When it comes to purchasing a new firearm, it pays to do your homework. You want to know that you’re getting a reliable platform, that it doesn’t have any glaring safety issues, and that you’re getting a good value for the price you’re paying. The problem is, it can be pretty tough to find that information when most of the internet is dead set on either selling you something, or convincing you that everything they’re not selling is “junk.”

There are a lot of legitimate commercial websites out there devoted to reviewing firearms, to include SOFREP’s own sister site, the Loadout Room. Many of these sites maintain relationships with firearm manufacturers, and for good reason. There’s no better way to get the scoop on Glock’s new 19X, for instance, than to know a guy in their office – but this can become an issue when that relationship becomes financial. Some pages look the part of a legitimate review site, but are actually clever marketing ventures. After all, a press release is one thing, but a (seemingly) unbiased third party singing the praises of your firearm is a whole lot more valuable.

That’s not the end of your predicament, however, because there’s still the jaded bloggers to conduct with. I grew up in the racing industry (of the street, open wheel, and busted knuckles variety) and, thanks to my age, have a clear recollection of the early days of car forums. Long before Facebook gave us a means to stay in touch constantly, long before Reddit made forums obsolete, like minded guys would have find groups devoted to our interests to talk trade craft and compare notes. The thing about car guys, though, is that whatever they like is the best, whatever they don’t like is junk, and whatever they haven’t done yet is impossible.

Sound familiar? If it does, you’ve likely made the mistake of mentioning a firearm somewhere on the internet, and then suffered a barrage of trolling comments encouraging you to throw it away. If you’re a Glock guy, 1911s are garbage. If you’re a 1911 guy, Glocks are garbage, and if you’re a Ford guy, it doesn’t matter how nice that other guy’s Trans Am is… it’ll always be garbage to you.

And it’s all ridiculous.

“If you don’t rock one of these, you’ll never survive the apocalypse like me!”

Those of you who have read my writing for a while may have noticed that, when it comes to firearms, my purchases are often informed by two important factors: the first is that I live on a budget, and can’t afford to throw a few thousand dollars at new gear, or Christ help me, accessories, just because the internet posse has deemed it cool. The second is that I like to make decisions for myself, rather than trust the Facebook commenter that thinks “Rugers are tots junk brooooo!” Don’t get me wrong, he might be right, but I don’t vote based on Facebook opinions, just like I don’t make my purchases to please the digital hordes.

Sometimes, of course, popular opinion is spot on. A while back, a young and inexperienced me picked up a 9mm Hi-Point for around the same price as I’ve been known to spend on tacos from time to time. In my head, I figured the pistol couldn’t possibly be as bad as people say they are, and given the choice, I’d probably rather have a Hi-Point on me than nothing at all. I guess that last part holds true, because a fully loaded (at a whopping 8 rounds) Hi-Point pistol weighs around the same as a stack of phone books, and if you’re able to hit the guy with it (by throwing it like a boomerang) it might do some real damage. If you were hoping to shoot at anyone, however… you might be better off buying something else used for the same price.

At two thirds the size of my Glock, I too was surprised that the Hi-Point weighs in at around 60 pounds. (Possibly an exaggeration)

But here’s where I have to backtrack a bit. I’ve heard from a number of folks that the Hi-Point carbines are pretty reliable and a lot of fun to shoot, and that Hi-Point has stellar customer service that includes a lifetime warranty that’ll keep your gun shooting (however poorly) for time immemorial. I can sense some of you cringing at the thought, but until I put some rounds in paper with one of those carbines, I’ll hold off on passing judgement. After all, even bad car makers occasionally make fun rides (feed me beer and ask me about the times I’ve almost died in a Suzuki Samurai sometime).