TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition

    A few weeks ago we reported that Impressum Media just released the 10th edition of their Firearms Guide. Intrigued by the potential of the database we availed of the opportunity of a press account to offer TFB readers an overview of the service.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Table of Contents:

    1. What is it?
    2. Functions and Interface
    3. Ease of Use
    4. Q&A with Impressum Media
    5. Pros & Cons
    6. Conclusion

    1. Firearms Guide – What is it?

     Firearms Guide Homepage.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Firearms Guide Homepage. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    In the words of Impressum Media, this is the description of their product/service:

    Firearms Guide 10th Edition is the world largest research able guns & ammo reference guide, gun values guide and gun schematics, blueprints & manuals library. Published since 2009 for industry professionals and enthusiasts, with its new 10th Edition it enables deep, complex searches of antique and modern guns and side by side comparisons of search results. Guns are cross-referenced with the ammunition database. Guns and ammo are presented with prices, tech-specifications, features, ballistic and up to 12 high-resolution zoom able color pictures (up to 4000 x 1240).

    BETTER THAN GOOGLE: By combining up to 14 search criteria you can perform simple or complex searches that you cannot do with Google and get instant and precise search result every time. For example, if you type in Google “polymer frame pistol in 9mm” your search result is 482,000 web pages. The same search in Firearms Guide will bring up 400 relevant pistols.

    GUN VALUES for modern and antique guns (based off of the 100% – 30% condition ratings) are provided for professionals in the gun trade and for gun collectors.

    13,000 GUN SCHEMATICS, BLUEPRINTS & MANUALS with parts lists for professional gunsmiths are provided. Zoom in to see smallest gun parts on diagrams or exploded views, read manuals and print out as many as you like.

    In simple terms, it is a vast firearm focused interactive encyclopedia offering fast and direct access to info on firearms and ammunition. On top of this, it adds a database of manuals, schematics and blueprints for a wide range of firearms, modern and obsolete.

    2. Firearms Guide – Functions and Interface

    The Online Edition of Firearms Guide offers 4 primary functions accessible at the top of each page, these are:

    • Firearms
    • Manufacturers
    • Ammo
    • Schematics

    Let’s have a quick look at each of them.

    All pictures are screenshots from the website and they can be enlarged in another window/tab.

    • Firearms

    This is the main feature of the whole website and it offers a wide range of keyword combinations which can lead to very accurate and focused searches. Search terms include caliber, manufacturer, year of manufacture, type of firearm and details on stock and barrel. A single input can be provided as well as several at the same time. Alternatively, the model name, or part of it, can be typed to narrow the search.

    The results are presented in a list at the center of the page, clicking on any will open a page with all details of the selected firearm (including value, where applicable) and one or more high-resolution photos.

    Firearms Guide sample search.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Firearms search example. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firarms Guide sample search result.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Firearms search example, selection of a result. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide sample photo.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Firearms search example, photo of a result. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    • Manufacturers

    Very straightforward here: this feature lets you select a manufacturer from a drop-down menu and the results, divided in tabs by type, will be listed in the center of the page.

    Firearms Guide manufacturer selection, Nambu example.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Manufacturer search example. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide sample of manufacturers names.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Manufacturer search example, a look at the available choices. How many names do you recognize? – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    • Ammo

    Just like the Manufacturers page, the Ammo section is very intuitive and it allows to search by caliber/gauge, type, manufacturer and country of production.

    Firearms Guide ammo search.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Ammo search by caliber example. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide Ammo manufacturer search.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Ammo search by manufacturer example. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

     Firearms Guide ammo result.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Ammo search example, selection of a result. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    • Schematics

    A unique feature of Firearms Guide is the database of Schematics, blueprints and manuals. The search function is simple here, with just 2 fields available: Manufacturer and type of Firearm. Searching directly by Model name is an option as well.

    Several results may appear for the same model, depending on the available documents.

    Firearms Guide Schematics search.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Schematics search example. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide Rhino exploded view.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Schematics search example, selection of a result. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    There is also a section dedicated to a selection of printable targets, definitely not the core offer of the website, but potentially useful.

    3. Firearms Guide – Ease of Use

    Firearms Guide offers a series of clear and useful YouTube video tutorials that can be accessed on this page of their website. These videos are not referring to the latest edition and they focus mostly on the flash drive version, which has the same features in a different layout from the Online Edition, but the information provided is still relevant.

    The link to the above is not particularly visible, being only available at the bottom of the homepage, therefore new users may head directly to the content without prior “training”. This is exactly what we did to evaluate the user friendliness of the functions of the website.

    In the screenshots below we’ll see how a firearm topic can be examined through the different sections of the Guide. To have a common thread for this exercise we’ll refer to the TFB article “TFB’s Top 10 Calibers for Gun Hipsters” as a guideline.

    Let’s start in the Ammo section and look for the 7.62×25 mm Tokarev… without finding it. For some reason the caliber is recorded as 7.82x25 Tokarev, however, a handy US/metric conversion table, still accessible through the Ammo tab, tells us that the round is here called .30 Tokarev.

    By clicking on the red circle on the right in the Favorite/Compare line we can select the loads we want to compare against each other. The comparison will then be accessible under the tab Compare. Since Luke C tells us that 7.62 Tokarev is a “even dumber and older version of 5.7x28mm“, let’s throw in some loads of the diminutive FN caliber.

    Firearms Guide hipster ammo.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Search for a hipster caliber, cursor over the “Compare” button. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

     

    Firearms Guide ammo comparison.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Comparison of hipster calibers. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide ballistics.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Ballistics comparison, based on manufacturers’ data. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Now that we’ve identified two calibers to compare, we can use them to search for the weapons that chamber them. We’ll focus on handguns as the 7.62 Tokarev is a pistol round.

    Again we can compare the features of the resulting models. We can then select one model and move to the Schematics section.

    Firearms Guide Vzor 52.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Selection of a 7.62×25 mm Tokarev pistol. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide hipster pistols.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Comparison of 7.62×25 mm Tokarev and 5.7×28 mm pistols. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Our Luke may call the TT-33 “a deformed and mentally disabled version of 1911” and he may be right, indeed the good looking pistol in the same caliber is the CZ Model 52. If we want to see details of its roller locked short recoil operation, in the Schematics section we can find the manual in English and the exploded view with the list of parts.

    Firearms Guide CZ 52 Schematics.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – CZ Model 52 available documents. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide CZ 52 exploded view.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – CZ Model 52 exploded view. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide CZ 52 parts.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – CZ Model 52 parts nomenclature. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    All of the above can be easily accomplished in a matter of a few minutes as all functions are intuitive and clearly accessible.

    4. Firearms Guide – Q&A with Impressum Media

    Here just a quick exchange we had with Chris Mijic of Impressum Media.

    • Q: What is the source of the data, specifically regarding the schematics? It does seem to be very heterogeneous.

    A: We collected them from various sources by working in this industry for last 12 years.

    • Q: I tested the Online Version, however in one of the tutorial videos I saw the interface of the Flash Drive, 8th Edition. Now the 9th Edition is available in that format, correct? Is the interface same as in the video, therefore different from the Online Edition?

    A: Latest Flash Drive Edition is 9th Edition. 9th and 8th Edition has same user interface just 9th Edition has more data. Tutorial videos works the same for 8th and 9th Edition because of the same interface. All basic functions like searchability, printing out are the same so there is no need to record same video every year.

    • Q: Is the Flash Drive available for purchase from outside the USA?

    A: Flash Drive is available for purchase from outside the USA. Buyers get free shipping upon purchase, they can access Online Edition same minute and we ship Flash Drive same day.

    5. Firearms Guide – Pros & Cons

    Pros

    • The huge database
    • The variety of functions
    • The access to documents which would hardly be found elsewhere.

    Cons

    • Schematics documents are printable but accessible only page by page, individually
    • The documents can’t be zoomed out, only dragged to expose the “Printing” button
    Firearms Guide Bond Bullpup exploded view.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Exploded view not fitting entirely on the screen. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    Firearms Guide dragged schematics.

    TFB Review: The Firearms Guide – Online Edition – Exploded view dragged down to allow printing. – Image Credit: Impressum Media.

    6. Firearms Guide – Conclusion

    The Firearms Guide can be accessed through several subscription offers, the combinations with the Flash Drive being particularly convenient to keep a version that doesn’t expire with time.

    The tools offered are definitely useful to collectors, to anyone working with firearms and simply to gun enthusiasts. Besides the minor issues mentioned above in the “Cons”, the only real drawback is the hours that one may spend to discover more about names they never heard before… for this very reason the writing of this article took much longer than planned.

     

    Giorgio O

    Italian firearm enthusiast now living in an even more restrictive country, Giorgio has a passion for innovative or plainly unusual mechanical solutions. He’s also interested in manufacturing technologies with a recent focus on additive manufacturing.

    You can contact him at giorgio_o at zoho dot com and you’ll find him in the comments section as Giolli Joker.


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