Because Gun Tests magazine is subscriber driven (no ads), we make changes in our reporting on a rolling basis when enough readers ask for certain things. Two changes I’ve made in how we present information have been in place for a couple of issues now.
Over the years, readers have mentioned how they had to turn back and forth between pages to compare data in the modules — which are the boxed items that contain the gun name, grade, recommendation, images, and specifications. So, a few months ago, I started putting all the modules on a spread, that is, two facing magazine pages. That works for up to four guns for most gun types. If there are more than five firearms in a test, which is rare, I put the modules on two consecutive spreads, so at most you have to turn only one page to compare the specs.
That change in how to present the data in the modules also allowed me to enact a second reader-driven request: to put similar detail images for all the guns together, so readers can inspect them side by side. You know, triggers with triggers, disassembly with disassembly, buttstocks with buttstocks, and so on. Now that I’ve looked at a couple of issues’ worth of those changes, I’ve begun to like them, in particular the “ganging” of detail images. Placing like images near each other does help show functional differences in the firearms, which I think helps you make a decision about buying a gun or not.
I was pretty sure those two changes would meet wide acceptance from our eagle-eyed readers, and the email I’ve received from readers who’ve noticed those changes has been completely positive. I say “completely positive” as a qualifier because when we went to four-color images many years ago, I heard some grumbling. Then, when we switched to coated paper rather than matte, there was grumbling then, too. Seems the coated paper was not as effective as an eliminatory aid, a use which really makes me proud professionally.
We’re considering making another change, and this one I want to announce and explain. We’ve had some readers say they prefer to know what to buy, and they don’t really care about detailed information on what not to buy. Generally, that means they want to know every detail about a gun that gets a grade of A- or above, and they don’t really care that much about any product that scores a B or below. By shortening the reporting on so-so guns, we create space to add more guns in each issue. And everybody would like to see more gun reviewed.
So in this issue, I began that process by reducing the total amount of words and pictures on a B product, the Browning 9mm load. There will be more occurrences of this going forward, so send me an email about whether you like the shorter treatments for the second-level guns, or not.