View Full Version : What does SWAT offer the average "Joe"

May 18, 2004, 06:38 PM
Now, first let me say, that I haven't touched an issue in YEARs. The reason being is that when I got my first copy years back, I just felt so angry at how they showed guns and weapons, that I as an average "joe", could never own, touch, look at, without being busted.

And some of the articles were so elite driven that if you really read the story, everyone that wasn't LEO and a member of SWAT was, well, a peon.

I don't think that SWAT was under Rich's control at that time, I believe it was when I was still in the military and I got out in '98.

So here I am, bad-mouthing a magazine that I just confessed to not reading for many many years now because of the taste that I got when I had.

So, to give SWAT a chance, and to be able to badmouth (in private, not in the forums) the mag to my friends, or to see that it's changed it's format that is not for the machine gun toting elite but also benefits the average "Joe".

And please, no bashing or flames, I just want to know and give everyone a chance to change my outlook, for better or worse.

Thank you.


Denny Hansen
May 18, 2004, 06:48 PM
If some of the members who read S.W.A.T. don't mind, I'd like to hear what they have to say. As the editor, I'm obviously biased.

I can tell you that in addition to some "LEO" related articles, the current issue has an article on Bushmaster's Carbon 15, Beretta's Storm, a carbine training course that allows both LEO and private students, an Old Rifle Course at Thunder Ranch, a three-gun match and trauma gear--just for starts.

If you go to the S.W.A.T. website, www.swatmag.com, and click on Archives you can get a good look at what we offer every issue.

S.W.A.T.: It's not just for cops anymore.:D

May 18, 2004, 06:50 PM
I really like the magazine, and share some of your opinions about it in the past. I guess I'm still not crazy about the name, as it gives me that "wannabe-mall ninja" feeling every time I buy it, but the combination of firearms reviews, tactical applications, and knives are hard to come by in just one magazine. And unlike a pure firearm or knife magazine, the people who write for S.W.A.T. have an enormous amount of real world experience to share. Probably the only magazine I ever read that doesn't leave me thinking I just got ripped off for the cover price-it's worth every penny.

May 18, 2004, 07:18 PM
Articles on:

Situational Awareness
Security while at home, travel , business.
Reviews on "regular old" firearms. * ( From wheel guns used as BUGS, to Lever actions - basic run of the mill , non LEO/Military firearms)
Reviews on ammo*

Then if you want to attend a facility for various types of training, many reviews by both the attendees, [includes SWAT staff and members of TFL/THR] and instructors .

* Reviews, that are up front and honest - NOT influenced by advertisers.

May 18, 2004, 07:55 PM
Okay, so far, so good and I really appreciate the way the editor came forward. Shows that he is interested in readers feedback and not hidden behind some secret email address or unreachable.

I have tomorrow off, not really off but I have to go and get poked and prodded for my yearly VA in the afternoon but am going to the community college to see about some "edumakation" :D before my GI Bill expires.

So, since the VA clinic is across town, many stores that carry SWAT are on the way. What would the average "joe" be interested in in this issue of the magazine?

If you wish, and I think that it's a good idea, that maybe a sticky post made by either Mr. Hansen or Rich with the title "We would like feedback from the readers of SWAT and the feedback from others why they don't read it" or something like that. Threads like this one tend to get buried because they are read but not really responded to (due to it being contraversal and others may not wish to "get involved").

And I am not trying to troll, or to cause any headaches for anyone, just trying to do the right thing and make a decision on fact and not just emotion over something that I'd read years ago and really have no facts to make a decision at this time.


Denny Hansen
May 18, 2004, 08:06 PM
First off, Denny will work just fine. Calling me Mr. is like putting a high-dollar sound system in a '74 Pinto--they just don't go together.

The "sticky" you mention is already there for the most part, right under this forum's title:
"...Members are encouraged to contribute articles, feedback and suggestions. If you've enjoyed helping to build TFL, remember this....the Internet was just the beginning!..."

Check us out and let me know what you think. If you don't feel there is something in it for the average joe, I'll personally reimburse you.


Rich Lucibella
May 18, 2004, 08:20 PM
Hey USP-
If that was "trolling" then call me Big Daddy Troll.

Take the following ingredients and tell me what you get:
- Editorial Staff and writers that are 100% real world experienced (just check the masthead for the names)
- In house Staff that is 100% shooters
- Editor who's a former SWAT cop; has the independence, work ethic and honesty of a real cowboy; and about 15 years experience in this venue.
- Young talented Art Director with more imagination and talent than imaginable.
- Publisher who handles every subscriber complaint personally; in addition to the advertisers... and has a bit of reputation for bowing down to no man.

That said, you'll have to be the final judge. I know this, though. SWAT Magazine is to the "gun rag" community what TFL was (and is) to firearms chat rooms.

May 18, 2004, 08:46 PM
This is what I like, up front and personal, not just another number in some computer somewhere where in order to speak with the editor, publisher, or any staff of the magazine is forwarded to the new janitor hire.

Okay, you've got a deal, I will get the new SWAT for this month and read it, front to back without skipping any article that I would normally do with the usually gun mags that I get (due to title or just a bad opening line).

The main reason that I had revived this discussion is that when TFL went down 17 or so months ago, I had posted on my thoughts about SWAT, thoughts that were actually from years passed, and I didn't do so in such a way that would have gotten a response and was not in such a manner that would be considered a simple request but a demand.

Okay, as I have confessed earlier, it has been awhile and I think that I was passing judgement upon Rich without even trying to see if the format had changed, or would have changed, from the last time that I had bought a copy of the magazine. Thus, I do believe that in all fairness that I need to get a copy, read it front to back, and then comment.

I do like the way that I've gotten responses from both Denny and Rich, up front, and in a stand up way. If nothing else, it brings forth a personable affect which makes the reader and buyer feel closer to the gears behind the machine, sort of speak.

Thank you for responding, and I am happy that TFL is open once again. I enjoyed it when it was up, there were a few things that I had heartburn about, but that is something that will be stowed for now. It's day one :).

I hope the "new" TFL well, and I will be here on a regular basis as I was before. Thanks for everything, for without allot that happened, past and present, many people would not have met each other and many friendships would not have been forged.

Welcome back TFL.


May 18, 2004, 08:57 PM
Does S.W.A.T. Magazine ship to an APO? If not, I'll have my mouse of a spouse back home in the house order and ship it. The up-front response to USP45usp's query leads me to believe I've been missing a good magazine.

Denny Hansen
May 18, 2004, 09:28 PM
I don't get involved in that end of the publication, but I know we ship in bulk overseas and Rich has donated and sent large amounts to the troops. So, I guess the short answer is yes.


May 18, 2004, 09:33 PM

I appreciate the broadening of the arenas SWAT covers, but I do think it should rightly keep more of a defensive focus than most of the other gun rags. Not sure I'd include reviews of gallery guns, for instance. (Gotta confess, I've been wanting one since I've seen them, though. :p )


May 18, 2004, 09:46 PM
I never read any of the old SWAT magazine

At least not that I recall...

What I like most is the straight talk in the equipment discussion/reviews.

You don't often read anything bad about a product in the regular rags

Most of the SWAT articles seem (to me) to be fair...without being fake

Not that I have loved ALL of them...but the trend is positive (IMHO)

May 19, 2004, 01:31 PM
USP, I'm not a cop, operator, professional bodyguard, mall-ninja, or wannabe, so I guess I may fit your definition of "Average Joe" if that allows for one being a serious student of personal defense. I find S.W.A.T. to be the one magazine I read before all others, and the one with (more often than not) information that is the most practical and interesting to me.

Sure, some of the articles have more relevance to police and military than to others, but many articles deal with (as sm noted) situational awareness, product testing, training, and personal security. And even the police / military content often has information valuable to "Average Joe" since much (but certainly not all) of the police and military gear and training is available to the rest of us.

The best advice I could give you is to read a couple of recent issues cover-to-cover and decide for yourself if it is geared towards your interests.

May 19, 2004, 05:16 PM
Well, I went and found this months issue and bought it.

First of all, I think that I deserve a royality from the magazine, one of my biggest complaints has always been that you start to read an article, turn the page, and then you have to go to page XX or XXX when you're just one page four. That really pissed me off. SWAT started an article, and finished the article, with the flip on just one page, or the next if they had an advert.

The article about the car and using that as the ultimate weapon could have mentioned automatic door looks, either built in or put in, as a defense. Over all, the article was very well written.

Yes, there was one 1911 as well as a Glock story in there, but at least you didn't just cover one from front to back or the other, fair balanced.

Yet your articles on the Kel-Tec as well as the surplus rifles out there countered that, made alot even.

The way that a SWAT team member, or an LEO should check out an area, and then check it again, boardered on tactics, as in, this is what the SWAT/LEO team will do, you should do also. Good article, geared toward both LEO's and the average "Joe".

Got alittle ticked at the LEO only training, allot of that would be good advice for the average "Joe" also, but then I did read the box that says this same school offers classes for the normal "Joe", so I'm assuming that since they teach LEO only classes, they may tend to give some good advice and actions to the normal Joe.

The small print got my attention, "if you don't like this (as referring to LEO/Government only type things) then get off your butt and do something about it". The Bill of Rights ad, those got my attention.

The reviews, as far as I could see, didn't sugar coat or dawn all over the "new gun" but gave the facts, straight and true, and what the reseachers final thoughts were. Were not afraid to say that this is a nice pistol, but add some freakin' sights to it. But I must admit that the sights that were added, did look, well, kinda strange, it looked as if the frame had been modified to take them and didn't look quite right.

I loved the article on the surplus mil rifles. Maybe next time, since the author was looking at the SKS's, he should come here (once I get my ChiCom together) to test the main five, Chinese, Romanian, Albanian, Yugoslavian, and the Russian. The same goes for maybe more articles on a variety of C&R guns, including but not limited to single articles (like on the CZ, the Star Super, the Nagant firing original ammo ver. the .32acp cylinder, etc..).

Overall, I will say, so far, good magazine. Yet, take to heart the article by Wess Doss. Not only does the "expert" remain upon a training center which will do nothing but harm, but also extends to any publication and/or website which can do more harm, then good.

There is not many places here in town that carry SWAT, I will drive the 10 miles one way to go and get for the next couple of months. The main thing that has impressed me is the fact that you don't have to turn pages, clear to the back, to read the rest of the article. Denny, right now, your money is safe, for I will not charge for the first, and liked, issue.


Rich Lucibella
May 20, 2004, 12:13 AM
Fair and honest review. The fact that you read the publisher's disclaimer, shows you read it all! Surprised you didn't note Richard Stevens' legal/pol column. That's an intentional counterbalance to the "we're a cop mag" misperception.
Thanks much.

May 20, 2004, 09:38 AM
I think SWAT has a good balance for the LEO and the armed individual but taking into consideration that the magazine is called SWAT I find it a little unreasonable to complain that the content is mostly related to Special Weapons and Tactics. SWAT can't be the end all gun magazine for everybody but I think it does a more than fair representation for the subject that it proclaims to cover.
Just my 2 cents

Ben Swenson
May 20, 2004, 09:58 AM
Recently subscribed. I'm looking forward to getting my first issue. Thanks for the review, USP45usp.

May 20, 2004, 05:31 PM
as an "uglier than the average joe" kinda guy, i have been delighted that each issue has plenty of great articles, covering not only the newest tools of the trade, but also milsurp rifles.

its also interesting to read about the tactics and training of other countries Special Forces.

until they put Skunky on the cover, i dont think SWAT could be labeled as a 'Mall-ninja rag'. :D

May 20, 2004, 09:14 PM
Rich, I quite enjoyed the article by Richard Stevens, titled "This Hammer is a bust".

I did neglect to mention that I didn't have any problems with the opening sentence or lines on any of the articles. This is also a real turn off for me, and many gun magazines out there do have sloppy writing, bad opinions, and the "I know better than you" reporting.

I will continue to get the magazine, but I will say that if you ever change the format that you are reading page 2 and then have to skip to page 86 to read the rest, I will drop the mag like I've done many others.

With Denny's (I dare ya) and the promise of reimbursment, I couldn't not take the dare. In all fairness, I had to "put my money where my mouth is" (as did Denny) and I was proven wrong.

I also didn't mention, but I found the Police Donut eating Contest rather humorious, as in, I know they did it for a good cause, and made fun of the stereotype that is given them.

Also, I don't know if this is considered an infrigement of copywrite (due to it's out of your magazine) but can I cut out the Bill of Rights page and frame it? Maybe have a scan of it on the computer to send out? I like the photography and the layout, as well as the message that it points out, with the handgun underneath it. In all the gun rags that I've read, I've yet to find one that has a full page to the original Bill of Rights. Good show old boy(s).


Rich Lucibella
May 20, 2004, 09:29 PM
The BoR was Denny's idea, I believe....as is the demand to limit jump pages as much as possible. Betty (Member here) gets 100% credit for the layout....she really is quite amazing. I can't tell you how pleased I am to have impressed you with the book....I know you were appropriately skeptical.

As to the name, it was never my first choice because it really doesn't speak to what the content is all about (and I almost made the mistake of changing it). Magazine publishing is a very difficult and shrinking business. SWAT grew by 300% since 2001....the industry average is down 26% in the same time. Changing a title is equivalent to starting from scratch....you need to go to every retail account and get them to re-sign with you. It's basically a death sentence.

Our answer is to just offer the best and most honest content we can and we're obviously being rewarded for it. I believe you're reading May. If so, you needn't wait long for June. It should be on the shelves by weekend.

June 17, 2004, 09:39 AM
> until they put Skunky on the cover, i dont think SWAT could be labeled as a 'Mall-ninja rag'.

How 'bout it, Rich? Can we get Skunky on the cover? :D

- 0 -

Rich Lucibella
June 17, 2004, 10:14 AM
Well, given his commercial appeal, I'd much prefer we put him on the cover of Rosie :p

cma g21
June 19, 2004, 11:35 AM
You guys convinced me.
I just subscribed. <img src="images/smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Big Grin" class="inlineimg" />

June 26, 2004, 01:07 AM
Ditto, I just subscribed online. Forum Thread = Free Advertising. I read this thread, went to the site, poked around a bit, and found myself punching in my card number...lol. I cannot wait to get my first issue. I'll probably end up with pins and needles while in the "reading room" and need some help off my chair.

I liked hearing about how you reviewed regular joe schmoe surplus rifles. Most of the other magazines I read always write about the "latest" thing, which is usually a weapon I cannot afford, lol.

Now I have a reason to walk out to the mailbox as opposed to getting mail exclusively from people who want my money before I get any of it.

Denny Hansen
June 26, 2004, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the faith in us. Speaking with your checkbooks shows a lot of trust. We won't let you down.


August 15, 2004, 10:03 PM
Hey Denny, any chance of getting a free trial issue? :D

Denny Hansen
August 16, 2004, 10:29 AM
No chance at all. Same deal as above--if you're not happy with what you receive I'll reimburse you for the cost.


Rich Lucibella
August 16, 2004, 11:27 AM
Actually we do offer free S.W.A.T. SnapShots

These are full article excerpts from each issue in PDF format. They may be downloaded from the online store at http://swatmag.com/shop


Jeff Gonzales
August 18, 2004, 09:25 AM

When I have peers whom I have the utmost respect for tell me they subscribe to SWAT because of the content that says it all. While I may seem biased I am confident you will find that SWAT delivers. Take the chance and pick up a couple, you will find it consistency brings solid material to the end user.


August 29, 2004, 07:53 PM
Hey Denny, I like reading the SWAT mag's when ever I can get my hand's on it I have a hard time getting it around here the shoppet's never stock enough and the main PX is a joke wjen it come's to getting any type of gun mag's, let me know how much a subcribtion is. :)

Denny Hansen
August 30, 2004, 12:01 PM
A one year subscription is $26.95. That saves about 18 bucks a year off the newsstand price. Two and three year subs save even more. You can subscribe on-line at www.swatmag.com


August 30, 2004, 08:26 PM
Thanks Denny I will get to it as soon as I get back home.

September 6, 2004, 06:26 PM
First off, let me say that I'm a big SWAT fan.

Secondly, I realize that this thread started a while back, but I am wondering something...

If someone is curious about the mag, why not wander down to the local bookstore and thumb through it? Heck, maybe even spend the $5 to own it and read it at your leisure? Just a thought.

Great mag Denny! A while back, I stopped subscribing to all the magazines (around 25, car, gun, and computer) that I was getting. SWAT is the only gun rag that I still read.

September 6, 2004, 06:57 PM
I renewed my SWAT subscription a few months ago. I think what it offers the average joe is a look at tactics, techniques, and gear and gives you some knowledge upon which to base your training and purchases, scaling it to what you can afford. To me it's not so much "BUY THIS HI $$$ GEAR! OR DIE!" but, here is how the pros do it and here are some lessons you might be able to use.

Try it, you just might change your mind.

User Name
September 28, 2004, 07:13 AM
I'm not a subscriber. I used to buy an issue here and there that covered a certian topic that interested me and other than that I was unimpressed, but for the same reasons as USP45usp stated (it's been years ago). Reading this thread has convinced me, I'm gonna check out a newer SWAT mag. and if it's up to par (as it sounds to be) I'll use the subscription form in the mag to subscribe. Untill I get that done, I was curious...the Bill of Rights page USP45usp mentioned has my curiosity up. Is that something that is run often or posted on www.swatmag.com or was it just in the issue he read??
I have a plain printout from the internet in my "gun room" but the one he describes sounds very interesting...

Denny Hansen
September 28, 2004, 09:09 AM
The Bill of Rights layout only ran in that one issue.


Rich Lucibella
September 28, 2004, 09:32 AM
Wayne was referring to the Disclaimer in every issue:
Certain products represented in this magazine may be subject to prohibitions, restrictions or special licensing for sale, possession or interstate transport. If this annoys you, Get Involved...support the Bill of Rights...all of them!
and to Page 88 of May 2004, attached.

User Name
September 28, 2004, 10:44 AM
Thanks Rich, he's right..that is slick!

Rich Lucibella
September 28, 2004, 10:58 AM
ALL credit goes to Art Director, Betty Wendt. Her layout; her design.

March 11, 2005, 09:14 PM
well, i must admit that ive passed up swat in the stores for a while now mainly due to its leo appeal title, but i think i will go get an issue tomorrow and try it out. you might have made a believer out of me.

March 14, 2005, 03:31 PM
Being the consummate "Average Joe," a confirmed High Drag Low Speed operator, and having just reupped for a 3 year subscription, I figure I'd put my two cents in.

The areas covered by SWAT that are of academic interest only to the non-uniformed civilian readership are actually few and far between. The vast majority of the articles (even those involving restricted items or far away lands) are of benefit because most everything is relatively available and the tactics regarding their implementation are just as valid for us all. No, most of us won't be clearing a house or cave of insurgents unless something goes disastrously wrong on the home front, but I'd say more than one of the subscription base has or will have to find out what caused that rather loud thump between your room and the kids' room.

Additionally, the wealth of knowledge of the writers and their ability to communicate it effectively is absolutely worth the price of admission.

March 16, 2005, 08:58 PM
I can't believe that I started this post/thread that long ago and just now (last month) finally got around to subscribing instead of going into town to get a copy every now and then :(.

People who have read and replied to this post are probably wondering why I haven't commented in so long, so here goes:

Been paying off debts that when I was in one of my "moods" I got on the computer and spent way more then I had (damn credit :D ).

I've been trying to add to the board in general, while trying to do what Rich has advised "Attack the message, not the person" (as in, attack the message with logic and sources and leave any personal feelings at the door). I am, in essence, relearning civility and conduct while on the boards. I have been on the boards for many, many years and last year I totally lost it, started to attack members, and thus, got banned. Entirely my fault. (not this board, others. If I start the poop that I started on the others, I fully expect and know that I will be banned here as well, them's the rules, no matter if you're a subscriber or not)

This year has started well for me, money wise, and attitude wise. So, since I did start this post, it was up to me to "put my money where my month is". So I did. I had enough to go for the two year subscribtion but you can bet your last dollar that I will be going for the three year when renewal comes around.

And another thing that I don't think that many here, that haven't subscribed, has as a benefit over all the other mags, you have personal "face to face" access to the people that run and edit :). And I can tell you from experience, the service is fast.

Now, I don't mean for anyone to begain to think of themselves as armchair managers and editors, it don't work that way. Ideas could maybe be sent but don't think that you are now a stock holder :D.

I just thought that I owed Rich and Denny an explanation of why it took as long as it did (because I did come off pretty agressively on the very first post) to finally subscribe. And to the members that have read this post/thread, who have subscribed based on it, and were probably wondering why I hadn't subscribed as of yet (but have now).

Life is good, my mood is better, and I am happy. So I figured that I could only add to my good start of the year with a subscribtion that will come to me instead of me having to go to it :).


March 17, 2005, 07:55 AM
Been paying off debts that when I was in one of my "moods" I got on the computer and spent way more then I had (damn credit ).

Been there, done that, got those scars.

Welcome back.

Denny Hansen
March 17, 2005, 12:30 PM
Thanks for the update, Wayne.Glad to hear things are looking up for you.


March 29, 2005, 07:02 PM
Me too - just now subscribed, for 3 years.

I'm glad I stumbled across this thread. Looks to be a class act all the way around. Nice bump USP45.

May 29, 2005, 07:09 AM
Over the years, I have enjoyed seeing SWAT evolve the way it has. Very high quality content, very thought-provoking articles, lots of practical tips and instructions, and a no-nonsense attitude in general.

In years past I too felt as though I was 'intruding' as a "mere regular guy" shooter. And that's probably due to the magazine's name and its former elitist conent...which as I said, has evolved away from that. Maybe now, all that's left of the "old" SWAT is its name.

Whether it's named SWAT or something else, those of us who are regular and supportive readers will continue to be so.