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Gun Magazines Annoy Me

I’ve stopped buying gun magazines (not the ones that feed the guns but the ones that talk about them) and have decided they must be run by the gun companies. I’ve never seen a bad write-up about a gun. And, my personal favorite, is when the front cover refers to a gun as Sub MOA Accurate in big letters on the cover. Then, you get to the article, and they’re shooting 2.5 inch groups with the thing. That’s not Sub MOA.

18 Responses to “Gun Magazines Annoy Me”

  1. Standard Mischief Says:

    Typical problem with magazines. They get more money from the advertisers than they do from subscriptions. Guess who the customer really is? It’s not the guy blowing a whole $12 to get the issues delivered to his doorstep. Thus they will never have objective reviews.

    I remember a 4×4 magazine that published an article comparing different spray on bed liners, and how they stood up… to gunfire. It was mostly tongue-in-cheek, but they actually shot samples of spray-on bed liner and showed photos in the rag. They got at least one angry letter from a vendor, which they published, saying it was not an objective test. Yea, like I really care how my bed protecting spray in polyurethane reacts when taking incoming. Every single sample was easily pierced, BTW.

    You can bet that every single gun that gets loaned out to a gunwriter for a major rag has already been smoothed and function checked by a gunsmith. Totally different universe than your typical out-of-box factory gun. Except AKs, they always “just work”, at least in my experience.

    My very first gun purchase, an AR-7, had all kinds of problem. With some help, I went through all the smoothing motions to get the damn thing to cycle properly. I found out that the idiots had actually applied the paint at the factory by dipping the whole receiver in a bucket. That left a nice coat of paint on the inside, all ready for my cleaning solvent to come along and gum up the entire works. Good going, Survival Arms.

    So there’s a paradigm ready to be shifted out there, just no one has yet figured out a business plan. Subscriber sponsored e-zines would dramatically cut the cost of publication, but due to the fluid nature of digital data, you would be assured of selling only one copy. Ad sponsored blogs would have to earn a heafy chunk of cash to be able to purchase and review one new gun every week. So I don’t know the answer here.

  2. Jay Says:

    I remember a gun magazine review of the Winchester 490, a dressed-up version of the “K-Mart special” Winchester 190 22 semiauto rifle. It ended something like this: “So other than occasional failures to feed, fire, and eject, this is a handsome rifle that anyone would be proud to own.”

    Most honest review (from the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine) went something like this: “Upon examining the Snakecharmer shotgun, we noticed that the firing pin protruded slightly from the breech face. We inserted a 410 shell with powder and shot removed, and rapped the hammer with a mallet, which resulted in discharge of the primer. At that point, testing and evaluation of the Snakecharmer was discontinued.”

  3. SayUncle Says:

    Mischief,

    Also, as David Codrea has addressed, a lot of gun owners are not net savvy.

  4. Improbulus Maximus Says:

    You’re right on the money with this one. I think some magazines exist solely as a venue for advertisers, with a couple being so specialized that almost only AR15 variants, along with all of the bells, whistles, gadgets, and gimmicks, can be promoted as something other than and unreliable piece of crap and one of the worst military weapons of all time.
    I’m with you on the AK as well, because the number one criteria for selecting a rifle is that it must go “BANG” when you want it to, and never “click”, which the AK always does, even when filthy with fouling and dirt, and the M16 can barely do after cleaning. I think the M16 is probably directly responsible for a huge number of America deaths since Vietnam, because it is not absolutely reliable, and is therefore absolutely unreliable, because the enemy won’t let you call time out to do SPORTS.
    Case in point: I was watching SHOOTOUT on the History Channel and the episode was about where a night patrol of five Marines in Afghanistan walked into a hornet’s nest of about a dozen fighters, and started taking fire. In the squad were one shotgun, one M249, and the balance of the weapons were all M16 variants. Within a minute or two, the shotgunner was wounded, the radioman was dead, and one M16 and the M249 were jammed, so only one Marine out of three who were not wounded had a functioning weapon, and he was low on ammo. Needless to say, the enemy all had AK’s, and they all worked. The only thing that kept it from turning into a slaughter was that the radioman had gotten in a call to help before he was killed, and reinforcements arrived.
    I was in Desert Storm, and most M16’s wouldn’t function on a good day, and had to be kept wrapped in garbage bags and taped up for them to have any chance to work at all. When we crossed in to Iraq, I found an AK in an abandoned bunker and kept it ready. After the war was over and I had to get rid of it, I took it out to burn the ammo. It was filthy from riding in the cab of my truck for over a month, but it went through four magazines without one malfunction. My M16 couldn’t even get three rounds off without jamming even after cleaning. To me, the choice is clear.

  5. David Codrea Says:

    Seems to me the best forum for these complaints would be a letter to the editor–my experience has been they don’t shy from printing criticisms.

    I just can’t see shutting off another outlet for communicatimg to the public about firearms as being a good thing for the 2A effort–particlarly, since as noted, many of the older gun owners aren’t internet savvy. It’s not like the rest of the media are tripping all over themselves to give the gun issue any positive ink.

    My litmus test for gun mags is whether or not they devote space to protecting rkba. If they’re strictly sporting, I have no use for them– but the ones that have regular 2A columns like G&A and GUNS provide an important venue for introducing enthusiasts to the arguments of activists.

    ‘Course I have a vested, selfish interest, seeing as how young sons Uday and Qusay like to eat and all…

  6. SayUncle Says:

    IM, any excuse to bash the ar, eh? ;-P

    David, good point. I should distinguish between gun rights oreinted magazines vs. gun porn type magaznes. The latter of which I used to buy quite a bit.

  7. David Codrea Says:

    Well…the ones I mentioned are mostly hardware-oriented with some space set aside for rkba…but really–if you find a specific article that you think is BS, call ’em on it–write that letter, chastise that writer, hammer the inaccuracy, and go ahead and make the insinuation that you notice the glowing, undeserfved review was given to a prominent advertiser.

    The editors I know would take very seriously a charge that their writers are padding a review to please a sponsor. It’s like with everyone–your name and credibility are all you really have, and in a shrinking market, they’re going to look at anything that jeopardizes that very seriously. Plus, and you only have my word on this–for what that’s worth–the folks I’ve dealt with have all been good people. Also, the readers are generally a pretty gun-savvy bunch, and are quick to argue if their experience tells them somebody’s trying to snow them.

  8. Standard Mischief Says:

    Uncle: Oh yea, I remember, non-‘net people. “What’s a blog?” I run in to them all the time in the real world.

    I’m not saying the rags are useless, In fact I get two of the truck ‘zines myself. Occasionally they have useful nuggets. Many times they are just showcases for the latest and the greatest. As long as you know where they are coming from, the reviews can be useful.

    The one thing I never get from the 4×4 crowd, you spend all your cash and free time to build up the ultimate truck, then take it out in the wilderness and try to break it on rock crawling, or get it stuck in a pond of mud, and then drag it back home to rebuild it. Reminds me of resource sinks such as “Electro-Magnetic Golf” or “Riemann Surface Tennis”.

    Guns, I tend toward mil-surp. or at least it’s kissing cousin. The latest wiz-bang stuff won’t be interesting until it’s adopted (or nearly so, such as 6.8 stuff) I enjoy the ballistics, reloading, head to head cartridge comparisons (no advertisers to piss off here). I’m happy for the gun rights news, although a letter to my local congress-critter is next to useless for me.

  9. Bounty Hunter Says:

    If you want honest evaluations of guns then checkout Gun Tests. They accept no advertising and from the couple of years I have read it, they seem to tell it like it is. http://www.gun-tests.com/

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Gun Test other than being a subscriber.

  10. Standard Mischief Says:

    Jay, the problem i see with American Rifleman, is that they are the step child of the NRA. The NRA accepted a whole shitload of cash to immortalize Bill Ruger as something other than the enemy of free gun owners everywhere.

    I almost choked on the puff piece they did on the Ruger, the father of the “high-capacity” (full capacity) magazine ban, mere months before he died. Come on NRA, a few million for your National Firearms Museum is all it takes?

    Ruger would have loved to have gotten the special preferential treatment that S&W got, when they fucking rolled over for the fed-goons. Not all their guns are crap, I would love to own a 10/22, But I still ain’t buying any.

  11. Standard Mischief Says:

    Bounty Hunter Says: If you want honest evaluations of guns then checkout Gun Tests….

    You know, I was gonna say something like “maybe we should get Consumer Reports to test, review, and function torture test guns”. Gun Tests seem to have at first glance, the same business model.
    .

  12. Les Jones Says:

    Ditto on Gun Tests. It really is the Consumer Reports of gun magazines. Like CR, they don’t accept any outside advertising, and they buy all of the products at retail outlets with their own money to make sure the factory won’t send them ringers or have any influence on them. Their ratings system is Our Pick, Buy It, Conditional Buy, and Don’t Buy It. They give out quite a few of the last two ratings.

    The other magazine worth reading is the American Rifleman (one of the five magazine options when you join the NRA). Not so much for the product tests (which they do very little of, anyway) as for the well-researched articles on firearms history.

  13. Jay G Says:

    Unc,

    Is there where I’m supposed to claim that I actually read the articles in the magazines, when I really just drool over the pictures??? 😉

  14. Jay Says:

    Standard,

    Bill Sr. has passed on, and I have seen some indications that Ruger’s management has made some changes and has a different outlook.

    Ruger’s president used to be their corporate counsel and he is familiar with what the other side really wants. The 1994 ban exempted the Mini-14 by name, and he is well aware that most of the “reauthorization” bills BANNED the Mini-14 by name.

    So much for dealing with the Devil.

  15. Tom Dunson Says:

    Ditto on Gun Tests. I’ve subscribed for years.

    I still like the gun porn mags, though.

  16. Stormy Dragon Says:

    It could be sub-MOA. It depends on how far the target was from the gun when it made the 2.5 inch group.

  17. SayUncle Says:

    SD, it was 100 yds.

  18. Stormy Dragon Says:

    Okay, then it wasn’t sub-MOA. But you didn’t originally provide that piece of info. 😉