One of the things I will go to my grave without knowing is, why is so much hunting equipment put on the market with obvious flaws? Is no one paying attention? Last week I attempted to mount a scope on a new rimfire rifle and found that when the scope was correctly positioned, the objective-lens bell collided with the rear sight. The rear sight folded down, but that didn’t help. The only way the scope would fit was if I punched the rear sight out of its slot, leaving a gaping hole, or used high rings, which are an affront to God, Man, and the Principles of Good Marksmanship.

Did no one think: “If we put rear sight there, it get in way of scope. How about we cut slot one inch closer to muzzle?” That would have solved the problem, but it was apparently beyond whoever designed the rifle.

The week before, I got hold of a very fine variable scope that runs from 1X to 6X and was equipped with a red dot at the center of what, on the website, appeared to be a European 4A reticle, which is normally quite heavy and does fine by itself even if the red dot craps out. Except that this reticle had wires so fine that I doubt a Bateleur eagle could have seen them. The scope is intended for close range and dangerous game, but if that red dot fails, you are S.O.L. Huh? What?

And then there were the two knives that were sent to me for Best of the Best which have handles so short that a normal male hand can’t grasp them fully. There are what is known as “three-finger knives” that have short handles on purpose, for some reason that I’ve never been able to figure out, but these were not them. Perhaps they were designed for children, or for pygmies. If that’s the case, it would be nice of the manufacturers to say so.

And there was the tactical/survival knife that we got for B.O.B. a few years ago that had a nice, big handle, but whose hard sheath fit the blade so loosely that the whole business clattered and rattled with every step you took. It sounded like a troupe of flamenco dancers was warming up in the immediate Area of Operations.

This sort of thing is not confined to sporting goods. In 1982, when I was a member of the automotive press, General Motors took a bunch of us to Tavern on the Green in New York City to introduce the Cimarron, GM’s answer to the BMW. The Cimarron was a boxy, undistinguished machine, but that was not its worst fault. It was so underpowered that, when loaded with four automotive writers and the air conditioner on, it could not move. It just sat there and revved until the engine stalled. The Cimarron has since made at least one list of all-time worst cars, so it succeeded at something.