G&A's Testing and Evaluation

testing-and-evaluation-1

Guns & Ammo aims to bring its readership the first look at any new guns, ammo, optics and suppressors. Firearm makers need to keep their FFL records clean, so there is continuous pressure to return firearms and optics promptly after testing.

The typical manufacturer loans Guns & Ammo its new product for about six to eight months. In most cases, we start receiving invoices the day the product arrives, and the letters that follow show increasing agitation until said product is returned.

With plenty of competition to review new products, those who are most professional usually get first crack at breaking the next big story.


G&A strives to provide its more than 11 million total-reach readership with as much detailed information and photography as the loan period and resources allow, but no test we can perform is equivalent to your experience with a product after having lived with it for several years. You may encounter problems that we do not.


Also, we are not one of the military's proving grounds where millions of dollars and several years are applied to evaluating a candidate in controlled experiments before it's adopted.

In a perfect world, we'd torture test every product to failure and fire every load through every firearm for performance data. That level of testing is impossible for any gun magazine or blogger. I've tested hundreds of firearms over my 12 years working on staff for the NRA's American Rifleman, various Harris Publications titles and now here.

I can say that G&A's T&E procedures are pretty much the same. For example, hunting rifles are usually tested measuring the average of three shots from at least three different loads, which are fired from a benchrest or supported prone position at 100 yards. Tactical rifles take the average of five shots, also from 100.

Shotguns are tested on paper at 40 yards with at least three loads fired at a patterning circle noting the size and each shot's aiming point and its relationship to the center of the actual pattern. When testing target loads in a shotgun, every tiny pellet has to be counted faithfully.


Handguns used to be tested in a fixed Ransom Rest from a distance of 25 yards. When available, a Ransom Rest is still the preferred method for obtaining a handgun's mechanical accuracy potential.

Unfortunately, many contributors cannot afford a Ransom or come up with the different grips for each model, so testing handguns with three loads from a benchrest position at 25 yards has become an acceptable alternative.

Testing personal defense handguns is the subject of much debate. People argue whether the firing distance should be 5, 7, 10 or 15 yards, and some even question whether accuracy is important at those ranges. Since every shooter's ability varies, we demand that our contributors test their handguns for accuracy potential on the bench.


Chronographing each load is a requirement of most gun publications, including this one. Though we publish the average muzzle velocity (MV), standard deviation (SD) and extreme spread (ES) of five shots fired across the clock, I'd like to take this moment to encourage you to purchase a chronograph and learn how your guns perform with different ammunition before relying on them.

With thousands of companies in this industry and only 12 G&A issues to present what's new, virtually every manufacturer in this industry is willing to share its secrets of tomorrow's products with us today. Innovations and products that bring value to G&A's readership will always get our attention.

Once nondisclosures are signed and embargo dates are agreed to, it's my job to weigh the significance and value of a product in accordance with the magazine's production schedule.

I get hate mail from a few readers who threaten to cancel their subscriptions if we publish another favorable review. Really? The line "You've never met a gun you didn't like" has been repeated so often that I now consider it cliché.

Why publish a story about a product that failed our tests? An old adage declares "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Even with a bad review, that company would still benefit from having been written about. I'm not going to waste your time writing about a product that isn't worth your attention.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Beretta

Beretta's New 92X

The 92X Performance model from Beretta was created to satisfy two requirements: Speed and accuracy. Beretta's new competition pistol is uncompromising and aims for top performance.

A New Season of G&A TV

A New Season of G&A TV

In this new season of Guns & Ammo TV, we introduce two new series and bring back a viewer favorite - Camera's Don't Lie. We look at long-range tech and see how to make shots previously thought impossible. Next we visit ISS Prop House in Hollywood.

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

A guide on how to pair .223 and 5.56 NATO rifle barrel twist rates with bullet weights. Conventional wisdom says slower twist rates wouldn't properly-stabilize a heavy bullet. On the other hand, faster rates could over-stabilize lighter bullets. This is correct in theory, however, modern ballisticians have all but debunked the over-stabilization theory. All things being equal, it is better to have too much twist than not enough. How-To

Pairing Barrel Twist Rates with Bullets for .223 and 5.56 NATO

Keith Wood - November 17, 2018

A guide on how to pair .223 and 5.56 NATO rifle barrel twist rates with bullet weights....

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different. Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

The Hornady 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) is a Rifle

6.5 PRC - Magnumized 6.5 Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand - August 01, 2018

The Hornady 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) is a "magnumized" 6.5 Creedmoor. It offers...

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight ready. Handguns

14 Red Dot Ready Pistols You Must See

James Tarr - December 20, 2018

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight...

See More Trending Articles

More Politics

Ever since President Barack Obama announced that gun control will be a Politics

The Biggest Gun and Magazine Ban in American History

Chris Cox - March 26, 2013

Ever since President Barack Obama announced that gun control will be a "central issue" of his...

Canada's recent ban of “assault weapons” could also include many, if not most, shotguns used for sport shooting and hunting. Politics

Canada Bans Common Shotguns

Guns & Ammo Staff - May 06, 2020

Canada's recent ban of “assault weapons” could also include many, if not most, shotguns used...

It's no secret to anyone who is paying attention that gun rights are in the crosshairs of the Politics

Top 20 Politicians for Gun Owners 2016

Keith Wood - November 02, 2016

It's no secret to anyone who is paying attention that gun rights are in the crosshairs of the

On Sept. 16, 2013, a civilian contractor with some history of mental illness used a valid security Politics

G&A Perspectives: When is a Shooting a 'National Tragedy'?

Kyle Wintersteen - October 28, 2013

On Sept. 16, 2013, a civilian contractor with some history of mental illness used a valid...

See More Politics

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now