Testing Guns

I hear and read the word “Testing” a lot in the gun community.
Stop it.
That word does not mean what you think it means.
You are not testing anything that hasn’t been tested already a million times over.  “Trying it out” or “Plinking” or “Blowing shit up” are usually the more accurate terms rather than testing.   They just don’t sound as self important.  To some guys, every time they thumb a round into a magazine, they are “Testing”.  No… No you are not.  You are not applying any Scientific Method, recording results, or following any metric to make any comparison to anything else other than the last shot you fired, which was probably from a different stance with a different grip at a different empty Mt. Dew bottle.
Testing is boring.  It is all about observation and control and measurement.   Running your mags dry as rapidly as you can generally only turns money into noise and yields little scientific results.
Some guys hate the use of the word Clip.  Well, we misuse the word Test a lot more and I’m starting to hate that too.   I love how someone is doing an “Accuracy Test” yet only fire Remington UMC FMJ ammo.  And then they do so free hand.  You want to test accuracy?  Really test accuracy?  Read any article by Charles Petty.  Look how he does it.  He uses a Ransom Rest quite often, or when not available, sandbags the pistol in an effort to remove as much human error as possible.  And then he fires controlled groups using 5 or more different loads.  That is a test.  That is boring as shit, but that is a test and that’s how you do it.  As much as his articles are as thrilling as a Restaurant’s Menu, the information is good and solid because the man knows how to run a test.
I’ve read too many reviews from guys who should know better, who test accuracy and reliability with only 1 box of ammo.  Just because your gun doesn’t like Remington UMC ammo doesn’t mean the gun is second rate.  It only proves Remington UMC ammo is shit.  I’ve had better consistency with Tula ammo.  And don’t give me “Well if the gun can’t run UMC” line.  Because crap ammo is crap ammo and has no bearing on the accuracy or reliability of the gun.  Guns are Ammo dependent and are only as good as the ammo you run in them.   In other words, if you are testing Crap, you are only running a Crap test.

This is why there are so many arguments on the Gun Forums about a gun.  Because no one is Testing.  Your experience with a Firearm and 1 box of ammo is too small of a sample size to base any judgement on.  Don’t fool yourself.  You have an Opinion based on a First Impression.  Nothing more.  Such a limited experience trying out the gun that belongs to a friend of a friend who let you run a Magazine or Two only gives you an impression based on whatever ammo  he had in that caliber.   And usually guys out shooting are not shooting “The Good Stuff”.   But don’t tell everyone that you “tested” it.  You got an Impression and nothing more.

Don’t get me wrong, guys.  There are many suspicious Mt. Dew Bottles out there that need to be shot.  That’s fine.  Just don’t call it ”Testing”.

One thought on “Testing Guns”

  1. I miss the old Handgun Tests and Pistolero Magazines. I suddenly flashed on a cricket test match and ARs being thwooked with large wooden balls. The Patrick Sweeney, serial firearms abuser, books for GunDigest come to mind as well. Consumer Reports Car Tests are often criticized for sample size one, but buying 10% of the production run would be a bit pricey. Sample shoots like YouTube does can be interesting, but there is no good review process or sanity check. Perhaps we need a standard test proceedure, but even American Rifleperson cannot keep to a standard. 25 yards with a Kel-tec P3AT would be somewhat difficult. 4 x 8 sheets of 1/4″ Plywood are not cheap, much less six of them…Geoff Who will revisit the problem if he wins the 400 million dollars Wednesday night.

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