Unc links to an interesting wallet-sized survival kit. There’s some stuff in it that I need to add to my small kit (Kevlar cord) and some stuff in it that I don’t need (non-metallic handcuff key), but the one thing that fascinates me about this kit and practically every other kit out there is the obession with fishing gear. 

I understand that fishing line and hooks have other uses and that a lead sinker doesn’t take up a lot of space, but the fact is, you’ll die from dehyrdaration or drinking polluted water LONG before you’ll die of starvation. Any Boy Scout will tell you to worry about first aid, shelter, fire and water first, then worry about food.

Cheap, Fast, Easy (Part One)

Cheap, fast, easy (Part One)

The Vuurwapen (that’s Dutch for “Firearm”, if you haven’t figured it out) Blog lit the candle about the professionalism of gun reviews and others have chimed in, so here’s my thoughts as well. 

The current state of gun reviews (online or not) is something that’s been bubbling inside my head since SHOT, and I’ve come to the conclusion that gun reviews, as they are now, are pretty much useless. 

And I blame myself as much as anyone else.

Let’s break down a typical gun review. It starts with a brief history of the product or the manufacturer, then swings into a paragraph or two about what features on the Überblaster 3000 make it new and exciting (or, alternatively, such a beloved classic). Next is a opinion piece on why that reviewer thought those features were good or bad, and then lastly a trip to the range where they’ll put about 200 or so rounds through it at varying distances and then pronounce (if we’re lucky) that said gun is a good value or if we’re not, they’ll just say whether they like the gun or not. 

What I didn’t learn was a) how it compared to other guns with a similar purpose b) what other people think of it and c) and what the gun is like to own and maintain.

It’s that last point that’s the biggest gap in gun reviews. Gun writing is in a permanent state of ADD: We’re always distracted by the bright and shiny new objects the gun companies dangle in front of us, and we don’t write about what it’s like to live with a gun for a long time. As I said on the post that started this whole thing, 

My main complaint with most gun reviews is they are similar to the car reviews in the auto magazines: “Look, here’s the latest and greatest thing from Detroit/Milan/Stuttgart/, and it goes REALLY REALLY FAST!!!!”

That’s nice, if I have an extra $50k+ to spend on a mid-life crisis. However, I’m more concerned about what a given gun will do over it’s lifetime. I don’t buy a gun a month, if I’m lucky, it’s a gun a year, so I need to make sure what I buy will hold up as an investment, and putting 200 rounds through it tells me squat about what it’s like to live with that gun day in and day out. A pistol that can hold up to a 2000 Round Challenge is much more interesting to me than the last überblaster. 

I’ll probably never buy a Lamborghini, and even my chances of owning a Mustang are beginning to fade as my kids grow up and bills increase. What matters to me more right now is whether my wife’s Nissan Pathfinder will be as reliable as my old Frontier pickup or what are the long-term maintenance costs of a Civic Hybrid. 

The fact of the matter is, most cars are reliable for the first 75,000 miles or so and, with a few exceptions, most guns are reliable for the first 1000-ish rounds (we’ll leave the “break-in” discussion for another day). Because I don’t buy a gun a month, I need to know that what I buy will last, and the 2000 Round Challenge is good way to mimic the life of an ordinary (non-competition) gun and how a typical plinker/CCW gun owner will treat their gun.

Gun reviewers (including me) need to start thinking about what it’s like to OWN a gun and not just what it’s like to BUY a gun. 

Part Two on Monday: Learning from Car and Driver. 

How The Game Is Played, Fourth In A Series Of… Um, I Dunno How Many.

How the game is played, Fourth in a Series of… um, I dunno how many.

Why do viral videos count for some much when it comes to social media? 

This is why

According to new research commissioned by Unruly Media, viewers are far more likely to recall a brand name and engage with an ad’s message if a branded video has been recommended to them by a peer. The survey, conducted by Decipher Research to measure the effectiveness of social video advertising, found that social video recommendations had a direct impact on traditional brand metrics and ad enjoyment.

The new research found:

  • Brand recall and brand association rose 7 percent among viewers who had peers recommend the videos versus viewers who found it by browsing;

  • 73 percent of respondents who viewed a peer-recommended video recalled the brand when prompted versus 68 percent of viewers who had browsed to the video directly;

  • There was a 14 percent increase in the number of people who enjoyed the video following a recommendation versus those who had discovered it by browsing;

  • People who enjoyed a video were 97 percent more likely to purchase the product featured in the video.

The study, which surveyed online video viewers, aged 18-34, across four social video campaigns from top fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands Guinness, Coca-Cola, Unilever’s Cornetto and Energizer Batteries from July to November 2011, sought to determine the impact of peer recommendations.

Quick, think of the last online video produced by a gun company that went viral. 


The old rules of “bring a dozen gun writers from the major magazines to a shooting school, have them fondle pre-production versions of our new guns and embargo what they write about it until the guns are released for sale” sorta works for now. Sorta.

However, some gun company is going to figure out that there’s a better (and cheaper) way to do it, and that gun company is going to rule the place where gun nuts rule

How The Game Is Played, Part The Third

How the game is played, Part the Third

When I was in college learning how to be a (photo) shooter, I used to joke that “kids and dogs = the perfect photo for B1”. Of course, this was back when newspapers had budgets for feature stories and the space to run their photos big. 

Getting a good soft news photo is as much an art form as snapping a shot of the game-winning basket or that perfect spot news photo, and the same elements that make a good feature photo make a good viral video. 

Kids and dogs. Humor. Cultural memes. Portability. Oh, and cute kids acting all growed up helps too.

How The Game Is Played, Part Deux

How the game is played, Part Deux

To review from Part One, a good viral video should have… 

Video games

So how come this video took off last year? 

Uniqueness: Oh yeah.
Portability: The video went viral, the audio from the commercial did not. Part of that is because we humans respond more to sight than we do sound, part of it is because of the “sweater full of mischief” seen in the video, but part of it is because there’s no good platform for viral audio right now. You want audio? Get a podcast. 
Humor. Oh freakin’ yes. Funny as all get out. Hilarious. Stunningly hilarious. Brilliantly hilarious. And it’s even better because it takes the same emotions we apply to warm fuzzy animals and applies to cold plastic and steel. I’m in awe. The guy or gal who did this needs to sign with Sattchi&Saatchi or Deutsch LA, and quick. 
Visuals: See comments under portability. 
Cats: No. 
Video games: No, but it does use a pre-existing meme, the tear-jerker pet adoption ad, which is essentially what video-game related memes do.This ad takes a pre-exisitng cultural icon and give it a new twist. This is why the zombie meme sorta works for the firearms industry: They take a pre-existing item on our cultural radar and tag along for the ride. Unfortunately, no one is doing that in a humorous way yet, and believe it or not, zombies and humor mix VERY well

Bottom line, if the gun companies want their stuff to go viral, it’s time to put down the tactical gear and pick up the clown nose. Guns (when used safely) are fun. Shooting stuff is fun. Gun owners are funny

Gun advertising? Not fun at all. And the sooner gun companies realize this, the more money they’ll make off the internet. 

Front Sight Four Day Defensive Handgun Course Review, Day Three

Front Sight Four Day Defensive Handgun Course Review, Day Three

Day One is here

Day Two is here

Day Three

Today started out on one of the ranges in “Phase Two” of Front Sight, and you begin to get an idea of how big this place is. They have two 200 yard rifle ranges, plus an arroyo dedicated to shotgun and another dedicated to rifle, plus “Snipers Point”, an overlook with steel targets set out along a wash. We were on Range 14, but we soon left it for “Monsters, Inc.”, a bay with nothing but a few dozen doors set up to practice door entry with blue guns, and then it was of to the simulation bay for a live-fire “Shoot house” run.

And you know what? I’m tired and I still need to do some dry-fire practice, so I’ll leave what was in the shoot house and the rest of today for tomorrow.

Kel-Tec And SHOT Show

Kel-Tec and SHOT Show

The phrase I kept hearing at SHOT this year was “What would Ruger do?”. Other gun manufacturers are realizng that Ruger’s had consistently popular guns recently, most notably the LCP, their .380 ACP pocket pistol, which kicked off the pocket .380 craze of a few years ago. However, the LCP borrowed substantially from of the Kel-Tec P3AT, the original pocket .380, so maybe the gun companies should look to Ruger for innovations in marketing and Kel-Tec for inovations in guns. 

And Kel-Tec certainly has new and completely original designs out there. I’ve argued online that George Kelgren is the most innovative designer out there since Gaston Glock, and I’ll stand by that argument to this day. My arguments are backed up with products like the aforementioned P3AT, the SUB-2000 pistol-caliber carbine (quick, name another carbine under $500! Time’s up!), the .308 RFB, the .22WMR PMR-30 pistol and a bunch of others. 

Walking by the Kel-Tec booth, I got a chance to examine their much-talked about (but rarely-seen) RMR-30 .22WMR carbine

Kel-Tec RMR-30

Right off the bat, this sucker is LIGHT. Very light. And skinny. It’d benefit from either a vertical foregrip or a MagPul grip, as I found it a bit hard to hang on to. Secondly, the mag relase is in the bottom of the pistol grip, not my favourite location for such a thing. 

Kel-Tec RMR-30 receiver

Other than that, though, I’m a total fanboy for this gun. Can’t wait to get one into my hands and wring it out for myself. 

The other gun that caught my in Kel-Tec’s booth was their SU-16E: A version of their venerable SU-16 rifle with an adapter for an AR-15 stock

Kel-Tec SU-16

Again, this is a very light rifle compared to other rifles in its class, primarily because it uses polymers in for the entire receiver, not just the lower part as in my CavArms AR

SU-16 Receiver

The SU-16 is an unsung hero of the AR world: It used a piston-drived action long before it was cool and takes standard AR magazines. It’s on my “will buy list” as a trunk / bug out gun, and the AR stock adapter makes it even more attractive. 

The biggest problem Kel-Tec seems to have is managing their success: The RMR-30 was announced last year at SHOT and they’re still not in your local gun shop. Not a bad problem to have, but it needs to be addressed in order for these groundbreaking guns can get into the consumer’s hands.


Shot Show GunBlogger Meetup AAR

Shot Show GunBlogger Meetup AAR

Executive Summary: Wow. 

More later once I go through the cards and link back to everyone who participated. Suffice to say I’m SERIOUSLY impressed with you all: For a bunch of nobodies, there’s some smart cookies out there in the gunblogging world. 

Right now, I’m off to G-Lock with peeps from GunUp for a product demo, then later tonight it’s the 3 Gun Nation Shoot-Off, then more fun and games tomorrow!.