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What If YouTube Gun Channels Were 100% Honest?

What If YouTube Gun Channels Were 100% Honest?


Look, as the Geico commercial reminds us, not everything you see on the internet is true. YouTube gun channels are no exception. While many are honest and forthright, many others are dishonest shills who will say anything to get more free stuff.



YouTube posters do not earn as much as you might think. The amount earned for each view varies, depending on a variety of factors such as view duration and engagement, but it looks as though most channels earn somewhere in the neighborhood of about one dollar for every thousand views. That means that, unless you have an extremely popular channel, you probably will not even recover the gas money you spend driving to the range. That’s okay for many of us. We are not in it for the money. Don’t get me wrong, it would be great if I was someday able to get enough from YouTube that I could buy a new gun, but for the time being, I spend more on making test videos than I get out of them and I’m fine with that.




As you can see, I get about $30 a month from YouTube and about two bucks a month from my most popular video. Not time to quit the day job yet. Some YouTube channels treat their channel as a business, though. They have invested in advertising to promote their channel and have enjoyed a significant return on their investment in subscriber count. Channels like this usually aggressively pursue manufacturers for test and evaluation samples and may even receive monetary compensation. The latter is of questionable legality under consumer protection laws. If they do receive compensation and do not disclose the fact, it is most likely a crime. On the other hand, they will shatter their illusion of impartiality if they do tell their viewers that they are promoting paid content.


In some cases, it is painfully obvious, such as TWANGnBANG’s videos where he simply tells us everything that a manufacturer put out in their press release over the manufacturer’s publicity photos without fact checking any of the manufacturer’s claims. Other times, it is more subtle, such as MAC’s pervasive use of ZQI ammunition in all his videos, right after the trip he took to their plant in Turkey that I’m sure he paid for out of pocket. Or his detour to tell us about the 3M electronic earpro in a video about a 9mm carbine.


Now, T&E samples are an important part of the gun industry. Reviewers get free samples and sometimes are allowed to keep them and we get to see new stuff. The Manufacturer gets free advertising and the YouTube channel gets a way to make content that generates revenue. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with paid advertisements, either, so long as it is clear that is what we are seeing.


The real problem comes into play when viewers believe they are watching an honest, unbiased product review when, in reality, they are watching what amounts to a paid endorsement. Even when actual cash money does not change hands, it can be difficult to maintain an entirely unbiased perspective if you are getting free stuff. Moreover, the manufacturers are not likely to give you things to review if you have a reputation for tough criticism. This pressure to be gentle is usually somewhat subtle but can occasionally be explicitly stated. Another YouTuber told me about an interaction with a manufacturer where they explicitly stated that they would not send ammunition for testing unless they could be assured that they would have the opportunity to review the video before publishing.


I know from personal experience that some manufacturers react poorly to negative reviews of their products. A while back I posted an article here that was highly critical of DRT ammunition on the grounds that it fails to meet, or even come close, to FBI penetration recommendations. I have often used DRT as an example of worthless gimmick ammunition because it is. In response, the president of DRT emailed me to invite me to shoot animals with his ammunition. I am a meat eater and I am happy to kill an animal for food. Moreover, I am confident that the animals used in his testing are not wasted, but it seems unnecessarily cruel to shoot the animals solely to determine the effects of the ammunition. I cannot rightly articulate why it rubs me wrong, it just does. Aside from the ethical consideration, the fact is that his ammunition does not meet established standards using the established method of testing. Apparently, he hoped to distract from the failure in standardized testing by subjecting animals to his idea of “testing”.


DRT screen shot


He declined to answer when I asked him whether the deer would be moving rapidly, using cover, and shooting back, but the exchange went downhill from there. Shooting an unsuspecting animal in relatively controlled conditions is obviously not the same as a desperate fight with a human being who is also desperately fighting for his own life, which is why a shallowly penetrating projectile works fine for hunting, if the shot is carefully placed. When fighting a human being, though, you do not have the luxury to decide not to take a shot if you think it will not produce a humane kill. You must shoot to stop and your rounds will likely impact the torso at an angle after passing through a limb or other intervening obstacle.


It is pure speculation on my part, but in light of this interaction, and given the conversations I have had with other folks in the gun community and in the industry, this sort of “gentle” pressure is likely common. And why wouldn’t manufacturers want to aggressively promote a positive image of their products?


The bottom line is that you are encouraged to exercise discretion and take YouTube reviews with a whole fistful of salt.


Editor’s/Owner’s note –   While I have no idea how things likely work on the youtube gun community.  Gun writers with few exceptions get to keep any guns for free.  It is true that we are mostly offered the “writer’s price”  and that price is often very hard to say no to, we get no guns from any companies for free.  Obviously they do send them out for demo free of charge, but they do want them back or want you to buy them.  Some writers do indeed get stuff for free to keep and we all obviously know them as what they are. Shills. 

As far as companies wanting to  look at a review before it goes up, only one company has ever said that to me and it was KAC.  And that was after I had to justify and explain in detail what I wanted to do with the gun in questions.  Obviously since you have never read a review of the KAC  EMC carbine on looseorunds, you know how that turned out.  – Shawn





M855A1 EPR: The Armor Piercing Round That Wasn’t

The Army does not actually consider M855A1 to be armor piercing ammunition, but it is capable of some really impressive penetration. Standard M855 is stopped easily by ¼” AR500 level III body armor, but M855A1 can penetrate even level III+ steel armor.

Bear in mind that the plate in that test was able to stop 5.56mm M193 and 50 gr TSX, .450 Marlin 405 gr JSP, and even a round of 7.62x51mm M61 AP. This plate is seriously tough.

Let that sink in a bit: a standard 5.56mm “ball” round was able to penetrate a target that 7.62x51mm armor piercing ammunition could not get through. Of course the old farts will complain about how their beloved “thuty cal” will carry more energy down range and that is absolutely correct. 7.62x51mm will likely be better at getting through thicker, heavier obstacles like trees and possibly better at multiple layers of light barrier like car bodies. It will definitely be better at chewing up concrete barriers with multiple rounds. Still, at close range, in this narrow use case, a 5.56mm “ball” cartridge outperformed 7.62x51mm AP and that is really saying something. How far away does M855A1 EPR keep that performance edge though?

It is not particularly surprising that it loses some steam and is unable to penetrate at 50 meters, given the light weight of the projectile, but the fact that it can still get through the plate at 25 meters is notable in its own right. There is some limit to the capability of this new round, but it is nevertheless impressive. It is not simply some icepick penetrator, either.

Even when fired from a short barrel, M855A1 shows immediate upset and dramatic tissue disruption. In comparison, M855 shows a much longer “neck,” about four to five inches, actually. The “neck” is the portion of tissue that is relatively undamaged by a projectile’s passing before the bullet begins to yaw, fragment, or expand.

Even when fired from a 16” barrel, the M855 showed a longer neck and less tissue disruption than the M855A1 did from an 11.5” barrel. In other words, the M855A1 is more terminally effective at a lower velocity than M855. There is every reason to believe that it should continue to demonstrate excellent down range performance too, based on the light, three part construction of the bullet. It is refreshing to finally see an effective loading fielded for our soldiers’ 5.56mm rifles. For decades, civilians have enjoyed high performance loads that take full advantage of the 5.56mm cartridge’s potential but our service men and women have made do with an obsolete answer to a question no one cared to ask. The M855 was not particularly good at anything. It was not terrible, of course, but it was far from ideal. At long last, it looks as though the Army has a load that is actually better at penetrating cover than M855 but also produces better tissue damage.

Inland MFG M1 Carbine & M1911 Mud& Frozen Water Torture Test

IF you have been reading us for the past 6 months you have seen the ongoing testing and review of the Inland MFG  M1911A1 and M1 carbine.  You can find the reviews using the search feature.  As an aside to those on going tests, today weather conditions gave us the chance to do little else other than abuse fire arms since it was so cold and raining our targets would melt away after being soaked in a matter of a few minutes.

We used the huge standing mud/water hole that was frozen over night to toss the guns in and see what happens.


First  the much maligned M1 carbine. Known the world over for being as feeble against the elements  as  tissue paper.


Next us was the Inland M1911A1 clone.   Everyone knows only a glock would work under such conditions.

As you can see. both did fine.  I admit I thought  the M1 carbine in the sludge and me kicking mud over it was giving it more than it could reasonably be expected to handle. But it did just great.    Shooting down myths of certain guns being unreliable and the myth of certain guns being super indestructible does get tiresome and redundant. But it is still necessary these days as much as it ever was.   Especially with the 1911.   So many companies make the 1911 now, and very few of them actually make good ones the way they are supposed to be made .  The result is poorly made 1911s that those looking for a reason to claim its not reliable find that reason in those many lesser companies who cut corners or just do not care.   Inland has proven to my satisfaction that they indeed make a good GI  spec 1911.

Can Milk Jugs Stop a Bullet?

An empty milk jug seems like a pretty flimsy thing, but when you cut several milk jugs into pieces and melt them into an homogeneous block, it starts to look a little more substantial. Still, can plastic stop a bullet? High density polyethylene, or HDPE, is used in a variety of products because it is strong, light, and cheap. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, or UHMWPE is used in some rifle plates because it is tough and light. While the two are not the same, they are chemically similar and although HDPE is not as tough as UHMWPE, it is tougher than you might expect.

This seems silly and it is, but there is a more serious purpose to this test. Every few years, some dullard statist politician gets it in his or her tiny head to place restrictions on body armor because banning the things for the children has worked so well in the past. There already exist some jurisdictions where body armor is regulated. Some countries do not allow private citizens to own body armor at all. The purpose of the Open Source Armor Project is to establish a standard for homemade body armor that is effective, cheap, easy to make, and constructed of easily sourced materials. It is not intended to be an alternative to proper body armor, but rather an option for those who may not have access to “real” armor as well as a counterpoint to any arguments in favor of banning personal body armor. The goal of this test was as a proof of concept. Further testing will explore the stand alone capability of a 1 1/4″ thick slab like this as well as its usefulness as a backing material for floor tiles. In previous testing, we have established that porcelain floor tiles are more than up to the task of stopping intermediate rifle cartridges when backed by a tough material.

The questions that remain to be answered are:

  • How effective can the HDPE slab be on its own?
  • What is the optimum thickness?
  • How many tiles is optimum to achieve a favorable balance of weight and protection?
  • What adhesives are both inexpensive and effective?
  • What material works best to contain fragments?

Once these questions are answered, we can establish a standard configuration or set of configurations that can then be independently tested. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact The Chopping Block on YouTube.

Mud Testing Service Rifles From InRange TV

The  fellows over at InRange TV  have been posting a series of very popular  mud tests on various service weapons. Most recently a mud test of the fragile AR15 that “everyone” knows can not take even a microscopic speck of dust and has to be cleaned every 3 rounds.    I like to think out regular readers already know how this video is going to turn out since it is one of my pet subjects.


I am sure this will still come as a shock to some people who see it.  The truth is the AR15 and its DI system can take a lot more filth and abuse that some of the guns out there with reputations for being unstoppable. Years of military personnel repeating handed down myth and  misinformation over decades combined with the civilian gun communities habit of believing everything a vet  says as if it was gospel that can never be question  and gun media with their own slick ads and and agenda has made this particular BS myth last longer than it should have.


Below is the dirty duo’s  mud test of the AK47 . The mythological unstoppable killing machine that is infallible.

And here is a much enlightening ( for some) video with mud testing some of the other popular service rifles.

M1 Garand.  mud test .



You can find all of there videos  following the links below.


You can also find the other channel Forgotten weapons at the same website http://www.full30.com