How Gear Gets Tested: On new products and the inner workings of the SHOT show

After writing about my impressions of the Bushnell Yardage Pro that I groped at the SHOT Show, I was savagely set upon in this blog by several of you who thought I should have tested the thing and written about it with more authority. Friends, let me assure you that you are ignorant and live in Outer Darkness. SHOT Shows don’t work this way.

They work this way: With almost no exceptions ever, gun and optics manufacturers come to the show with toolroom samples that either don’t work at all, or sort of work. The object of these samples is to get gun writers excited so they will write about this stuff and set the gun-using public to jumping up and down and barking like baboons. Actual working production-line guns, scopes, etc., do not appear until months or years later.

My job at the SHOT show is to run around like a wolverine on meth, find this stuff, get back to the office as fast as our dying airlines can take me, and write about it. But as for using? That will take a while.

On top of that, some gunmakers never come through with guns they have promised. Prominent among these is Empire Rifles of Meriden, New Hamsphire, which makes high-end big-game rifles but seems unable to actually get one into my hands. Beretta is the most hopeless of all gun makers in this respect. Getting something from Beretta is like getting swift, effective action from FEMA, or the truth from the Bush Administration. Apparently there is no one there who can manage to take a carton off a shelf, put a label on it, and give it to UPS.

So stay tuned. I will test this all this stuff…whenever.