I am a seriously committed gun enthusiast. When I am not shooting, I am reading and researching. I subsribe to or buy just about any rag out there that deals with weapons and sporting guns.
After awhile, all of its starts to read the same and I start to get magazine burnout. It seems that no writer could possibly have any criticism about any gun that they review. On top of that, the articles become stale and dry. It is at times like this that I really feel that I have wasted my money. Yet, I am addicted and cannot stop buying even after I swear I will never buy another magazine that reviews yet another 1911 clone. Do any of you feel the same way?
I am not naive. I do understand that advertisers drive the industry and keep the magazines on the shelves. I just hate to see the extreme butt kissing editors lavish upon advertisers. A little objectivity would not be bad once in awhile.
When I had a major 10/22 itch, I proposed an article to Jan Libourel of Gun World concerning a review of the the most popular aftermarket 10/22 barrels. He said not a good idea as there would be four losers out of the group of five that I would shoot and that existing or potential advertisers could might be upset or turned off. Again, I understand to a degree. The man had got to please the advertisers, but do the readers count at all?
Another example is the new Springfield XD-9 pistol. Am I the only one who remembers when it was the Croation HS2000 and got only fair reviews and was called a bit clunky? Now that it wears the Springfield name it is the latest and greatest combat pistol (with a price increase, maybe to pay for all the advertising).
Massad Ayoob seems to give some straight poop. There are a couple of others. At least it seems that way to me. What do you guys think? Is it worthwhile, or should I try really hard to break my addiction and only concentrate on my AR,AK and ammo addiction?
Sorry about the rant, I just need to know that I am not alone. Is there a support group? Maybe consuling?
I bet I don't buy 2 gun magazines in a year, except for the occasional Shotgun News (and the articles in it largely suck). The only time I buy the rags these days is when I am travelling and am not going to have internet access. All the gun info you need is on the web.
20 to 30 years ago I subscribed to Shooting Times and Guns and Ammo, and the American Rifleman. In the early 80s I let G&A lapse and a few years later ST went. The only gun mag I get is American Rifleman, and I don't care for the new look and the new editorial direction either.
To me, the gun magazines got less and less informative and at the same time substantially more commercial. Even now, an apparent how-to article turns into a infomercialarticle for a particular type of loading die or a specific new powder with an unpronouncable name.
In addition, I have every G&A Annual back to 1969, but I did not buy the last two year's issues for the same reasons. Too much hype, not enough substance.
The American Rifleman at one time had excellent historical articles (still do, to a limited extent) and also ran good content-rich how-tos. Not anymore. Now we got ATV reviews as a regular column. Maybe that's what the demographics say they need to sell copies, I don't know.
Back when I was subscribing, I too did not want to cancel, out of force of habit, and some unwarranted fear that I might miss something. I started marking the excremental articles on the the index page each month after reviewing the issue, and found that the majority of each issue was excremental. So I cold turkey flat did not renew.
Today, I'll still pick up an issue at the magazine rack at B&N or Borders or the convenience store, scan the index, and give a few articles the thumb check and back in the rack it goes. I am still not missing anything, and I doubt if you will too, IMO. With a .223, 6.5 x 55, .308, .303 British, 7.62 x 54R, .375 Win, and a .45-70 what do I need a Short Magnum for?
I get far more out of a half dozen message boards and professionally managed sites than I could get out of a $3.95 magazine.
Yes... they all suck. If you simply must subscribe to something, make it American Rifleman and maybe Gun Tests. American Gunsmith is also good if you enjoy learning how to make a replacement spring for a Colt SAA out of an old coffee can.
If you can't go cold turkey, an intermediate step is Combat Handguns... but the trick is, you must be honest with yourself: you're only buying it for the photos. Just don't read the "articles." Get your objective information from the Internet, or better yet, go out and discover the truth for yourself.
I beat my gun rag addiction several years ago, but every now and then I'll see a particularly fetching custom 1911 on the cover of something and the old demons rise up again.
I tried Gun Tests some time ago. It was okay, but seemed to be a bit flawed or lopsided at times. Some of their comparisons were between guns that had very little in common. I do not have any exact examples in mind, but they seemed to go something like this:
Gun Tests Feature Of The Month:
We test and compare 9mm battle pistols...Beretta 92FS vs. High-Point
I may be exagerating, but it seemed to read this way.
I am just looking for a hint of objectivity. Is that too much to ask? Again, I think that Massad Ayoob is the only writer (besides those found in Gun Tests) I have seen in print who even comes close to giving a thumbs down. Other than that, I like the style of Mike Venturino and Dave Fortier. At least they do not seem too dry.
Strangely enough I've not seen any comment on American Handgunner magazine or Soldier of Fortune.
I've read several articles/reviews in AH that indeed list the problems & they did write that the gun shouldn't have had those/that problem(s). When it's less than desireable, they say so.
SOF has perhaps the best mil-surp writers around as well as current military issue writers.
I too used to buy & read every gun rag printed. I quickly left Gun World & Shooting Times. Guns & Ammo is ok for the sections of "what do I have?" but they too are bowing to PC versions of reviews. Jeff Cooper's page is about the only worthwhile reading, IMO.
If you can find a copy of S.W.A.T. give it a try.
I, too, quickly found the mainstream firearm publications(oxymoron?) tiresome. Regardless of when you start reading/subscribing, within 2 years or less they simply become the same old article...just different pictures/name. There are some exceptions of course, but not worth the bother or expense. The only publication I find of any worth is Gun Tests. I've found them to be the 'most' objective and appreciate that if something breaks, FTF, or just plain sucks, they'll say so. Unless a particular make/model completely goes to hell on them(rare), I view their ratings, especially "poor" and "don't buy", more as an indicator of a manufacturer's level of quality control.
I can't really add much to what has been said here except to agree.
American Handgunner usually seem to tell it almost like it is. Guns (the sister pub) is the same way. Good photography by Ichiro Nagato.
Gun Tests seems to be on crack about twice a year. The companies that handle subscriptions seem to screw people constantly with the "Here's a free issue, write CANCEL on the bill if you don't want anymore" offers. Read all about that on the sassnet.com forums.
Beating the gun-rag buying addiction leaves a LOT more money for actual guns. If I could get refunds on all the good-for-nothing issues of G&A I bought, I could buy another machinegun. Right now G&A doesn't even make good asswipe as the corners are too sharp when you wad it up. Those back issues seem to be useful only for starting fires and giving to 12 year olds.
You guys should try reading Small Arms Review. It's not the perfect magazine, but at least they talk about machineguns.
And if you see the phrase, "acceptable combat accuracy," this means "the POS can't hit the broad side of a barn... from the inside!"
What irks me about the gun rags is that, even given all the wishy-washy articles that authors seem to churn out endlessly, they have the balls to reprint the same article in several magazines at once, or maybe re-run it a few months later.
Best to use them as gun porn and leave it at that, they are worthless to read unless you like a chuckle. I do enjoy the articles on customized guns, however.
Small Arms Review? Seems pretty good to me. It has a narrower focus than most other mags (military, full auto) and maybe that helps. The articles by Kokalis are top notch.
Soldier of Fortune? Also has great gun articles, but I find the rest of the magazine to be a little off the wall politically for my tastes. The unifying factor of both of these magazines may be the fact that they do not have to cater as exclusively to the gun manufacturers.
Shotgun News? I like the articles. They help break up the monotony. But sometimes they are really out there. Italian handgun cartridges of the 19th century? The five people in America interested in that subject must be salivating.
Guns & Ammo? Don't even get me started. Do they really have to review SUV's? Is there a firearms column in Road & Track? Jeff Cooper? Do we really need him to tell us about how much he loved South Africa under apartheid and how wonderful our military would be if everybody had a scout rifle? (I am exagerrating and paraphrasing here)
Shooting Times? I actually liked this one until Sherrif Wilson's article on the SA XD-9/HS2000. Could he kiss SA's ass any more? Springfield spends plenty of dough on adverts. Venturino is good, but I could care less about the many variations of Sharps buffalo rifles and blackpowder.
Gun World? They get some good articles, especially by Leroy Thompson. Nice layout, but the same problem as all the rest...been there, done that, every gun is a winner, and Jan Libourel loves Japanese dogs.
American Hangunner? This one is a seldom read for me as it is not often on the store shelf. It seems like a lot of 1911 stuff, though.
Guns? Okay....maybe better than most. I hate the layout, but really dig Massad Ayoob and he is a regular here.
Handguns? See Guns & Ammo
What is the one with the Chuck Taylor "You are there" stories? Those are so corny. Are they even true?
Okay....I'm done, rant off. Jeff Cooper, Jan Libourel, Chuck Taylor fans go easy on me. Keep it all in the spirit of academia.
I get the Freedom First magazine and the American Rifleman. I've had many subscriptions and only liked the police files of Massad Ayoob. I even had a subscription to F&S. The telemarketer lady laughed when I told them I wouldn't renew because their rage was too liberal.
Here is some good stuff I read online.