Combat Handguns (courtesy tactical-life.com)

“New York-based enthusiast publisher Harris Publications notified employees today that the company is shutting down, effective immediately, after nearly four decades,” foliomag.com reports. “Founded in 1977, Harris published a wide variety of special interest magazines over the years, including newsstand mainstays SLAM, Guitar World, XXL, King, Revolver, and Woman. At the time of its closure, the company’s portfolio included Naturally, Danny Seo; Great Backyards; Celebrity Hairstyles; Juicy; Rides; Who’s Who in Baseball; and Guns & Weapons, among several others.” Including Combat Handguns, Ballistic, Special Weapons, Tactical Weapons and the annual Gun Buyer’s Guide. And related firearms websites. Make the jump for the full company statement . . .

It is with great sadness that we are announcing the closing of Harris Publications.  For nearly 40 years, Harris Publications has been a mainstay in enthusiast publishing.

We are extremely grateful for the tremendous contributions of our employees, past and present.  The hard work and dedication of our creative, sales, circulation and operations teams and the talents of our freelance editors, writers, photographers and designers are what allowed us to continue delivering thoughtful and beautiful magazines to our readers.

The magazine publishing industry has been through turmoil in the face of the rapid ascendance of digital media, changing consumer content preferences, magazine wholesaler struggles and consolidation in the supply chain.  We have tried mightily to persevere against these forces, but have been unable to overcome these challenges.

83 Responses to BREAKING: Gun Mag Purveyor Harris Publications Folds

  1. Meh, haven’t bought anything at a news stand for over a decade. Dead tree publishing is effectively as obsolete as the town cryer.

        • I’m not going to shed a tear over this, just like I wouldn’t have shed a tear over buggy makers losing jobs due to the advent of the automobile. While these folks have lost their jobs, far more people have gained employment working for online publications.

    • Not so. I actually like turning pages while I savor a good cup of coffee. It’s a lifelong passtime that just doesn’t carry over very well to digital media. That said, good print magazines (along with good digital media) have to have interesting content and, sad to say, the content of most gun-mags has gotten progressively thin over the past few years. When I visit my local Barns and Nobles the gun-mag section of the newstand usually has three or four titles that I look at first. The rest just don’t seem to have much to say. I’ve seen a similar phenomenon take place with car-mags, most of which, save a couple of expensive British titles, have become terminally boring. Are people just running out of things to say or are the magazines employing people who don’t know much or care much about guns . . . or cars?

      • I have the same thoughts on car and gun magazines. I stopped getting car magazines a few years ago due to seeing the same articles I read in the 90s. The info is usually 3-4 months old and I can read the current stuff as it happens online.

        • Not only that, but, they all take ad money from from the same companies and products they’re reviewing. Have you ever seen a magazine blast a manufacturer, gun, or product as being a don’t buy when they’re taking advertising dollars from the same people?

          Gun makers no longer need dead tree media. They can get a deeper more measured result from online marketing and video.

        • JohnnyIShootStuff, I know what you mean. I know personally the editor of Guns Australia and he told me if they say anything bad about the products (including “Big Green”) the importer said they will immediately terminate any advertising contracts. So there has been no official mention of the mass recall of “Big Green” rifles in Australia. The editor told me if they have a crap product, they simply don’t publish the review.

      • If you feel that way, chances are you’re over 50. The magazine industry is dying off, because magazine readers are dying off. And those of us young enough to not need a newspaper or magazine subscription to find out what happened last week aren’t signing up.

        • The only problem with that statement is; the internet isn’t everywhere. Overseas deployments often result in internet black holes. Getting a “care package” with several of these magazines was a wonderful distraction and often the only source for this information for many months at a time.

          Additionally, having worked at hospitals before, most websites and forums that relate to anything about firearms was blocked “for safety reasons”. Bringing these magazines to work was not only a great opportunity to catch up on the latest information and innovations during breaks, it was also fun to leave them in waiting rooms to fluster the hospital administration.

        • “And those of us young enough to not need a newspaper or magazine subscription to find out what happened last week aren’t signing up.”

          And along with that comes a collective attention span measured in milliseconds. Sound bites and paragraph descriptions of ideas that are better explained in pages of content tend to be popular with people who have difficulty handling the kinds of intellectual abstractions that accompany more complex ideas. This is why, increasingly, we are living in a society were linear thought processes predominate. You probably don’t like single malt Scotch, either.

    • Harris Pubs pubs were so inbred. They would run the same info and even the same articles under different covers. And since you can only say so much about a forged AR they attempted and failed to offer actual info and opinions outside the gun. When the staff authors tried to write about other gear, the new is old if not worthless. You got to actually use the stuff, not just read the box and take fancy pictures.

      Paper gun rags cannot serve all needs and most fellow officers won’t spend a penny on mags filled with words when real mags are a necessity.

      Caio Harris.

  2. I find I don’t have the time or interest anymore to settle in for a long read of specialty magazines.
    It’s a big internet out there.

    • “It’s a big internet out there.”

      That would be [to a large extent] “a big STUPID internet”.

      Nobody in “Combat Handguns” every blew off a body part with tannerite…

  3. I’m an avid reader of all things gun-related, and yet I’ve never read any of those publications. In fact, I never knew they existed.

    Print media is zombie media. It’s dead but doesn’t know it, so it just mindlessly shambles around, mimicking what it used to do when it was alive.

    Dead tree is dead.

    Today Harris Publications, tomorrow the New York Times.

  4. Difficult to sell magazines at bookstores that don’t exist. That and it is impossible to compete with the quality and timeliness of information available online (TTAG being an excellent example).

  5. Even without digital media as a competitor I can;t believe magazines didn’t die out a generation ago.
    There is literally no new information in any of them. If you subscribe to one long enough you see the same articles appear over and over. How many raised bed tips can Mother Earth News publish? Is there really an endless pit of sex tips to keep Cosmo going?

    They’re just ads from cover to cover. Even the articles are ads in that they are inserted to shape the readers opinion and point them toward set styles, fads, trends, personalities wich are then funneld toward placed ads that satisfy those opinions.

    Same with TV, blogs, newspapers, radio. It’s all programing. Uninteresting and repetative programing.

    • Correct. Fawning articles endorsing the products of their advertisers. Repeated ad nauseam. If you have read 10, you have read them all. Good riddance.

  6. I’ve never bought gun publications. I prefer online articles and reviews with viewer commentary/validation at the end such is the case with TTAG and you fine folks.

  7. Ballistic is not a bad mag, I do enjoy it, though they are a patent ripoff in format and style of Recoil, which I find to be a superior publication to others out there.

  8. The whole Remington R51 debacle was the last straw for me as far as dead-tree media is concerned.

    Adapt Or Die.

    Harris chose the latter.

  9. I wrote for them for many years and have several (formally) current assignments now.

    People forget that before the internet–which was not that long ago–gun mags were the only information source available. They helped sell a lot of guns and helped the gun market grow to what it is today.

    Lots of good people just lost their job.

    • The internet is simply a different (and less expensive) way for them to deliver content provide exposure for advertisers. I don’t know why it’s so hard to publish the same content and advertising through a different delivery method, but clearly there are some players in the world of media who have figured it out and some who have not.

      And as the jobs disappear in the dead tree publishing world, thousands of jobs have been created in the internet/digital world.

      I don’t think it’s a net loss, except for the printing companies and the post office.

      • It is a fact that the effectveness of internet advertising is a fraction of that of paper magazines. Without advertising, internet publishing has no future. Its just a big experiment right now for major publishers trying to figure out a way to make a profit online.

        There are very few companies that are making internet profits.

        Why are there not dozens of advertisers on this blog given its readership is far greater than all the gun magazines combined? It’s because internet adv does not work.

        • Internet advertising works fine, just not well enough to pay for the overheads [formerly] enjoyed by the dead tree publications.

          That said, the firearms industry is slow to change. We offer 10X the exposure of ANY gun magazine for a fraction of the cost, but a lot of gunmakers still wants to physically caress their ads. Meanwhile, we do what we do.

        • The very concept of running a company based of selling advertising is as dead a paper publication.

        • Some day soon a marketing genius will figure out internet marketing. Until then it will remain name recognition, branding, exposure and other crap. How valuable is the inside or back cover ad of a gun magazine when it usually promotes a truck or tobacco?

          The real challenge with internet advertising is so much information is available that traditional hype and overstatement becomes less effective. Even with conflicting information good, reliable information can be found with some effort. Look at TTAG product reviews for example. They are about as objective as you can get and then everyone has a chance to comment and add additional information. The reader is left with a pretty good understanding of the product.

    • Lots of good people just lost their job.
      The same thing happened when telephone connections became automated. But now you don’t have to pay $10 to call a friend or relative in the next state.
      The market destroys inefficient industries to make space for innovative ones.

      • “But now you don’t have to pay $10 to call a friend or relative in the next state.”

        The younger folks weren’t around in the 70’s when local POTS (Plain ‘ole Telephone Service) for your home was about $7 bucks a month.

        Yes, seven bucks a month. Long distance, on the other hand, was outrageously expensive:

        “…I recall having to wait until 10:00 PM on Sunday night to call relatives, and the bill typically added up to $17.00 for an hour – which was a lot of money back then!”

        http://flashbak.com/reach-out-and-charge-someone-long-distance-calls-in-the-1970s-21344/

        • Ah yes Geoff-I remember rotary phones(black ones), party lines and black & white TV. And paying 75bucks/month for a pretty nice apartment. Books and mags will never totally go away. Or maybe it will…

  10. Unlike some folks, I read magazines as well as internet sites. That said, I never read any of the magazines in that list. I stick with Shooting Times, and occasionally, Shooting Illustrated.

    • Shooting Illustrated and Shooting Times are “pay for play” magazines. That means a gun company pays them to write a nice article. Just say no to any printed gun magazine.

  11. Didn’t they have big headlines like ‘Perfect 9’ every issue!

    They were a great mag and one of the best of their era.

    Now we’ve moved on to more realistic reporting guys like Sootch00, nutnfancy, hickok45 and Yankeemarshall.

  12. Digital subscriptions aren’t a bargain but they are certainly more convenient. Most charge you the same as paper delivery.

    • Newsstand prices and subscription rates traditionally didn’t even cover the cost of printing and delivery. It was a token amount intended only to limit delivery to people who actually read the publication. The real revenue in the news/periodicals business has always been advertising.

      Internet based publishing is darn near free, in comparison. So I think it’s foolish to charge a subscription fee for internet content. It only limits the advertising exposure and reduces the real source of revenue.

  13. Sad to see Combat Handguns go… but the writing was on the wall. Some businesses just don’t adapt with the times and, as they said, to changes in what people want.

  14. I’ve been a subscriber to Combat Handguns for decades, will miss it. Hope it continues somehow with a new publisher, or goes online. The Massad Ayoob column in the latest issue is good, as it always is.

  15. They had good stuff but the same old 1911 every issue wore me out so I wasn’t a subscriber. Sorry to see them go but it is a changing world and I’m soon to follow. We all have an expiration date

  16. Sad to see any gun mag go. Who wants to bet that the anti’s will use this as “proof” that gun ownership is declining and that they are winning?

  17. I just renewed my subscription to Combat Handguns and I can bet they will not give me a refund. Like all businesses they are crooks from top to bottom.

    I also wonder if the Morons would have just raised the price of the Magazine. Lets face facts there are outfits like Gun Tests that are way more expensive and they seem to be doing well and they receive no money from adds because they ban advertisements. Sounds to me as if the crooks at the top of Harris just took the money and ran.

  18. Bummer. Now, when I’m waiting for prescriptions at Kroger, I’ll have to look for women in yoga pants in the produce section instead of killin time at the magazine rack.

    • I started to write about that, the prices of magazine, then stopped. It has been several years since I bought a magazine, which was AK47. I remember getting to the check-out stand without even looking at the price and finding out it like…ten bucks, FOR A MAGAZINE??
      I put it back on the shelf. I confess that I eventually did buy it, but you know what, never again. I will not pay ten dollars for a magazine.

  19. I subscribe to about five gun mags and maybe four hunting/fishing outdoor type mags. I wait until they send renewal notices with prices I like, say a max of $8 for a year. Some are cheaper, I just got a renewal for Outdoor Life for $5. At those prices, they aren’t bad. Besides, who wants to take an IPAD to the john?

  20. Caliber wars didn’t spark enough interest to keep them afloat? Burn out on 1911 and AR articles(Hint, hint, ttag)?

  21. Well I haven’t bought a newsstand mag in years(not counting NRA mag). And I confess to reading ’em on the john. I used to peruse them at a local grocery mart-but they quit the mag rack. Now I spend many hours on the internet(here too much & FB sites). I won’t miss them AT ALL…

  22. That’s what happens when a magazine full of ads costs 8 bucks and they rotate shitty stories and articles.

  23. I haven’t lately. But had a subscription to Combat Handguns for many years. Interests change as times change.
    Restroom reading materials?? Never change. Hand Guns still is the one for me.

    • Ya stole my “Thunder”! When sitting on the “Throne”, in the restroom, aka “Library”, nothing beats reading a magazine. Or laying in a tent on a rainy day, there are times when the “net” can’t replace a magazine.

  24. For us God, gun, and guitar lovers this won’t leave much of a hole but the elitist oriented Guitar World was the last American guitar magazine available in the country. Now GW (Guitar World) joins the superior Guitar Edge and Guitar One in the dust bin of failed publications. For gun owning guitar players there’s always the UK’s Total Guitar, much more friendly to beginning and intermediate guitarists and it not only contains sheet music and tab but also a CD with each edition..

  25. I was an avid reader of Combat Handguns “back in the day”. Not that I’m THAT old, but many younger POTG don’t realize what a small group the non leo ccw community used to be. How few choices we had for concealed carry weapons that didn’t require work by a gunsmith, limited options for competitive prices, etc,etc. Combat Handguns was a more useful source of info than Guns and Ammo, although retrospectively, neither was anything approaching “fair and balanced”. I also used to be an avid consumer of Gun Tests, but grew tired of all the lever action .22’s and their thinly veiled hatred of Glocks. All in all, other than the Glock Annnual that I buy for bathroom reading, all my gun reading is now online. It’s all right here.

  26. Funny I was at local Walmart looking round store where keep there firearms magazines. After found that part store I looked what they had in firearms magazines I want buy. What they had where lots firearms magazines from this publisher special issue magazines that where running round ten dollars that did offer much in firearms reviews content instead more half magazine was waste on being firearms market catalog . That would be ok if they done that one magazine how ever notices there many special magazines that publisher did same thing to no one was buying. Buy way not only publisher does this there few other out there been guilty of doing this for long time. I agree some one who said why does read firearms magazine any more because they keep write same crap about same guns until no body cares any more. I walk out Walmart with my unspent money in my pocket simple because I did find any publish firearms magazines that had enough content in them worth enough spend my hard earn money on them.

  27. Magazines another industry full of companies that do not innovate and adapt to progress and instead blame the internet for thier failure to evolve.

  28. These are pretty humorous postings.

    Yes, paper publications are struggling and many techno-goobs like to crow that digital is superior because it’s quick.

    So now we get to read 500 “reviews” of the some new gun where the author hasn’t even touched one (TTAG included). Many even offer some inane opinion on why there no merit to the gun. (TTAG included)

    So we get rapid spreading of a single press release because no interwebazine or blog wants to miss mentioning it. Why? Cause they want readers so they can get ad revenue.

    New medium, same approach. Of course everything on the Internet has to be true. Ha!

    • Best post ever. I can’t stand the “told you so” know it alls that “saw” this coming. How they can come away feeling anymore superior in themselves, I just don’t know.

      • Yeah. We humans excel in impressing ourselves.

        The more things change…….the more they stay the same.

        Don’t believe everything you READ has never been more true.

    • I love the ttag “experts” who repeat the same bs mantras that the inter web gets started and then keeps it alive zombie like. Things like certain companies have no quality or this gun is ultra reliable etc. I am sorry but I trust a Massad Ayoob thirty times more than Joe scmoo on the internet. (Pun intended) Ttag is a good place but when I read about the firearms experience of some of these people it’s just laughable.

      • Joseph Quixote it would be nice trust Massad Ayoob like you do but. Did you know between 2009-2012 Massad Ayoob had nothing say but nice thing about some Taurus firearms that where later recall because there where crap. Here what said about the Millennium PRO. Many of you know Millennium Pro was one Taurus crappiest handgun but hey this what Massad Ayoob had say about back than. From the The Complete Book of Handguns Magazine (2007) Massad Ayoob, Editor. For 17 hours of wear, the pistol was perfectly comfortable and totally concealed. At no time did I feel any sharpness,
        pressure, abrasion, etc.” I am sure he would been happy know that one biggest crappiest pistol Taurus made come from there factory. He still shill for Taurus made firearms to this day even after fact some of them proven be crap. He had long run being pay spokes person for what ever firearms industry company that can buy him.

        • Gee Jack MY Millenium Pro’s(2 )ran perfectly. Maybe Massad is better than you. Maybe he can spell and construct a sentence better too. I also saw his review of a 24/7 g2-he said it was ok but had a mediocre trigger.

  29. What not true about review TTAG did on Remington R51??? When they claim was crap well others in gun magazines industry including the publisher above claim next best thing slice bread when was crap. Most internet caught on fact Remington R51 was crap long before any one at any firearms magazines would admit it was crap. Last excuse read some where else on internet on some other site who editor big fan boy Remington R51 was defend the Remington R51 buy claim this. Hell I gave the R51 an honest review and found it to be a pretty nice pistol. The problem was we were testing hand made prototypes and pre production models. Then the regular production guns came out and things went south in a hurry. Actually all of us were at Gunsite shooting the same 6 pistols so we all did shoot the hand built prototypes. We shot those things for 5 straight hours with one failure to feed.
    Of course that’s why Remington will no longer let writers shoot prototypes.
    Maybe some got production guns but I never saw one. So well few privilege gun writes where shoot R51 that actual work Remington at time this time not selling version R51 that have seen any more where getting version crapy retail version that work like crap. The internet was right when call Remington R51 horse shit well ever body else in gun magzines claim was best next thing.

  30. Maybe the NRA will jump into the void and expand past their Rifleman – Hunter – Freedom trifecta into actual combat and carry.

    • Probably land on his feet. Ttag should try and get him but despite their braggadocio I doubt they will try. Get Ayoob here and I will give them a lot more respect.

  31. That’s too bad – I too enjoyed “Combat Handguns”, having bought the latest issue at the airport a couple of weeks ago. I still enjoy a good paper magazine, but read plenty of stuff online as well. The key word here is “read”. Videos are a complete and total waste of time 99.5% of the time, I don’t have the patience to sit through an ill-produced, amateur level you-tube video for 30 minutes when all the information could be read in 5!

  32. Digital media SUX!!!
    I can’t stand scrolling to read an article. Zoom in, zoom out. Digital page turning SUX too!
    F*** that technology!!!
    Give me back my magazines…

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