Hi to all!
I’ve gotten many e-mails about my reviews. Two common observations are: (1) it takes a long time for me to publish new reviews and (2) the reviews are very in-depth.
I figured it might be a nice idea to share with you what goes into some of my product reviews. Today, I give you the inside look at my flashlight reviews.
Before I go there, let me try to answer a few questions I received after the last newsletter.
Feedback and Questions
I got a question about the Smith & Wesson 986 revolver I am testing. Specifically, the reader asked if I had seen any bullet “jump” or “migration” since the 9mm cartridge typically does not have a crimp. So far, I’ve seen no signs of bullet jump. I’ll keep a close eye on it and let you know if I see any problems.
Paul B. related a story about Ruger’s great customer service. Long story short, he had a problem with a 22/45 Lite and wound up damaging the frame while trying to correct the problem. Without question, Ruger replaced the damaged parts and shipped it back – all without charge. These are the stories I like to hear about gun companies. Thanks for sharing Paul!
Frank G. asked me about training classes, and if there was anyone I could recommend for his wife and him. As I told Frank, there are a lot of good instructors out there. Unfortunately, there are also a bunch of mediocre and bad ones as well.
For a starting class on gun safety and the basics of shooting, I recommend finding a local instructor that can help. Asking for recommendations at your local range is a good idea. Your neighbors or co-workers may also be able to suggest someone.
I suggest interviewing the instructor before committing to a class. The instructor should be respectful and able to answer your questions directly. If something about the prospective instructor doesn’t ring true, hang up the phone and find another.
For self-defense oriented training, I strongly recommend finding a specialized instructor who has more than just an NRA certification. The NRA classes are fine, but in my experience, they are not going to teach you how to fight for your life with a firearm.
There are a number of regional and national instructors that I recommend. Yes, these instructors are likely to charge more than a local instructor, but you are paying them for their expertise.
Here are a few that I recommend:
- Massad Ayoob at the Massad Ayoob Group
- Paul Carlson at the Safety Solutions Academy
- Deryck Poole at Echo-5 Training
- Grant Cunningham
- Tom Givens at Rangemaster
This list is not exhaustive. There are other very good instructors and shooting schools out there. However, these are the instructors I know to be top shelf professionals. I would trust any of my loved ones with firearms instruction offered by any and all of them.
I hope this helps!
Behind the Scenes Look: Flashlight Testing
As many of you know, I review quite a few flashlights on GHG.
Flashlights are incredibly useful tools in day-to-day life, but I consider them a mandatory accessory for anyone who owns a gun for self-defense.
I spent more than a decade as a street cop and learned some tough lessons about flashlight quality. Consequently, I take my flashlights reviews very seriously.
How much time and work goes into a single flashlight review? A lot.
Here is a breakdown of the time I spend working on a review:
Initial Unboxing: 30 minutes
When a new light comes in for testing, I examine the exterior of the package to check for damage and take note of the manufacturer’s performance claims. After opening the package, I check to make sure all of the accessories are there. I then read the included instructions checking for things like battery recommendations and how to operate the light.
Initial Photography: 1-2 hours
Before I start testing the light, I like to photograph it and its accessories. In addition to having pictures for the review, this allows me to have a record of what the light looked like prior to testing.
Run Time Testing: 1-3 hours
I conduct run time testing in a home made integrating sphere. This allows me to measure the useful light output and compare it to a manufacturer’s claims.
Manufacturers can – and some do – game the voluntary flashlight standards. My test is not a calibrated scientific test, but it is useful for seeing the output over time curve.
During this test, I take regular readings of the flashlight temperature. Some lights can heat up beyond 140˚ F. You need to know if a light is too hot to hold.
Runtime and Temperature Analysis: 1.5 hours
This is time spent in Excel turning raw data into something useful.
Drop Testing: 1.5-2 hours
The actual drop testing only takes a few minutes. But setting up the video camera and later editing the video takes time.
Water Testing: 30 minutes
This one is simple since I no longer video tape 30+ minutes of a flashlight suspended near the bottom of my pool. Prep time is about 5 minutes and most of the lights are rated for only 30 minutes of immersion.
Night Photography: 2+ hours
This is done for comparison photos. Setting up everything and taking the flashlight batteries to 50% and 10% take time. I also have to edit the photos.
Writing: 8+ hours
This is the hardest part. It typically will take me at least 8 hours of writing and editing before I am ready to publish. When I’ve encountered a problem with a light, the writing phase can take a lot of time to ensure you get a fair and complete look at the light.
Total Time: 16+ hours
It is rare when I put only 16 working hours into a flashlight review. Most of the time, I am looking at 20 or more hours.
Of course, this does not include any of the time I spend carrying and using the flashlight. I typically like to use the light as an EDC (if small enough) for two weeks before writing about it.
If that sounds like a lot, it is. This may sound a bit corny, but I put the work in because I want you to have the best information possible when you are checking out lights prior to making a purchase. I’ve wasted a lot of money on crappy gear over the years. I’d like to save you wasted time and money.
If you are new to my site, here are a few prior flashlight reviews that can give you an idea of how these tests go:
Rebates & Discounts
Right now, several companies are offering substantial rebates on guns, ammo and other products. None of these are affiliate links or advertising. I’m just passing them along in case you can use them.
Beretta Px4 Storm – $75 rebate on new guns purchased by April 30 (thanks to reader J.J. for the tip) Click here for more information.
Remington Ammunition – Remington is offering a number of ammunition rebates for purchases made by April 30. There are three different offers, one each for handgun, rifle and shotgun shooters. Click here for additional info.
I hope you are enjoying the newsletters. As many of you have learned, I am happy to get your thoughts and feedback. If you want to get in touch, just hit the reply button in your e-mail reader!
Until next time,