Though most Gun Tests readers prefer getting their gun reviews straight up in the mail every month, I wanted to take a moment to let you know there are other options to get our unique take on gun evaluations, including some new products: videos, e-books, and electronic archive materials.
Starting from the top, the Gun Tests website, Gun-Tests.com, is where we store archival material from past issues. All current subscribers to Gun Tests magazine have access to many digital editions of past and current issues in PDF format, which can be viewed on laptops, tablets, or other mobile devices. Currently, we offer subscriber-only access to the past 10 years of articles and reviews of handguns, rifles, shotguns, accessories, and more. We are working on ways to expand the archives backward in time, with an eye toward having the entire oeuvre accessible eventually. I won’t oversell how fast that build-back will be accomplished, however, because it’s painstakingly slow work to extract materials from older files. But the realization we came to was that because guns are durable products, a 15-year-old review of a good handgun still has value to our readers because many older guns, now out of production, were in fact super performers, and as used products, they can surpass their original dollar value. The Colt Python and H&K P7M8 shown at right are but two examples.
Currently, we have full-issue PDFs available from January 2006 forward. Now, we’re trying to figure out how to recreate 2005 issues in electronic form and make those available. As it stands, some pieces of issues are available in text form on the website back to 1998. However, that information is incomplete — that is, some of the material from each issue from 1998-2005 doesn’t appear on the website. We make corrections and updates to the existing material nearly every day. To get digital access to the archives, consult the extensive directions in the shoulderbox (above right).
There’s also a series of e-books that are available on the website now. These are compilations of past materials organized into categories. The e-book titles include: “The ‘A’ Team: 1911 Handguns & Gear,” “The ‘A’ Team: Concealable 9mm Handguns & Gear,” “Ammunition Buying Guide, Parts I & II,” “The ‘A’ Team: Top AR-15 Style Rifles & Gear, Parts I & II,” “380 ACP Pistols & Gear, Parts I & II,” and “Bolt Action Rifles, Parts I & II.” If you’re interested in a particular topic for a future e-book, please email me and let me know.
I should also mention here the availability of a digital subscription, which is transmitted ahead of the arrival of the print issue in the mail. Digital subs are $24, and a hidden feature of those subscriptions is the lack of renewal notices you get in the mail.
Elsewhere, our staff posts material once or twice daily on the Gun Tests Facebook page. I know many of you hate Facebook, and I’m not all that fond of it myself, so I’m not trying to recruit you to open Facebook accounts. I do have to say, however, that as a means of distributing timely material that I don’t have the space for in the print magazine, Facebook is a great tool for keeping up with gun-related news. I scour close to 100 RSS feeds a day to keep up on gun-industry news, and we put up posts pointed primarily toward new-product introductions, but we do find some culturally relevant material about court cases and gun-grabber outrages that we treat only on FB.
Also, we’ve begun production and distribution of videos on the Gun Tests YouTube page. There are about 20 videos up currently, not including our SHOT Show page coverage, and I produce five to 10 new ones each month, depending on the availability of firearms. Video gives us expanded capability to show functionality and talk about aspects of firearms performance that we can’t convey on a piece of paper. Some videos are currently linked into existing files on the website as well.
Likewise, if you’re on Instagram, Gun Tests has an account, and we post new visuals from upcoming and past issues every day, including images that we don’t have space for in the print magazine.
Like you, we are always in the market for a good gun, holster, bipod, ammo, magazine, trigger, or whatnot. So we’re invested in bringing you our hardnosed, unencumbered tests in head-to-head match ups — by whatever media possible. And, as always, we are very responsive to suggestions for tests you want to read about. So if you have lineups you want us to put together, send them to me and we’ll see what we can do. GT