviews of certain products or schools... but you will also find honest criticism and constructive commentary about a great many pieces of gear, practices and instructors. You will find that some of those criticised were or are advertisers.
It is my hope that you made your comment out of ignorance and not out of malice. If it was the former, I hope you wil become familiar with us.

November 6, 2002, 06:40 PM
Denny, thanks, I should have elaborated on that. Usually that's my style, yak, yak, yak . . . .:D

Double Naught Spy
November 6, 2002, 07:51 PM
Okay, I snagged the one issue of S.W.A.T. that I have in my possession, the Sept 2002 issue. Sure enough, I don't see any of the brands reviewed listed in the advertiser's index. However, several advertisers listed in the index of that issue were of brands that appeared on the covers of other issues. Advertisers in this issue that had products listed on the covers of other issues include D.P.M.S., FN, Insight made the cover of June.

DS Arms advertised in Sept and had a product review on the cover of May.

DPMS advertised in Sept and has product listed on cover of October.

So sure enough, S.W.A.T. definitely accepts advertising from companies for which they often review their products even if the brand reviewed in a given issue doesn't have that manufacturer advertising in that issue.

And Rich, thanks for noting a very salient point. According to you, S.W.A.T. slammed a shotgun and the maker pulled full page advertising. That is only going to happen so many times before it becomes a real financial concern.

S.W.A.T. may do a fine job of reviewing, but the point that S.W.A.T. accepts advertising from the product lines they review is a salient point. This goes for every magazine that accepts advertising from the makers or distributers of products being review, whether it be in cars, electronics, photography, or whatever. It comes with the territory.

I did look through the issue I had and did not notice any description on S.W.A.T.'s policy on the products they review, whether they buy them from vendors without the vendor knowing the product is going to be reviewed or if the product is simply provided to S.W.A.T. for the sole purpose of review. If the products are being provided by the manufacturer, then there is no reason to trust that the product hasn't been selected as a particularly good example by the manufacturer to submit for review. So the product provided to S.W.A.T. by the maker may not be representative of the product line.

S.W.A.T. is a neat rag that provides a lot of neat information. There is no doubt about that, but they are also a magazine like most of the others in the industry and in many industries that accept advertising from the makers of products they review, advertising which helps keep the rag viable and as Rich noted, when they have come down hard on a bad product, they lost $$ and no doubt full page advertising is pretty serious $$. As such, there is a definite conflict of interest. This is not to say that the reviewers, editors, or staff of S.W.A.T. are unethical in any manner, only that a conflict of interest exists. Companies that get bad reviews will drop advertising according to Rich. This is not a not for profit company. And there you have it.

Rich Lucibella
November 6, 2002, 08:39 PM
This is really getting ponderous.
I don't appreciate having my work referred to as "a rag"...I don't appreciate having the work done by people like Denny, Pat, Rob and a host of others degraded in such baiting manner.

Not any more than you'd appreciate my deducing from your posts that you're obviously a failure in business; frustrated at not getting the "breaks" and skeptical of anyone who puts the product before the profits. Of course, I haven't said such things about you, but I think you get the point. In fact, were you talking about any Member of this Forum but me, you'd have already received an email...from me.

I didn't challenge you to find "some advertisers whose products we reviewed". It's a small industry and you'll always find such. I asked you to back up your smarmy assertions with correlation. Shall I explain the term?

But lemme ask you a couple of things:
What exactly do you do for a living?
Do you take any pride in it, or will you do anything for a buck?

If the former, why would you not afford us the an assumption that we are of equal moral character?
If the latter, why would you assume that we work at your level?

If you knew anything about the way this magazine is run, you'd get your face out of mine.

DS Arms: An innovator in the FN area. Shall we refuse to tell our readers what they're doing because they've been an advertiser since day 1?

Sigarms Academy: You'll find a minimum of five features on them in the last year...not a single ad, though they advertise religiousluy in GWLE

FN: We did a balanced write up on them. They liked it. They called to thank us. They advertised: which should we have refused? The Feature or the Ad?

Insight Tech: To a man, we love their products. We think you should know about them. You will whether they advertise or not...as long as they remain innovative and dedicated. Same with Thunder Ranch. Same with Gunsite.

DPMS: Oh, you mean the guys who have that 3" B/W Ad. Got me there. I absolutely whored myself out for that couple hundred bucks. But then, I'm pretty well known around here for my penchant to do anything for a buck....(note all the banners you've seen since you logged on).

As for slamming products? Your view is the view of a man afraid of failure. We're not...and guess what...betcha Benelli is back within the next 3 issues. They may not have liked the article, but they respect our position...and they respect the guy who wrote it: Louis Awerbuck...you know Louis, doncha? Long time reputation for selling out for a nickel?

Description of our Policies? See, now you are sounding like a frustrated businessman. ;) You want to critique and nitpick a business...just don't want to do any of the work. The Policy is cleary stated on our Web site. If that doesn't work for you, I'd suggest something along the lines of "personal problem".

Conflict of Interest? And now you're sounding like a really small person. I'd hate to think that about you. I have no conflict at all. People worried about a buck have conflicts. Perhaps the "conflict" between making a buck and producing the best product/service you can is foremost in your mind. It's not in mine.

I'm not certain where you get this idea that one must be untruthful or "conflicted" to make money. That's an extraordinarily juvenile view of real business.
Rich Lucibella

Rich Lucibella
November 6, 2002, 09:24 PM
Look for a 4 part article on ESI Life Force in the next year. Also note they are now a 2/3 page advertiser....now there's a classic conflict.
Went something like this:
I've had the utmost respect for Bob Dugan since he broke from traditional Hwa Rang Do Masters in the 60's to teach it to Americans. He built a truly remarkable VIP Security training school.

I personally called him for an ad. Within 5 minutes I was no longer interested in the ad...I wanted the editorial (that's what SELLs magazines). Within a day, a deal was made whereby Rob will be going thru the Entire 400 Hour Course. He'll tell our readers what it takes to get thru a program like this: the strengths, weaknesses, curriculum..all of it. He'll tell you, based on his first hand experience in VIP Protection, if it was worth it. (By the way...Rob's the same author that fairly shredded an Israeli Training Course in the July issue.)

Two weeks after finalizing the deal, I revisited the issue of advertising. Dugan didn't ask to see the first installment of the article before making up his mind. He decided that, if we have writers that dedicated, S.W.A.T. was the vehicle for him. Dugan is obviously not "conflicted"...he's confident that he offers value in his products. Rob will tell you if his self confidence is deserved.

Was that a conflict? Not for Me. Not for Bob Dugan. Not for Rob (he gets paid exactly $0 for 400 hours of work...the diploma, if he finishes and if it's of value, is his reward.) If you see a conflict, I suggest you stick to ShotGun news (a worthy publication, by the way. I'm a subscriber.)

November 6, 2002, 11:14 PM
Car & Driver has had more ads pulled than any other magazine I can think of over the years. Some thirtyish years back, Rolls Royce yanked their ads after one of their cars was referred to as "an example of what attention to detail and a spare no expenses manufacturing philosophy can do for a 1963 Buick". They've never come back. C&D, however, still seems to be thriving.

There's apparently a place in this world for mags that aren't into pulling punches, yet still accept ads.

Crimson Trace
November 7, 2002, 11:17 AM
This is getting tedious, but let me give some input from an advertisers standpoint.

I don't think my views are in any way unique. Although I am definitely more thick-skinned than the average advertiser.

The reason I advertise in a book is to reach the readers of this book. There are two factors playing here: the first is the quantity of readers, the second is quality of readers.

I am paying for the service of getting my message in front of these readers. This is what's know as a "marketing controlled message". A consumer will then take this message along with all the other info they have and make some sort of informed decision.

All other information includes: editorial (non-marketing controlled info), online searches (including chatrooms) and influence of friends.

A consumer will (generally) assimilate all this info to make an informed decision.

If there is a huge disparity between the marketing message, editorial and other information, the credibility of the magazine and the advertiser are in serious jeapordy. When this happens subscription rates plummet. Ad rates are based on subscription rates, so if you don't have readers you are out of business anyway.

My point is, Rich's business in dependant on his credibility. People can see through obvious favoritism for advertisers and will stop buying the mag. If people stop buying the mag, people like will won't advertise in it. Get it?

Now there are certain magazines in every industry that people read (for whatever reason) and the understanding between reader and magazine is that they never say anything bad about any product. We've all seen these and they are easy to spot.

They have all glowing product reviews, shootouts with no loosers, poor accuracy is excused, etc...

People see this and weigh this editorial info less heavily than other info sources. (like experience or peer input)

Bottom line: Consumers are pretty sharp. Magazine that whore themselves lose readers. If circulation numbers are down, there's nobody to advertise to. And the spiral goes. But the first step is losing journalistic integrity.

My product has gotten slammed plenty of times. Its resulted in many product improvement and has helped our company. The best magazines will always give a manufacturer a chance to present their side of a bad review. Consumers generally like to hear both sides of a story.

Sorry for the long post, it seems like such a simple issue.


November 7, 2002, 06:12 PM

You quite obviously have no idea what you are talking about. I have met these guys in person. In their business credibility comes before money. In fact credibility and reputation is how they make their money. Loose credibility, and suddenly you are just another hack writer with your wonder gun of the week. Keep credibility and they keep their targeted audience, keep the target audience of subscribers and the advertisers will come.

I have met Rich, Denny, Ashley, Rob, Brent, and Flint. They have credibility. They have honor. If they say they are impressed by a piece of gear, I’m going to believe them. Regardless of whether or not the manufacturer advertises in their magazine. I have disagreed with some of their opinions, but then again I know that those opinions are honestly founded in their experience and background. NOT in advertising dollars.

As for what kind of person Rich is when it comes to integrity and money, he won’t even accept a discount from me on any TFL gear, and I’ve tried to give him one. And this is on merchandise that I sell on HIS board. Using his LOGO. And even then he doesn’t want ANYTHING in exchange, and in fact thinks that it is not fair for him to have anything cheaper than any of the regular people on TFL.

Rich is also the kind of person who is stubborn enough to eat a lit cigarette rather than move to a no smoking area when he feels he is being bossed around. I can’t imagine him being cowed by any advertiser.

So 00, maybe you should refrain from talking trash about people you know nothing about.

November 7, 2002, 08:45 PM

[disclaimer: I know several SWAT authors and am good friends with several featured guests]

No one hates the gun rags more than me. First, it's just not flowered shirts and imaginary goats; it is people like me that must clean up (or mitigate) the mess where the zealous, but ignorant, emulate doctrine or techniques in their inane articles and things go horribly wrong. "Who said to do THAT! I read it in a gun magazine." Yikes.

Second, I could care less about "product reviews" or how a magazine is "captured" (if a French gun rag, they surrender) by advertisers. That's the free market at work--good, bad and ugly. You can't fool the consumer (for too long).

I have yet to see either of the above in S.W.A.T. Perhaps you can cite some examples of the conduct you detest in SWAT?:confused:

Rob Pincus
November 8, 2002, 10:07 PM
For the record, the ESI project has expanded to include the following:

450 hrs + 15 day residency in Colorado for CPS cert
450 hrs +20 day residency in Oklahoma for Protective Intelligence Cert

Everyone will get to read about the experience starting in the Spring of 2003.

(also, the ESI shooting module (4 days this past Sept) will be reviewed in the February issue and it is not all flattering....


Pat Rogers
November 9, 2002, 08:13 AM
"It's not just flowered shirts and imaginery goats"

I love it! You managed to hit squarely on the head the collective attitude of the "i'm too cool to train" crowd, the "Stop picking on me i AM safe with firearms even if i have hero pics of me with my finger on the trigger" crowd, and the "i don't need no scientific ballistic knowledge" crowd, all in one fell swoop.

I wish i had said that.

May i plagerize this?? I'll even bribe you with a beer or two when we roll into the heartland in the spring!

November 9, 2002, 12:04 PM
Careful, Mr. Rogers, you may be flagged for knowingly or intentionally using sarcasm to make a point.:D

Feel free to copy. It's the public domain and all, including Freeman's Law of Firearms. You can steal idears out swimming around in the public pond.

Love to see you here in the Land of Truth and Justice! I hope you have room for Lebanon (or Lafayette--more and better microbreweries) on your docket.

Pat Rogers
November 9, 2002, 07:18 PM

Sacsam, and sometimes caustic wit (OK, sometimes a lot mote than that...) are just a few of the weapons necessary to keep the non functional ones (who seem to take great joy on trolling the disinformation cowpath) in check.

Micro breweries?? Ken never told me about those...

November 9, 2002, 08:25 PM
If you wish to guide knuckleheads like me over the Errornet, then your arsenal of wit and sarcasm is vast and well-maintained!:D

Ken? He has a wife and a curfew and like a real job with responsibility (think of all the time he has to spend keeping tabs on Brent Wheat). Come on up 65 thirty minutes and we'll introduce you to Whitetail Wheat, Prophetstown Ale and Oatmeal Stout (yummy). Of course, you may have to run back to Lebanon to burn the carb intake.:D

Rich Lucibella
November 9, 2002, 09:10 PM
Are we talking the infamous KC, here?

You'll not be bad-mouthing him on my watch. Why, I've seen Ken down a double Grape NeeHigh with lunch and never make a face!! And you can tell him I said that.

As for Brent:

Pat Rogers
November 9, 2002, 09:19 PM
Yeah, the one and the same.

He is my hero. However- if you wish to wind him up, just casually mention-Catherine Bell.

You will get his attention.

November 11, 2002, 06:17 PM
A good friend of mine is basically the gadget guru for a gun magazine. Something new appears on the market, he gets to play with it, and write something.

His policy is that if he doesn't have something good to say, he doesn't say anything - he just boxes the gadget up and sends it back. He's had folks get really hacked before just for doing that.

If he REALLY likes something, he buys one for himself.

November 11, 2002, 07:11 PM
What would one like to read most?
-A magazine that is full of reviews of inferior equipment, just because they are on the market.
-A magazine that writes about the best equipment on the market.

Of course, one can start to wonder when ALL that is written in a magazine is positive.
So, I believe that a magazine should also have reviews of both the best on the market, and also some of the things that are not so good, but that is eighter popular or is new on the market.

What made up my mind to start subscribing to SWAT, was that I saw the article about the Benelli M4, that didn't get a favorable review.
That article alone persuaded me that SWAT is a serious magazine and that they have the same philosophy as mine.