Magazine publishing has ceased to be the great business opportunity it was and publishers cast around desperately for ways of earning a few bob, which makes it odd that the UK’s only shooting industry magazine, Gun Trade News (GTN) has not seized the opportunity to celebrate its 25th anniversary – a birthday number is always a good earner. Now, it could be that having changed hands a few times over the years, the magazine’s current management did not realise that it first officially saw the light of day in March 1994, when launched by an East Anglian business men and keen shooter called John Storrey*. Storrey was a peripheral figure in the UK gun trade and his reasons for venturing into the world of magazine publishing owed less to a desire to provide a source of news, industry information and opinion, than to provide a platform with which to belabour the Gun Trade Association, whom he had fallen out with at the time. The publication initially appeared at quarterly frequency, becoming bi-monthly after it was acquired by Bruce Publishing in 1995. Bruce held onto it until 2003 when it was sold to Blaze Publishing, the last owners before the current ones. Given that those current owners have not seen fit to mark, or simply missed the fact of, its quarter century of publishing we feel we cannot let the occasion pass without a salute to it and especially to GTN’s credentials as a great survivor. For right now the number of printed trade magazines is a fraction of those that were there when it first saw the light of day and few of those are in as disgustingly rude health as GTN. Of course the fact that shooting is to a degree insulated from the commercial pressures – internet, multiples, supermarkets etc., which have ravaged other industries, has served to provide the magazine with its lifeblood of a continuing stream of advertising revenues. Let us hope that remains to be the case for at least another 25 years and that as a result the UK’s shooting businesses continue to enjoy a strong voice. Happy birthday, GTN.
*During negotiations to sell GTN to Bruce Publishing, Storrey a born wheeler-dealer, said he was in a hurry to conclude the deal as he was due on the dockside at Harwich, where he was hoping to sell a job lot of used Hillman Hunters to a buyer from Iran.
Pic: Gun Trade News