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Yesterday I took a moment to visit their website – mostly out of curiosity – and headed for the subscription option. One quick click later I was ushered to the subscription page…for a print magazine called American Survival Guide. Just one more nail in the coffin for Gun World Magazine, one of the oldest gun mags in the industry.

In reality Gun World’s print publication ceased to be earlier this fall, but with print delays being what they are the December 2018 issue still hit newsstands (well, where you can find gun magazines nowadays). The closing of the print doors of the magazine, which had just celebrated its sixtieth year, has been met with little fanfare. It’s almost as though the other publications are afraid it’s catching and dare not speak of its demise. Of course, it isn’t only Gun World you’ll no longer see in print.

Click on a Gun World subscription…and you get this.

Engaged Media, Inc. – which is headquartered in, ahem, California – is the publisher behind industry titles such as Gun World, World of Firepower, Tactical World, Sniper Journal, Legendary Arms, and Gunslingers of the Old West. They’ve closed all their outdoor titles except for American Survival Guide, Knives Illustrated, and Concealed Carry Handguns, the latter of which I have been told will be a quarterly for however long it lasts.

As for the web presence of the now-shuttered titles that seems to be up in the air. The sites are still up and friends of mine have had their work posted as recently as today, but considering all those articles were in the possession of Engaged Media awhile ago, who knows what it means, if anything. Will the websites go on? For now, yes, albeit in a reduced capacity. How reduced is anyone’s guess.

So maybe you’re wondering what this has to do with you. You’re online at the moment, after all, so who cares about print? I do, for one, and you should, too. With the proliferation of blogs and vlogs we’re also seeing an increase in every Tactical Timmy out there becoming an expert in his own mind and most newbies don’t know better until it is far too late.

With the loss of print comes the loss of wisdom. No, not all print writers are qualified – I may or may not have someone in mind here and if you’re a writer, I bet you do, too – but far more bloggers and vloggers are out there disseminating potentially dangerous information than are print writers. Just as anyone can make a Wikipedia page, anyone can start their own personal blog. Safety and experience should count for something and I’m saddened at the loss of shared knowledge from certain writers.

Before you think I’m about to blame Millennials for the loss of print I actually put most of the blame at the feet of the older generation. A refusal to evolve with the gun industry times is an enormous problem in these circles. Unless print magazines quite literally get with the times they are all doomed. Only the NRA print pubs continue to do well and that’s only because they are backed by members. If those magazines were subscription-based, it would be an entirely different story.

It would take thousands more words to explain how the media works and how many misconceptions there are about the life and practices of an ethical gun writer. Suffice to say it’s sad to see more print publications go under. I could easily make a list of which pubs will likely go next and in what order.

The writing is on the wall. Either the gun industry realizes it’s 2018 and they need to cater to a different crowd or the entire media will continue to suffer. And when media suffers and good writers can no longer afford to stay in the job, you, the readers, suffer.

This one’s been coming for a while, but it’s still a shame to see these titles disappear. Rest in Peace to Gun World, World of Firepower, Tactical World, Sniper Journal, Legendary Arms, and Gunslingers of the Old West.


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  1. NRA offers its mags in print-only as well, and the Jr Member Insights is already there. The majority of my “customers” still opt for the print version and I try to steer then there, then when they’re done with them they can pass then on or drop them at the barbershop, dentist office, etc. Spread the notion that guns are part of America and not something to be shunned. I always gave the school library where I taught both (at the time) NRA mags as a subscription until the Des Moines district board issued an edict against anything NRA.

    BTW- looks like “Boys Life” will be ending soon as well. A good thing, I guess “they” just couldn’t sell buggering in a pup tent out in the woods to the American public. So much for those “Brokeback Mtns”.

    • American Survival Guide is top notch. Worth reading. And keeping.

      World of Firepower was editorially rudderless. Like a Recoil wannabe without the class. Could get through the entire issue before the wife even finished with the produce section.

      Print isn’t dead. Just shallow print that becomes a recycling problem within minutes.

    • I second this.
      Converted “liberal” friends into #2A friendly armed voters (they didn’t vote before).
      Gave some NRA memberships (with publications) as gifts.
      Costs only $40 or so to gain voting #2A friendly people.

      • Should join/renew with me- only $30, also give you a cap or pocket knife, if you’re going to one of our gun shows you also get in free (another $7 savings) and also get a knife sharpened for free from a pro knife guy who’s a vendor. Cool deal, every month the recipient gets another reminder of the gift when the new mag shows up…

  2. “The writing is on the wall.”

    ‘Dead Tree Media’ has been on a decline in most subject categories for quite some time now. “C’est la mort” (As us old folks say).

    Yeah, it sucks. And for writers like you and your peers, it sucks worse since ‘Dead Tree’ probably paid better than digital ever will…

    • About 20 years ago Scott Adams wrote the book “Dilbert Future” wherein he predicts that vast swaths of the media would go out of business because people will do the same thing, but better, online for free. Pretty prescient.

  3. I still like to hold magazines, and clips 8>), in my hand. I have trouble reading articles of significant length on any sort of screen.

    Thinking about online “legends” is offset by near “perfect” reviews in the gun magazines.

    To each his own. Gun nut emptor.

    • Perfect reviews indeed. Back in the day, RF and many of us at TTAC would be the only group on most of the car web discussing the collapse of GM, let alone the styling issues with flying vajayjays.

      The problem with reviewing your advertisers, is reviewing your advertisers. Dead tree reviews of pretty much anything are long dead, even the general public has figured out how skewed they are.

  4. Heston’s (an incomplete quote, I know) statement about prying his gun from his cold dead hands applies to my love & preference of guns magazines in print form. Yep, I’m a Boomer but have sons with print subscriptions of as many print magazines as they and/or I can afford. Reading a printed magazine vs viewing online is easier for me AND being able to go to my library and pull old copies of pertinent info is a means of sharing info with current and future generations (after all, numerous writings of the expert gun/hunting/etc writers never goes out of date & I’d hate to lose their knowledge that has been reduced to print)! PLUS, none of our gun magazines require battery power!

        • We always referred to the tool catalogs, car and gun mags in the shop bathroom as “bowel relaxing literature”. My boss would proudly announce to all of us when new material would show up in the mail. We literally had bookshelf in there.

  5. American Survival Guide, is one of those “On Again Off Again” publications. First had a subscription with them back in the ’80’s, and abruptly ended in the early ’90’s. Just to start Up Again in the early 2000’s…

  6. “The writing is on the wall. Either the gun industry realizes it’s 2018 and they need to cater to a different crowd or the entire media will continue to suffer. And when media suffers and good writers can no longer afford to stay in the job, you, the readers, suffer.”

    The only print mag I buy is “Combat Handguns”, which “went under” once, already. The other mags just didn’t seem as relevant and well written (as in presenting the good, bad and ugly), plus Masood often writes for “Combat Handguns”. (asside: rather than go find the mag and make sure the title is correct, I just “googled” it; 2018, right?).

    But all the above not withstanding, I would like to know what the author may have in mind about how the “gun industry realizes it’s 2018”. Is it moving more away from hunting and fishing? Is it media consolidation into fewer titles? Is it becoming more political?

    Thanks for the article, Dan !

    • Hey Sam,

      It was my piece. 😉 A good example of this on the hunting side is that all the pubs took years to realize hog hunting was popular. It isn’t that they didn’t have writers trying to tell them and write the stories it was that those in control didn’t care and/or were simply dense. Related… handgun hunting has become popular. Trying to get pubs to take handgun pieced is an exercise in near-futility. You get some in here and there but mostly they have ignored it. Handguns…so many reviews focus on technical terminology and aesthetics without getting into how it runs and for what use.

      Many major pubs also focus on topics most shooters under fifty do not care about. I’ve noticed USCCA Concealed Carry is doing well, though (but it’s another members pub). Anyway for many pubs it is that “you don’t hunt with ARs!” attitude (and guess what, quite a few writers still have that attitude). A refusal to acknowledge change or present topics in ways that appeal to the newer generations of readers. A refusal to address issues seen as controversial or – my personal favorite – “politically untenable” (what issues? Think active shooter interdiction training). It’s a balance, though. Gun World tipped too far the other way which is a whole ‘nother topic.

      This is far more convoluted than I can even begin to say. There are layers upon layers of issues.

      • Whether or not you hunt with ARs have nothing to do with it. They are the most popular rifles in the 21st century, there are plenty of target shooting and other drills that make it a sporting rifle. One person’s sport is not always another’s, but it is not about killing people at all. Even a true Fudd has to be able to see that.

        Fudds need to be aware of those that want to stop game hunting completely. They need to join with non hunting gun supporters against the 1000 cuts of death the anti gun globalists are trying to levy against Americans.

        We hope that the writers will get together and support all gun rights. We are attacked from all directions, we don’t need more from within.

      • Thanks, Kat.

        “Handguns…so many reviews focus on technical terminology and aesthetics without getting into how it runs and for what use.”

        You may have just hit upoon what I like about “Combat Handguns”. They included several articles about handguns, especially revolvers, for use in hunting, from varmints to bears. And often they open with reviews of actual legal cases about DGUs, and not DGUs. Can’t remember when right now, but “Combat Handugns” did have one of the first reviews of the S&W .500 “Bone Crusher” – for hunting. Interestingly, most of the published contributors do not appear to be slick youths swaddled in tacticool.

      • Nice article Kat and good points.

        I get the USCCA. Out of the few I’ve ever subscribed to it’s the only one I actually end up reading (though I think they are going to a mostly online format starting this next year, which I prefer because I can look for articles and skip ads). I read that one because most of the articles I’m interested in are about training and not equipment. My arsenal has finally been pretty much solidified and I haven’t been interested in buying anything new in quite a while, these days it’s all about how to become proficient with what I already have, so articles and reviews about equipment, no matter how cool, tend to just not be something I’ll spend any time reading.

        • The problem with the theory that “the magazines just aren’t catching up to the times” is that one of the most successful forums for guns in the past ten years was Youtube. And on that very same “young ‘uns” Youtube, Hickok has a format that is about as old-time as you can get: basically a grandpa talking nice and slow to you about weapons and their features and then just ringing steel with them. He would have fit in just fine in the Townsend Whelen generation. There was nothing innovative he did at all, other than sound like your grandpa – and the guns he shows!!! He has episodes on a LOT of fuddy-duddy weapons, and many of them with enormous view counts.

  7. Haven’t BOUGHT a dead tree magazine in maybe 6 years. I get the NRA rag though. But when you watch gun videos on your smart tv’s YouTube,comment on TTAG,belong to dozens of FB groups it becomes redundant. Life’s rough and you move on…

  8. My wife loves those Hallmark Christmas movies that are on 24/7 this time of year. You can sort of date them by the job the female lead has. Early it was small town girl moves to big city to work for a magazine. Later it was small town girl moves to big city to work for a blog. Now they’re all party planners.

    The problem is nobody wants to pay for what they can get for free. Ad/script blockers aren’t going anywhere and nobody is going to subscribe to a blog just as nobody is subscribing to magazines anymore. Forums with real users discussing real experiences will always beat out paying $5 for 50 pages of advertisements and paid off “reviews.” If advertising is their bread and butter they should be paying the consumer to look at the ads rather than the other way around.

  9. Who the hell still reads magazines??? True story…. I once saw a passenger on an airliner who was reading the airline magazine they stick behind the seats actually put her finger and thumb down on the magazine page and try to zoom in on what she was reading……

  10. American youths want their information delivered directly to their phone or tablet. Few of them read actual books or magazines and within a generation, most young people will have no idea how to operate a book. Bookshelf manufacturers need to start thinking alternate product lines.

    It’s not necessarily all bad, though, as all those trees will be needed for potty paper production.

  11. I can’t find the reference now, but I remember Brock Yates (of Car & Driver fame) revealing once that many car reviews in the 1970s were written from offices in New York without the author EVER having even sat in the car. The gun mags have been worse at times. You get hunting commentary where you can tell the guy has hardly ever been in the field, “hunting” photo-ops where all the clothes and gear on the guy in the “field” are BRAND NEW. The gun reviews were mostly bought and paid for – sometimes in embarrassing ways with an advertisement for the gun shoved right in the copy of the piece (this is so common as to make one sick). The gun magazines have mostly embarrassed themselves. There was a cover of Field & Stream a few years ago that featured a picture of a “hunter” on the front cover with EVERY conceivable marketing item slung about himself. Brand new camo, $300 boots, expensive hat, film equipment (even with a huge bipod on the camera). I looked up the hunter and YEP!!! he was an MBA from the marketing department of the magazine. All they did was say, “Hey, Jimmy, when you’re done with the TPS reports, can you get up here and sling ALL that stuff we have to sell on yourself.” That kind of thing is what did in the gun mags.

  12. which wine pairs well with owb?
    lots of 1911 and ar cover fotos and listicles/ roundups.
    milsurp mags and their mostly vaporware. “east german makarovs.” ha. most of the contents don’t seem very surpy.
    autoweek hasn’t been weekly for years.
    performance bikes and mechanics, now there’s a mournful loss.
    got an attic full of natgeo, do ya?
    i’ve all my old lampoons.

  13. The only gun magazine of any value that I ever came across was Small Arms Review. They’ll stick around because unlike most they are not just a vehicle to blindly advertise products.

    • I Like SAR also. Rifleshooter is pretty good, as well as the (quarterly?) Suppressor from G&A. Sniper Journal will be missed, but World of Firepower was just re-written press releases without some of the pertinent information, so yeah, even worse.

  14. The last surviving bookstore in town closed years ago. I wouldn’t know where to buy ANY paper magazine anymore.

    • My local grocery store has a magazine rack and still offers hunting, fishing and gun magazines. But I live in PA where the opening day of deer season is an unofficial holiday.

    • Saw a copy of some tacticool gun rag and the cover headline was how to be an effective urban sniper.

      I’ve always wondered if the FBI go a ping from the store that sold a copy of that particular issue. Two pings if it was a teenager. Three pings if the customer also bought a Halloween mask.

  15. Gotta adapt or die. Not always easy. Plus, good reviews for bad products means people lose trust. Online you can find bloggers and youtubers you can trust to do a good review without the influence of advertising money.

  16. It has too do with content, opinions expressed and the Validity and Relevancy of subject matter discussed! myself I used a M16, A1, A2, and considered them a POS, so an AR-15 does not interest me as a valid rifle, when you get endless authors pushing the merits of a rifle not liked, or endless articles on how cool you can make an AR look with a thousand accessory rails full of crap not needed, no wonder it folded! Being from California the Anti Gun capital of the west has a lot too do with it, nothing gun related is trusted from that State!

  17. Print died when American schools “forgot” how to teach students how to read. Many of today’s high school grads are functional illiterates. They can’t write a complete sentence, they can’t understand a complete written paragraph, and they can’t speak a single sentence without throwing in a “so,” a few “likes” and a plethora of “ums,” “ahs” and “y’knows.”

    In order for “Gun World” to succeed as a subscription magazine, it would need to bundle the mag with crayons.

    • I saw the other day that some states have had to make laws to require cursive handwriting to be taught in school. Most people can’t even spell if there is no spellchecker.

  18. Egon Spengler told us back in 1984 that “print is dead.” Said so right in the middle of an abandoned firehouse.

  19. Problem with magazines is that only 1 or 2 articles are actually interesting and the rest is filler – why buy a magazine for only a couple of pages you want to read?

  20. I think the main problem is with the mags themselves. I used to be a subscriber to many gun mags but you begin to realize it’s just advertising and marketing glued together.

    Not enough true and honest reviews out there.

    It’s the same thing again and again. Rinse repeat month after month.

  21. One of the problems not mentioned is price. One magazine I picked at the store was $10. Ten bucks! For articles you can read online, and there are bloggers out there that can do interesting evaluations of firearms. One of the other things that turned me off print articles was when a well known writer made the comment that Soviet TT33s were only good for shooting prisoners in the back of the head. That would be news to thousands of enemies of the Russians..if they were still alive.

  22. “With the loss of print comes the loss of wisdom.” – You sound like the legacy media. While there is junk in any media format, I can easily find much more trustworthy material online, people who don’t say every new gadget is the greatest. You even mentioned yourself that the print magazines didn’t actually listen to their readers or writers so they became irrelevant. That’s the problem. It’s not the blogs or the customer. The vendors did us wrong and we went to the media formats that actually listened to us. While I still like having a hard copy of some things (USPSA magazine – use to be called FrontSight – every issue has several quality articles worth reading), I read books on my phone or computer and I read this site as well as a few others.

    • Recoil is for tactical fanboys and wannabes. All they review is overpriced stuff working folks can’t afford. Any magazine that thinks Lucas Botkin, Dave Rhoden and Costa are legit is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

      I miss Soldier Of Fortune in print great mag back in the day. Myself I can read two or more articles in the time it takes some YouTubers to do a review. Some of those folks are becoming shills for companies MAC was decent at first. Now he pretty much will toss the salad of whoever writes the check. Damn POG that he is.

  23. I love print magazines. I like to flip back and forth, I never read front to back. I read pertinent articles first, interesting articles next, editorials, then advertisements. That way, I eventually will have read the whole mag, extending the pleasure of the content. Then, I go back and reread. Cant do that with a device, unless you want to spend your time searching, and dodging unsolicited adds! But what REALLY pisses me off, is.when I ask a company that I’ve done business with in the past, for a paper catalog, and they start giving me their website for further information, I just hang up. **** ’em.

  24. Also when the magazines are reluctant to convey negative comments about their advertiser’s products, even when there is a significant safety issue (yes Remington, I am looking at your), you have to wonder what other defects they are glossing over or covering up completely.

    In particular I am referring to the organization who imports Remington products into Australia openly declared any negative comments about the products WILL result in a complete withdrawal of ALL advertising.

    And as for the Remington recall in Australia, not a word was said ever.

    Remington, you need to have a chat with your exclusive importer, and advise them such actions are harmful to the brand in the long run.

  25. I’m in my 60’s and I used to subscribe to a bunch of different gun magazines, maybe 6 or 7 a month. They were all good reading to a new”hungry” shooter in the early 1970’s. The first I stopped renewing was Gun & Ammo. It became guilty of all the flaws mentioned above early on in my opinion. Eventually I had cut the list down to 3, Shooting Times, American Handgunner and the NRA mag. A severe financial setback for me caused me to stop all, including the NRA membership. Some years went by and I renewed my NRA membership and started getting their magazine again. I found it as interesting to read as before. I like the historical articles, and the African hunting stories from days long ago. I picked up a copy of Shooting Times at the news stand and was astonished at it being half the pages it used to be, with nothing worth my attention inside, so no renewal there. I also picked up a copy of the American Handgunner and found it to still be a decent magazine, but no longer having the fantastic photos it was known for in its early days. Massad Ayoob still writes for them, and he is always worth reading, but I didn’t renew because I literally didn’t have the time to read 3 or 4 magazines a month like I used to. Seems I had acquired a wife and kids and a lengthy commute to work. I think some of what is hurting gun magazines is the lack of really good writers. I ALWAYS looked forward to reading Bill Jordan, Skeeter Skelton, Jeff Cooper, Col. Charles Askins, Elmer Keith, Jack O’Connor and others. Sadly these guys I just mentioned are all hunting in the Great Beyond. Guys like Dick Metcalf, who sold out to gun control interests aren’t going to help any magazine keep subscribers. And maybe I’m not tactical enough for the tacticool-operator-urban survivalist stuff I see in magazines now. I own a black rifle and a Glock, but the great majority of my firearms have wood stocks/grips……… because I’m an old fart I guess

  26. We are printing guns now. So printing magazines should be easy. And likely cheaper than buying mags at the lgs.

    Course if you have a revolver you don’t need magazines.

  27. Writing takes skill, any moron can do a video in my opinion. Yankee moron, hickok45, demo ranch are a few examples. Some just go on and on. If a video is more than 5 minutes I skip it. Rather be at the range.

    • I reset the speed on most videos to 1.5 to move it along better, especially if it is a southerner that talks real slow. Some of these guys do offer decent info, just takes them forever to get to it.

  28. Everybody knows gun writers are shills for the manufacturers. A writer might mention some niggling point during a review but you will never see a downright condemnation of a gun. If he did that the gun maker would pull their ads. Gun-tests operates on a Consumer Reports format. They don’t accept advertising and buy all the guns they test. They will tell you flat out not to buy a gun based on the problems experienced. It’s a Catch 22 with really no solution.

    • Gun Tests magazine – Agree with their being totally honest in all reviews AND the reason I’ve been a subscriber for years and extended my subscription until 2023! Comps and access to library of past issues and reviews is a great bonus.

  29. I recently wrote a piece on the CZP10C. I was very critical about certain parts and positive about other aspects. In the end I wouldn’t recommend it. No one will run it, yes I’ve been published before. I am a firm believer in trying to help a company improve. I just don’t say this product is junk. I’ve had other reviews get rejected due tocalling out minor issues with the product. It is sad a company cannot use writers to better their products. If I ran a company I would want no BS reviews done on my products.

  30. Print magazines are never going to be totally honest about a bad firearm because they want that brand to advertise there. Much more likely to find more honest advise online. Granted, don’t take the first one you read, but if you run across several, then that’s a sign.

  31. Any gun content I desire is readily available on YouTube.

    Paul Harrell and Shooting the Bull are my two favorites – no tactical nonsense, just empirical evidence and real world testing.

  32. Kat,
    I received a post card in the mail Jan. 14, 2019, from Engaged Media, Inc. saying my subscription to Gun World magazine “will expire soon” and yada yada yada new content is coming in the form of Concealed Carry Handguns Summer 19 issue.
    I tried online to subscribe to Gun World – I went with the magazine on the strength of Jan Liborel assuming its editorship – but that doesn’t seem to be possible technically.
    So, am I to assume this is new bait for the now dead Gun World?

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