Gun Rags; Useful or Useless?


January 2, 2006, 04:39 PM
Hello I'd like to know what people thing about gun magazines in general. Do you read through em carefully or just toss em after finding out an issue is full of the same recycled 1911 stories.

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January 2, 2006, 05:14 PM
I like them like I like car magazines, they are entertaining and its fun to read about stuff I can never afford. I take the "stats" witha grain of salt though.

1911 guy
January 2, 2006, 05:26 PM
I read them because it gives me something to read at work during lunch, but have to confess that I'd often sooner read something else. Firearms are a way of life and a hobby, but it's rather like going to a mechanic for an oil change and he tells you about the newest model rather than changing your oil.

Chris Rhines
January 2, 2006, 05:38 PM
Mostly useless, although there are exceptions. I read every issue of SWAT cover-to-cover, and enjoy an occasional leaf through Small Arms Review.

- Chris

January 2, 2006, 05:41 PM
Good throne fodder.

1 old 0311
January 2, 2006, 05:50 PM
32 pages of adds...........8 pages of supporting the magazine sponsors.


January 2, 2006, 05:57 PM
I think when one first gets into shooting, for a year or two, they can provide very useful background information and reference material. After that, you start to notice that the "new" articles about "new" guns sound suspiciously like the older articles in your back issues, and it doesn't take long to figure out that their main raison d'être is to sell you guns you don't need to replace or augment your already-perfectly-good existing arsenal. Around about that time, you stop buying them...

Of course, Internet resources like THR have radically changed the picture in the past decade or so. Prior to that, you didn't have a universal forum like this to ask questions, search for previous threads, etc. Now, with this depth of information available, I find the printed magazines to be largely redundant.

I'm getting more and more to the curmudgeonly stage where I realize that I can take all the deer I want with a good ol' .30-30, helped out at longer ranges by a good ol' .308. I don't need anything more than that for 90%+ of my rifle work. All the new Magnums and SSM's and whiz-bangs in the world won't make my hunting any more efficient or more fun than it is right now, despite all the magazine writers say about them. Works for me! :D

January 2, 2006, 06:56 PM
Keep in mind most shooters/hunters/whatever needs can be ment with a handful of cartiages and guns.

With the right bullet and good aim you can hunt any game in the world with 7x57 mauser.

With HP a 9x19 or .38 SPL will be fine for SD against two legged preditors.

.22 LR does well for plinking and taking small game.

Majorty of people needs would be meet with only three or four guns.


January 2, 2006, 07:07 PM
i remember going one year to an inuit village in alaska. they had all sorts of pelts in their houses and stores. since I knew i would never be able to legally hunt such animals (indian priviledges), i wanted to know all about how it was done.

the woman shrugged and laughed when I asked what caliber, what kind, what distance...

"all the animals that we hunted in this room were shot with a .22 caliber rifle," she said sweetly. "and i don't know i've ever really had to use a scope... it's just important to make sure that the bullet hits the head."

bear in mind that in that room were foxes, seals, otters, birds, etc...

previously, small game to me meant "squirrels".

January 2, 2006, 07:20 PM
Keep in mind most shooters/hunters/whatever needs can be ment with a handful of cartiages and guns.

Funny how that works out. Seems like you have to go through a few rifles and a few handguns though, before it becomes clear.

Lately I've been eyeing a .243 or 6mm BR to fill the void between .223 and .264...



January 2, 2006, 07:40 PM
i would have never known about jeff cooper if i didnt read about him in a magizine.does any one know if he is still alive.

Standing Wolf
January 2, 2006, 07:47 PM
I'd like gun magazines more if they were more like the High Road and less like press releases masquerading as articles. The advertising is usually worth the cost.

January 2, 2006, 08:22 PM
I like "Rifle" and "Handloader" and I also like "Shotgun News." But I've found the big press mags and most of the "Tactical" mags to be less than useful. I have issues of "Handloader" marked up and tagged in my reloading box, which is as high a praise as I know of.

I also pick up vintage collections of old gun mag articles from back in the days of Keith and O'Conner. In those days they weren't afraid to trash an advertiser's product if it was garbage. Now it's all about selling advertising space and keeping the real customers happy. We're just marks for the fleecing.

Of course, even the best mags are really just the work of a very small number of gun writers who can't know everything there is to know. The good gun forums simply have a greater wealth of information than any magazine can ever have.

January 2, 2006, 09:15 PM
I still buy American Handgunner for the gun porn, otherwise no. The forums provide all the info I need.

January 2, 2006, 09:23 PM
Colonel Cooper is in his 85th year I believe, and going strong. The following is the link to "Jeff Coopers Commentaries."

January 2, 2006, 10:01 PM
Every chance that I get, I'm reading them. And I work in a whenever there is no customers in there I'm reading them then.

January 2, 2006, 10:07 PM
Some good, some bad, some just ok.

I skip the articles that don't interest me and if that ends up being too much of the magazine I cancel my subscription. I don't take as many as I used to...

January 2, 2006, 10:09 PM
I like Shotgun News. They seem to focus on surplus stuff and more "affordable" guns in general. Plus you get all the new ads for the surplus dealers. Guns and Ammo shows more of the high end stuff IMHO. But it is goot to keep up on all the newest toys. Special Weapons For Military and Police is another one that I enjoy.

Wllm. Legrand
January 2, 2006, 10:11 PM
The purpose of of gun magazines, like the purpose for T.V. or radio, is not to entertain. The purpose is to sell advertisements. That is the primary "purpose" for the magazines to exist.

That being said, most gun manufacturers do not want the consumer to understand a few facts.

1) Virtually all that needs to be done with a gun, CAN be done with a few calibers (within each class of firearm, i.e., shotgun, centerfire rifle, pistol and revolver, rimfire). New calibers, new guns, with VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS fill a nonexistent void.

2) Since the average gun, with good maintainance, will last as long as its owner, reasons need to be created for the purchase of another gun. I know, I know, we all like to own as many as we can women or cars...but the many "new developments" are superfluous, with few exceptions. I find the tendency to try and replace knowledge and skill with some sort of technology amusing. It is a common theme. It runs throughout the culture in many areas and could be the subject of a future thread.

3) Many "gun experts" are nothing of the kind. I used to watch the way they hold a gun, or use (or not use) a sling. That tells me a lot. There are exceptions.

I recently purchased a rather large quantity of old (1960-1980) gun magazines from a used bookstore that purchased them from an estate. The writing was superior in the past, especially from the readership, as in "letters to the editor" and the like. Fewer blanket assertions were made and a higher degree of knowledge of the readership was inferred by the subject matter and nature of the writing. But that is to be expected, as today we are living in the Age of Mediocrity.

The previous posts about being useful for the first year or so was a good point. Generally about that time you garner enough information to understand the nature of the magazine's game.

And by the way, most articles have already been written before, though perhaps by someone else, in some other time.

pete f
January 2, 2006, 10:36 PM
handloader and rifle used to be wonderful, now only mildly useful.

Varmint hunter is written for the most part by the readers, it is pretty cool.

precision shooting and accurate rifle were good too!

sometimes AHG is ok but too many Tactical articles. tactical cleaning kits, tactical knives that are impossible to use afford or sharpen.
nice gun porn

guns and ammo, shooting times, gun world, anything with layne simpson in it worthless

January 2, 2006, 10:43 PM
Lots of useful entertainmant value, and occasional helpful ideas or thoughts. The tests seem to be a bit more bla-bla.

January 2, 2006, 11:09 PM
All are good for gun porn to one degree or another.

I find SWAT informative tho not authoritative, and Shotgun News and Gun List useful for the classifieds.

Spot on to those who point out that unlike books or the Internet, all magazines exist to sell ad space. Some few manage to transcend this, but that is their base purpose none the less.

January 2, 2006, 11:20 PM
I buy the mag's to look at the pictures; gun porn is fun. I believe it was the last issue of American Handgunner that had some very alluring pic's of Ed Brown's wares. The tests are also fun to look at so long as we keep in mind that they are only testing one example and our mileage not only may vary, it most likely will vary. Last Saturday, at a Kimber dealer, I dry fired 2 new Gold Matches. Even though their serial numbers were only 14 numbers apart, the later numbered one had the newest extractor and an excellent trigger, while the lower numbered example had an older MIM extractor and a fairly creepy trigger. If a magazine writer had tested only the higher numbered one, I believe the numbers would have been better than the other way around. Bottom line for me is that I rely on my own observations and the recommendations of folks whose opinions I trust when it comes to actually spending my money. All that being said, I still enjoy reading about our favorite subject and will continue to line my bird cage with it.

January 2, 2006, 11:30 PM
Pretty pictures but they always talk about how great guns or ammo are because they get how much money from these companies? They give rave reviews for almost everything that gets in there magazine.

english kanigit
January 2, 2006, 11:51 PM
I don't think I've seen a 'bad' review in a gun rag. Like these guys are gonna bite the hand that feeds them. :rolleyes:

As others have said, SWAT is very interesting. SGN is good for ads and such and I personally like Soldier of Fortune.

Everything else is GunPr0n. Every man needs new center-folds... ;)

January 3, 2006, 12:26 AM
I like them like I like car magazines, they are entertaining and its fun to read about stuff I can never afford. I take the "stats" witha grain of salt though. +1 yeah that about sums it up. I love Hot Rod, and Cycle World, but I don't treat their word as Gospel.

January 3, 2006, 02:12 AM
If you want to read one that gives some no bull tests... Try 'Gun Tests'. The consumers report of guns. Really blasts some. others When testing a group. Many times the more expensive are listed Do Not Buy.

January 3, 2006, 02:13 PM
I like looking at them and enjoy some of the stories

January 3, 2006, 04:25 PM
like reading John Taffin's articles, because the man is a gentleman, and he can write.

Beyond that, I have little use for them. Only exception is the quarterly Guns of the Old West.

January 3, 2006, 05:14 PM
The gun magazines that are available in stores are expensive birdcage liner. If you want to read a gun magazine try Shotgun News and/or Small Arms Review. I have to take issue with the notion that gun mags are good for newbies to read to learn the ropes. I for one am really bored with trying to argue with people with heads full of nonsense about "hydrostatic shock" and "energy transfer", proclaiming the imminent doom of 9mm and screaming that AR15 SI TEH POODAL SHOOTAR!1!! Where do they learn this crap? Gun magazines.

January 3, 2006, 06:46 PM
I used to buy lot of the rags. I wished that I had not wasted thousands of dollars on them. At the time I though I was learning stuff from them. After reading the same articles for ten years I caught on.

January 3, 2006, 08:06 PM
I have to take issue with the notion that gun mags are good for newbies to read to learn the ropes. I for one am really bored with trying to argue with people with heads full of nonsense about "hydrostatic shock" and "energy transfer", proclaiming the imminent doom of 9mm and screaming that AR15 SI TEH POODAL SHOOTAR!1!! Where do they learn this crap? Gun magazines.

I used to be this way. Now I think that shot placement and bullet design is more important then caliber.

The nine isn't going to disapper anytime soon...


January 4, 2006, 10:06 AM
I always buy old copies of "The American Rifleman" when I come across them.They (mainly the older ones) have lots of info on how to do simple gunsmithing jobs. I have some going back to the late 40's. Presently I'm doing some work on a Hi-Standard HD-Military and wasn't sure how to; I found in a 1954 edition full description on how to do it, complete with photos.

January 4, 2006, 03:04 PM
1) I don't think it's fair to lump all the mags together, just like it's not fair to lump you along with the scum that own guns just like you do.
2) Now that we've decided that they aren't all bad or all good, the poll has no meaning.
3) SWAT mag is awesome.

January 4, 2006, 04:01 PM
I like The American Rifleman, and Gun Tests magazine. I sometimes buy a Shotgun News or Gun Lists. I used to enjoy Shooting magazine but, I don't know if they still publish it.

January 5, 2006, 03:21 AM
AR15 SI TEH POODAL SHOOTAR!1!! Where do they learn this crap? Gun magazines. lol:D

January 5, 2006, 08:21 AM
Precision Shooting - This is the best magazine that most of you have never seen. Slanted toward the highly accurate precision rifle.

Actual articles on what works and what doesn't work. General editorial slant is "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything," so if you never read about a rifle, caliber or misc tools, they probably don't contribute much to accuracy.

Small Arms Review - buzzguns. Very nice history and mechanics stuff. Articles like "how many rounds does it take to make the suppressor start to glow?"

Rifle and Handloader - these are pretty good general purpose magazines in their area.

Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, etc. - they market to Bubba Hunter. Most of y'all are past this stage, and bored with 'em. Move on.

January 5, 2006, 01:06 PM
"Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto -- Terence "
I always thought that one came from old C Tullius Cicero. But, I've been wrong about other things too.

Last time the number came out, magazines in general were coming out of a major slump that seems to have hit in about 2001. The gunmagazines were re-building a little circulation- particularly the ones with a more general reach - that covered rifles, shotguns and handguns rather than a single category.

Since then, Guns Magazine has really increased it's page count. Advertising pays for page numbers and the advertisers apparently believe that the people reading that magazine are actually likely to buy their stuff. The parent company of Guns, American Handgunner and Firearms Industry is solvent and confident enough that they have released another- American Cop. Probably the first new slickzine in a decade or so.

January 6, 2006, 04:28 AM
Useless, worthless and garbage. Gee, can I get another article about a "new" 1911 or another Glock design? C'mon, real gun writing died off in the 70's. Publications today are nothing more than sales brochures. Rest in peace Skeeter, Elmer and Bob. We miss you.

January 6, 2006, 05:19 AM
The only mag. I subscribe to is SGN. It is okay, but anymore is just a bunch of crap that is very uninteresting. Some of the articles are okay. I still have my first issue, and looking back on it, it had so much stuff in it. Anything I could want is in that issue. I don't think all gun rags are useless though. Occasionally I will stumble on an article that is helpful to me or is a somewhat interesting read.

January 6, 2006, 08:59 AM

Link to a nine page discussion of the gunzine thingy. These discussions always have a large draw. The above site is the hang-out of two or three fairly well known gun magazine writers. They like to consider themselves above and apart from the common herd of gunzinewriters- and they are.

They are far ruder more arrogant than the general run.

January 6, 2006, 09:08 AM
I'm still questioning the intellegence of people who are making blanket statements about all magazines, which they haven't apparently read in decades, anyways. Sigh...

January 6, 2006, 09:35 AM
Gun magazines have a lot in common with the internet (including many firearms dedicated forums): you have to pick the good information out and ignore the crap.

Camp David
January 6, 2006, 09:42 AM
If you really like keeping gun magazines and periodicals I recommend that you have the old articles scanned into PDF media and keep them on your computer; some publishing companies offer back issues on digital media and I have found web sites of gun publications that offer back issues as downloads...

Adobe Acrobat PDF is a great tool for archival of publications... they print well if you want them and they take up less shelf space!!! :)

January 7, 2006, 03:00 AM
The writers for the commercial magazines are well..... too commercial.

Where is the last article that you read where the called a turd a "turd".

Instead they provide white wash comments like:

"Once you get used to the nauseating smell of this turd it isn't bad..."

"The grip design on this turd didn't fit my hand comfortably but then again I'm not used to handling turds so it might fit yours perfectly fine..."

"I was able to acheive "combat accuracy" with this particular turd specimen while testing several available factory loads. Though this turd didn't deliver turd match accuracy out of the box it meets personal turd defense requirements."

I'm just saying that the old school guys from a different generation called them like they saw them without pulling puches. Or I might be saying that the previous generation of editors just checked for proper grammar and spelling and printed what the author really felt.

January 7, 2006, 04:01 AM
I buy Shotgun news FOR THE ADS!!! :-D

32 pages of adds...........8 pages of supporting the magazine sponsors.


January 7, 2006, 07:56 AM
+1 for Gun Tests - I share a subscription with my neighbor and we put them in a 3 Ring binder for future reference. I like their approach and they actually give you the "reason" why they are against a gun or for a gun so you can decide if that's important to you or not.

I used to really like Shooting Times when they had the articles by Skeeter Skeleton and Elmer Keith. It seems like they had alot more articles about what you could do with your guns and/or reloading than they do now. From what I see currently the only articles are about a new gun that just came out. I liked the articles where they were competing at shooting animal crackers at some insane distance or trying to develop a .44 magnum load that would be useful for african game or stuff like that.

Just my .02


January 7, 2006, 08:33 AM
I also liked Gun Tests for daring to be objective, even though I realized it had its limitations. And a subscription was pretty darn expensive at the time.

But, aside from Shotgun News, I had practically an addiction to Gun List!

Nowadays I will occasionally buy one of the large annual G&A's mainly for the ballistic tables.

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