Lists Versus Reviews

Derek Dave from Breach Bang Clear / Recoil has an interesting conversation with John Johnston of Ballistic Radio on the state of new media vs. old media in the gun industry. The biggest problem he finds (and it’s a problem that I agree exists) is how reviews are handled in both old media and new media and the bias that comes from having the gear manufacturers pay for advertising . I do a fair number of reviews for Shooting Illustrated and other locales, so this weighs on my mind quite a lot.

Let’s take a look at how reviews are handled in gun media versus car media. When Guns And Ammo lists out “Eight Quality Concealed Carry Guns For Under $400,” they do just that: They make a list. No word has to which one of those eight guns is best, not even any word as to why those eight guns might be good choices for concealed carry. They’re just eight pistols under $400, listed out with their specs.

Compare that to how Car And Driver writes about hot hatchbacks. When the gearheads at C&D write about cars, it’s usually in the context of comparing them to similar cars, and comparing them in the context of how they are to be used. They don’t test off-road trucks on the side roads of Europe, and they don’t test sports cars in a mud bog. When was the last time you saw an article about the “Top Ten Guns For Concealed Carry” which laid out WHY they’re good guns for concealed carry, what the standards for choosing a gun for concealed carry might be, and which gun meets those standards the best?

We can’t even agree what makes Gun X better than Gun Y for Task Z, and yet we complain about biased reviews? The car industry using standards like 0-60 times and skidpad G’s to rate cars which helps to remove the element of bias from the equation. if Car X goes 0-60 faster than Car Y, Car X is demonstrably the faster car, and therefore might be better at zipping onto the freeway than Car Y.

There has to be standards to adhere to if we want truly unbiased gun reviews Let’s get some metrics involved, then worry about how’s footing the bill after that.

A (Short) Day At The Range

I finally found the time to escape the insanity of my recent life and went to the “Shoot and Scoot” event at hosted by Step by Step training at Louland range for a couple of hours last weekend. I had a fewf things I knew I needed to test, like the new Trijicon HD sights on my M&P Shield and the reliability of my new carry ammo, Federal HST 124gr, in both my carry guns. In addition to this, I wanted to get in some one-hand only practice and try out a gadget that will be featured in an upcoming article for Shooting Illustrated.

The Results:

  • The Trijicon sights worked great. The front blade isn’t the skinniest one out there, so I wouldn’t want to use these sights in competition, but they did allow me to shoot a plate rack clean, so I’ll take it.
  • Both the Shield and the P07 ate a box of the HST’s with no hiccups, so that ammo will replace my beloved Hornady XTP’s for a while. I don’t like to keep my carry ammo sitting around inside my guns for more than a few years, and the HST’s were easy to shoot and felt much the same as practice ammo does, something that I like in carry ammo.
  • I was quite pleased with my one-handed shooting. While it took a while longer to shoot the stage than it did two-handed, but my hits were there and I was comfortable shooting both strong and weak-handed.
  • Nope, not going to tell you what the gadget was. You’ll have to wait for the article to find out.

I addition to this, Jeff worked on some new (to me) ideas about which is faster/better: Engaging a bad guy on the way to cover, or engaging him with more-precise hits while planted in one place, much the same stuff that Greg Ellifritz talks about over here. I’m still processing the data, but it was enlightening, and it felt GREAT to finally put rounds downrange once more.

The Connectivity Question

Yesterday’s post and Michael’s comments a week or so ago on center-fire .22 ammo, namely that a second manufacturer is needed to make a cartridge successful, got me thinking.

Why some gun owners buy a gun and make a lifelong passion and some people buy a gun and leave it under their bed for twenty years? I think it has to do with finding a reason to own a gun beyond the initial reason why you bought your gun.

What is there to do in scuba diving beyond going into the water? Sure, you can go full Doubilet and take pictures or try to kill yourself with a cave dive, but you’ll eventually reach the conclusion that the point of scuba diving is to go scuba diving. CB radios never changed the world because there wasn’t a lot to do with one besides chat with people you would never, ever let into your living room. Fax machines? Didn’t change the world, but the internet did.

So how do we get guns to change the world?

How Does This Gun Make You Feel?

Byte_Front_Cover_December_1975so Harris Publications went Tango-Uniform. I’m disappointed, because friends of mine are owed money that they now aren’t going to collect. It’s surprising, but not unexpected. The websites for Combat Handguns, etc, were right out of Web 1.0, with no comments and little opportunity for reader interaction. So much for web-magazine synergy.

Moreover, just about every gun magazine in the Harris portfolio talked about guns as just guns, not guns in the context of everyday activities.

Remember “Byte”? What about “Compute!” or even “Macworld”? When was the last time you sat down and read a magazine about computers? The last time I came close to reading a computer-oriented magazine was the early, pre-web days of “Wired”, when they weren’t really sure what the digital future was going to be like. Then the Internet happened, and Wired played catch-up for a few years until they got the hang of what a digital lifestyle was all about.

Which media properties are leading the charge of guns as a lifestyle? Well, no one, really. Not yet. Recoil is probably closest, but it’s really just a “lad’s magazine” with 5.56 substituting for 36-24-36. There’s no magazine out there right now talking about there talking about guns as lifestyle accessory, they all talk about the gun itself as the reason to own a gun. It’s the difference between being PC World and PC Gamer: One talked about just hardware and is now online-only, the other talks about what you DO with the hardware, and is still putting out magazines.

Update: Richard Johnson informs me that the staff of Harris Publications says that outstanding invoices will be paid. I regret the error. I also regret eating that gas station hot dog on the way to the range yesterday.

Louisville Meetup?

It is my understanding that a) there is a convention of some sort in Louisville next month and b) that region of Kentucky is famous for distilling alcohol from maize and storing it away for many a year.

I think we should prevail ourselves of the opportunity to assess the fruits of their labour when we are in that area. I’m in town Thursday thru Sunday AM. Saturday night is out (I’ll be at the Michael Buys The Booze Party), but the other nights are open.

Booze, anyone?

Update: Tam’s talking about doing something as well.

Seeing The Horror First-Hand

An interesting perspective on what it takes to survive an active shooter, from someone who’s survived more than one drive-by shooting.

Little did I know that hip hop culture and growing up during those times would lay the groundwork for me to prepare for the ever increasing threat of Active Killer and ISIS terrorist attacks. Like many who grew up in these areas during that time, I’ve personally experienced being at a house party, park jam or basketball game when all of a sudden, gunfire. Instantly, in a panic, people began to run in all directions, shouting and screaming with no clear thought other than “escape”, furthering the chaos of whatever violence sparked the frenzy.

In a recent conversation with Claude Werner, I coined the term “Sudden Shooter Events” (SSE) and can think of no less than eight I was caught smack dab in the middle of. Now, fast forward 25-30 years later, and I see correlations between these events and news accounts of active killer and terrorist events.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth your time. And note the difference between “getting out” and “getting to safety”. If there’s a mass stampede towards the exits, you are not getting closer to being safe, you’re getting closer to being dead.

Patchwork Man

Ok, I’m moved. I have a garage again. And I have space to dry-fire with movement.

I need to get up and do all of that, and more. Therefore, that’s what I’ll do right now instead of writing.


P.S. I cleaned up the blogroll a bit and added some podcasts. If you’d like to be added to the list, let me know, especially if you’re a blogger in The Gunshine State.