Gun Tests


December 14, 2005, 12:45 PM
is the name of a periodical I just received. It has "Best Buy" advice on revolvers, semi autos, rifles and shotguns.
It also has don't buy warnings.

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December 14, 2005, 01:24 PM
Good magazine. Tells what they find with a particular gun, and does not accept advertising. I disagree with some of their opinions, but find them pretty fair.

Darth Ruger
December 14, 2005, 01:28 PM
I had a subscription a few years ago. Good stuff, but like anything else, take what they say with a grain of salt. What you're getting is their opinion based on their experiences. Your experiences might be different. I recall one article where they said a gun they had disassembled for inspection and re-assembled would not function properly, no matter what they tried. Jams, misfires, etc. They recommended not to buy that gun.

A few months later, a letter from the manufacturer appeared saying that by following the procedures they explained in the article, it was clear that they had put it back together wrong. They tried it again and confirmed that it was their blunder and once they got it back together correctly, the gun functioned fine. Of course, this was a few months later. Who knows how many people based their buying decision on that misinformed article in the meantime? It also shook my confidence in taking the advice of 'experts' as gospel truth when they can't put a gun back together correctly.

I'm not saying it's a bad magazine overall, it does contain useful information, and I've been thinking about subscribing again to give them another chance. Maybe they learned from that experience. Just keep in mind that what you're paying for isn't fact, but someone else's opinion. And their opinion can be mistaken just like anyone else.

December 14, 2005, 01:30 PM
A lot of people knock them because their results are based on just one example of a firearm. But I don't think it's too practical to suggest that they procure many of each piece to judge, just isn't going to happen. Like anything, you have to take it with a grain of salt, but at least many of their articles don't seem as biased as, say, guns&ammo where there is a big ad of the gun they are reviewing on the next page. :scrutiny:

Darth Ruger
December 14, 2005, 01:35 PM least many of their articles don't seem as biased as, say, guns&ammo where there is a big ad of the gun they are reviewing on the next page.That's true. One thing in their favor is a lack of bias. I guess I just expected that if they're going to give people advice about which guns to buy, they should be able to put one together correctly. But I still might subscribe again. Thinking about it.

December 14, 2005, 01:37 PM
I've been an off and on subscriber for a few years. Like the other posts I agree with taking a grain of salt especially their comparisons of certain guns. A few times they've given a Dont Buy or Conditional Buy on guns I thought were much better and their conclusions a bit nitpicky. JMO

December 14, 2005, 02:25 PM
who responded. I'm a new shooter and have lots to learn.
And thanks in advance to future posters.

December 14, 2005, 03:29 PM
It's worth reading and some of their tests mirror my experiences exactly but testing only one or two guns is not that good a test always. After all, the panned the Makarov because ther safety on their one exaple fell off.

Double Naught Spy
December 14, 2005, 03:58 PM
I have subscribed for several years. I continue to take GT because I don't see any better gun evaluation rags out there. GT is not biased as to gun makers. That is a huge benefit in their favor, but that isn't to say that they are not biased. They are hugely biased, but more often than not, they provide adequate information for the reader to understand their final rating on a given gun inclusive of their biases.

For example, they review 3 handguns and of the three, only one functioned 100% with the various types of ammo and that model gun had the tighest patterns of the guns tested. However, it was not the best rated gun in the group because the people who shot the gun did not find it to be very comfortable in their hands. That is odd to me, but at least the bias is explained.

I understand folks don't think a sample of 1 is adequate for evaluating a product line. It isn't, but you currently don't find anyone buying a sample of multiple guns from a product line and testing the whole sample. It is a valid complaint, so you take what you learn in Gun Tests, query people on boards such as THR and at the range and determine for yourself if the findings of GT appear to reflect a consistent pattern or not.

What I don't like is that in a comparison of a suite of guns, usually three, but sometimes anywhere from 2-5, the guns are ranked compared to one another. Not all of the guns are a good direct comparison with one another and it is possible to have two good guns, one ranked less, because the comparison isn't valid. At some point, they did a comparison of 2 or 3 models of carbines for home defense. They weren't all the same caliber and the larger caliber .308 was picked over one of the other guns because it was a bigger bullet. The bigger bullet aspect may be valid as the gun does offer more stopping power based on the cartridge, but the gun wasn't compared against other .308s, but against .223s. I have no idea how it would stack up to other .308s.

They have also made some fairly substantial mistakes in the presentation of their data that isn't caught until subscribers write in. In other words, they don't double check their work.

Also, there is no consistency in testing, so similar guns from different issues may not have been evaluated in the same manners. What is even worse, some of their reviewers will try to review guns based on a 25 yard standard, but don't have a 25 yard range and will test to 15 yards and then provide a mathematical correction. There is much more room for error when you extrapolate from a shorter to a longer distance rather than vice versa.

Shot distances for testing can range from 5-75 feet, 1-25 yards, or 1-25 meters for handguns and various distances in yards or meters with long guns. So not only are the tests not consistent, they don't even use the same system of measurement on a consistent basis.

What really pisses me off the the downward spiral away from guns. In response to a reader that noticed non-gun items being review, such as knives, the editor said their survey of their consumer base indicated that the consumers want more than just guns and gun accessories such as ammo, scopes, holsters, and the like. So Gun Tests is now a review of things like binoculars, knives, and other non-gun items. Notice I didn't say bayonets, but things like pocket knives. Bayonets would be suited if tested in relation to being on a gun, as implied by the name.

One thing is certain, if I want to learn about knives and binoculars, I won't be trusting the range monkeys at Gun Tests to know the other product lines. I will look to "experts" in those fields. I am not even sure that the folks at Gun Tests are experts with gun and given the troubles, the only advantage over gun rags is that they don't take advertising from the makers of products they review like other gun rags do.

December 14, 2005, 04:24 PM
I get it.

I like it.

It's the closest thing you'll ever, and I do mean EVER see to real evaluations of guns in an American magazine.

Any slick-covered magazine you buy off a rack at a grocery store is going to be nothing but fluff dedicated to making the products of all the big-money advertisers look good.

GT has some flaws, and they have been pointed out in this thread.

But compared to any other gun magazine out there???????


December 14, 2005, 04:31 PM
I also used to subscribed. It was informative. However, I didn't have time to read all of them, so I let the subscription expired.

I think the review is good. Regarding, not enough sample to test, well, IMHO, it represents a real world. If they went out and got a crappy one, I'm sure it is morelikely that a reader can get a crappy one too.

Come to think of it, may be I'll subscribe it again.


December 14, 2005, 08:36 PM
I subscribed some ten years ago or so. Buying one gun, shooting it during break-in proclaiming to tell us all about the other 5,000 units soon to be on the market is dicey, at best.

I cancelled my subscription when they began to editorialize about "junk guns" wondering why anyone would want one.

There articles began being used by anti-gunners who said, "See? Gun Test Magazine says this gun shouldn't be purchased." Sure, anyone anti-gunner could use that, but the articles were written in such a way to easily allow it. I told a friend at the time that the writing was beginning to annoy me and I predicted the antis using the articles. It took about six-months before the anti-articles began appearing.


December 14, 2005, 10:02 PM
I have gotten it for several years. I still do. No particular problems with it. I don't always agree with them, but they usually give enough information that you can make your own evaluation. Overall, it has given me a chance to see details of a lot of guns that I would never have noticed or known about otherwise. Also, I rarely see negative information about guns in other mags. My only complaint is that they often test guns that I care nothing about.

Sure they aren't perfect. Each to his own I guess. I also like that when my brother asks me about a particular gun, I can usually pull out an issue that reviewed it.

Lee F
December 14, 2005, 10:39 PM
I don't have a problem with them basing their review on one example of a gun. When you buy a new gun do you buy multiples of that gun and average out your opinion or do you base your opinion on that one gun? See where I'm going?

December 14, 2005, 10:50 PM
I often feel that the testers aren't qualified to do the testing they are doing.

I specifically recall them testing some high end target pistols by shooting them off of sand bag at 25 feet, getting groups in the 1-2 inch range, and proclaiming that the pistols were stuningly accurate.

the problems are that 1- 2 inch groups are pathetic for those guns. There is no way the guns shot that bad. The standard is under 1" at 50 meters.

Obviously the guy wasn't qualified. He couldn't shoot small groups, and he didn't know what acceptable accuracy for that product was.

Another example is in a test on hunting bullets, in an article that is actually posted on their website as a sample. The author has an obvious problem with nickeled brass. He repeatedly comments that the expensive brass did nothing to help bullet performance (duh). The purpose of nickeled brass is to assist extraction of high pressure cartridges.

And of course, there is the misassembled High Power mentioned above.

4v50 Gary
December 14, 2005, 10:54 PM
I subscribed for a number of years and then I gave up when I found the internet. GunTests writers are not staffers but freelancers. You can learn more from this website by asking the members and guess what? It's free (or at least it comes with your internet).

December 14, 2005, 11:31 PM
what was the price on the annual subscripition?
did you get a special offer thru the mail or did you pick it up at the newstand.?
i like to see the gun mags too...:D

Creeping Incrementalism
December 14, 2005, 11:42 PM
Firearms Tactical, which I trust a great deal, claims that Gun Tests didn't know what they were doing when they did some gel testing.

December 15, 2005, 12:22 AM
When you buy a new gun do you buy multiples of that gun and average out your opinion or do you base your opinion on that one gun? See where I'm going?
The question misses the point. When I buy a new gun, I consider multiple factors. When I bought the Glock, I did so because it was a known entity. On the other hand, when I bought my Argie FN-FAL, I did so because this particular rifle was astonishingly accurate (scoped 1/2 groups at 100yd). I can't vouch for other Argie FALs, but I suppose Gun Test would consider that determinative.

When Consumer Reports rates cars, they do so using thousands of reports from their members.

Lee F
December 15, 2005, 10:00 AM
I do understand your point about considering multiple factors and I also believe doing a review the Consumer Reports way is more conclusive. But the fact remains a sample of one is still valid. If you found one Argie FAL that shoots 1/2" groups I'd bet it is not the only one out there that will do that. I would also believe if I bought one new Kolt ThunderSmacker that had FTF and FTE problems that it wouldn't be the only one out there with those problems.

I work in manufacturing and am extremely familiar with modern process controls and techniques. It is extremely rare to find a problem with only one production piece in a batch. If the vendor has sent bad components or if the assembly tolerances are off it will show up in more than one item. Yes sometimes one bad widget gets through with a unique problem but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Would you like to sell the FAL?:evil:

Father Knows Best
December 15, 2005, 10:59 AM
When Consumer Reports rates cars, they do so using thousands of reports from their members.

That's not true. I subscribe to Consumer Reports, and have for a long time. In every issue, CR reviews four or five models. Those reviews are based only on a single sample. Every car mag operates the same way.

What CR does to separate itself from all the car mags out there is threefold. First, CR buys its samples rather than accepting free loaners from the manufacturers. That helps ensure it isn't getting specially prepared "ringers" for testing (like the infamous case of the GTO-vs.-GTO comparison in Car and Driver). Second, CR does not accept advertising, so it isn't at financial risk if it pans a particular car. Finally, CR does collect reliability data from its readers. That reliability data is published once annually. In addition, CR will tell you in its monthly reviews whether a given model being reviewed is more reliable than average, just average or less reliable, or that it doesn't have enough data to know. A car that scores high on its performance tests (a monthly review article) won't get the CR "recommended" label if CR either doesn't have sufficient reliability data (which is always the case with a new model), or the reliability data shows it to be less reliable than is typical for that type of vehicle.

So CR reviews cars the same way everyone else does, and the same way Gun Tests reviews guns -- they test one sample and assume that all the others are similar. The only thing CR adds is that they can poll their hundreds of thousands of subscribers to find out who has that same model and what kinds of repairs they've needed. That only works with a very large subscribed base and relatively popular car models that have been for sale long enough to develop a track record. You can't do that with guns, because you would never have a large enough sample size for any gun model to generate statistically significant results.

The bottom line is that you can certainly find fault with Gun Tests and its reviews, but they're doing the best that is possible given the circumstances. There certainly isn't any other publication available that does a better job.

December 15, 2005, 11:59 AM
I take it from all the criticism that all you have some other magazines that you love that don't make "mistakes" all the time like Gun Tests? Or are you the people who don't subscribe to any mags. I hadn't intended to defend them, but I have seen any other mags that are better or even the same.

December 15, 2005, 01:41 PM
$24.00 for 12 issues.

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