You know what really chaps my ass? When I see a supposed “gun reviewer” bash a product online based on very limited experience. It is almost as bad at the ‘tubers who review a product positively, after putting a dozen rounds through it, because…drum roll please, they got a free one. As you’ll see in the video, my topic for this week is a followup review on a problematic Black Aces Tactical DTR short shotgun. On first blush, the gun is junk. But at the same time, we’ve had a prior gun in that worked great. I’m not personally a huge fan anyway. It’s clunky and hard to rack. But I think that whenever you encounter a problem with a gun, it is important to try to figure it out, especially before you spreading bad information around the internet.
Ammunition is expensive for all of us, but ammo sensitivity is the #1 cause of malfunction in all types of firearms. All guns are sensitive to some kind of ammo.
More than not, it is the cheap stuff they don’t like, but not always. I was one of the first reviewers of the Glock 42 single stack .380. For the life of me, I couldn’t get Hornady Critical Defense to run in the gun, even though it would shoot flat tip roundball just fine. It made no sense, but it was what it was. Hornady even said later that Glock had told them it would run the Critical Defense, and they were not pleased with me at the time, but in my test gun it didn’t work. For those of you regular readers, you know that Hornady is our goto ammo here. I don’t think you have tested the accuracy potential of a gun until you have tested it with Hornady ammo.
This Black Aces gun doesn’t like any low brass target loads at all, even Winchester AA hulls, which are the standard in the competition world. It shot Hornady Superformance buckshot just fine, as well as Federal Law Enforcement reduced recoil rounds, and the grey Winchester buckshot that you’ll find at Walmart. Estate buckshot, sold in bricks of 25 rounds for just over $20 at Walmart, would not run reliably.
Magazines cause I would say the 2nd most common malfunction in semi-auto firearms, but this is a pump gun, and the force that you can exert with your muscles is not in the same league as that from a return spring. I didn’t find a difference in the malfunctions, magazine to magazine in this Black Aces, but in your own tests with your own problem guns, always test a different mag whenever possible. There was also no consistency between malfunctions that occurred in the 5 round vs. the 10 round in this case, but beware that high cap mags, especially in guns that traditionally have not carried so many rounds, are historically a big source of problems.
I think that the problem with this gun is engineering, but I won’t pretend to know more than the engineers who designed it, or those who designed the magazines. The rounds in the mag press up on the bolt with a lot of pressure. This, I think, is flexing the thinner walled low brass rounds, and the thinner walled cheap buckshot rounds. My 2 cents.
This gun came to me as the potential giveaway gun for our promotion some time back. Black Aces had volunteered it, and we had reviewed the first gun positively. It had no issues at all. Thankfully, the winner of the promotion never answered, and before we remembered to pick a new one, the reviewer who had the gun figured he’d do a tactics video with it. He immediately came back with “it doesn’t work,” and he even went so far as to take apart a magazine and see if he could fix the problem. I got a dissembled magazine in the mail after the gun itself went to my FFL. It took me about five minutes to figure out that the gun didn’t like cheap low brass target rounds, so I set up the camera to review the rest of the types of rounds I had on hand. That box of Federal that you see in the video was about the 10th that I shot, using both the 5 and 10 round (9 round for most brands) magazines.
After Black Aces failed to answer 2 emails to them, I went looking around the internet to see what I could find. It turns out that my problem was not isolated, but I was not surprised that most reviewers didn’t try several brands of ammo to rectify the problem. For a gun this expensive, anger is perfectly justified when it doesn’t work, especially when you don’t get an answer back from the company, but I saw a lot of people out to just trash Black Aces. The gun does work. It just doesn’t work with all ammo.
So just to follow up the story, we will be giving this gun away to a new pick from the entries on the promotion, but hopefully we’ll hear back from Black Aces as to whether the have an answer to this problem first. In the meantime I thought it a great opportunity to temper the accepted view of online “reviewers.” Don’t take things at face value when you see someone trash a company, especially if they are clearly angry and feel they got ripped off. Over the years I’ve chased down some of these guys, and I’ve even had two (not one but two), admit to me that the first thing they do when they get a new gun is take it apart and put it back together again. In speaking to the head of support at Taurus here in Miami, it is actually pretty common.
I’ve also had guys admit that they had dry fired rimfires, (including just last week, here in the comments of my Cobra Derringers article). You can’t ever dry fire a rimfire, even the ones that say you can. The only guns I ever dryfire myself are plastic striker pistols, and wouldn’t you know it, I had a firing pin failure in one of those. Guns are just simple machines, with very small and delicate parts. Tolerance and metalurgy effect all machines. There is no way to repeatedly strike a piece of steel and not have it work harden, then break.
The internet has become a cesspool of opinions. I have shut comments off on many of my Prepping 101 articles, because in over a year, I have had only about 3 useful comments, out of hundreds (the most useful, btw, was that Beefaroni tastes like metal after about a year of storage). Now, what I have suspected for years, it is now out in the open that many of the “trolls” you see commenting on editorial sites like GunsAmerica Digest are paid by interested parties. Ask yourself, when you read someone’s opinion online, or you watch a video, what are the motives behind this? Are the details intentionally obfuscated to make the “reviewer” seem relevant? Do they claim something that is not likely true? Where are the details? Where is the proof? Just because someone says something, especially online and anonymous, it isn’t necessarily true.