I’ve been thinking a bit more about the current state of gun journalism, and a few thoughts have popped into mind that may or may not make sense to you.
In the past, I’ve bemoaned the lack of metrics when it comes to guns and compared gun reviews to car reviews. That’s not fair, though, because due to their size and how they operate, a car is MUCH less affected by who’s behind the wheel than a gun is affected by who’s on the trigger.
A better comparison might be cameras, something which I have more than a passing familiarity with.
Strictly speaking, camera reviews suck. Always have, always will. Yes, they can compare signal to noise ratios and megapixels until the cows come home, but the fact of the matter is, if you gave me a Nikon D5 and gave Greg Heisler an iPhone, his pictures are going to be better than mine. They just will. That’s why he’s Gregory Heisler, and I’m not.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My favorite camera when I was a shooter (clickclick) wasn’t the FM2 or the Hassie or the Sinar 4×5, it was a small, light (relatively) cheap Olympus XA rangefinder. I liked that camera because it was ALWAYS with me, and I got some great shots with when they popped up in front of me. Now, did I try to shoot tabletop still lifes or corporate portraits with it? Of course not, but that’s when the Sinar and Hasseblads (respectively) would come into play. The XA, though, just *shines* in my favorite kind of work, informal environmental portraiture, so that’s why I carried it for so long.
None of my decisions to buy gear for either myself or the studio was guided in any way by a camera review in a photo magazine. To be honest, most photographers know diddly-squat about cameras as a whole: I think I cracked open “Popular Photography” maybe once or twice in the dozen years I was a shooter (clickclick), but I read every issue of PDN and Outdoor Photography (because I’ve always been MAD for Galen Rowell‘s work). My experience as a shooter was hardly unique. Most of the day in, day out photographers I know have no clue about the camera market as a whole. They do, however, know the cameras they use everyday like the back of their hand.
How this applies to the gun journalism world should be easy for you to figure out.