Sunday, June 17, 2012

Remember the bad old days of gun reviews?

They can be summed up with this. I have a gun magazine (the old, archaic printed kind) from maybe a whopping six years ago in which the "reviewer" or maybe "journalist" wrote an "article" on the need for factory accuracy guarantees on rifles. Well and good, right? The author spoke of how important this practice is and to his humble knowledge at that time, there was only one firearms manufacturer doing so. Sako.

See where he's going with this?

The rest of article concerned accuracy testing of Sako rifles. The reviewer wore two different clothing articles emblazoned with Sako corporate logos in the "testing" photos. Finally, the schill errr.... "firearms journalist" wrapped up the article with a hunting trip out west using.....Sako rifles. Guess who paid for the hunting trip? If you guessed Sako, you are another jaded victim of gun magazines (the printed kind).

Pretty bold and shameless, eh? The most disgusting example I've seen of this.

Now, with the gun industry being so strongly driven by gun forums; it's not hard for a prospective gun buyer to inform himself of....Gen4 Glock 9mm ejection and reliability problems, S&W M&P accuracy problems, 1911s being 1911s, Remington 597 .17 HMRs blowing up (I know about this one firsthand), and so on.

Some companies have their own designated forum representatives out there in the jungle of gun forums but they are few and far between. However.....a new breed of schill has surfaced. Imagine a guy on a gun forum who has access to all of the new shit a niche accessories or firearms manufacturer is getting ready to release. He posts teaser pictures and of course, writes glowing, fawning, worshipful prose regarding said new kit. I'm talking about damned near love letters complete with casual first name references to executives at the company who have provided him with the "T&E " gear.

Compadres, this is advertising. And it is here to stay. There's not much you can do but watch your BS detector because even reputable companies do this but usually the smaller ones. Key signs are pre-release gear, fawning "reviews," a guy who always has the scoop on what's coming next from said manufacturer. One of the interesting side effects of this is that it allows guys who have never competed, served as an LEO or military, nor done anything in the gun world to get free shit solely based on their ability to,produce advertising copy via YouTube, written "reviews," and meticulously staged pictures taken by expensive cameras. There's even a Wikipedia article on this practice.

That being said, there is always hope. "rob_s" is more than "fair and balanced". He's blunt, sometimes to his own detriment if he was focused on getting free shit. However, he's focused on getting people to get past their natural obsession with hardware and instead focus on software. You Competing. Not buying your way into skill but earning it.  Also, the forums have plenty of unbiased commentary; just watch out for the "prerelease reviews."

Sort of a hamhanded segue but Smith and Wesson stole a march on the old guard of gun magazine (the printed kind) industry with the release of their single stack M&P Shield model. No pre-release teasers, no reviews written by fawning reviewers, just a release with guns shipped to dealers ready for sale, parts in inventory, everything executed superbly. The result? The guns are sold out everywhere.

Meanwhile, for those looking for the old school gun reviewers who are physically incapable of writing a negative word about anything sent to them from a manufacturer, visit Gunblast. Everything they review is a recommended buy.


  1. Especially chaps me when they go out of their way to make a matte rail appear shiny.

  2. Good link to the astroturfing. Pretty much the way things go.

    and thank you for the kind words. Unfortunately I also have a peak behind the curtain and the industry side is worse than you think. the forum side... well... when a pre-pube in his mom's Bimmer can convince the world he's an expert on sniper rifles...