If your into shooting, hunting, survival/prepping, you realize there is a lot of gear out there that goes with your interests. You also probably know that just about every Tom, Dick and Harry of the outdoor sporting magazine media or of the Blogosphere is out there ready to write up a review of this that or the other thing.
The typical review that one finds today is one by which the reviewer gives the manufacturer's specifications of the item in question and then goes on to perform a 'field test' and usually concludes with the reviewers findings and opinion about the item being reviewed. The idea of the field test is that it will allow you to get an idea of how well or how poorly the items functions for its intended use. Other reviews give just the specifications and or the author's opinion of the thing under review. Both of those types of reviews are, in essence, comfort food for the mind of the consumer. They give you a sort burst interest in the item much as sugary foods give you a short burst of energy, then they placate you into a sense of being at ease either as to your consideration of buying that item (with a good review) or the same sense of ease in turning it down (one with a bad review) just as those comforting sugary foods lull you into eased and restful state after the initial high. What reviews hardly ever do is give you the lowdown on how well an item has stood up after years of intended use and beyond. I say "and beyond" because many pieces of gear used for activities like shooting, survival, hunting and so on often are used for purposes other than initially intended by the manufacturer.
There are good reasons that almost all reviews are done on a short term basis rather than after years of use of an item. First of all, trying to do reviews of many items over the long term would be cost prohibitive for any commercial, like an outdoor magazine, that does reviews. They would need to hire someone for the long terms to do the reviews and almost nothing else. The short term review can be done and over with in a day or two and the reviewer can then easily move onto other aspects of his job. In addition, people want to buy items that are in stock now and those are the things about which they want reviewers information now. Doing a review of an item over the course of a few years of use or even after a single year of use of it means that the item being reviewed will very likely have been replaced by another model or version of the model being tested. Even if not replaced and if the same item is produced for years, the raw materials used may be of different quality, manufacturing techniques may change, quality control may use new standards and so forth. Thus the review would be outdated by the time it had been published. So it would seem that long term reviews might be a waste of time - not so much in that the item was used over the long haul but that anyone bothered to take the effort to review and report on it.
Yet, there is a good use for reviews over the long term. Those types of reviews allow one to know the reliability of an item over time and after intended and possibly unitended use (at least unintended by the things manufacturer). By knowing how well a product or products have held up over time, from any given manufacturer or of any given design, one can make a prediction as to ho well other products made by the same manufacturer of similar design will hold up in the future. Note I said predict, I did not say know with certainty, there are just too many variables to be able to know in advance, by way of review of a manufacturers previously made product, how well the same or similar newly manufactured item will fare. But you certainly will be able to gauge, with a higher degree of knowledge, how well a product could be expected to perform based upon reviews of the same or similar items previously made by the same company. A perfect example of using long term reviews can be seen in Consumer Reports when they rate automobiles. In their annual automobile issue, for models with enough history, they show how well a car has stood the test of time based on owners' reviews and they give their predicted reliability for the current model.
What these long term reviews do, other than letting you know about the specific product, is that they give you a idea of the reputation of the manufacturer. Are they known for making junk or do they have a reputation of manufacturing high quality, long lasting products. While predictions you make, based on long term reviews, may not always figure it correctly - those types of reviews are an added tool in trying to determine if you are headed in the right direction with the purchase you are planning to make.
I wish we had more of them available so that I could make those predictions when adding to my collection of gun, self-defense, hunting and survival gear. I am willing to bet that others could use that same information. So,I am planning on doing some long term reviews of gear that I used, and often put to tough use, over the years. The thing is that my resources have been limited and I have not used, and thus will be unable to review, a high quantity of various items along those lines. My reviews therefore will be limited to those few things with which I have personal experience. Bearing that in mid, I am going to do something I have not done on this blog before. No, I am not going to put up a tip jar icon to ask for donations so I can buy more gear to test although I do admit having more gear to test would be nice. Neither am I gong to solicit gear donations from various manufacturers. What I am going t do is this: Ask you, my readers, for your reviews of gear that you have used over the years (if it lasted that long) or your reviews of items that should have lasted years and failed. I will even accept reviews of items of a more ephemeral nature, such as those meant only for one time use, but then would hope you could offer a review of repeated use of the same product as having been bought new again and thus used again over a few to several years (say for instance - reviews of the same brand, model and caliber of ammunition).
If you would like to submit a long term gear review (one in which you have used the reviewed product for at least one year), you must be 18 years old or older to submit one to me and your submission of a review is your legally binding acknowledgement that you are 18 years old or older. If you submit a review, you grant me permission and license me to use that review on this blog (www.Ballseyesboomers.blogpot.com) in any manner I see fit (in other words I may edit it or merely use excerpts from it but never with the intent of changing its meaning) and for as long or as briefly as I want. If I publish your review on my blog, you also give me permission to link to the review in any fashion I choose, such as by supplying links to the review in things like online gun forums. You have to supply me with your complete name with the review, and by doing so grant me permission to publish your name with the review, so that I can credit you with authorship, with your submission. I will not use your review for commercial purposes or profit. For any reviews submitted to me and published on this blog, I will attribute authorship to the person who submitted it as author of it; your submission of a review is your claim to authorship. Therefor, all reviews must be original material with proper citations and references and must not contain any copyright or trademark violation(s). I will not knowingly accept plagiarized articles or those that contain copyright or trademark infringements. You agree, by way of a review submission, to hold me harmless and indemnify me, relative to any claims made against me that are in any way related to your review (directly or indirectly) and to information found within or implied from your review. You agree, by way of your submission of a review to me, that I may at my discretion remove any review, submitted by you, against which a claim is made that: the review violates a copyright or a trademark or has libeled a product manufacturer. I will not accept any blatantly libelous material. Also note, I may or may not publish said reviews on this blog at my discretion. I will not knowingly publish spam or any commercial reviews. Note that I offer absolutely no compensation for any reviews you submit. Also note that the copyright, for your review, other than as mentioned above, will remain with you. Unlike others, I will not magically claim to own the copyright(s) on something someone else has written. Reviews must be related to firearms, firearms accessories and related gear, hunting gear, hiking/camping gear, survival gear (which literally could cover items from Spam (the food item) to All Terrain Vehicles and beyond). Your submission of a review to me is your acknowledgement of these terms and your agreement with them.
The review should contain, at the minimum: the product name, make and model, (and caliber if a firearm); the manufacturer's name; the manufacturers specs; and the review itself with info about how well the product performed and held up during the time you have used it, a description or example of how when and where you used it. You can also include your opinion as to its reliability (make sure to label it as you opinion) and make your recommendation for or against it. Any additional pertinent information you care to include is also welcome.
If you have something to submit, and agree to all of the above terms, visit my profile, click on my email link and send me the review in MS Word format.
All the best,
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