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.