The Metric Is The Medium

I queued this post up last week about objective gun reviews, and then James over at The Firearm Blog comes up with an attempt to quantify the problem.

So, how do you do that? How do you find which gun is the most efficient? Well, I isolated two ways.
One is, it’s very easy, rounds per ounce.
You just take the weight of the gun and divide that into the capacity of the gun.
So for example, if you have a 20 ounce gun and it holds 10 rounds then that’s.5, one half.
You get.5 rounds per ounce.
Now as far as figuring out size, that was a little but trickier.
So what did I do? With size, again, we divide into capacity but the number we divide in is the height of the gun times the width of the gun in inches.

Using his system, he determines that the most efficient carry gun out there is… a Kel-Tec P11.

Look, I have nothing against Kel-Tecs. I own two, and I think they make decent guns for the money. But I think we’re looking at single-point analysis here. There is more to a carry gun than just it’s measurements, there’s also how well it fulfills it’s intended purpose, namely, stopping a threat to save your life, and that’s where metrics like accurate first shots and rapid follow up shots matter. Adding those metrics into the mix is a problem, because as I said, Bob Vogel IS going to faster on the draw than me and have quicker followup shots than I will.

So how do overcome the variable of different skill levels? By measuring the quality of our reviewer and adding that into the mix. Fortunately for us, that already exists, at least when it comes to handguns. Both the USPSA and the IDPA have a classification system that allows us to judge how competent a person is with a handgun in a situation that sorta mimics real-life, so we can factor that data into our decision as well. High-C/Low-B me is going to be faster and better than a beginner, and Todd Jarrett is going to wipe the floor with me.

We can also overcome the variable of different skill levels by having just one reviewer perform all the tasks. There’s a reason why The Stig does the Power Laps on Top Gear: He’s a great driver, and he can get the most performance possible out of a car, allowing for a reasonable comparison to be made between the performance of different cars.

I like that James is trying to add an element of math into the reviewing of guns, and I’d like to see more of it. Maybe one day we’ll go from seeing gun reviews as poetry to gun reviews as an measurable, repeatable event. I’m looking forward to that day.