P320 Entry: The Trouble With Gun Reviews (And Reviewers)


By Kevin P.

Is that a gun review or are you just showing off? Have you ever found a review of a new firearm that you couldn’t wait to read? Maybe it’s a new offering from a favorite manufacturer or a comparison of two guns you have been thinking of adding to your collection. Finally, you think, this is going to settle it! This is going to answer all my questions and my decision will become oh so clear. But that rarely happens these days, does it? . . .

Gun reviewers, particularly bloggers, seem more interested these days demonstrating their creative writing skills. Gun reviews are so filled with colorful metaphors you don’t know whether you are reading a product review or the latest Stephenie Meyer novel. Not that I mind an opinion, but please don’t give me an opinion couched as objective review. Why not separate the two?

A good review should start with the basics. Outline the things that are important to that particular firearm. Is it a hunting rifle or personal defense handgun? Then tell me how this product stacks up with the tasks that it was designed to accomplish. Too many times I see a writer express is dislike of a handgun with an external safety. YOU may be an experienced shooter but if this gun is being marketed to first time gun owners then perhaps that safety isn’t a bad idea. Or am I wrong here?

If you want to include your opinion of an external safety versus a passive safety then do so in a separate section of the review. Lay out the facts first THEN give the opinion. Otherwise you are just muddying the water (OK, so resisting metaphors is not easy). Then sometimes you will see a writer contradicting his or her own opinion. I have read several authors offer their opinion about a gun with a supposed terrible trigger pull. And then a few paragraphs later will say something like, “but with practice I found it to be very accurate.”

You confuse the reader who desperately wants reliable and accurate information and anger others who wish you would save the flowery language for the next literary contest and just stick to honest product assessment.


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