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Clint Smith Loses It in Jan-Feb '05 American Handgunner

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by P. Plainsman, Nov 22, 2004.

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  1. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    If you haven't seen it, Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch flips out in his column in the current American Handgunner, repeatedly lashing out at those who expressed disappointment at the design of the new S&W 21-4 "Thunder Ranch" .44 Special as -- pardon me -- "turd suckers."

    One of the more unpleasant and unprofessional things I've read in a gun mag. I wonder what the AH staff thought of it. I can imagine the editors asking Smith to tone it down, him refusing and bringing to bear his clout with the magazine, and the editors relenting.

    Lots of straw-man mongering by Smith in the column -- he states that the 21-4's critics wanted "a $350 gun," when I have seen nobody, anywhere, stating that the gun ought to cost that little. Puh-lease. I myself have said I could see paying $650 for it. That's, er, a little different.

    It saddened me to read Mr. Smith's column. I thought most of the critics of the TR 21-4 (which, OK, includes me) did not seem like sour-minded carpers at all. Rather, they seemed sincerely disappointed about a gun that they wanted to like, that turned out kinda funny looking and overpriced. That's how I felt.

    For that matter, I also assumed that the nasty-looking gold "Thunder Ranch" logo was not Mr. Smith's idea, but was foisted on him by the fickle minds at S&W, who seem to have only a hit-and-miss grasp of what old-style revolver lovers want. So it is sad to see Mr. Smith turning everything into an ad hominem dispute between himself and the 21-4 skeptics.

    I had a pretty high opinion of Clint Smith before reading this unprofessional diatribe. I liked his general approach to things, as expressed in his AH columns and elsewhere. I figured that when I finally had the money and time to invest in some serious training, I would choose Thunder Ranch as my shooting school.

    Much more doubtful about that now.

    BTW, I saw a TR 21-4 at the gun shop the other day. It's still kinda funny looking. The grips are wrong, and that logo is a true aesthetic faux pas. The gun was not without a certain charisma, though. The bluing is very dark; it's basically a gloss black revolver. Is it as attractive as the deep bluing on my Python? By no means. But again, not without a certain charisma. If you like it, I hope you can find one and that you enjoy it thoroughly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2004
  2. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Go over to the smith and wesson forum and read the thread there. Clint posted to it several times and it makes a lot more sense.

    I can respect a guy that says exactly what he thinks, even if it bothers some people. That guy is much more the type of man I want to associate with than someone that skirts the issue.
     
  3. Pappy John

    Pappy John Member

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    I guess that I'm one of Clint's "turd suckers" too. I badly wanted one of these guns since first hearing about them in June. I even like the new grip style.

    BUT......

    The last new S&W that I bought was a 29-8 Mountain Gun that I picked up for $600, and since this M-21 was a gun with the same barrel profile and frame, less stringent heat treating requirements for the cylinder, and less machining required since it has no adjustable rear sights installed, I expected a similar price.

    But a $750 gun? That makes for $150 worth of presentation box and gold leaf that I could care less about? :banghead:

    No sale! :fire:

    Disappointed?? You bet!
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Member

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    It might be worth checking out the 160-post locked thread on this subject from last week on the S&W Forum. Some humorous graphics put up at the end. :)

    Here's a link: http://www.smith-wessonforum.com/ubb/Forum13/HTML/016416.html

    It might be that everything to be said about the column was said over there. Clint Smith and Roy Huntington responded, too, by the way.
     
  5. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Is this the same magazine where an internet commando tells Mr. Smith that he doesn't know anything about fighting weapons, that if he did he would advocate the Marshall/Jordan combination of 125 gr JHPs in an M19 using point shooting, and essentially calls Mr. Smith a worthless liar?
     
  6. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    Yeah, that letter writer guy was a tool. (I express no opinion on the underlying .357 Mag vs. .44 issue.) Mr. Smith was justifiably unimpressed with him, but I still thought that his response there, again, was too sarcastic and personal.

    It's a question of tone. Mr. Smith is a respected teacher and expert. You gotta carry yourself a little better than the average Joe. Especially in print. AH ain't a chat room.
     
  7. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    You're right. It's not a chat room. But the article is the natural result of the mingling of the two media. It is impossible to please everyone, and the anonymous nature of the 'net allows those who haven't been there and done that to judge those who have. There's more than a bit of frustration in that, and that naturally carries over to articles. Right or wrong, it is natural.

    Mr. Smith is "a teacher and a respected expert" for a very simple reason: he has vast experience and an ability to convey that experience. His services are requested by individuals, groups, and magazines for that reason. And if his comments undermined that basis, there would be justification for denying him business. But to deny him the respect he has earned or the business that he has built because someone doesn't like the tone of an article that dealt with a product and the reaction thereto, rather than the focus of his business, is not deserved. He didn't show a character flaw except frustration (which I believe we all suffer from) and that does nothing more than make him human. As for his editors and the magazines, perhaps they felt that the comment was worth making.

    As for the response to the letter, I thought it was quite appropriate. Don't call a man a liar and except him to be polite in return. Mr. Smith destroyed the writer's arguments and basically called him out. He did so in far more polite terms than I've seen elsewhere.
     
  8. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    Interesting thread they had going over there. <shrug>

    I was going to say something about various folks taking things too seriously, but you know, it really doesn't matter. And so it goes.

    John
     
  9. Boats

    Boats member

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    I have never heard of a turd sucker before, but whatever one is, any turd sucker has more taste than the buffoons involved in making this aesthetic disaster.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    Right, it's obviously not a huge deal. However, I like reading AH, and it was unpleasant to have it marred by a page of angry, scatological language.

    I agree that Mr. Smith's response to the Bill Jordan devotee in the letters page was much less objectionable than his column.

    Some men are blunt and there is value in it, but there is a difference between bluntness and avoidable ugliness in one's manner. By analogy, guns are functional tools, but we are under no obligation to tolerate ugly guns.

    "Speech most shows a man. Speak, that I may see thee." -- Ben Jonson

    Enough from me on this.
     
  11. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    We now have the people who designed that logo on that weapon (described as ugly) being referred to as buffoons (a term I would actually find more insulting than turdsucker if used towards me). Yet, that logo is, to this viewer at least, less objectionable than the epic warnings on Rugers and other pistols. And it can be remedied far more easily than the warning labels.
     
  12. Pappy John

    Pappy John Member

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  13. Marshall

    Marshall Member

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    PAPPY, ROFLMAO!!!



    DECENT LOOKING GUN, UGLY ASS LOGO! :barf:
     
  14. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    I just read that thread on the S&W forum.

    Oh freaking brother, give me a break.

    I've got to agree with Clint Smith on this one. Whiners.

    "But its got a big gold thingy on it! WHAAAAAA." Jeez, then don't buy the darn thing. Sorry it doesn't fit your personal tastes. Nobody is forcing you to buy it.

    Sorry, but that thread left a bad taste in my mouth.
     
  15. Boats

    Boats member

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    I do love that Clint Smith is praised for being "blunt." God forbid someone bluntly says, "Clint, your Mod. 21-4 baby hit every branch of the fugly tree," as those folks are clearly turd sucking whiners.

    Curious indeed.
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Member

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    My point in starting that thread was that I didn't care for that kind of language being directed at folks who were merely debating the merits of purchasing a product offered for sale.

    No whining at all. (And as far as the original discussions on the 21-4, my only comment was that the freight seemed a little high.)
     
  17. tc300mag1

    tc300mag1 Member

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    Didnt plan on buying one anyways never really cared for mister ego trip anyways
     
  18. Boats

    Boats member

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    Shucks Buzz, I am just being blunt and plainspoken. :D

    Thunder Ranch? Do they eat a lot of beans there or something? :evil:
     
  19. Grump

    Grump Member

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    So, can I safely conclude that weirdo Clint Smith and his influence on the current version of American Handgunner is the reason why another wierdo--Ignatius Piazza--and HIS shooting/tactics school--Front Sight--has apparently never been mentioned in those hallowed pages of GunRagDom?

    If Front Sight has ever been covered in AH, it was not in the issues I periodically peruse and sometimes buy at the local foodmart. Just noticed a few years ago that a big article on schools mentioned some real bit-players back east, plus the 5 or six big Kahunas, and even an instructor or two who just roam the country using rented facilities. But no Front Sight. And their facility had covered firing points by that time...
     
  20. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    I think SWAT and SOF both reviewed Front Sight before.


    The grips look fine to me, the logo looks funky and totally Un-Clint-Smith like (see some of the other Thunder Ranch guns from Les Baer), so it was probably foisted on him.


    As to his reply, everyone has a bad day.
     
  21. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    not the only one...

    Well, at least I was not the only one that thought Smith somehow dropped the professionalism ball. For a while there, he was on a roll with trying to squelch various forms of training madness, like going down and standing next to a target while others shoot or becoming super ninjas during training...as if a 3-5 visit to a self defense or gun school could make you a super ninja. I liked it. Stick to the basics and get good at the basics and you will be ahead of the vast majority of the crowd in gun handling seemed to be the repeated and sometimes unspoken mantra. He seemed passionate and maybe even emotional about doing the right thing when it comes to life or death gun training. This article had nothing to do with training but with marketing and the fact that his pet gun apparently isn't getting the praise he obviously thinks it deserves.

    Then came this article on the TR special from S&W. First came the name calling. The name calling seemed to come as a result of people not taking a shine to 'his' gun. So much for professionalism and maturity. There was not a single useful thing on that whole page. It was just Smith acting out because his ego was hurt because of the gun bearing his brand has been criticized.

    Clint Smith's Thunder Ranch in Texas was a fine school and he did a lot of good, but this sort of mental breakdown in print scares me. You have to wonder if he is still in control mentally or not. Then again, you have to wonder why AH would have printed such crap. Granted, S&W and Smith pay big $ for advertising in the rag, but you would think they would have standards about calling their customers turd suckers. That crap don't float.

    In the words of Ken Hackathorn, "God Bless Clint Smith." If you have had a class from Ken Hackathorn, then you will fully understand the statement.
     
  22. Sam

    Sam Member

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    Personally I'm happy that he got them to make it.
    I'm getting tired of chopping up 58's.

    When mine comes in with the logo, I'll grind the @$^& thing off if it is that offensive.
    Way too much play for an insignificant thing like a logo.

    Sam
     
  23. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Too little gun for too much money.
     
  24. ezypikns

    ezypikns Member

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    Why should anyone pay to advertise TR?

    I have no doubt that this is a fine weapon, but why should we pay extra to advertise Mr. Smith's also outstanding facility?
     
  25. The_Shootist

    The_Shootist Member

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    Smith-Wesson Forum

    The above link for the Smith-Wesson forum doesn't seem to work - anybody have a better one?

    Oh yeah - I was kinda surprised at that exchange in AH. I thought the guy extolling the virtues of the .357 was kinda off the wall. Even me with my limited experience (READ - no combat experience) thought he was stretching it.

    I was surprised when I read Smith's rebuttal (I wouldn't have been surprised if I had read it online - the pages of a national magazine though caused me to sit up). I thought it was pretty hardline, but I think Smith deserves the benefit of the doubt, given his experience. I'm, he's a firearms instructor, not a priest or a UN Diplomat.

    As for the gun, I'm kinda wavering. I'd like a nicely blued revolver in .44, but it just seems to be a bit outside my tastes. Why not something modeled along a K frame size ( if possible), with fixed sights, Hogue Coco-Bolo's partial underlug - somthing that doesn't look too...umm...retro.
     
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