Clint Smith Doesn’t Tell the (Whole) Truth About Guns

This month’s American Handgunner 2011 Annual (is it that time already?) has a feature by gun guru Clint Smith on the Volkmann Custom 1911 [not shown]. The opening sentence—blown up for the hard of seeing—reveals that Mr. Smith is not averse to burying bad news. “I am constantly getting requests to review, test and write up firearms that range from really good stuff . . . to bluntly, ‘losers’ I choose not to write about.” No surprise there. Back in the day, TTAG revealed The Gun Guys sins of omission: they sent back rifles that sucked and then developed rifle-specific amnesia. My problem with this? People are betting their lives on these guns that suck: weapons whose faults jobbing journos are sweeping under the carpet. “I know full well people are betting their lives on these guns so I take them and what I write about them very seriously,” Smith writes. Ah, but it’s what Clint doesn’t write that could really put buyers lives in danger. Just sayin’ . . .

comments

  1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    El Jefe Farago doesn’t play any of those bullshit games here. Armalite feeding problems? Blogged. Rhino misfires? Blogged. Smith & Wesson trigger lock lock-ups? Kel-Tec misfires? Factory-new Ruger SR40 packed with dirt? Masterpiece .380 FTFs? All blogged.

    In fact, there are at least a dozen more gun/gear screwups that TTAG has blogged, and NONE that TTAG has buried or suppressed. Usually (but not always) the manufacturer is glad we discovered the problem, so they can address it before their reputation goes to crap.

    The only ‘suppressed reports’ we like around here are the ones that come from the muzzle of a (lawfully) suppressed firearm. That’s why it’s called The Truth About Guns.

  2. avatar 2yellowdogs says:

    And that’s why hits have increased as fast as they have. If I wanted gunmaker fellatio, there’s a huge supply out there on the intertubes or on my local newsstand. Pleasing (and, more important, never pissing off) your advertisers is easy.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

  3. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    Amen! I am very opinionated about what I do and do not like! I only recently discovered this site, but I love it! I probably run on too much about some things-but I believe in passing on only what I know to be the truth! I really enjoy the thought provoking “what if’s” and the gun reports. The only other source I value is Gun Tests magazine, but it could use improvement. Keep up the great job, Mr. Farago!

  4. avatar DesertRat says:

    I’m actually a little surprised at this as the publisher Clint usually writes for has gone up against manufacturers and called a turd a turd in print.

    IIRC Ayoob wrote the article and the magazine refused to back down even with the threat of loss in advertising revenue. The company eventually relented, met with the author and publisher and fixed the gun.

  5. avatar Andy says:

    Slow news day, Robert? Scrapin’ the bottom of the criticism barrel? Pickin’ on the guys on our side because the enemy is too hard? Seriously, you think it is a surprize to anybody with a lick of sense that good products get reviewed and bad products just don’t get mentioned? That’s how it is in most industries, and the gun business is no exception.

    But its no matter to you. You want to be the honest man’s honest man. Tell it like it is no matter who gets hurt… even if you have to shiv one of our own to get there. Bully for you!

  6. avatar 2yellowdogs says:

    Spiking or refusing to do bad reviews is worthy of note, no matter how common it may be. It goes to the reliability of the reviewer/magazine/web site. If someone calls attention to that, it’s not shivving them, it’s doing a service for those who may otherwise rely on what they write.

  7. avatar The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit says:

    John Farnam will post up in his Quips section occasionally in regard to guns – rifles, usually – that do or do not do well in his courses. It can be worth paying attention to.

    GunTests magazine is also pretty good for a statistically small review sample of various bits of ironmongery.

  8. avatar Terry4Strokes says:

    No one should ever bet their life on a gun based on the word of anyone. The fact is you need to do your own home work!! And that involves knowing, without a doubt how your specific gun will function with your specific ammo under as many circumstances as you can wrap your little head around. Not just your brand of gun. Not just your model of gun. Your gun and your ammo.

    You can’t read that in a magazine, or a blog. Clint Smith can’t write about that. Nor can Mas, or Farago, or Tiger McKee, or the ghost of John Moses Browning. This is something you need to find out.

    I may be suckered into parting with my hard-earned bucks by listening to the siren call of Michael Bane’s latest gun-love rant (God I want a Rossi Ranch Hand…). But that is a long way from betting my life on it, and it should be for anyone.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    I didn’t read the article, RF, only what you quoted. In the quote, Smith didn’t write that he covered up anything. He wrote (paraphrasing here) that he gets requests to review crap that he refuses to write about. What’s wrong with that? Yeah, we know that some writers and bloggers see no evil, report the good and bury the bad, but Smith didn’t admit to being one of those, at least not in the quote. I could mention the names of some prominent suckups, but IMO Clint Smith wouldn’t be on that list.

  10. avatar Samuel says:

    Here is a little known secret in magazines and television – most of the stories and products they review are paid advertisements.

  11. avatar Tim says:

    Maybe its just me, but if you KNOW how something is done, then use that information to improve your decisions. If they review something (and ostensibly they only review good stuff and toss the bad) – then that information can be used to make better purchasing decisions. The crappy stuff will either have to improve to get a review, or die a withering death. In either case, a win win… We all know in our gut who makes solid products and who doesn’t. There is enough information out there via forums, google, youtube, and even TTAG (yes another plug) to make an informed decision. Even the good stuff will have an occasional lemon…

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