Ballistics by the inch

And this is why we did it.

This past weekend, after we had ‘launched’ version 2.0 of BBTI, I sent out a few emails to places where I thought they might be interested in mentioning the new and expanded site, in addition to announcements on the four gun forums where I post. The Firearm Blog. Dark Roasted Blend (pending). Ammoland . And to several gun organizations and firearms-related magazines. I know that there’s a high level of interest in our work (we’ve had over 800,000 hits since the initial launch last Thanksgiving), and the word would get out, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little promotion.

Anyway, I got back a brief email from the editor of one leading publication. Let’s just call them “Firearms & Ammunition Review”. Here’s the response:

Sorry, but because we discuss ballistics on the “F&AR” web-site, we’re considered competitors.

It sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun, though, and I wish you the best of luck.

And that, right there, is why we did this whole project.

Because far too often the data which has been generated has been considered “proprietary.” Secret. Not to be trusted to the average guy who just wants to make an intelligent decision about what caliber and barrel length will suit his purpose.

Now, I understand capitalism. I’ve been a small business owner for almost 20 years. Magazines are under a lot of pressure to try and generate revenue one way or another. But the mindset of “no, we can’t discuss *that* – people might stop paying for access to our data” escapes my understanding. What, they think that people aren’t going to find out about BBTI? That if they just ignore us, the “threat” we pose will go away?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to do an article on our project, to help push their publication/website as having a solid handle on all that is going on in the world of ballistics research? They can still do their other articles. Still have real experts on ballistics comment on our project (none of us involved in BBTI has any illusions about being an expert in this field). Still cover reviews of this or that firearm, discuss how this or that new ammunition performs.

So, this is why we did it. Because the data generated by ammunition manufacturers and firearms makers was locked away in corporate databases somewhere, inaccessible. Because we wanted to know. And because once we knew, we thought that others might like to know, too. And that maybe, just maybe, having an “open source” resource like this would benefit everyone, us included.

Jim Downey

(Cross posted to my personal blog.)

June 1, 2009 - Posted by | Anecdotes, Data, Discussion., Links

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