Thursday, September 29, 2016

Musings of a Formerly Cigarette Smoking Woman

From a thread discussing new media gun and gear reviews that morphed into a gun media thread in general...
If I get asked "So, what do you think of the Blastomatic 2000?" when I'm only three or four hundred rounds into my time with the gun, I get cranky.

Some things are easy to form an opinion of pretty quick: "The sights on this gun blow goats and whoever thought they were a good idea needs to die in a crotch fire."

Others take at least a little bit of familiarity: "This magazine release works great if you run it with your trigger finger, but that takes some getting used to."

And still others might require a largish data set to suss out: "Every single malfunction this gun had over the last 3,200 rounds was with standard-velocity 115gr JHPs using Sierra bullets."
Someone wrote that they feel like they know their gun well enough to review it after firing 50k rounds through it...
While I appreciate that level of dedication, I'm usually feeling pretty comfortable with my opinions on an individual gun after a case or two of ammo and a couple months of dry practice and poking around in the innards.

Speaking of which, a good class where you shoot five hundred or a thousand in various drills, from the leather, sometimes on the move, at differing ranges and types of targets, will tell an observant user a lot more about the gun than 2,000 rounds standing flat-footed on Joe Youtuber's backyard plinkin' range.

EDIT: And if at all possible, let other people shoot the damn thing! Recruit 5'2" friends and 6'7" friends and novice friends and your USPSA B-class buddy...get feedback from folks with differing grip strngths and hand sizes and skill levels.
There's a difference between a long-term test, a review, and some initial impressions. Some people have a hard time making that distinction. "Here's a review of the gun I got to fam-fire at a manufacturer's dog & pony show" is not a review, while "2,000 rounds through the Blastomatic in a month and a half" is not a long-term (or torture) test.

Oh, and my pet peeve crops up:
My personal pet peeve is the little ammo manufacturers or distributors who reach out to bloggers/YouTubers/whatever by email and ask "We'd like you to evaluate our ammo and do a review of it on your site. We're not asking for a favorable review, just an honest writeup. We're willing to send you a box of..."

I'm tempted to print these out for the added tactile satisfaction of balling them up and tossing them in the trash can when I get to that line. It would be so much more rewarding than just clicking "delete".
Seriously. The idea that you can "review" ammo with a box or two is silly. Further, if it doesn't involve chrono data and shooting benched groups (and, in the case of defense-oriented ammo, terminal ballistics testing against some consistent standard) then it's not a review, it's just "initial impressions". I appreciate that some companies want to get their name out there and that some people are willing to do it for a box of BBs, but it's just tawdry...

On the O.G. Dead Tree industry back in the day versus Digital Intertubecasts & Bloggery today:
I will say that the barrier for entry is oddly both lower and higher now.

Lower, since you don't have to even convince an editor or publisher that you have the faintest clue what you're talking about; you just need to be able to set up a WordPress site, FaceBook page, or YouTube channel and spread your links around. If you get the eyeballs coming, desperate vendors will start sleazing up to you via email with enticing offers of free stuff. And some New Media types don't look at this free stuff and think "You know, I'd throw that away if it fell out of a gumball machine I hadn't put a quarter in." At least someone writing for another entity can claim they were doing it for a paycheck and not for a free $10 Chinese pocket knife.

Higher, because you have to get the eyeballs, and a lot of savvier industry entities are a whole lot more gun-shy of raw FaceBook likes, pageviews, or Instagram followers, since all that stuff is easy to game for the unscrupulous. Some now have their own social media people to counsel them on how much reach and buzz a person generates. This has no correlation, positive or negative, with the person's actual level of clue; just how much exposure they can give the manufacturer's product.