Handgun Reviews - Have writers just gotten lazy?


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Mr. Whimsy
February 7, 2010, 11:16 AM
Is it just me, or is anyone else kind of disappointed in how these articles have changed in the last 20 years or so? Here are some requests if any writers are present.

1. I want to know how EVERY handgun performs off a bench at 25 yards. Period. No more "this isn't a target gun/this is only for close-up defense use" bravo sierra. The intrinsic accuracy tells me a lot, so stop being lazy and/or covering for a lousy manufacturer. Some of us want more than the ability to lob projectiles in the direction of a target, hoping for the best.

2. Stop showing nice tight clusters on a bullseye target only to admit you benched the full-sized gun at 10 yards. This is not a useful distance unless the phrase "firing as fast as I could pull the trigger" was used. Seriously, there is something wrong with a full-sized handgun that WON'T cluster its shots into 2 inches or less at this range. It's 30 freaking feet.

3. Stop gushing with praise about every gun you review. I mean nobody likes every gun they've fired, but certain gunwriters love even jam-o-matics that couldn't hit a barn from the inside.

4. If the damned gun is broken right out of the box, then GIVE IT A BAD REVIEW. I don't want to hear about how "every manufacturer produces the occasional lemon" because frankly it is not normal for a barrel to go flying downrange or for an automatic to spontaneously explode. Same goes for binding revolvers or sights that fall off.

5. Stop using the phrase "...for serious social work". You sound like a smug, smirking, anti-social type who gets off on people getting shot. Now I've even caught myself using this phrase, and in retrospect, it is abhorrent in that it projects a death-mongering image to non-gunnies, not to mention actual social workers.

6. Please describe how the gun feels and especially how it recoils. Size comparisons are also nice. Sometimes it's almost as if the writer never even handled the gun before reviewing it.

7. Chronograph results are mandatory.

8. There is no need to recap the entire history of this style of pistol/cartridge in question before getting down to the nitty gritty. I find myself skipping everything you wrote preceding the last few paragraphs which inevitably describe the actual shooting of the gun.

9. Please include slow fire offhand targets as well as rapid-fire ones. Offhand accuracy and shootability are important.

10. Please leave politics and your feelings about those mythical criminal-coddling "Lib'ruls" out of the article. You turn off prospective gun owners, many of whom are Democrats who voted for Obama but ALSO believe in the Second Ammendment.

Please feel free to comment!

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Al LaVodka
February 7, 2010, 11:41 AM
Mr. Whimsy;
Perhaps you are closer to Master Whimsy. 20 years? You can look at gun mags going back to the begining of the phenomenna and if you read one year's worth, maybe two, you'll have read everything that will ever be written. 9mm vs. 45 or .40, AK vs. AR, pump (or revolver) vs. semi-auto, the best deer rifle and/or ammo, the best CCW gun... "Benchtest" this and "putting through the paces" that. They write a little and say less. Author? Find the flavor of the article you want, get free stuff from the manufacturers, do a "search & replace all" on the name of the gun or accessory, edit it, and you're done! They are IN THE BUSINESS and you are a DAU sheep to be fleeced with the latest polymer carry piece, specialty cartridge or, my current favorite, a mutlimedia rail system and the best (read: most expensive) tactical light you can afford.
Al

atomd
February 7, 2010, 11:58 AM
3. Stop gushing with praise about every gun you review. I mean nobody likes every gun they've fired, but certain gunwriters love even jam-o-matics that couldn't hit a barn from the inside.

What is an example of this type of gun that was favorably reviewed in a magazine? I think the truth is that most guns made by the big gun companies work pretty well, are fairly accurate, at least somewhat ergonomic, and will last for a reasonable amount of time. Even a $150 Hi Point will go bang and hit what you're aiming at. Would it be fair to give a Hi Point a poor review because it wasn't as well made as a Baer? Probably not.

Even when there's a "major recall" that everyone goes crazy about, it's usually something that wouldn't even be noticed during a normal gun review anyways. I think websites such as THR give a better idea of how a gun really is because there's quite a few of us who own different examples of the same gun and fire a lot more rounds combined than one gun writer would. When was the last time you saw a gun writer say in a review that he noticed some peening after 15,000 rounds? :D I just don't think you can learn enough about a gun by taking it to a range and firing a few hundred rounds through it. Most of them will make the cut.

I don't pay much attention to the reviews....I subscribe for the pics and to see what's coming out in the future. I would never base any of my opinions from what I see in a review.

SwampWolf
February 7, 2010, 01:18 PM
Democrats who voted for Obama but ALSO believe in the Second Ammendment.


Isn't this what they call an oxymoron? Hey, you brought it up, not me.

Regarding gunwriters being "lazy", I've never quite understood the gathering animosity some seem to have toward gun writers (sometimes I think it's nothing more than a case of the jealousies). I grew up in a time when the only thing available to a teenager looking for some reading material about guns was Shooting Times, Guns, Guns & Ammo, The Shooter's Bible, The Gun Digest, the American Rifleman and, of course, Jack O'Conner's monthly column in Outdoor Life magazine. Today's firearm aficionado has a veritable glut of magazines and books to peruse, including gun-related subjects like collecting, reloading, target-shooting, blackpowder, combat-shooting, self-defense weapons, etc., as well as books and magazines devoted to individual firearm types (i.e., the AR-15, the 1911, the Colt single-action, etc.). We have become jaded and many of us are too young to know how it was "back in the day."
I learned long ago that like all other fields of endeavors, the gun-writing industry has a few lousy gun writers and a few stellar ones; with most writers falling somewhere in-between. Some writers are sort of lost if they find themselves outside their field of expertise and other writers are much more rounded in their experiences and these shortcomings and/or assets are reflected in a writer's work. And, disregarding what they're writing about, some scribes are just better writers (O'Conner and Skelton come to mind) than others are.
I enjoy reading firearm-related articles and appreciate seeing the gun world through different windows. And because everything related to guns, hunting and shooting hinges directly on the continued preservation of the Second Amendment, I don't have a problem with a writer sounding off and expressing his view-points on the subject when done in the proper format. It's high time all of us as gun owners recognize that the right to keep and bear arms is being threatened every day and to continue to act as though it doesn't matter who's in power because you as an individual can still shoot trap or go hunting in the lower forty or have a magazine that holds at least ten rounds or whatever else is important to your own parochial, selfish interests is a head-in-the-sand attitude. Elections have consequences!
But as far as any practical use to be gleaned from gun writers' columns, I think it very much depends on who's doing the writing-and only time and experimentation will make that clear to the individual reader. I like atomd's summation:

I don't pay much attention to the reviews....I subscribe for the pics and to see what's coming out in the future. I would never base any of my opinions from what I see in a review.

DWFan
February 7, 2010, 01:21 PM
I'd address one point:
Quote: "7. Chronograph results are mandatory."
Not only that but when you are giving out results of handloads, have the decency to list all the components you used. To only tell me you used 16.0gr of Flaming Orgy powder with a 158gr JHP doesn't tell me squat. What brass? What primer? What oal? What brand bullet? What barrel length? It's especially pointless when you declare that a maximum load for "your gun" without even mentioning what you are shooting. There's a major difference between a Ruger Blackhawk and a J-frame S&W.

Mr. Whimsy
February 7, 2010, 02:22 PM
[QUOTE]Isn't this what they call an oxymoron? Hey, you brought it up, not me./QUOTE]

Saying all Democrats support gun control is no different than saying all Republicans watch NASCAR. Painting with such broad strokes is somehow an acceptable form of prejudice amongst gun people. I've got to tell you, it really turns people off. Especially people on the wrong end of similar forms of prejudice, like women, the disabled, and other new shooters who don't want to have to run your political gauntlet to feel welcome around here.

Only brought it up because you did the exact thing I was complaining about.

When coming to a gun forum I personally don't want to hear anyone's personal politics or religious beliefs. But maybe I'm crazy and it's just me.

NinjaFeint
February 7, 2010, 02:26 PM
Just look at gunblast, look at their sponsors on the left and then look at their reviews. This is the problem.

NinjaFeint
February 7, 2010, 02:31 PM
[QUOTE]Isn't this what they call an oxymoron? Hey, you brought it up, not me./QUOTE]

Saying all Democrats support gun control is no different than saying all Republicans watch NASCAR. Painting with such broad strokes is somehow an acceptable form of prejudice amongst gun people. I've got to tell you, it really turns people off. Especially people on the wrong end of similar forms of prejudice, like women, the disabled, and other new shooters who don't want to have to run your political gauntlet to feel welcome around here.

Only brought it up because you did the exact thing I was complaining about.

When coming to a gun forum I personally don't want to hear anyone's personal politics or religious beliefs. But maybe I'm crazy and it's just me.
You can say this all you want but there are people here who will just come back with "Dem's and Liberal's are the devil" rhetoric. They don't realize that argument will only work on those who already believe it. It's kind of like when people feel the need to say Barack Hussein Obama because they think his ethnic middle name will make people not support him, it only works for people who weren't supporting him anyway.

SwampWolf
February 7, 2010, 02:57 PM
Only brought it up because you did the exact thing I was complaining about.

You were complaining about gunwriters. I'm not a gunwriter.


When coming to a gun forum I personally don't want to hear anyone's personal politics or religious beliefs. But maybe I'm crazy and it's just me.

Regarding the Democrats and Obama, you bought it up. Maybe you are crazy...:scrutiny:

Please feel free to comment!

And here I thought my opinion was welcome. Sorry, my mistake. I'll move right along now and try not to not agree with you anymore.

Mr. Whimsy
February 7, 2010, 03:30 PM
Wow SwampWolf, you had to work hard to get offended at that. I just went in to detail to explain what I meant, and you just breezed on past it to conclude what you wanted.

Mr. Whimsy
February 7, 2010, 03:34 PM
NinjaFeint, wise words.

SwampWolf
February 7, 2010, 04:59 PM
I just went in to detail to explain what I meant, and you just breezed on past it to conclude what you wanted.


Yep, Mr. Whimsey, that's what opinions are all about. There's no need to lash out when someone offers a viewpoint different from your own. If you solicit opinions, you can expect to get some-even those that don't conform to your own set of narrow views.

atomd
February 7, 2010, 07:36 PM
10. Please leave politics and your feelings about those mythical criminal-coddling "Lib'ruls" out of the article. You turn off prospective gun owners, many of whom are Democrats who voted for Obama but ALSO believe in the Second Ammendment.

You specifically referred to people who voted for Obama, not democrats in general. You can be a democrat and not vote for an anti 2A candidate (although you might not find too many candidates to support). That's like saying you support the pro life agenda but you donate 1/2 your salary to the national abortion federation. A republican and Nascar are 2 completely unrelated things which doesn't make any sense. T2A is not the only issue out there but don't try to act like you're a big 2A supporter and then turn around and vote for someone who obviously isn't. As far as T2A goes...that makes you part of the problem.

earlthegoat2
February 7, 2010, 07:52 PM
Your not going to offend SwampWolf, I think he is from the UP.

Most of the points in your original post are valid ones overall I think. I also think SwampWolf's observation on gunwriters being all too easy to pigeonhole is valid as well. Kind of ranks up there with complaining about the gun store salesman.

The overwhelming point you are making though is that there is first off, too much basic information about the history of the gun's design and caliber and second, too little technical information about accuracy, chrono speeds, etc.

All gun review are essentially the same. Some have more detail than others. Now the more important point: Most modernly manufactured guns are the same. Accuracy, reliablity, and materials and construction are for the most part, the same independent of size and weight. Now an LCP is a hammer fired, polymer framed, locked breech, 380. A Glock 19 is a striker fired, polymer framed, locked breech, 9mm. Only differences are caliber and ignition source. All of them are the same.

What can the writers do?

Why do you think they all like 1911s so much? Because it is a break from the same black plastic wonders. Nothing truly remarkable has come out since the original Glock and before that it was either the HK P7 Smith 59 or Browning Hi Power.

I want to see a comparison article between a Glock, XD, and M&P and instead of describing them all in 3 different columns, just use the same comumn.

boatme99
February 7, 2010, 08:01 PM
Atom, here's a ref for you about writers gushing over "jam-o-matics:
Magazine: Gun Annual 2010 (Harris Group)
Page: 64
Author: Claire Rees
Gun: Winchester Wildcat .22

On page 68, first column, the author states that the bolt would not close while his son was shooting. The round would not chamber.
He tried a different brand of ammo with the same result.
He had to force the bolt closed!
He said "the condition was annoying, but I decided the rifle seemed safe to fire"
In his final notes, page 69, he states "the Wildcat 22 is an excellent choice for budget-minded shooters".
"Winchester has a winner in this Russian import."!

I think this pretty much confirms the the original post.

I'm not going to try and find this on-line and cut and past. If you don't believe, buy the rag and check the pages noted.

BTW, the only reason I buy it is to see the new products comming out, not for any real information.

smoketheresfire
February 7, 2010, 08:37 PM
3. Stop gushing with praise about every gun you review. I mean nobody likes every gun they've fired, but certain gunwriters love even jam-o-matics that couldn't hit a barn from the inside.


Its true, now that you mention it, I cannot remember ever seeing a negative review in a gun mag.

I guess unless they go absolutely crazy over the gun you can assume it sucks.:rolleyes:

atomd
February 7, 2010, 08:38 PM
I see your point there....but what I was thinking was what is a gun that is junk? Pick a gun that you think is total junk. Are there rave reviews of it? I dunno. I can't think of many pistols made by major manufacturers that are really downright junk. There's always bryco, jennings, lorcin and all of those types but those aren't really seen in many gun mags.

Even a not-so-great gun like the Sigma, is it junk? I don't personally think so. Would I give it an amazingly great review? No. I might say something about how it might be a good value for someone looking for a gun in the $250-300 range though. I wouldn't expect it to have a sweet trigger and a flawless fit and finish. I'm not going to write "This Sigma has the worst trigger known to man. What a pile of junk. Anyone who would buy this thing must be out of their mind" because I wouldn't really expect it to be that good to begin with. Even if I got a bad Sigma...does that mean every other one is bad? I don't know what I'd write if it were me.

Regardless, I think most would agree that you have to take all those "reviews" with a grain of salt. I don't put much faith in them...if any at all. I even think magazines like Consumer Reports are a bunch of nonsense too.

Mike OTDP
February 7, 2010, 09:09 PM
Having read these magazines for thirty years, the OP brings up a lot of good points. These days, you get the same recycled reviews (check the articles from the same writer in different publications), of the same handful of products from big advertisers. It's why I let my American Handgunner subscription lapse. No variety.

jahwarrior
February 7, 2010, 09:14 PM
Please leave politics and your feelings about those mythical criminal-coddling "Lib'ruls" out of the article. You turn off prospective gun owners, many of whom are Democrats who voted for Obama but ALSO believe in the Second Ammendment.

i ceased to take you seriously after this sentence.

orionengnr
February 7, 2010, 09:27 PM
You are 20 years too late. Gun magazines have been sell-outs and shills for at least that long.
You turn off prospective gun owners, many of whom are Democrats who voted for Obama but ALSO believe in the Second Ammendment. Please feel free to comment!
If you are a gun owner who voted for Obama, you are part of the problem. That is the height of hypocrisy, like a PETA Life Member who owns a steakhouse...or a slaughterhouse.

Al LaVodka
February 7, 2010, 10:16 PM
Most gunzines don't even have the DECENCY not to run the ads for a gun and/or its manufacturer in the same edition they publish the review!

Of course all Democrats are not anti-gun. Most Democrat politicians are. And those that aren't are not as a result of the 1994 elections lesson they learned. THE Democrats are anti-gun: gun control is a consistent plank of the party platform. Don't like it, change it. And of course the President himself told Dr. Lott of the University of Chicago that people shouldn't be allowed to own guns, same path he went down behind closed doors in Penn. and that his also incompetent America hating Att'y Gen'l planned to by banning "assault weapons" but "getting it right this time" and using gang-violence in Mexico as the pretense.

Don't like people saying Barach Hussein Obama? It might be because before the election people weren't able without being called racists. And then he had himself sworn in that way just before his first act as President -- to stop the prosecution of the Gitmo combatants by military court. Didn't know that, did ya? Eventually he decided to give them Miranda rights and send the CONFESSED 9/11 terrorists TO NEW YORK for civilian trials. This is just for you buddy: Barach Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm.

Al

VA27
February 7, 2010, 11:01 PM
It's all a question of numbers.

There are only X number of gun writers.

There are only Y number of guns.

So what you wind up with is Z number of reviews. Multiple reviews of the same ol' guns by the same ol' guys.

25 yard tests of pocket pistols? Sure, it can be done with a firearm you're familiar with. But gun writers get a gun with a limited amount of ammo for a limited amount of time and that makes the long shots hard to do. Sure, if you have access to a Ransom Rest and inserts for every gun ever made you can do it. Although oddly enough some handguns shoot better hand held than they do out of a machine.

The thing to pay attention to is the guns that DON'T get reviewed. If the gun you want to read about is no where to be seen in the publishing world, chances are pretty good that it's a dog, or at least the sample that was given to the writer was.

"This gun wouldn't fire twice in a row, it pretty much sucks and besides which I think it gave me genital warts."

While that might be exactly the information the reading public is looking for, it makes for an extremely short review and a guy who gets paid by the word wouldn't make enough to buy a tube of wart cream.

So until the next generation of scribes comes along or there's a sea change in the world of firearms, we'll be seeing all the same guys at the same old popsicle stand.

Heck, maybe I'll try it myself after I retire...if you guys promise not to pick on me too much.

NMGonzo
February 7, 2010, 11:58 PM
Yep, Mr. Whimsey, that's what opinions are all about. There's no need to lash out when someone offers a viewpoint different from your own. If you solicit opinions, you can expect to get some-even those that don't conform to your own set of narrow views.

Jesus christ give the tired retarded rethoric a rest already.

NMGonzo
February 7, 2010, 11:59 PM
You are 20 years too late. Gun magazines have been sell-outs and shills for at least that long.

If you are a gun owner who voted for Obama, you are part of the problem. That is the height of hypocrisy, like a PETA Life Member who owns a steakhouse...or a slaughterhouse.
Neither faction attracts me but the right is really pushing me away.

SwampWolf
February 8, 2010, 01:26 AM
Neither faction attracts me but the right is really pushing me away.

Adios. :rolleyes:

Al LaVodka
February 8, 2010, 07:34 AM
Hasta la vista, baby.
Al

spoon
February 8, 2010, 07:56 AM
WOW rethoric --- now theres a word I only hear about once every two minutes on the news channel......:what:

Don't run away Swampwolf........;) its starting to get good

As for the writers-- it depends if you like a gun , a group or style of gun , or just guns , vs you love guns. To me they are like little children -- they are all good. Big ones, little ones, and all the in-between ones . They all have there flaws in a certain areas. So why discuss the area they don't belong to or are not made for. Myself I'm still trying to see the difference between Glock's and Black & Decker drills, but other than that -- I love guns. I could never say anything bad about them. :) why shoud you ....

PETA and the anti-whalers could go down with the boat-- I would not miss them, as for spotted owls, they taste good if cooked correctly. :neener:

Get a grip Mr. Whimsy-- life is going on. It would go better and faster if the nut at the helm wasn't trying to change things that work. And want to make us like some other country. :cuss: that's for another time and another story.

HunterBear71
February 8, 2010, 08:14 AM
Many avid gun owners have very simplistic political views. To each his own.

MikePGS
February 8, 2010, 10:34 AM
Thats funny, I always thought we weren't supposed to talk about politics on THR. They should something in the code of conduct that says all posts should be firearm or RKBA related. Either that, or people should actually read the code of conduct.

Art Eatman
February 8, 2010, 11:27 AM
And guess what' gonna happen just real quick?

Night-night, kiddies...

:D:D:D

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