Interpreting Negative Experiences with Handguns (no brand names)
Just like any forum, these are full of people's opinions and experiences with all types of brands / models (of handguns). In addition to all of the good objective feedback, there's also a lot of feedback based on various underlying motives - people who are fiercely loyal to a brand no matter what, people who despise a brand no matter what, people looking for validation of their own purchases, etc... Sometimes it can be difficult to weigh the feedback accurately.
But - at the end of the day when I'm looking for feedback on a handgun, it doesn't take much to turn me off. At some point, my life may depend on the reliability of the gun I'm researching. So, if I read just a few legitimate negative experiences -- ones that get right to the core of a gun's reliability, then that brand/model is off my list. Let's face it, I'm not shopping for new sneakers here. I don't need to be snowballed by a plethora of problems to come to that conclusion -- it only takes a few. That said, if I'm looking purely for a range / recreational gun, then I'm a little more tolerant.
Given this point of view and the volume of negative experiences for some brands, I'm quite surprised that some the companies continue to survive. I mean, for some brands, it seems like half of what I read is negative - that's huge IMO. How can anyone justify putting their life in the hands of a weapon with that much negative feedback?
Do you feel similarly (no need to name any brands - I don't want to get into a bashing thing)? .... Are my standards too high? Am I being a "gun snob"?
How do you guys weigh the feedback? I'm curious...
I weigh firearms by personal experience, or from people I know very well, who have been shooting for alot longer than I have...no, your standards are not too high........I have found and heard that you get what you pay for......
One has to read the negative reviews with a critical understanding of the reviewer.
You achieve that understanding by reading the reviews carefully, and by, well, deconstructing them.
When someone writes that Pistol X is inaccurate and jams on every other shot, I think to myself:
Well, he's probably a new shooter, because new shooters don't really understand the technique of the trigger press, so they tend to shoot low-left.
Further, new shooters tend to limp-wrist semi-autos, and don't really understand the need for a firm, rigid grip, so the pistol wastes energy twisting around in the hand, rather than using it to function properly.
Recently, someone wondered why his new pistol was shooting high at 10 yards.
Well, at least he was using decent trigger control (since he wasn't shooting low-left).
But he hadn't sufficient experience to understand that a bullet travels in an arc, not a straight line, and that pistols are normally zeroed for 25 yards. So shooting high at 10 yards is normal and expected.
Read reviews with a grain of salt, and with your tongue glued firmly in your cheek.
New shooters write useless reviews, because they haven't the experience to truly understand and to interpret what they are experiencing.
Great observation Rob,the best way I've heard (read really) that stated. -no brands,I'll remember.
You're spot on.But,as Steve said,if you aren't a 'seasoned' shooter,you just aren't quite sure.Rifles are easy,pistols or revolvers require a little more finesse offhand,let alone period in general.I have name brands I won't touch for reasons from the Company itself,their operating principle, and/or their lack of any semblance of QC if they're making money.
Sorry,I hit a tangent there.
Try to get your hands on what you like to get a feel,it is not a given though until you shoot it so think about the how the gun will handle it's ammo.9,40,45,big,compact,steel,plastic?I love 1911 45s-carry,competed,still cary,still go straight to it.My Beretta 92 costs too much to shoot if you get into it hard.Up close and personal a 9 will get you one or 2 shots more a second,but I subscribe to a big hole that likes to dig deep.Either can dump 6 rounds/sec close,but the 9's obviously quickest.
Damit,I'm rambling from the 3rd to last beer so I appologize-again.Disreguard this until a diffent bat(ty) time!
I think Steve's point is right on regarding new shooters. The review is only as good as the reviewer's knowledge of the firearm, and of shooting in general.
A counterpoint is that more people will complain about a perceived handgun problem, than will post a satisfactory experience. Every company sends out a lemon now and then. You can be sure that one will get more attention than the dozens that perform as expected.
I do think you're off track on counting out an entire brand based on a model though, even if it is a dog. It seems to me that people put more far too much stock in the brand than the actual product. While I'm sure there's some corporate policies that improve or detract from the products, I see large variations in the quality of models from the same manufacturer. The fact that it says X-Brand on the slide is of little consequence, only the gun itself matters. Just like I can concede that a reputable firm can market a p.o.s., I can also accept that a fine firearm came out of a company with a poor track record on their other models.
Interesting thread by the way. Thanks for posting it.
I have been part of the gun culture for just over 44 years but I freely admit that I never stop learning. This can be a humbling experience and I am always cautious of those who believe themselves to be and to come across as "all-knowing-and-wise" self-anointed gurus. That stated, if does behoove one to listen to truly knowledgeable folks and one can generally tell who they are... if they pay attention to the clues.
I am a firm believe in the fact that what may work great for one person does not necessarily mean that its going to work great for others. And that is to be expected. But there are some constants and these revolve around issues of reliability, design, craftsmanship, proven history, ext. For defensive purposes, one's best friend is to select a quality firearm that fits the hand as well as possible, is a natural pointer for the individual, and offers rapid sight alignment and target acquisition. But I really cannot stress the quality (read that as reliability) enough.
So yes, listen to and read what others say and then apply as much of your own knowledge and logic as you are able. And never stop learning.
O.K., so I'm way out of my element here, and probably won't be taken too seriously. But in my experience there have been really no "bad" guns, that is, as they come from the factory. Modern manufacturing methods seem capable of making even the "cheapest" gun shoot far better than most shooters can hold. And, admittedly, a few guns get past the quality control point. I'm talking about name brand guns, not those sold under importer's names, nor used guns.
I'm not a fan of the auto loader, primarily because my shooting discipline has required very heavy hunting type ammunition and long range shots. I'm much more at home with a good revolver, usually a single action. But I'm not without experience with auto loaders. My own preference in that field is with a good Colt Government Model or Gold Cup in .45 ACP. If I were to carry an auto daily I'd probably opt for a Colt Combat Commander or some simiar pistol. I did have a chance to fire a lightweight .45 from Springfield Armory (not THE Springfield Armory in Massachusetts) that was a very nice pistol.
As to the big magnum auto loaders, they became too massive to be practical.
I apologize for the intrusion into this field but wanted to add my two cent's worth.
Some additional good points... the big one to me is the experience (or lack thereof) of the shooter stating their opinion. That's a major element to be considered.
As far as condemning a brand based on the experience of one particular model...
I understand that a limited design flaw, a bad part, or production at a different facility may lead to the isolated poor performance of one particular model -- thus having nothing to do with the quality of other models or the brand overall for one manufacturer. Every company produces a lemon now and then I suppose.
That's where I may choose to err on the conservative (or overly conservative) side of the scale. At the end of the day, it comes down to thorough testing, vendor selection, and quality manufacturing at the company level. Who's to say these bad decisions aren't more systemic than they appear? What about the next model they produce? Again, we're not talking about a bad sneaker or screwdriver... the consequences of a flawed or unreliable gun are more serious. I have high expectations. I think we all should have high expectations and only reward the absolute best manufacturers with our business.
I agree with these guys for the most part on name brand guns.Everyone in any industry gets a lemon,some are a poorer or cheaper design,and some have bugs that either show up immediately at release or over time that get upgrades.S&W revolvers come to mind with the -2,-3,etc. upgrades over time.There are some low level brands that stray from this and work opposite,a few actually work and most are junk.Jennings,Bryco and the like tend to be a complete waste of money,and some are downright dangerous to even put ammo in.
If a gun fits you and proves reliable,that's what counts,not what others think.I don't like Glocks for a few reasons but millions do,so just because I don't like them doesn't mean they're junk at all.On the other side,there are people that hate 1911s,and I think they're one of the best pistols around.
The majority of guns are fine,but a few have issues that are pretty easy to find out about through research.Most problems are minor and varied as a result of lax QC,so that itself isn't a huge concern.The big problem is when hundreds or thousands of a flawed design or part get out in the market and the problem isn't taken seriously.Although it was the gov't and not Armalite or Colt that caused it,the first M16s are an example of this catagory.
I am not what might be called a firearms bigot. With this I mean that I am very open to the wide variety of manufacturers and designs. I am not a dyed-in-the-wool absolute brand loyal consumer. I have a nice selection of firearms (oh, before that terrible boating accident) and try to keep abreast of new offerings. In the past year I changed my primary carry gun from one of my gen3 Glock 23's to an M&P 9mm Pro Series I bought last year. I just shoot that gun better. But I also have a gen3 Glock 19 which I carry from time to time as well as some others in ly carry stable.
There is no "one gun fits all" in my opinion so it is good that there is a large assortment from which to chose. For a fun gun, a strictly target gun, you can put up with the occasional failure to feed or eject, but not for a self defense gun. That baby had better be as reliable as humanly possible and this is where brand, reputation, and history come into serious play. One could say that it boils down to a simple question.
How much is your life worth?
I too give credibility to reviews based on the reviewer. A lot can be learned from who writes what.
What does he or she use as a point of reference? How does the critique begin? Why are they compelled to make this critique? Most beginners are either extatic or very disappointed, a review from either perspective is not worth much. There are also those who pretend or actually believe they know everything. Their critiques are interesting at best and generally predictable.
When ever I hear the justification..... Well it was only $XX.XX or it goes bang just like a (name Brand) I immediately dismiss the review to be without merit for my situation. The standards are too low for me to find it useful.
It is an interseting world the firearm world. It is diverse and full of opinion. I would like to see more fact based banter, I appreciate and participate in much that is opinion based. It's like motorcycles or golf clubs or anything with a wide range of price points, brand names and skill to operate, and targeted buyers involved. Some very knowlegeable folks are discounted for their knowelge because it is contrary to convention, and some very opinionate folks are uplifted because other frrl good because of their opinions.
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