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Rolling Stone magazine is trying to dig itself out of obscurity by pushing the gun control agenda pretty hard. They published a softball interview with Michael Bloomberg, launched a slick “guns are bad” website with some laughably researched information, and also published an article detailing “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America.” There’s just one problem: Rolling Stone has apparently never picked up a dictionary, and knows less about guns than Michael Bloomberg knows about tanks. From the article . . .

Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock. They are the most commonly recovered firearm type reported by the ATF. With more than 119,000 pistols found at crime scenes in 2012, this handgun model holds an unfortunately solid first place in criminal weaponry.

So, issues.

First things first, the article doesn’t list specific firearms — they basically just rattle off the major “types” of guns. Pistols! Revolvers! Rifles! Shotguns! Derringers! Not specific firearms, but entire classes of firearms. That’s like saying the most dangerous person in the United States is men. In other words, the article has exactly zero content and doesn’t even provide the information trumpeted in the title. It seems like the entire point of the article was as a vehicle to further the anti-gun agenda of the publication by pointing out “OMG! Criminals use guns to kill people! This is terrible!”

As for the content itself, I think they mean “semi-automatic handguns,” not necessarily “pistols.” Apparently Wikipedia thinks that a pistol is any handgun with an integral barrel and chamber, differentiating them from revolvers which have a stationary barrel and revolving chamber. We tend to use the terms pistol and handgun interchangeably, but even if Rolling Stone were using the term properly they got the definition completely wrong.

“Pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock.” Uh, no, they’re not. Pistols, by definition, do not have a stock since they are designed to be fired with one hand. If a pistol had a stock, it would then fall under the definition of a “short barreled rifle” and be a completely different can of worms. There are a subset of “special snowflake” long barreled pistols that have a stock, but those aren’t “the most commonly recovered firearm type reported [at crime scenes] by the ATF” as the article is discussing.

Articles like this one from Rolling Stone make me want to beat my head against my desk. I’m not necessarily angry that they are in favor of gun control — everyone is entitled to their opinion — what I’m angry about is the fact that they didn’t take five seconds to look up the definition of a pistol before pushing play on the article and publishing verifiably wrong information. Anyone with more than five seconds spent Googling the definition of the types of firearms would have not made that mistake, but instead the author chose to run with a laughably wrong definition instead of educating themselves on the objects they so dearly wish to destroy.

This is the problem with gun control activists and the mainstream media: they don’t care enough to educate themselves on the subject of firearms. This is why we have so many people demanding a ban on “assault weapons” and freaking out about silencers — they have no idea how these things work, and just want to ban things that they feel look scary. If they took just one minute to learn about the facts and statistics behind these guns they’d probably change their tune, but instead they prefer to remain ignorant and regurgitate the same anti-gun rhetoric time and again.

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88 Responses to Rolling Stone: Pistols Have Stocks…Huh?

  1. Huh… I never caught that in their article but in my defense I couldn’t hear that particular dumb over the general screaming idiocy of the article as a whole

  2. You are under the erroneous assumption that most main stream media outlets care about being factual. They absolutely do not. It is all about misleading readers to achieve an agenda goal. They know most readers won’t get they correct information so the knowingly throw our bad info that serves their agenda counting on low information folks to just accept it. It’s despicable, borderline evil, a different fraudster version of Bernie Madoff or Nigerian Prince.

    • “You are under the erroneous assumption that most main stream media outlets care about being factual. They absolutely do not. It is all about misleading readers to achieve an agenda goal.”

      I would add that most mainstream media outlets have the primary goal of misleading readers to achieve an agenda goal AND/OR making money (from advertising or donations). Of course neither goal is concerned with being factually correct.

      This is a lot like radio stations. Many people think that radio stations exist to provide music to listeners. Wrong. Radio stations exist to sell commercials. Or in the case of public radio stations and NPR they exist to disseminate propaganda.

  3. The details of firearms is amusing amongst the firearms community but won’t gain any traction with the anti-gun crowd. They just see it as a set of obscure details amongst killing machines.

    What we can help gain traction is Bloomberg’s comments about major cities in Colorado not having roads. As a group we should hammer that home showing that he is out of touch and doesn’t care about the actual data (we knew that) when shoving his NYC ideas on the rest of America.

    He’s an elitist that doesn’t realize the iconic New Yorker cover picture of New York City was a joke.

    • You just don’t get it. Other than a few highways to “out there”, there are no roads outside of New York City, the absolute center of the universe.

  4. Well, everybody knows pick-ups are the most dangerous kinds of trucks, with their short and long beds and two-and four-wheel drive. Unfortunately all pick-ups involved in accidents are trucks.

    • Rolling stone article on the five cars most likely to kill you:
      1. Your car–Characterized by their 3 to 8 wheels and doors, your car is the most likely to kill you in an accident
      2. Someone elses car–Like your car, it has 3 to 8 wheels and doors but is differentiated by its being not yours
      3. Unowned cars–While still technically a car, they are not owned by you or someone else, but could still kill you
      4. Guns–Not technically a car but guns are bad and attract more viewers which means more money for our dying magazine
      5. Legalize it man!!–See point above about attracting viewers

      Your welcome rolling stone, i will be waiting on my check.

    • Two words my friend: Obamacare. Sign up, pay one monthly premium, stop paying (I think you have a 2 or 3 month grace period to renew before you lose the insurance), get your free drugs and treatment, courtesy of the rest of us taxpayers, get cured. Ha, and you people said it wouldn’t work.

  5. Gun Control Act Definitions Pistol

    18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(29) and 27 CFR § 478.11

    The term “Pistol” means a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having:

    a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s);

    and a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

    • Well, it’s pretty easy to see what happened. The Rolling Stone “writer” (using a very loose definition of that term) looked up this very definition, and tried to “dumb down” the technical mumbo-jumbo without actually understanding it. Dumbed it down quite a bit too far, I would say. Hilariously, that’s actually more work than most modern “journalists” would do, as most seem to be content to just cut and paste.

      • Exactly. There’s a LOT of reasons to hate this writer and article for, but looking up and copying the legal definiton is not one of them.

        I find it funny guns guys getting bent out of shape and righteously indignant at “wrong information” that’s technically accurate.

  6. On the other hand, if Rolling Stone hadn’t published such an idiotic article, I wouldn’t have enjoyed their comment section so much this morning. Warning: do not consume beverages while reading!

    • Roger that. I didn’t want to give them the click-through, but I haven’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. Tears.

  7. Maybe it was a goof, but in all fairness, Tyler Kee’s recent article about the Sig P320 also referred to a pistol grip as a stock. I suspect he was taking a little artistic license. On the other hand Rolling Stone has no idea what they are talking about.

  8. I’ve occasionally seen the grip panels referred to as “stocks” (and no I don’t mean “stock” as in “came with the gun”). Of course with a polymer frame that doesn’t come up. But not all pistols are polymer frame, contrary to the implications of the photograph at top.

    • This is pretty much what I’ve been taught, if I feel like being pendantic- one does not change “grips” on their pistol, they change “stocks.” The grip is technically integral to the frame. On the other hand, no one really says this, and Rolling Stone still fucked it all up.

      • The problem with that is the grip is not integral to all pistol designs. AR pistol for example.

  9. “Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure…” “more than 119,000 pistols found at crime scenes in 2012”? Right.

    Here’s how ATF traces “crime” guns: Any firearm “might” have been involved in a crime, so ATF considers any and all firearms to be a “crime gun” or a “suspect gun” and any trace to be a “bona fide law enforcement investigation”. ATF will sometimes trace, track, or enter as a “suspect gun”, every firearm in a dealer’s records to see if any will link to a crime in the past, or might be connected to a crime in the future. Returned stolen guns are traced. Legal Concealed Carry guns are sometimes traced by overzealous cops.

    Can anybody spell “Skewed data”? Does anybody remember the old computer phrase, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”?

    In other words, ATF’s “crime gun” statistics are a complete load of crap – which we taxpayers pay for.

    • It is even simpler than that. Any place someone is arrested is a “crime scene.” so when there is a drug raid at someone’s home, all of the guns there are seized as “crime guns” even if those weapons have never been used directly in the commission of a crime (e.g., a shooting, robbery, etc.)

  10. Maybe the RS author is quoting from the ATF?

    https://www.atf.gov/content/firearms/firearms-industry/guides/gun-control-act-definition-pistol

    “””
    The term “Pistol” means a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having:
    * a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s);
    * and a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).
    “””

    Also, what’s up with using an image from Ken Lunde without attribution?

    • …to be gripped by one hand at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

      So, does that mean that if you turn your gun sideways, gangsta-style, you have made an AOW? Just trying to apply standard BATFE logic here….

      Seriously, though. Nice find on the definition. Sure looks like the source of the article’s terminology.

    • Yep, some pistols (those for which the grip surface is not entirely integral to the gun) do indeed have “stocks.” E.g., I just purchased some “ivory stocks” for my 1911A1. I agree that this usage of “stocks” has been falling by the wayside as the term “grips” has become more dominant, but this reference to a pistol having a stock or stocks is not something that should be the focus of criticism, especially when there is so much more moronic material in the RS list.

  11. I don’t even know what they’re TRYING to say with that ‘definition’ of a pistol.

    Built-in barrel as opposed to…?

  12. “…they don’t care enough to educate themselves on the subject of firearms.”

    Why would they? Guns are evil. They make people murder people. Before there were guns people didn’t kill people and if we could only ban them then no one would ever be murdered again, just like in England.

  13. That slideshow has become a laughing stock on the web. I want to call out another page on that site, the one evaluating how “dangerous” each state is. They base the danger on gun laws, “gun deaths”, and prevalence of guns, not murder rates. Because of this, Texas is more “dangerous” than CA and IL, which have higher murder rates and more school shootings. Few things irritate me more than using bogus criteria to compile a phony politicized study.

  14. I don’t abide by government definitions for anything. When someone can show me where the manufacturers refer to a handgun grip as a “stock”, then I might go along.

  15. If you want to get insanely technical the grip panels on some old semi autos were called stocks and the grip on older revolvers are also called a stock although it is an archaic term for them. I had to look through my old college books to find it but it is in there under the handgun study unit and in a couple old gun books I have from my grand dad albeit these are from the 20’s & 30’s but it is still there.

  16. Has anyone @TTAG done some research on the ads rolling stone is running in print and online??

    Me wonders if Bloomberg Media has done some group buys to influence editorial content/reviews? Cigar aficionado whores itself as do gun mags, why not one dedicated to “music”?

  17. Take a look at “I, Sniper” by Stephen Hunter. It is a Bob Lee Swagger novel and is one of my favorites. There is a great side-plot involving the media’s willful ignorance of anything and everything concerning firearms. A certain newspaper thinks it has a “gotcha”, but then it blows up in their faces. It is a great book by a great author, who happens to be a gun guy, so the details are always great.

  18. And what is a “built-in barrel?” To me that suggests a direct blowback action rather than the much more popular tilt-barrel locked breach action.

      • Yep–some of those “knuckle duster” pocket guns of the late 1800s fired rounds directly out of the cylinder.

  19. So, if idiots like the author from Mossy Stone (seems they stopped rolling quite some time ago) gets to strip us of our Constitutional right to own firearms, do we get to strip him of his constitutional right to free speech?

    I think the next time someone argues with me about the second amendment, I’ll have to momentarily strip them of their rights under the first.

    • No. He and the magazine will certainly be in bed with the dems if they push through their free speech control bill.

  20. Never use Wikipedia as a reference. It’ll say whatever anyone changes it to say.

    As someone said on another thread, all hand-guns are pistols: whether automatically loading pistols, muzzle-loading pistols, cap-and-ball pistols, pistols with revolving cylinders, machine pistols, pocket pistols (revolvers or automatics); whether smooth-bore or rifled.

    • So by saying “All handguns are pistols”, do you mean to imply “… but not all pistols are handguns”? Or do you simply consider them synonymous?

      • At some time in the distant past, before Federal laws/regulations screwed up the definitions, all handguns were pistols and all pistols were handguns.

        The word “pistol” was introduced into the English language in the 1500’s, centuries before the invention of the semi-auto pistol, and even before Col. Colt applied for his patent for the – wait for it – “revolving pistol.”

        But these kids today say that a revolver is not a pistol. They just got no respect for the old ways.

        Now, git off my lawn!

  21. “This is the problem with gun control activists and the mainstream media: they don’t care enough to educate themselves on the subject of firearms.”

    Invariably, when someone accumulates enough education about firearms to render an opinion, that opinion is positive – firearms education is self correcting.

  22. Can’t we agree Rolling Stupid is clueless? It reminds me of internet chatter about weightlifting sports. 95% of all comments are crap. In MODERN usage we don’t call a pistol grip a stock. Or refer to a magazine as a clip. BTW flesh out these idiot articles a bit so I never have to click( bait) & add $ to these types.

  23. I have never heard of any component on a pistol referred to as a “stock.”

    I think we need to discuss the differences between a pistol and a handgun.

  24. I would guess that a barrel would be built-in versus being exposed? So a semi-auto has the barrel “built-in”?

  25. Just be a murderous muslim extremist and they will put you on the cover, even if you and your brother used firearms in the commission of a crime. Journalistic integrity.

  26. The 5 Most Dangerous Marx Brothers:
    Groucho
    Chico
    Harpo
    Zeppo
    Karl

    The 5 Most Dangerous Stooges:
    Moe
    Curly
    Larry
    Shemp
    Jay Carney

    Top five deadliest time zones in the United States:
    1. Eastern
    2. Central
    3. Mountain
    4. Pacific
    5. Hawaiian-Aleutian

    5 Most dangerous oceans:
    1. Arctic
    2. Atlantic
    3. Indian
    4. Pacific
    5. Southern

  27. Did they really mention a Derringer?

    Lol!

    Wonder how many “Pepper Boxes” are recovered from crime scenes in 2014?

    Now I’m waiting eagerly for the feature about those thugs that still tote the Brown Bess.

  28. Let’s not get too pedantic about terms. That article is laughably (or tragically) obtuse, but the late, lamented Col. Cooper would box your ears for “saying ‘semi-automatic handgun’ when you mean ‘pistol,'” and, while Glock brand Glocks don’t have removal wooden “stocks,” that term is commonly used in relation to pistols (and the dreaded derringers) as well as long guns. The description is useless…but there is sufficiently broad use of these terms that we should take care, lest we, ourselves, sound ignorant in our ranting.

  29. “Articles like this one from Rolling Stone make me want to beat my head against my desk. I’m not necessarily angry that they are in favor of gun control — everyone is entitled to their opinion — what I’m angry about is the fact that they didn’t take five seconds to look up the definition of a pistol before pushing play on the article and publishing verifiably wrong information. ”

    The reason they do stuff like this is they simply don’t know that they don’t know. We have multiple generation families, none of whom have any knowledge of how things actually work. In a post-technological society (think people living in mega-cities), you can live your whole life without actually knowing how to fix anything. When you have this kind of mechanically ignorant mind-set, it’s easy to see guns as deeply mysterious, threatening things. It’s even easier to think that actually knowing what a pistol is or knowing the difference between a magazine and clip is of little importance when your real interest is getting rid of such evil instruments of death.

  30. Pistols don’t have stocks?! What are you talking about? My Glock has a retractable stock. It pops out right when I fire the gun for a fraction of a second and then slides back onto the frame. I haven’t figured out how to use it effectively. Hurts like hell when I press it up against my shoulder. But hey, I’m still learning. One day I’ll be a pistol stock pro!

  31. The handle of a handgun is called a stock or handle. Always has been.

    I’ve also heard gun guys called the handle a “grip.” That usage is completely incorrect.

    So Rolling Stone = broken clock.

  32. They did specifically say “Short stock”, which lends itself to the modern definition of the butt of a rifle. I don’t think short or long grips on a 1911 matter to any definition.

  33. That article reads as farcical as describing the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, and how to use it to kill the rabbit of Caerbannog…. It’s most unfortunate that the author is serious about it…

  34. Anyone with more than five seconds spent Googling the definition of the types of firearms would have not made that mistake, but instead the author chose to run with a laughably wrong definition instead of educating themselves on the objects they so dearly wish to destroy.

    The author’s name is “Kristen Gwynne“. Is there a reason (perhaps legal?) that TTAG doesn’t properly shame these people? It would be much better for everyone if the names of these people are featured prominently (or at all..) in these types of articles. The internet is forever. Make them own their laughably inept words forever.

    • Her Twitter profile contains the following self-description:

      “#DrugWar journo. Ex @AlterNet editor. Recent bylines @RollingStone, @TheNation. Freelance misandrist”

      As if it weren’t obvious.

      She’s a prime example of the know-nothing left in the US today. As long as it is a cause for third world stupidity, she’s for it.

  35. A movie reviewer called a Colt 1911 an anachronism in a movie set in the 1930’s because it was a semi-auto; the reviewer figured all semi-autos were creations of the previous decade or two, apparently. Someone responded with a remark that I have never forgotten: “It’s easy to see why the debate over guns is so acrimonious; one side literally doesn’t know what they are talking about”. Still true.

  36. Um, I looked at the Bloomberg article. He didn’t say that the M1 fire nuclear warheads.

    Listening to his comments I immediately thought of Atomic Annie

    “The M65 Atomic Cannon, often called Atomic Annie,[3] was a towed artillery piece built by the United States and capable of firing a nuclear device. It was developed in the early 1950s, at the beginning of the Cold War, and fielded by 1953 in Europe and Korea.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M65_Atomic_Cannon

    While RS’s research is far more abysmal, it would help if we didn’t make errors in ours. Bloomberg is often stupid (semi-autos confused with burst fire), but in this case he wasn’t wrong.

  37. Pistols, esp revolvers , grips are also stocks.
    the not built in barrel might be more of a problem, since most autos disassemble the barrel feed ramp assembly which might not be “built in”

  38. Top 5 Greatest Threats to the Survival of Humanity

    1. The NRA
    2. Large Capacity Soft Drinks
    3. Global Warming
    4. ManBearPig
    5. Derringers

  39. I think the point of this article is, bad publicity is still good publicity. and as someone else said, facts don’t matter, mass public perception does.

  40. This just in, main stream liberal rags cant be asked to do any research when it gets in the way of pandering to their readership.

  41. You had me at “Rolling Stone.” That rag has zero credibility anyway. Considering how utterly clueless they are about music, one should have even lower expectations when it comes to subjects outside the purview of the magazine’s supposed purpose.

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