How we rate firearms and gear

I’ve noticed a few posts on what to carry and the inevitable Ar vs Ak question and it got me thinking.

A person can become very overhwlemed getting into this sport and lifestyle and everyone has an opinion on what is best. However that usually comes some level of brand loyalty.

So to try something different let’s NOT use brand names this isnt a question of sig vs… or glock vs…

You have firearm (A) and its a great range gun. It never jams or fails and is accurate but for whatever reason you wouldn’t trust your life with it.

Then there is firearm (B) with all the same characteristics as firearm (A) but you trust firearm (B) to be there if you ever need it.

What gets a firearm over that fence to a reliable and trustworthy firearm. Is it reputation, brand loyalty, testing you’ve seen done or have done yourself? Again this isn’t a matter of what brand or model or caliber of firearm. We all carry what we trust. The question is why do we trust it…


I try to get on forums and find people that work for the prospective company, I’ve talked to machinists that work at a lot of companies and heard what their comments are. I especially like companies that have had military contracts, because any company that mass produces machine guns and assault rifles and has for a long time, and has a cult following, then their semi autos have to be on point. I also don’t like buying from companies that have had a lot of recalls recently, or are not coming up with new products.

What do you do?


I often get questions from people about what type or brand of pistol they should get. I try to stay neutral as much as possible, especially regarding a specific model. I always recommend that they go to a range that rents firearms and try a few different brands and models. I will give them some ideas to give a little guidance to narrow the field for them, but I emphasize that the “Right” weapon will feel natural in their hand.


I also do my research, youtube is an ok place for a review i have a couple people who seem to give unbiased reviews. I usually dont go for newer products as a defensive firearm. I like something thats been around and is proven.

A range gun I’ll take a chance on a smaller named manufacturer.


YouTube can be a very misleading place. There are a lot of guys that love every gun they have ever shot on their channel, so you can’t get a good review. Then there are guys that have gotten so picky that they basically hate guns now. Lol. But yeah like you said, there are a few unbiased people. I would definitely not recommend YouTube to anyone that is new to the lifestyle.

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You are absolutely corrrect. It’s a minefield. I avoid any “fanboy” reviews. I can’t stand the whole if your dont use brand (x) you’re risking your life. We all know there are alot of good manufacturers out there and not one of them has made a weapon that serves everyone.

I agree 100% with your thoughts on a military or government contract. I also look at what guns didn’t get chosen but competed for the contract.


Yeah, I definitely look for a company that was too expensive to get picked up by them. My point on that was that if a company manufactures full autos they probably can make a pistol. That’s how I look at it.


Getting into the carry world, youtube and google were my best friends. Even now, they are my go to resources. I watch a lot of videos from many different channels. If one tolerates the subjective nature of such media, they are great resources. Second step was going to a shop and handling what piqued my interest. After that, renting whatever I could. Talking to gun shop employees, gun shop commandos, and friends is like watching youtube videos… its all subjective. Personal experience is key, and I will not buy a firearm otherwise (unless the Mossberg MC1 becomes MA compliant).

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Firearm A:

Former Police Issue Colt .38spl 6" barrel
Heritage Rough Rider .22wmr

Great shooting Firearm A. Awkward to carry on a regular basis.

Firearm B

All the benefits of A but is also easily carried.

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I watch Youtube videos where it’s submerged in water, mud, then tossed in dry sand. If it can’t fire 100% after that, I want nothing to do with it.

Of course I’m also kidding. I’m at work, it’s raining like hell and I’m bored.

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The internet is great for reviews. Sites like this one, are great because they are driven by the community itself. I also like non sponsored YouTube channels. I mean it says “Sponsored by Firearm manufacturer A” they have a little bias towards those guns. I also talk to gun shop owners. They see what sells, and what gets brought back, or traded. I also keep up with some of my law enforcement buddies. They really do trust their lives to their firearms and ammo every day. If I shoot gun A and B equally well, those are the criteria that put one into the winner category for me.


@Sheepdog556 - hard to answer for me. If I’d have firearm (A) which never failed what would be the reason not to trust my life with it? We buy firearms after good research, we use them, test them on the range… so again - if firearm (A) works - I cannot find any reason not to trust it.

Anyway, my point is that everyone should made good research first (internet, friends, local range), then rent and try as many guns as you can before making final decision… so still - with wise choice for firearm (A), no need for firearm (B)…
And you are right - “We all carry what we trust” - and I trust what fits my hand and never fails…

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My EDC is the same brand and design as what I carried on and off duty as a Leo. I practiced in numerous situations and conditions and NEVER have had a fatal failure. My EDC sees about 100 rounds a week average at the range and I cannot remember the last time it jammed, although it has on a few occasions over the past 5 years. It is consistently reliable. I have tried many other guns as free rentals but none that have made me say I have to have it.

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@MikeBKY can I ask what your EDC is?

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My EDC is Glock 26 w trijicon night sights, bladetech IWB or OWB holster depending on clothing, Magpul 12 rd mag and a spare mag/case, a rechargeable Anker Bolder P2 rechargable light (can also use 2 AA) and a benchmade auto Stryker.
When I first started as Leo I carried a G19 on duty and G26 as backup/offduty. We switched to .40 later and switched to a G22 on duty and G27 for backup/off duty. A couple years later we switched to the G35 (also .40).
I chose the G26 because the familiar configuration, conceal-ability and grip and went 9mm because the ammo is available everywhere and is relatively inexpensive.


I don’t really care much about the maker as long as it’s a company with a good reputation.

I always by my SD guns in pairs. I’ll break both in but then I’ll reserve one for carry and the other for practice.

I won’t bet my life on anything that doesn’t give flawless reliability.

Here’s why I have them in pairs though, anything mechanical will eventually wear out, break, or both so the more you practice with a given firearm the closer you are to it’s failure point.


Two is one, and one is none. :innocent:


I’ve got 2 guns. One for each of you.

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XDM or Tokarev
They aren’t fragile guns. What I mean by this, is I don’t have time to be shopping around for that just right ammo that cycles reliably in my handguns. Springfield XDM line will cycle anything I put in its magazine (Steel, Brass, Bi-metal, and Plastic). Best polymer guns on the market if one considers weapon retention. Hickok 45 reviewed name-brand competition guns, M&P Pro, Glock 34, and XDM 5.25. He appeared confused as to how the XDM outperformed the others out of the box.

Tokarev’s; whatever type of ammo goes in them comes out reliably; it shoots flat 180 yards, excellent ballistics. Love it!

Sig P365
Very concealable, highest round capacity in its size and caliber. The ammo I put in it monthly (Liberty Civil Trainer 9mm Luger 65gr; 1710fps) is comparable closer to the Liberty 50gr I carry. I did not opt for the XDS because it wasn’t as concealable and has a lower capacity. No loyalty:slightly_smiling_face:

M&P BG 380
Very concealable pocket pistol. The ammo I put in it monthly (Liberty Civil Trainer .380 Luger 56gr; 1210fps) is comparable closer to the Liberty 50gr I carry; 100% reliable. The long double-action trigger pulls I like for various reason, one is safety. Top it with a green CT laser…

I believe all types of gun dogma is rooted in what popular Youtubers espouse. The viewers should take it with a grain of salt, especially when you have top handgun competitors using and winning with what works for them. For me, my SHTF guns (XDMs/Tokarev) can’t be sensitive to what type of casing run2 through it. It must meet the Wolf, Bear, and Tula standards; for me those are the best gun!



Conceal-ability—if it can’t be carried it will be left at home
Defensive ammunition availability—.38 Webely-Fosberry need not apply, nor mouse f@rts for that matter.
Longevity—guns are expensive and I don’t have a department armorer who can issue me a new one.
Comfortable—able to stay on target for multiple shots without damaging my wrists, bursting my eardrums, drawing blood or inducing flinch.
Fun to shoot—I’ll spent more time on the range if I’m having fun, not dreading it.
Safety—I don’t want any ADs
Holster availability—I suppose I could make my own if one that I like isn’t available, but it would look really funny.