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Discussion Starter #1
I have noticed while trolling thru guns mags that when some writers are evaluating a new firearm, they sometimes mention that the test weapon was "sent to them" for testing? Can this be considered a "representative sample"? Would it be better to show up at the factory and pick one "off the line"....so you don't test a weapon that their experts have tweaked on to make sure it is perfect?

Just wanted some of the zen masters opinions? I know it is not possible to jump in your personal jet and fly to the factory ...but it just seems like a mail order test weapon is not a representative sample?
 

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Is any test based on a sample of one "representative"?

More commonly the factories are accused of sending us specially selected guns.

I'm pretty well convinced that the major companies don't do that and most initial examinations would reveal if they had done anything out of the ordinary.

Otheriwse I like the idea of picking a gun off the line at random because I like hanging out a gun plants but that's unlikely too.

The real world economies of this business are such that we'd all be out of work if they didn't send us test guns.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Charlie,

You say its unlikey to make plant visits? What if the factory sent their Citation II to your front door and two young flight attendants escorted you to their factory so you could select your own "random...representative" test firearm? That seems fair?
 

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My Lord, how much do you want these guns to cost? Someone has to pay for the flight attendants.
 

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Quite a number of years ago I read a story by a gun writer (I want to say Bob Milek, but my memory may very well be faulty) that stated he'd received a gun for testing, and included in the box was a letter from marketing that read something along the lines of "Special for gun writer - make sure it's good."

Now, I think Charlie's one of the good gun writers. But honestly, many of his . . . peers . . . are less than credible.

Personally, for gun reviews, I think Internet forums are more credible than gun magazines are generally. For example, all the gun mags - and I mean ALL the gun mags - heaped all kinds of praise on Kahr's P9 when it was introduced. I bought one, and it was just about the most wretched piece of junk it had been my displeasure to own. Guess what - other folks on various forums were reporting many of the same problems I was having. Yet none - zero, zip, nada - of the gun rags I'd read disclosed any problems at all.

Were every one of the gun writers lucky - or was something special going on?

Remember Phil Engledrum's magazines - Pistolero and Handgun Tests- where they went out and purchased guns to test over the counter? They often reported problems that the gun rags never seemed to encounter. Even today, Gun Tests seems to discover things that many of the mainstream gun mags don't.

Now, it could be that the guns sent out to gun writers just get a little more TLC than what is usually sold over the counter, or maybe they were just tested more extensively to reveal any defects before being shipped. But I'm convinced that I'm less likely to get a good gun over the counter than a gun writer is if he's sent something explicitly for testing.
 

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HankB said:
Even today, Gun Tests seems to discover things that many of the mainstream gun mags don't.
Yeah, but some of the morons at Gun Tests might be causing their own problems by attempting to load the ammo in backwards, and things of that nature. :lol:
 

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"Special for gun writer - make sure it's good."
that might have been me too

still have the packing slip saying, "this one's for Charlie... he doesn't lie"

If you consider the number of guns made and sold that never bobble and then along comes one guy with a computer who gets (imagines?) a bad one and now they make only crap.

Consider also those who maybe have a case of heartburn with a company... give them a few minutes and photo shop...

A long time ago I spent a week at S&W for a couple of stories about quality control, warranty repair and customer service. Trust me they keep score and for one year I studied the incidence of warranty returns was less than 0.1%. I spent a day inspecting, repairing and testing guns returned for service. Obviously there were some lemons but there were also a lot of guns that had defective owners.

One of my favorites was a Model 29 that came in with a complaint of poor accuracy. The sight was screwed all the way over to one side. I adjusted it back into the middle and shot a nice group in the "X" ring. It's a no win for them. If they tell the customer the gun is within factory standards he will tell the world they are liars and if they tell him to stop jerking the trigger he probably won't take that too well either.
 

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Recently in another forum a contributor complained that his new gun shot six inches low, no matter what he did. His final word was that the gun was "an inaccurate POS," and that he was going to sell it right away, even if he had to take a loss on it.
Suggestions from other contributors included trigger jerking and a too-tall front sight that might cost $1.50 to replace, but he was adamant that it was something fundamentally wrong with the gun. It was "inaccurate," and he just wasn't going to deal with it.

Similar to Charlie's experience at S&W, I have also seen "POS postings" about pistols that irremediably shot low-left, by new pistoleros who were not the least bit interested in correcting what obviously was their own faulty technique.
No, dang gum it, it was that "POS gun," not them.

The problem, of course, is that perfectly usable guns by perfectly capable manufacturers pick up perfectly awful reputations that are entirely undeserved, because of these hasty evaluations tendered by experienceless tenderfeet who have no business writing critiques in the first place.
 

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Steve M1911A1 said:
The problem, of course, is that perfectly usable guns by perfectly capable manufacturers pick up perfectly awful reputations that are entirely undeserved, because of these hasty evaluations tendered by experienceless tenderfeet who have no business writing critiques in the first place.
If the Forum has enough traffic and people concerned you can get balance and self correction. Good moderators are a must, over moderation is annoying enough to drive me away.

Geoff
Who still likes the http://smith-wessonforum.com though I have dropped out of several others where the signal to noise ratio dropped alarmingly.
 

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Charlie:

This too, is one of those topics where I figured I could maybe add something so at least in somewhat the order that certain points were brought up and particular questions were raised, here we go:

1) "Luigi": In regard to a "test weapon…"…sent to them" for testing…"
a. I agree entirely with Charlie's response that while "More commonly the factories are accused of sending… specially selected guns.", he is "…pretty well convinced that the major companies don't do that and most initial examinations would reveal if they had done anything out of the ordinary."
b. I'm not saying that it can't happen and we all know that gun magazines, like automobile and audiophile publications are driven as much (and possibly more so) by advertising dollars than subscription and newsstand monies BUT consistently "testing" and favorably reporting upon rigged samples isn't going to get anybody (the manufacturer, the magazine or the author) anywhere.
c. Ultimately, no matter how gullible a cynic like me might think the public can be, sooner or later such a policy would backfire.

2) That said, what about "Hank B's" case where a gun writer: "stated he'd received a gun for testing, and included in the box was a letter from marketing that read something along the lines of "Special for gun writer - make sure it's good." I don't doubt it. But again, while we could assume that it was a "rigged" sample (and for all we know, it could have been) let's, for a moment, look at what else that note could have meant. It could have instructions to someone in Marketing, PR or even Customer Service (depending on the size and organization of the company involved) to do (at least) any one of the following things (Note: There are far more possibilities than just these three.):
a. Go out into the warehouse and have the brains to open the box and make sure the gun they are sending is a decently representative sample (every manufacturing company regardless of what they make has their ups and downs).
b. Go over to a storage cabinet where a floating pool of samples is kept and make sure that what is being sent out for what could be the umpteenth time was cleaned and inspected after it came back the last time and isn't beat to hell by now (not every company sends out a "new" gun every time they can get something written about it or placed into an article).
c. If photos are going to be a big part of the article (and this is not always the case), make sure that one is found that "looks" good. This could run the gamut from representative-looking wood on a long gun to checking that are no dings or scars in the stock of any kind of firearm. It could also involve decent metal finishing that isn't worn, scratched or uneven under the harsh strobes of a professional photo setup. And if you think that I'm making that last part up, there was in interesting article in (I think) Man at Arms last year where they amped up a such a procedure to show the otherwise hidden work done on supposedly mint condition Remington Rolling Blocks when they were imported back in the old days. Hell, these days, even simple home digital setups pick up flaws that our eyes would never see.
d. So even having once been the police (I rarely believe anything) and also in this business for a while, I would say that while I am more than willing to accept that some less-than-scrupulous company (or just a less-than-scrupulous employee at a reputable company) might have sent along a ringer, there could be a number of other explanations for the note.

3) And in regard to "Hank B's" beliefs that "…the guns sent out to gun writers just get a little more TLC than what is usually sold over the counter…" I would say that based on my remarks above, that this is very likely. But in regard to his saying: "…or maybe they were just tested more extensively to reveal any defects before being shipped.", I would also say that based on things I have seen "go wrong", I wouldn't bet on that assumption.
a. Nor would I necessarily agree that he is "…less likely to get a good gun over the counter than a gun writer is if he's sent something explicitly for testing.", for I know more than a few people who (on more than one occasion) got randomly selected, uninspected, out-of-the-box guns for testing for articles that ultimately never happened because the guns had problems or that finally happened with replacement guns, which (merely by chance) didn't have problems the second time around.
b. In many cases, it is the same luck-of-the-draw that exists with all of us; whether it is guns, cars, or electronic devices.

4) And for all of those people reading this who remember the "old days" when product reviews in some (not all) magazines from some (not all) writers were more supposedly more objective (honest? frank?) in their appraisals, one of the interesting things about today's American Rifleman (in some ways perhaps as altered over time as any of the others) is that they still use much of the same testing criteria they always have and they use it regardless of the purpose of the gun.
a. For example: generally police, cowboy action, and sporting shotguns (regardless of their purpose) are patterned the same way; and handguns of all types are shot the same number of times, at the same distances, and in the same manner with the same protocols concerning ammo (not types or brands of ammo) so that ready comparisons can be made between them regardless of when the tests were run. I'm sure that there might be exceptions from time-to-time but such testing procedures (while I am sure sometimes a pain for the writers involved) are at least a something of a tip-of-the-hat toward validity and comparability for the reader. I applaude them for that.

5) In regard to "Hank B's" and Charlie's remarks about Internet Forums, their value as compared to the traditional print media magazines, and those who contribute to such platforms (and complain about things within them):
a. First of all, I don't think that all forums are bad. I wouldn't be here if that was the case. But while I do think that in some ways they can provide a certain amount of insight in regard to trends and possible problems (as well as a way of "discovering" and learning about things from other parts of the world, where one might not regularly travel), I also tend to agree that in terms of one or (in my case) even more problem guns (as compared to the thousands of trouble free versions of the same model out there) in the hands of one (or more) disgruntled, computer-equipped (they don't even have to be computer savvy) individuals, who might not even be correct in their assumptions, things can be grossly misrepresented.
b. Then there are the issues of self-aggrandizing and outright dishonesty. I track certain topics across several forums as well as the net at large for both my work and my personal interests. I've been around this stuff since I was a child. I have shot competitively (in a number of disciplines) since college. I have been in this "industry" in one way or another since the 70's and I have been on the manufacturing side of things since the early 90's. Yet I readily admit that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people who know a lot more about this stuff than I do. BUT I see way too many who DON'T, lie, make up stories, or pass along untruths every minute of the day on line and it is readily accepted as fact.
c. Whether unintended or aimed at a particular company as Charlie suggests, the end result is still the same.
d. And at least at the moment, that's one thing you won't find in the "print" gun media: wholesale and unchecked distortion of the facts. I am sure that things might be slanted from time-to-time, or portrayed in a favorable light within certain publications, but the people I know in that business today are not going to lie about anything in their mags. If for no other reason here, then for the reasons I gave at the beginning of this post.

6) Finally, to close on a more cheerful note, and in response to the comments from "Luigi", "Tim Burke" and Charlie, let me say something about those aircraft and the state of the industry.
a. While some companies are still seeing record sales regarding handguns, black gun sales are falling back to normal levels (if not less than what had become normal levels because of the ramped up over-buying we've seen for the last few years), and long gun sporting sales, while not the end of the world, are not the profit centers they were traditionally for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, while people aren't falling into the abyss, they aren't generally flying the press around the planet (or themselves either for that matter) in private jets.
b. That said, if you dig around, you will find that at one time, Smith & Wesson might have had the means of doing just such things but that was a long time ago and I think from a period when either a family member was into high-end private aircraft or their parent company was actually building them.
c. I believe (and I could be wrong for there are all kinds of conflicting stories about those days) that the only thing that remained afterward was the hanger that years later, ultimately became the first real home of the Performance Center.
d. Like I said, don't take it to the bank (or I could be guilty of the same thing I mentioned above) but such a story is certainly an intriguing way to end this post.
 

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pop... the sound of my bubble bursting. I only asked for the G-5 because I've covered the USA pretty well but have missed some in Europe, South America and Japan...

I did get to see Remington's Gulfstream once and unless it has moved recently the Performance Center is still in The Hangar...

bet Mr. Marlowe also knows who penned the "Charlie doesn't lie" note... :lol:
 

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"...guns that had defective owners."

Charlie, that's a nugget! :thumbsup:

Kel-Tec used to make a .40 S&W version of their P11 9mm. They had to drop it because of all the "defective" guns that were sent back under their superlative warranty service. Those pistols worked perfectly at the factory; the shooters just weren't holding them properly ("limp-wristing" or just a weak shooting grip). It got so expensive they had to simply discontinue the P40. Pistols and slide assemblies are hotly sought-after by K-T fans.
 

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Snake45 said:
HankB said:
Even today, Gun Tests seems to discover things that many of the mainstream gun mags don't.
Yeah, but some of the morons at Gun Tests might be causing their own problems by attempting to load the ammo in backwards, and things of that nature. :lol:
Maybe you're thinking of the guys who work for HK Marketing:



Skeptic49 said:
Steve M1911A1 said:
The problem, of course, is that perfectly usable guns by perfectly capable manufacturers pick up perfectly awful reputations that are entirely undeserved, because of these hasty evaluations tendered by experienceless tenderfeet who have no business writing critiques in the first place.
If the Forum has enough traffic and people concerned you can get balance and self correction. (emphasis added.)
Exactly. If ONE person complains about a particular model of gun, it's probably 50-50 that the gun or the owner is defective - look at the guy's other posts to see what's more likely. BUT - if MULTIPLE owners are reporting trouble, it's more likely that there really IS a problem with the guns. (Or at least the ones manufactured on Monday morning or Friday afternoon. :wink: )
 

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HankB said:
...If ONE person complains about a particular model of gun, it's probably 50-50 that the gun or the owner is defective - look at the guy's other posts to see what's more likely...
Nope.
I'd have to also factor-in the specific complaint.
Take, for instance, my tale of the gun that shot low. The owner/poster stated that it was "inaccurate" because all of his shots went six inches low. Now then, if all of his shots went into about the same place, but six inches low, was the gun really "inaccurate," or was the owner/poster ignorant of the meaning of the pejorative he was using? I say that in the case at hand, the owner/poster was 100% wrong. There was absolutely no possibility that his complaint was valid.
It's the same with pistols that consistently shoot low and left in someone's right hand. There's no "50-50" about it.
Always analyze the specific complaint. That will tell you an awful lot about the complainer and the validity of his lament.
 

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Now, this may come as a shock or a betrayal to some but, this isn't the only forum I frequent. A couple are loaded with very knowledgable shooters and gunsmiths(Pistolsmith.com and the 1911forum come to mind). Complaint-threads get picked apart by these guys looking not to abuse the OP but to find out exactly what's going on. Monitoring these threads can, over time, give one a good snapshot of any certain firearm. For example, Kimber. Alot of the new II-series guns have a problem with the Swartz-block firing-pin safety Kimber has introduced in them. This was discovered on Pistolsmith awhile back. Now, over the time-span I ran my small 1911 shop, I had alot of customers come in with problems they were having with guns. And there too, you could see trends develope over time. I had a small 25 yard range out in back of my place(One of the benefits of setting up business in a rural area) where alot of them discovered the problem wasn''t the gun but, it also was a way to nail down problems with the owner present. It got to the point where, when a customer brought a certain brand in and said this is what it's doing I knew pretty-much whether there was a problem with the gun or the shooter. Yes, while I specialized in 1911s I did work on other guns, business is business.

My Father had a line he used that applies to some firearms pretty good," when one man calls you an Ass you can call him a liar. When twenty men call you an ass it's time to go price a saddle." For a long time Auto-Ordnance guns warranted a saddle, I was seeing alot of them come in with feed problems(For me, one a month was alot). Seems A-O either didn't have QC at the time or didn't care, I was seeing the same thing, lip overhang, sometimes as much as 1/8th.-inch. I was doing alot of reshaping.
 

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Steve M1911A1 said:
HankB said:
...If ONE person complains about a particular model of gun, it's probably 50-50 that the gun or the owner is defective - look at the guy's other posts to see what's more likely...
Nope.
I'd have to also factor-in the specific complaint.
Take, for instance, my tale of the gun that shot low. The owner/poster stated that it was "inaccurate" because all of his shots went six inches low. Now then, if all of his shots went into about the same place, but six inches low, was the gun really "inaccurate," or was the owner/poster ignorant of the meaning of the pejorative he was using? I say that in the case at hand, the owner/poster was 100% wrong. There was absolutely no possibility that his complaint was valid.
This sounds like the complainer's terminology was incorrect; for all we know he was getting a one-hole group that was 6" low, in which case the gun wasn't "inaccurate."

But it nonetheless it's possible the gun had really did have a problem - not shooting to point of aim. I've had a couple of rifles (an AR and FAL) which had that defect, which was taken care of by the manufacturer. The rifles were accurate - but the indexing of the sights was off.

But someone less precise in their terminology could well assert this defect constituted "inaccuracy." A mistake, to be sure (note, I'm agreeing with you on this) but a mistake in terminology doesn't cancel out what may be a genuine defect.

BONUS QUESTION: You've seen the HK picture earlier in the thread where cartridges were loaded into the magazine nose first. Which handgun uses a magazine in which the cartridges are intentionally loaded nose first into the magazine for proper function?
 

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HankB said:
...BONUS QUESTION: You've seen the HK picture earlier in the thread where cartridges were loaded into the magazine nose first. Which handgun uses a magazine in which the cartridges are intentionally loaded nose first into the magazine for proper function?
Hmmm...
I think that there's a recent Kel-Tec rifle design, in which the rearward-moving bolt "snatches" the next cartridge out of the magazine and then lifts it up and chambers it on the return stroke, but I am not certain if I remember the name of a pistol which does that.
I seem to recollect a German or Austrian "double-shuffle" blow-forward pistol design, but I believe it fed its cartridges the normal way anyhow. That's as far as this old mind can go.
Once again with 'bated breath, I await learning the answer.
 

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I'll give you a hint: the pistol is a recent American design.

Another hint: It actually exists, albeit in small numbers.

8)
 
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