The Enthusiast Press delivers advertising and product announcements to the target-audience, and is still a good source of reading material and sometimes fiction – and each media-outlet has an editorial voice that speaks to you differently. For me it’s an up and down vote, for an up and down voice. Let’s start with the two magazines that are currently in the magazine rack next to my comfy living-room reading-chair.
Handloader is pretty straight-up and across-the-board: it’s necessary to be VERY factual since they are dealing with a topic that is potentially explosive. But there is also a good with a bunch of history and “how-we-got-there” type information – about powders and cartridges primarily, but weapons too. Without knowing where we came-from and being able to touch-base with that, it’s hard to keep (or stay) on course – as evidenced in several different cases of ballistic development. I really like what I constantly learn from Handloader, and that in fact there are historical and ground-level things that I DO learn.
Back in subscription after a multi-year lapse is Shooting Illustrated, primarily because a well know and personal-favorite gun-blogger (two actually) has made the leap into semi-gainful employment therewith. The problem I have with SI now after reading its current issue, is a recollection of why it was among the first subscriptions I dropped. There’s a cozy, arm-around-the-shoulder familiarity in the writing, as everything gun-oriented and gunsteriffic is shootsplained to me. After finishing one article about rifle barrels and nitride finishes, I was thoroughly convinced there was NO OTHER WAY POSSIBLE – and wondered why all barrel makers didn’t follow the procedure. It’s like being in a room where the conversation flows like water at you, and they’re tellin’ you whatcha need to know – and it keeps repeating, and unlike The River in the Zen koan, this water and this Zen-versation can be re-entered into again and again – in fact it’s hard to get-out of it. Perhaps not my best use of metaphor, but the alarming and sustained repeatability…just started to wear thin.
The ones missing from the rack because I don’t save or horde magazines are: NRA membership-publication American Rifleman. Like American Motorcyclist, the magazine of the AMA, it comes with the membership and covers NRA political issues, owner-interests, and scheduled events – like the matches at Camp Perry. Also missing from the current magazine rack (and in a HUGE departure from norm, saved for future reference) is the multi-layered and practical-tactical and intellectual SWAT (not what it seems at first). There’s a very good advocacy-driven section to SWAT, and a strong basis on actual-experiences that are brought to bear in the articles as-writrten. GUNS Magazine, and American Handgunner – both of which like others in the FMG media stable, tend to be more user-centric than G&A and VERY photo-centric, because there’s a lot to the visual aspect of guns that draws the eye.
Meanwhile industry main-stay Guns & Ammo recently had a senior moment wherein one well-known, senior contributing editor and writer revealed his true feelings about the dirty plebeian, grunting, gun-owner troglodytes beneath him and the need to keep guns out of their hands. This gentleman with a University education and good grammar skills, seemingly misread and did not understand what the fundamental nature of a Right in this country actually is – and how it was threatened by constant attacks from the Left. Instead, from his intellectually superior vantage-point and apparent feelings of “empathy,” he fed the beast that attacks him – and was therefore ousted from his lofty position. Anyhow they’re pretty advertiser-driven and have never met a new product or major Manufacturer’s output they didn’t particularly like or pimp – including weird curved guns… Currently G&A is a read and toss that I no longer take very seriously.