Gear Review Requests

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https://www.facebook.com/notes/raven-concealment-systems/so-you-want-to-be-a-gear-review-blogger-eh/604668529582182/

http://soldiersystems.net/2013/12/30/ask-ssd-should-i-send-gear-to-this-blogger/#comments

Soldier Systems Daily posted an outstanding article today aimed at gear companies who get approached by bloggers wanting free gear. Since they get 20-30 requests for free gear from bloggers each week, use their list of advice for anyone that wants to review gear:

1) Gear blogs are neat, but the old “10 pictures and 5 paragraphs” format that a lot of guys still do is largely being supplanted by videos. Consumers still read text and image blogs, but video reviews result in a much higher conversion rate to sales. Since that conversion rate is what we manufacturers are looking for, you’re more likely to get product from us if you do video. Videos are also much more likely to get shared by the manufacturer via their social media program (like Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail newsletters) because that’s what consumers are most likely to click on. Hell, if I really wanted people to see this, I should have shot this note as a video rather than typing it!

2) Don’t hit me up out of the blue with your hand out for free stuff. Buy product from companies and do reviews first. A blogger who e-mails me cold and asks for something will likely get nothing, while a guy who sends me links to four other reviews he has already done on products of mine is likely to get a big box of goodies. On the other end of that, when you get free gear for reviews, it is a major faux pas to sell that gear online when you’re done with it. If you were given something and no longer need it, the proper course of action is to give it to someone who needs it, or donate it to a charity auction or raffle that supports a worthy gun/gear related cause. I’m not sending you free product so you can stock your own personal for-profit tactical gear store. Pay it forward.

3) Actually know what your viewership/readership is. Be able to articulate the particulars of your audience to me. BE HONEST about these stats; I’m going to check you out before I send anything. If you don’t know this stuff, you’re unlikely to get support from RCS.

4) I’m not necessarily looking for the guy who has a billion subscribers to his YouTube channel. What I want is someone who makes videos that don’t suck. Keep them SHORT. Almost everyone (including some of my friends who are big-time video bloggers) make videos that are waaaaaaay too long, which means people skim them, at best. When someone sends me a link to a 10+ minute “review” video, I won’t even skim it. Never make a video longer than four minutes; 90-180 seconds is optimal. If you can’t buffer it on your smart phone and watch it in the time it takes to roll through a McDonalds drive through, most people won’t bother trying to watch it. One of the best examples of a video done right is this one that Stephen Pineau made about the VG2.

5) Make sure you read the product instructions and relay correct product specs and information in your blog. It also doesn’t hurt to approach the company whose gear you are reviewing and ask them to check for any technical errors. Bloggers that screw up these little details are far less likely to get product support from manufacturers on future blogs or videos.

6) Cultivate a relationship with companies; don’t just chase after the latest new gadget. The guys who I send samples of our new products before they hit the shelves are the ones who have a proven track record and who stay in touch with us on a regular basis. They do follow up blogs on gear from us they have already reviewed. If the only time I hear from you is when I launch a new product, you’re probably not going to get what you’re seeking.

7) I like helping new bloggers get traction, because more successful bloggers means more exposure for RCS. But the surest way to get shut out is to do a bunch of posturing about what a big deal your YouTube channel or blog is. Be honest about being small; don’t try to use smoke and mirrors to dazzle me.

8) Seriously, keep your wife/girlfriend OUT of your videos. If your content is so anemic that you have to put Daisy Dukes on your girl and have her fumble awkwardly with a pistol on camera, you’re in the wrong line of work. It’s a gimmick, like having a a stripper working your trade show booth. Frankly, it distracts people from the product, and it makes you look unprofessional. When you look unprofessional, you don’t get product support.

9) Be knowledgeable. You don’t have to have a background in military or law enforcement work, but you DO need to know about the product you’re reviewing, as well as comparable and/or competing products. The best product reviews are the ones that not only tell the features of the product, but also help the consumer understand how the product works in conjuction with other firearms or gear that they also use.

10) This industry is a small one, and the companies talk to each other. If you conduct yourself professionally and create quality review content, you’ll find that doors open very easily to you. Free gear will flow like water. However, if you get a reputation as being a guy who shakes everyone down for free gear and then doesn’t deliver, or you get caught selling things you were sent as demo items, you’ll find yourself black listed pretty quickly.

Competitive Shooter Wins Fight

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Not an isolated incident. I’m convinced the only reason we don’t see more reports like this is it requires a low percentage event to meet with a low (but top) percentage of the gun owning public.

https://citizentv.co.ke/news/inayat-kassam-meet-the-52-year-old-hero-who-saved-lives-at-westgate-and-14-riverside-227173/

Inayat Kassam: Meet the 52-year-old hero who saved lives at Westgate and 14 Riverside
In a previous exclusive interview with Citizen TV, Mr. Kassam said he was at a shooting competition when his phone rang and when he answered, “the caller said, ‘Shots fired. We’re scared.’”

Mr. Kassam got into his car with fellow licensed firearm user – Peter Bonde – and off they sped towards Westgate Mall where they exchanged fire with criminals, fought side-by-side with Kenyan law enforcement, and led hundred of Kenyans trapped inside the mall to safety.

See also:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/ipsc-shooter-wins-fight/

Guns are Weapons

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Matt at The Everyday Marksman posits that firearm use is a martial art and there is nothing wrong with that. His take on this is spot on. Tip-toeing around the fact that firearms are weapons (insisting on euphemisms such as “Modern Sporting Rifle” as an example) does no good as it implies there is something wrong with skillful weaponcraft and citizens owning personal weapons. The vast majority of humans can learn to use them without harm.

I take the stance that most games and sports involving a ball/disk/puck/dart/etc. are a form of marksmanship as they involve launching an object into a designated scoring area for points. An ability to do that with greater precision, from further distance, and/or faster than others is always an advantage.

As mentioned in the article, a number of these games have direct martial roots. Even Track and Field was created as a military exercise. Consider the Hoplitodromos.

The Martial Art of Marksmanship: It’s Not Bullshido
https://www.everydaymarksman.co/mindset/marksmanship-martial-art/

H.S. Ball Sports and Shooting

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https://www.statista.com/statistics/267955/participation-in-us-high-school-football/
1,039,079 total high school football players (11-player gridiron) in the 2017/18 school year (1,036,842 male, 2,237 female)

High school football participation continues to drop as concerns over cost, injuries persist
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/08/28/high-school-football-participation-continues-to-drop-as-concerns-over-cost-injuries-persist/

The problems facing high school football don’t appear to be going away, and according to new data released by the National Federation of State High School Associations, neither is the downward trend in participation.

Fewer than 1.04 million high school students played football in 2017. That’s 20,000 fewer athletes than in 2016, a 2 percent drop. [emphasis added.]

What does this have to do with gun owners? Compare the numbers.

A two percent drop in high school football player participation is about the total amount of current card-carrying USPSA or IDPA members.

And that’s just gridiron football. High school basketball has about the same total number with nearly one million participants.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/267942/participation-in-us-high-school-basketball/

Add in nearly a million high school soccer players, about a half million high school baseball players, another half million for volleyball, and a 1/3 million for softball and you have more active ball sport participants in high school than the NRA has total members.

http://www.nfhs.org/ParticipationStatics/PDF/2014-15_Participation_Survey_Results.pdf
https://www.nfhs.org/ParticipationStatics/ParticipationStatics.aspx/

And these numbers are active participants and does not count spectators, fans, supportive friends and family, and any other non-player that is involved.

As far as shooting, there are just over 5,000 high school marksmanship competitors (1,025 Air Rifle and 4,238 Riflery). And before you wrongly assume this is due to some anti-gun policy at the schools, consider that only about 2% of NRA members hold a Classification, something that can be earned by merely participating in a Sanctioned (Registered or Approved) tournament.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/nra-classification-fall-off/

These are the real reasons ball sports get media coverage and shooting does not.

Competition for Tactical Training

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I would never have been introduced to [defensive shooting instruction] if I hadn’t gone to a match and met some guys who told me about it. Shooters usually flock to where other shooters are, and USPSA and IDPA competitions are a big deal these days. Matches have largely replaced gun-shop counters as the place where serious shooters hang out. I expect to continue to use matches as an opportunity to meet new people and even grow my training business organically through conversations between stages.

– Aaron Israel

Army Trainfire: 1963

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The Army adopted the Trainfire model around 1955. The most recent version revamped the program in the late 1970s and served as the primary approach until the new Training Circulars re-wrote doctrine starting in 2016.

Until the new TCs and qualifications for them, all changes to Army small arms standards have reduced the challenge and needed skill. Consider this video where Soldiers conducting routine qualification during Basic are advancing downrange with loaded rifles and expected to take up positions on timed pop-up targets. FM 23-8, which was doctrine when this film was made, included a four table qualification that included shooting while advancing, offhand, and other unsupported shooting. Also note the regular use of peer coaching.

Linda Harris Memorial and Scholarship

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George Harris, International Firearms Consultants founder, SIGARMS Academy co-founder, and former Army Reserve Marksmanship Team member, announced the official launch of the Linda Harris Memorial Scholarship administered by the United States Concealed Carry Association.

“This fund will provide a means to create and further perpetuate the concept of female firearms instructors who in turn will bring more women into the shooting sports and personal defense arenas in the United States and around the world,” George Harris said. “The program will start by selecting a well deserving applicant to an all expenses paid class appropriate for their level of expertise. Initially this will be self-funded by USCCA but will expand with industry support in the interest of bringing more women into the world of safe and successful use of firearms.”

Linda Harris, who passed away at age 68 on September 1, 2018, was well known in the firearms community as an outstanding instructor who dedicated herself and her career to training people to defend themselves and to encouraging women to get involved in the shooting sports. After George Harris co-founded the SIGARMS Academy, Linda joined on as the first female firearms instructor in the history of the company, teaching a variety of firearms-related subjects to men and women alike. After officially retiring in 2011, she continued teaching women in the proper use and safe handling of firearms for sporting and defensive use.

Applicants can begin by visiting the USCCA website (try.usconcealedcarry.net/linda-harris-scholarship) for additional information.

“No greater tribute could Linda have but to be able to have the work she was so passionate about carried on in her name with the same passion and effort that she exhibited,” George Harris said. “Pass this along and become a part of this movement to bring more women into our efforts to keep firearms as part of our heritage.”

“Through the Linda Harris Memorial Scholarship, the USCCA will be able to encourage many new generations of female instructors inspired by Linda’s work,” said Destry Jeter, USCCA’s director of training. “We are truly looking forward to seeing the efforts and determination of these women recognized and rewarded.”

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