February 2002

02/02 Editorial: What We're About

At Gun Tests, we place a great premium on reader feedback. Because we’re subscription-driven, and not supported by advertising revenue, our readers are our lifeblood, so it’s important for me to stay plugged in to how our articles are perceived and received.

Thus, it helps me when a reader like Dan Dawley of Stockbridge, Vermont, writes in to comment on how he thinks we’re delivering the tough, critical product evaluations the GT brands stands for. Here’s what he said:

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Greetings. To start off, I would like to thank you for producing a magazine that is one of each month’s most-looked-forward-to mail deliveries. For years now, I have read [other gun magazines] and will continue to. However, I have long been somewhat dismayed by their love for only the firearms of companies who advertise with them. And then, the “reviews” are nothing more than advertiser payoff jobs. I don’t believe they have ever reviewed a firearm that wasn’t just the most perfect firearm ever produced. How the hell can a person trust that?

Your magazine has given me a place I can go and read reviews of many different firearms, both big-name and up-and-comers. And your reviews and opinions always seem fair. You not only give the good news, but the bad news as well. You state right up front any previous opinions you may have going into a test, and you point out in your reviews which things are facts proven in your tests, and which things are personal opinion. I have to respect that.

For the record, I do appreciate the opinions you and your staff provide. Sometimes I have the same preferences as your testers, and some times I don’t. But at least I get an honest personal opinion, not just a dry, devoid of personality report, or an advertiser suck up.

I would also like to thank you for being willing to show that the best gun doesn’t always have to be the one that has a price tag well beyond the reach of most mortal men. There are many good firearms out there that don’t require a second mortgage on the home. You have been willing to point them out. Thank you.

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Mr. Dawley sees what our mission is better than most: We tell you what we think about a given product, free from the constraints of commercial self interest. But that doesn’t mean that what we write will always find favor with our readers — there’s nothing as joyless as being told that a gun you just bought for $600 is a piece of barnyard biomass. And, naturally, manufacturers are underwhelmed to see a bad review of a product they usually worked hard to make and sell. But they sometimes make mistakes, and we aren’t shy about telling them what we, and probably thousands of other consumers, don’t like about a gun.

These are tight economic times for many of us, and we want to spend our money as wisely as possible. I hope that Gun Tests helps shooters of every caliber buy the pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns that will give them the most bang for the buck.

-Todd Woodard