View Full Version : Impartiality in Firearms Media: A long winded, but hopefully fun discussion

02-13-2015, 12:08 PM

My name is Edward Osborne. I shoot guns, and my bachelor's degree is in journalism. I'm still trying to make those two things reconcile as best I can.

I write articles, take photos, and produce videos. This primarily started while I was in school, and looking to buy a Tavor. There was nothing online but airsoft garbage, so I set out to establish my own information that I could share with other shooters. That was almost 4 years ago.

Since then, I've tried hard to be as involved as possible in the firearms industry.

For those of you not aware: journalism, and our idea of it, is changing. Anyone who wants to make a living writing for newspapers these days is in for a rough trip. It's not impossible, but competition is high and demand is low.

Before I'd even graduated university I was looking at the landscape and saying to myself "I don't want to interview the town council of Bonnyville and cover Pee Wee hockey." I wanted to do stuff I was passionate about. For me that was firearms, and I've spent most of my adult life trying to learn and cover firearms while hopefully producing content that was more interesting and informative than just another guy in a basement talking.

I got invited on a media tour this summer of Timney's manufacturing plant. It was one of the first "wow I feel serious" moments because in addition to an inside look at the business I got to talk and drink with the writers behind blogs like SHWAT (http://shwat.com/), Truth About Guns (http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/), Major Pandemic (http://www.majorpandemic.com/), and Outdoor Hub (http://www.outdoorhub.com/).

I won't put names to quotes, but there was a fascinating conversation between those guys about how they deal with product issues. I'm paraphrasing here:

"If it's a product I don't like, or a something that I think is ridiculous, I just don't touch it. People follow me, and if you pay any kind of attention you can recognize the gaps in my coverage. I don't want to shit all over those guys, so I leave the space empty."

"If I hit a roadbump, I'll talk to the manufacturer first. If they've got a solution in the works, or its a quality control issue, I'll let them try to fix it before I publish. Sometimes we go through a few generations before we both have something we're happy with. If they tell me to pound sand: then I run it the way it is, but that almost never happens."

"If I think it's crap. It's crap. And that burns a lot of bridges and pisses a lot of people off. We can't get guns from company X anymore because of our coverage. Now if I want to review that gun, I pay out of pocket full MSRP to my FFL."

Interestingly these guys were all accustomed to manufacturer's giving them guns. I've never been given a gun for the purpose of review, only loaned. The only gift gun I've ever received was from Harbl the Cat (thank you sir)

Which is why I found this particular article fascinating when it came out right after Shot Show:

http://firelancemedia.com/dont-deserve-free-product/ (for some reason this link starts you at the bottom of the article)

Personally, I feel like the kid with an instagram account is much more likely to ride the fan-boy train than I am. For him, it's great just to get noticed, and the attention is far more on style and substance.

For me, I'm presented with two questions:

1. Is what I'm doing desirable? Does the content I produce have a place where it will actually get read. Am I offering something new in a compelling way? Or am I doing an AR-15 tac reload along side a hundred-thousand other guys on youtube? Most days I answer that question with a "yes," but clearly that's not going to be the case for every reader/viewer/follower and some days even I will answer "no."

2. Can I make a living doing this? Since graduating, I have always treated this as a sideline. My first Shot Show I paid out of pocket, my next two were paid for by the company I was employed by at the time, this last show I paid for myself up front then wrote and pitched articles to pay for the trip. I didn't break even, but its an important show to go to. In November this year I left my full-time job in order to run the experiment for six months and see if I can pay the bills covering firearms. In retrospect, I wish I'd opted for summer instead. Winter shooting requires that more more time and effort, with less viable daylight hours, and less pretty pictures.

I'm hoping this thread will cover a wider discussion about how people cover the firearms industry, but it started as a direct reply to this post:

I'm going to be as straight up as possible and hopefully nobody is going to take it to heart, hit report buttons and get their panties in a bunch. I'm sure if this were on the other site that's exactly what would happen.

Based on the posts on the other site many look at you as a "reviewer" and you do posts "reviews". I am of the opinion that some of the videos are more like promotional trailers then actual reviews.

I'm gonna use something like Nutnfancy as an staple here. The guy posts reviews of guns. He takes a gun and will literally rip it apart and talk about everything. Does this new firearm actually do something lower priced options don't? Does the mechanism of action in the firearm mechanically lend itself to high accuracy or higher reliability? These are all questions a manufacture or somebody who had a stake in the product would never want to bring up. He will dive into history, talk about things like the axis of the reciprocating parts and how they impart forces on critical components, etc... The guy also busts on the firearm sometimes into the 10,000 round range before he "reviews" it. There are a crapload of videos where he downright laughs and calls certain guns pieces of crap even when they were lent to him by a manufacture with a sponsored shooter working for the manufactures with him on set.

The result is a viewer who knew nothing about the said firearm has left with a wealth of knowledge and can now make an informed decision on if the said firearm fill his roles, if it's worth the cost and how it stacks up against other firearms.

This so called "review" talks about very little. It's basically something a manufacture would put out. Here is the gun, here is how much it costs and it does this. Bang bang bang. Look at this guy in a cool operator uniform shooting all while the camera pans out to a roughed mountainous landscape.


Before anybody mentions it, I don't have the money nor the time to do reviews so who am I to talk right? We'll you're right except I do watch a lot of reviews and if you want your reviews to mean anything then you have to do them right.

That's it, that's me and hopefully that doesn't get me banned.

First off, you're right. That video is too brief to be called a review. I've changed the title.

But you're wrong if you're implying that I'm giving this gun fluff coverage because I have a vested interest in the firearm. I have never taken a cent from Rick Timmins or anyone at ATRS. Although I did offer when asked to license him use of my photos of the Modern Hunter for his own marketing. I understand that he's using his own.

There are three reasons that this particular video is light:

1. It is a companion piece to an article in Calibre Magazine. Because I was assigned by the editor of Calibre to cover the Modern Hunter, and was paid by them for that article, I can't in good conscience take all the content from the article and post it up in a video format. I would see that as intentionally undermining their magazine. Part of what a publisher pays for is exclusivity. If I write a piece on The Firearm Blog, I can't just ctrl-c that over to Outdoor Hub or any other outlet. However, I still think there are parts of this that are well suited to video and online media. I wanted to talk about the newness and legal implications of the Modern Hunter in as many places as possible.

2. I didn't have the gun for long. 3 weeks over Christmas was all the time I had with that firearm. That meant four range trips, 180 rounds of ammunition, and only one trip where I had an extra body to carry camera gear. The alternative would have meant doing this review from an indoor range like CSC, which is the exact opposite of where I'd hope to use a non-restricted .308 rife.

3. Awareness: You may not realize this, but there are vast swathes of the firearms community that are still woefully uninformed. Daily (literally, daily) I respond to emails and PMs from shooters who do not understand our gun laws. People asking if Beowulf mags are still legal, if their 858 is a machine gun, if 20" AR15s can be used for hunting etc. The purpose of this video was to make people aware that the Modern Hunter exists, and is well beyond the prototype stage. Yesterday I was still getting people asking if the RCMP could nuke the FRT for this because it's "still in pending isn't it?"

You might notice I don't use rock music in my videos. I don't have a chick with her tits out. I feel that these things are tacky, and get in the way of the information I'm actually trying to present. Would my channel and presence be bigger if I did? Or if I did lots of "team-ups" with other youtubers? I don't and can't know the answer to that.

I honestly believe that any video over 5 minutes will never hold a captive audience for its full duration. I've seen the stats. If I have six minutes worth of things to say, then they had better be cut up into two 3 minute pieces for people to actually hear and pay attention to.

I refuse to apologize for not emulating NutnFancy's 45 minute drawl-sagas. I don't think he's doing a good job of presenting information in a useful way.

BUT, I will openly apologize for not being more like Tim for Military Arms Channel. I am perpetually envious of MAC's coverage, production quality, and variety of firearms. However, I also have a strong impression (and for the love-of-god don't take this as an accusation) that MAC receives money from the marketing departments of various large manufacturers. I would be extremely surprised if his (excellent and enlightening) trip to Israel (http://www.thebangswitch.com/visiting-the-home-of-the-tavor/) was personally paid for. If you want to see someone a little further along on that scale, look at the great stuff done by Larry Vickers (http://vickerstactical.com/) that is explicitly for-profit.

Which brings us back to the point I made above: how can people cover the industry in a quality way, while remaining a semblance of independence and still produce quality content? Because you can certainly argue that guys like this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ2keLa4WBs) are independent, but I have to say frankly that context and quality just isn't there.

Or alternately: is there no point? Should we just throw up our hands, assume that everything uploaded by Funker Tactical (https://www.youtube.com/user/FunkerTactical) is marketing driven and take it all with a grain of salt? I'm certainly not the first person to suggest that. Lots of people operate with a level of cynicism that everything journalists do exists to sell products, and that if they're primary job is to make money for brands, then those brands are paying them. Just look at the pulsating fetid mess that is GamerGate and you'll see that cynicism overflowing.

Coming back to my question of "can I make a living?" I have to ask myself if I should stop doing my own videos all together? I don't get paid for those, so maybe I should only write articles where I know I have a publication that will back them. Or should I start pitching my videos to manufacturers as something they should buy directly? When I worked in marketing, that was part of my salary (http://www.shopflir.ca/p11446/flir_hs-324_command_ntsc_30hz.php), but a core part of my education would make me feel ashamed doing that.

Some things you probably don't know because I don't talk about them:

At the behest of the manufacturer, I've shot footage of an OSS silencer review while at the Bullpup Convention in Kentucky. It's sitting since September. Because I'm Canadian, I honestly don't think I have the authority to speak to silencers, even if its one specifically designed for the Tavor platform. Unless I can come up with a genuinely interesting use of it, that footage will may never see the light of day.

I've had a SAP-6 shotgun on loan from Tactical Imports since November. I'm not confident that I've shot the thing enough yet to say whether I like it or not. 300 target loads and 40 slugs is not enough for me to make a call on that particular firearm yet.

I had a Holosun Red Dot optic given to me just before the Crimson Trace shoot last summer. I used it for one stage, and realized it didn't work the way I needed it to: I was direct about that in the After Action writeup (http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/08/20/crimson-trace-midnight-3-gun-invitational-first-time-experience/) I published on TFB

The importer replaced that unit two months later when it stopped turning on. I've got another one on the SAP-6 right now, and while I like the idea, I'm still uncertain of it. I'm not ready to review that optic yet, so I haven't.

Here's the problem: It's easy to handle something and say "I like this. It feels good, it works good etc." When you have a positive impression you can easily point to how and why that happens. It is much harder to say "I don't like this. There is something wrong." Because how do you know it's not just you and your opinion? Or if the manufacturer is about to release an update? Issues get fixed as new generations are released. I'm still struggling on how to deal with negative coverage in a way that is fair to the audience and fair to the manufacturer. I was quite critical of the D-EVO system (http://www.outdoorhub.com/news/2015/01/28/hands-leupolds-new-d-evo-optic/) when it demoed, because I saw issues, but also because there's a lot of positive hype around that optic already. I saw a space to provide some balance.

We're over and above 2000 words here, so before this reaches thesis length I'll have to wrap it up.

My question to you, select forum-going members of the firearms community is this: What can I be doing better?

Here's my next one: How can we be doing better? The dream of social media is that everyone is a content producer. Everyone posts their videos, photos, feelings, etc. But that will never be 100% true. There is always a division between a person viewing and a person making. So what can all the makers in the firearms industry be doing to better serve the viewers?

02-13-2015, 12:42 PM
Liked for the .gif.

Seriously though I think you've done a great job TVPP and encourage you to keep it up!

I'd like to hit the range sometime with you too :)

Looking forward to the thread .

02-13-2015, 01:28 PM
I credit you TVPP and my Son (making me play Medal of Honor with him) for renewing my interest in firearms that don't have levers or cylinders. I now own a Semi Auto .223 (it's been 30 yrs since my last one)and a load bearing vest to pack all those mags. I'm slowly getting over my impulsive need to find every piece of spent brass as well. THAT is a giant step for the reloader in me.
Love your articles and videos.
Keep up the great work!

02-13-2015, 02:17 PM
Ha - I read the whole thing!

A few thoughts come to mine, TVPP - first off, don't give up on what your passionate about, even if it doesn't pay the bills. Get creative, find ways to make it happen, and even if you're pulled in other directions, don't let the spark die.

Neither you or I lived in the era (I'm assuming you're a tad younger than I am) but I think back in the 90's when the prohibitionists were victorious in Canada, there wasn't the ability for passionate individuals like yourself to reach out to a broad audience to actually share information with them the way you do. That alone, I think, was the major contributor to their success - CBC was (and still is) a mouthpiece to vested interests who want to see our community destroyed.

Now, citizen journalists (like yourself) and other content generators can actually put up on public forums information that easily refutes the falsehoods and irrational hyperbole that 90's soccer mom's and pansy men relied on to scare the unknowing public to go along with their agenda (and vote Liberal).

I think you're spot on in your assessment of content generation though - both from the consumers and producers perspective, and again, I think the advice is the same - stick with it. Build up your own knowledge base and personal wisdom on social media and online content generation - and you will be putting yourselves light years ahead.

Some of the old timers don't seem to realize just how important and valuable that specific expertise is. At my last contract gig, my client LITERALLY spent hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars making sure they presented product specific information to their customers and the net at large. You knowing how to establish a social media presence, utilize video streaming sites, produce media (video and image) I think positions you well - but the big thing is, it's only by trial, error, and mistakes that you grow personally which, IMO, is critical to grow in your career.

As a specific example - I'm a software engineer - but the first 5 years of my career felt very stagnant. I had my own doubts about why I was doing what I was doing but worse off - I had no passion to do it. I was making decent coin - but I was miserable in the process.

Then I made a career move that everyone said I was insane to make. I took on a job paying MUCH less, but that helped me rediscover the passion to be a software engineer in the first place. That passion than allowed me to wake up and go to work every day enjoying what I was doing but setting out to make myself better than I was the day before. That was 5 years ago and supercharged and gave me a lot of momentum to get me to where I am at today - still passionate about my work, but also tangibly successful at what I do.

Now - the one caveat to that that I'll throw in is I probably would NOT have succeeded if I had not gotten creative and done something that is generally considered non-mainstream surrounding my financial situation. That was - be deliberate to become an investor versus a consumer of investments. The first thing I did when I moved out from home was become a landlord. In the 10 years I've been out of my own, not once was I NOT collecting passive income to supplement my earned income, and admittedly, my 10 year goal is to have enough passive income that I don't need any earned income whatsoever.

I would hands down recommend picking up a copy of Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" to get an idea of what I'm talking about, and if this seems tangential to your original point, consider this - you have a passion for guns and a passion for journalism. I think in the era we live in, passion will speak more than legalism, conformity, and network. The thing is - nothing can kill passion like the crippling sense of urgency that comes over earning an income to provide for one's self. I hate to say it - but especially as a landlord I've seen that some of the LEAST passionate people are those who live paycheck to paycheck.

They are like religious acolytes - going day in, day out, into a pointless routine, unable to pull themselves out from the shackles of their own poverty, the reason being that they are slaves to their own poor financial situation and enter into a tailspin where they can't work up the passion to get themselves out of it and pursue doing what they REALLY love.

I was driving with my wife today - because we made the decision to become investors, I've been off work for just under 6 weeks - literally doing nothing that generates income. On my way off deerfoot, I told my wife "One day, I want to own and run my own shooting range on the north end of town" after driving past the sign near Deerfoot mall for the soon-to-be opening Cabela's. We both laughed and agreed that's a goal at least a decade away - but, just like you, shooting and guns are my passion. If I was in a situation where I spent my mental energies worrying about earning income, I would never have the devotion to that passion to even aspire to make that dream a reality.

I don't know if that helps - but I certainly appreciate the dialog and think you're doing great work!

02-13-2015, 02:39 PM
I for one am enjoying your writing in Calibre, I don't spend a whole bunch of time on YouTube though. I wish you all the best in making a career out of this.

On video length: I have never, ever made it through a nutnfancy video, ever. Keep up with the short and sweet. If you want to get into further detail make a follow up video maybe?

02-13-2015, 06:49 PM
I would prefer you be more like Nutnfancy than Tim at MAC. Nutn's videos are based on months or years of data points & experience gained with hard use, Tim's videos seem like commercials for whatever he happens to be stocking in his gun store. Tim is good for manufacturer information. Nutn is good for real world, applicable use information. I like MAC, and The Bang Switch, but if I want real world data on a piece of gear, I'm going to Nutnfancy, if I just want the specs, I'll go to MAC. The scope of Nutnfancy's channel is much bigger than MAC. They are like comparing apples & oranges.

Then again, you are a journalist, Nutn is ex-air force & paid product tester (LL Bean & others), and Tim is an ex-military gun store owner.

With the demise of Sun News, I think you have an opportunity to fill a void. I watch & read your stuff, I think you're doing a great job so far.

EDIT: In review, my post seems unfair towards Tim at MAC. I appreciate what he does.

02-13-2015, 07:47 PM
Points to sustain that you have going for you:
- You're a young white guy and not an old white guy, so you have a higher probability of influencing people under 40.
- Your persona/brand is professional and does well for the community, unlike the psycho James Yaeger who scares more people than they impress.
- You're totally correct about the length of your clips. Other people saying you need 45 minute clips don't know what they're talking about; you have to compress a lot of content into 3 minutes to hold people nowadays.

Possible point to improve:
- You're so non-threatening that you're almost too bland. I'm not saying that you need to have a "schtick" like an eye patch, but you present things in a professional and logical manner that may have a tough time rising above the clutter. I'm not sure what this is for you, but you need to have a competitive advantage that sets you apart from the rest. Even though you're more professional that the crazy Russian guy, he sticks out because he has a character.

02-13-2015, 07:53 PM
More titties in your videos LOL.
On a serious note I like your videos and articles. They seem professionally produced which set them apart from your average basement YT reviewer. I like MAC's video reviews due to their compact and concise content. I am not a fan of the rambling Nutn videos. I often don't have time to listen to him ramble on for 45min. I think if he was more organized and less verbose he could get his reviews down to 20min and then they would be excellent.

As to your career aspirations I'd say follow your passion. If you need to take another job to pay the bills, keep up the firearms writing on the side. There are so few truly non-biased journalists in Canada these days. When I read an article full of anti-buzz words it turns me off. Take Lorne Gunter for example he is a pro firearms writer and his work reflects that and Rex Murphy while I don't think he is pro or anti he is willing to call a spade a spade. When I read an article that is so full of PC-speak and lacks even basic fact checking that I just stop reading or believing what is written I lose respect for mainstream journalism. I'm sure I am not alone in this felling.

To wrap up what I am saying is you are needed in the Canadian journalism field to provide balance to all the other biased writers.

I wish you well on whichever direction you decide to go.


Weekend Gunslingers
02-13-2015, 08:24 PM
I personally enjoy the content you make and it is well produced. You are the guy that springs to mind when I think of a Tavor since yours was the very first YT video I saw on it. Even if everyone does not like what you do it doesn't matter. For every one person that does not like what you do and is vocal about it, there are ten others that do like it and just doesn't make a post about it. It is always the critics that are most vocal. If you love what you do others will want to visit your world through your videos or articles. It is hard to compete with people with endless amounts of $ for the latest equipment etc. but keep making solid content that YOU enjoy and are passionate about and people will keep supporting you. Keep it up!

Hey not everyone liked Led Zeppelin either ;)

02-14-2015, 10:25 AM
Keep it up. I like both yours and weekend gunslingers videos. In fact it was weekend gunslingers video about Robinson arms that has made me seriously think about getting one! This, in spite of the fact that it's way out of my budget and would require some serious saving to get there.

Fact is, I seldom, if ever watch videos like these because they're too long. For me at least 6 minutes is bearable. Unless I have time and I just don't have lots of time to spend in front of the TV or computer. Reviewers like nutnfancy turn me off completely.

Keep up the good work.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Battle Beaver
02-14-2015, 01:00 PM
When I started my own youtube channel, Edward (TV-Presspass) was very helpful in giving me tips. Thanks Edward!

I actually had an SAP-6 in my hands back in August of 2014. It was sent to me (loaned) from the distributor for review. You'll notice there is no review of the SAP-6 on my channel though. Since I was (still am) new to this youtube stuff, I didn't feel comfortable posting a mostly negative review, which was my impression of the SAP-6. So I sent it back un-reviewed. There were a couple of serious issues with it, but I understand those have now been fixed.

There have been a few other Canadian retail outlets who have sent me stuff to review at my request, and I'm very thankful. No, I didn't get to keep anything they sent, it was all returned. As a new youtuber, I'm still struggling with the ethics of reviews. If I purchase something, I have no issues with giving it a "bad" review. But if I'm sent/loaned somthing for review from a generous retailer/distributor, I'm a little leery of ripping it apart because I'd likely never be sent ANYTHING else from them. Thankfully, this has only happened once (SAP-6).

I admire ANYONE who takes the time to make well produced firearm videos on youtube. It's very time consuming, shooting the video, re-shooting if needed, editing and post production, etc etc. I have a full time job (software developer, 911 dispatch software and other stuff related to Police/Fire/EMS dispatch systems), firearms related videos are my hobby. I'll never make a living at it, I'm well aware of that. For those who think the majority of youtube channels are making money, think again. For example, with 285 subscribers and almost 20K views across the 20 videos on my channel, I have accumulated $3.39 of ad revenue. A conservative estimate on the time I've spent doing this would be around 150 hours. That's about $0.02 (2 cents) an hour. I've spent over $4,500 on a professional (pro-sumer) video camera and good Sennheiser and Rhode audio, tripods, etc. etc. But I don't regret 1 single minute!

Maybe I should switch to a channel focusing on un-boxing Disney toys. Oh wait, there already is one which is just some woman's hands un-boxing and playing with toys. That channel made over $4.8 *MILLION* dollars last year on 380 *MILLION* MONTHLY views. :)

Here's a link about the top YouTube earners of 2014 of you're curious:

I didn't get into this thinking I'd get paid, don't get me wrong. I got into it because I'm passionate about it.

I met Edward at SHOT Show 2014, great guy and very friendly! Don't stop making vids Edward, keep up the good work!

(Battle Beaver)

02-14-2015, 02:30 PM
Ok - here's my take.

First off - I hate nuthinfancy. I haven't watched him in years, so maybe he's gotten better - but he pretty much lost me when he tried to cut down a tree with a splitting maul and declared saws are therefore better. (this was after he tried to show people how to build snares and went from a 'rabbit' snare into a 'deer' snare because it got away from him and wound up 3 times the size he intended). I don't like his format, i don't like his whining. I don't think he's what you want to emulate.

I think you need to identify the various target markets out there and find a way to appeal to as many as possible, using the basic principles of good writing and remembering your audience.

Personally, i'm a 'casual' gun user. I'm quite passionate about guns and such, but I don't compete, I don't intend to use them to defend my life except in an extreme emergency, I don't have any interest in being able to name each of the screws and springs that hold the thing together. I like to go into the woods and either blow up stuff that amuses or annoys me (like spaghetti squash - that has no business being a real thing.). And yet i have quite a few guns. When new guns come out I'm very interested in the basics about that gun (does it shoot well, does it function decently, what' the recoil like, how does it handle, what can it do, etc). I want to know anything 'unusual' about the gun and how that affects things, and what an 'expert' feels it might be good at (great 3 gun gun, light enough to hunt with, crappy at home defense, would make an excellent spare paddle, whatever).

And what about the cartridge? Sure, we all know what a 223 can and can't do, but if you review a gun in 300 blackout, what the hell does that cartridge perform like? It's great the gun you reviewed is a good gun, but why do I even want a gun in that chambering?

Others like the poster you mentioned clearly want more detail about the gun itself.

I also like to be 'entertained' a little. And I don't want to watch a 45 minute video.

So here's some thoughts -

1. - don't just review guns. review the cartridgs AND SOME OF THE BULLETS your reviewed guns shoot - do them as seperate vids and link to them from your gun reviews. "for a little more information about the 223 and what it can do for you, check out this link." There - if I know the 223 well I don't have to click on that or watch it, but if I don't I can learn.

2. - Break your reviews into multiple videos in a logical progression - "intro to the gun", "review of performance", "advanced technical specs (where you do the whole breakdown of the internals). Link 'em so that a person can watch one, two or all three of them if they wish depending on their level of interest in the guns.

3. - look to inject a little entertainment and/or humor. A little dab will do ya :) it doesn't have to be a comedy skit and that would be foolish anyway, but some of my favorate channels talk about very serious issues but manage to get a lot of good chuckles in as well. It gets boring when you're just listening to someone drone on. (drill sgt voice: "This is the colt commando chambered in five five six nay-to and it is a gasdrivenmagazinefedcombatfirearmandyouWILLappreci ateitsergomicsand..... bzzzzz") Tell a joke, blow up something entertaining, have a running gag, whatever. Go shoot a spaghetti squash.

4. DO MORE THAN JUST THE GUN - i've mentioned this already but how about some OTHER videos which teach people what to look for in a gun or gun components? What IS the difference between 'sporter' and 'target' barrels? How does that affect a gun? What's the problem with after market mags? (examples?), what's the difference between a 50 dollar airsoft scope and a 200 or 500 or 1000 dollar scope (generally speaking) and how do you know when a scope is a 'good deal' rather than just cheap?

Or how about bullets? There's millions of different makes of bullets these days, each with unique characteristics which can change what the gun does. I hear stuff like THIS all the time:


Me: ok, but why not use something more frangible like an a-max?


Me: yeah, but there's a lot of different KINDS of ..


me: er.. sorry sir?

you 'd be surprised how many people don't get that changing the type of bullet can drastically change what the gun can or cannot do. Or what different optics can do, and where to use them. Or whatever.

5 - and this is a big pet peeve - DON'T TELL ME WHAT A GUN CAN"T DO. You're probably wrong anyway - a gun can be modified to do damn near anything. Instead - tell me what that gun is good at and what it MIGHT be good at if modified. I hate videos like "shotguns are bad for home defense' or 'Pistols are bad for home defense". THat's just stupid. I do like "here's the pro's and cons of shotguns in home defense" or "this shotgun isn't ideal for home defense but here's what you can do to make it better" or "here's some tactics that might play to this gun's strengths if you choose to use it for home defense, even tho it's not my top recommendation", whatever.

If you make good content that people enjoy watching, you can make money. I have little doubt. It just takes a little thought and ingenuity. But it all comes back to good content that appeals to a wide range of viewers and entertains.

02-14-2015, 04:39 PM
My opinion is that integrity is all important, especially for a journalist reviewing such subjective matter.
An honest review, good or bad, serves both the prospective buyer and the products *manufacturer.
(*whether they like to admit it or not it serves as a valuable R&D tool)
If you have a big enough audience, a bad review may impact a manufacturers sales, but it also raises your stock with folks that may have spent hard earned cash on a product that's not worthy. These are the people who will look to your reviews before spending their money on anything firearms related.
I realize that posting brutally honest negative reviews would be a fast way to become outcast in the "demo for review" world. Not being independently wealthy, your opportunities to review would dry up quickly.
I would suggest that when you do review a product with a less than favorable outcome, that before posting it you send a copy to the manufacturer for their perusal. If it's a loaner, send a copy back with the product. This gives you the opportunity of working with the manufacturer, rather than for them or against them, in providing a quality product to the consumer...your target audience.
You could then remain impartial while possibly contributing towards positive change in the review item.
You may even expand that opportunity by having guest representatives from the manufacturers for Q&A range sessions. Discuss what they have done to remedy the issues you presented to them in your initial review. That's the kind of follow up people want to see.
If Remington had any idea that their budget model molded trigger guards would be viewed with such scorn, they may have spent the extra $.30 per unit and gone metal.
I think that the foundation you lay now is all important down the road.
Ideally the consumer and manufacturer will both look upon your reviews with favor, positive or negative...

02-15-2015, 05:08 PM
From what you've said here, I gotta say you changed the way I think about you. You seem like a pretty honest guy now, when I was on CGN I thought you were a dealer shill.

You should probably hold down a steady job in any case until your gig takes off. Passion before any profit and you either end up like Bill Gates or dude with a tuque and beard that says "yo mannnnnn, I used to be part of this thing..."

You're going to have to find a niche. Whatever that may be. Right now you are going up against too many big players to do something somebody else is already doing.

If you want money over everything it might actually be a successful enterprise to dive into simply giving favorable reviews to everything business of print. Just use your knowledge of paper print and social media and next thing you know you're getting to handle all sorts of guns from manufactures all around and getting all your ammo paid for. You're living the dream at the cost of everybody else. Pretty common theme nowadays.

Looking at something like Civil Advantage. He has filled his void, common sense education on firearm laws and some cool commando stuff. Plus he runs a tactical school. The dude was able to do that without being some ex-Navy Seal type.

Money is going to be a serious element of concern here. Especially if you want to be a reviewer.

Unless you're retired and spend all your day reloading and have all the time in the world to think up cool stuff (Hickhok45 type of guys) it's going to cost vast sums of money to run around the forest commando style and expend thousands of round of ammo in simulated combat situations to get hard data on something and give it a review. Plus everything is 5x as hard just because you're in Canada. It's 5x as many mag changes, 5x the distance to travel to get somewhere to shoot, etc... Ironically some just might not take you seriously because you are Canadian. Some dishonorably discharged ex-Marine guy doing full auto mag dumps is going to seem like a more credible source then you even if he isn't because he plays the part.

If you are willing to take free stuff/loaned stuff, that takes away from the money part except now you have a sort of bias to look for the good in the firearm and very few dealers will lend you something so you can piss thru thousand round crates of Baurnal ammo rapid firing through Beowulf mags. They want the thing back in good condition.

As for the "quasi-reviews" there is no end of youtube/internet reviews of any firearm with simply some guy putting a couple boxes through it. I would also stay away from actual "print" media as less and less people are using it and since a magazine actually has costs associated with production you put yourself in an industry that's already susceptible to reviewer bias. I'm sorry but I think SWAT magazine puts out a lot of garbage.

I'd like to think "Smart Reviews" as the way to go. I remember a post on CGN where a guy, all in text dissected like to the point where he was talking ph levels and periodic table elements to show why Frog Lube was a garbage product. There just wasn't a way around it, he had irrefutable evidence.

Doing videos like where you are kicking ass with irons just as good as with a $500 dot or employing an old $5 web sling to more use then a $100 tactical sling all while informing on how to use it in that manner would seem like niche that could be filled. "Smart Reviews".

02-15-2015, 10:24 PM
Doing videos like where you are kicking ass with irons just as good as with a $500 dot or employing an old $5 web sling to more use then a $100 tactical sling all while informing on how to use it in that manner would seem like niche that could be filled. "Smart Reviews".

This ^^

I'm a sunny weather shooter - I don't know all the nuts and bolts and I have a lot of questions. These forums have a lot of opinions and provide consensus (good for polls and such), and can provide with links to laws and pertinent news stuff.

What I'd like to see is videos on how to make shooting more accessible. I'm budget conscious and shooting is an expensive sport...I also consider it to be a valuable life skill. If you could do reviews on lower end, entry level stuff for the new shooter...how to make the buck stretch farther, I'd be interested. We've got the thread on here about "Ed's Red" which I found to be fun and made cleaning more affordable if you have the right ingredients lying around. Who knew that mineral oil, nail polish remover, lamp oil etc could be used!? YAYY

I'm going to do a comparison here to popular women's magazines: they show the million dollar items with their original price tags, and then the knock-offs or things that would be similar, price points and a valid review on how they compare to the real thing. Doing something like this might ingratiate you to the shooters on here who's better halves are nagging and when the economy is sucking. It could attract a younger crowd, and by exposing the similarities of the higher end model items to the knock offs could help the higher end models up their game.

02-16-2015, 04:02 AM
"for a little more information about the 223 and what it can do for you, check out this link."

Starship Troopers "Would you like to know more?"

02-16-2015, 09:22 AM
Starship Troopers "Would you like to know more?"

LOL - there you go! I always wished I could touch that on the tv and see more - but I never could (snif!) DAMN YOU MOVIE NEWS TEASE!!! But yeah, that's the concept.

Weekend Gunslingers
02-16-2015, 12:55 PM
I have been thinking about this since I first read your original post. The idea of doing a bad review should not really be whether the manufacturer gets upset and kicks you off the toy list. The viewer will respect your credibility if you give your honest opinion on a product. Just my thoughts on it. My reviews have always been pretty positive so I have not really been faced with the same dilemma you have, granted. All the items I have reviewed, are items I bought and physically own and no companies have ever offered me T&E guns for review. So I do a LOT of research before I buy and eventually review the item. So chances are I am going to like it.

You are doing a great job at impartial reviews and that gives you credibility in my book. Changing who you are or what you do to try and please everyone is not the way to go in my opinion. It's like The Who asking people what music they would like them to play. Keep it up PPTV, do things your way and enjoy doing it. People will support you.

50 B.M.G.
02-16-2015, 07:09 PM
I have been thinking about this since I first read your original post. The idea of doing a bad review should not really be whether the manufacturer gets upset and kicks you off the toy list. The viewer will respect your credibility if you give your honest opinion on a product. Just my thoughts on it. My reviews have always been pretty positive so I have not really been faced with the same dilemma you have, granted. All the items I have reviewed, are items I bought and physically own and no companies have ever offered me T&E guns for review. So I do a LOT of research before I buy and eventually review the item. So chances are I am going to like it.

You are doing a great job at impartial reviews and that gives you credibility in my book. Changing who you are or what you do to try and please everyone is not the way to go in my opinion. It's like The Who asking people what music they would like them to play. Keep it up PPTV, do things your way and enjoy doing it. People will support you.

Agreed! Keep the reviews honest.
I could easily have paid someone to write a review of our rifle but then it would not have any non biased validity, which is what I wanted to get. I am rather biased about our new rifle and think it is better than any other in its class, but as I said to you when we loaned it to you. I want to know exactly what YOU think of it as we can not improve or correct things without feedback from others. This is also why it is being field tested by others who have no connection to ATRS or are being paid as it does sway comments and impressions.

My major bitch with many of the big publications in the USA are that you can provide a true turd but get a rave review, all it takes is money.

02-24-2015, 10:32 AM
Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to this! I've read through everything a few times over now.

I'm going to try a few new things with the rifle I've got right now, and in two weeks we'll see if I've got something to share that's a departure or continuation of my past stuff.

At the end of the day: it's up to me to define what niche I want to have.

Starship Troopers "Would you like to know more?"

I actually did this on my longest video, the 12 minute Tavor review (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6eG_xuQDcg). Right at the 40 second mark. :cool1:

Tight groups in 2015 lads.

02-24-2015, 10:47 AM
At the end of the day: it's up to me to define what niche I want to have.

"And this above all: To thine own self be true."

Rory McCanuck
02-24-2015, 12:52 PM
...At the end of the day: it's up to me to define what niche I want to have.
Tight groups in 2015 lads.

If you want to sound like a profeesional journalist, never use that as a "filler" phrase again. :smash:
Like spelling and grammar, language counts.

For the rest of it, professionalism is appreciated, even if it isn't as flashy as a fake accent and blowing s**t up ;D

02-24-2015, 01:47 PM
I like your articles and clips. Keep it up. I like that Ryan moved away from Funker to start LifeLine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAg0OOQbvpg). I also like Skallagrim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foNDh4t8X34). He's entertaining. We need less Nutnfacy and more 8541 Tactical (https://www.youtube.com/user/LoneWolfUSMC). Sure, it's still high-production and commercial, it's straight-forward and to-the-point. MAC (https://www.youtube.com/user/Sturmgewehre) reminds me of a Canadian version of 8541. Iraveteran888 (https://www.youtube.com/user/Iraqveteran8888)also has his place, but that's high-production too.

02-24-2015, 02:48 PM
I like your articles and clips. Keep it up. I like that Ryan moved away from Funker to start LifeLine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAg0OOQbvpg). I also like Skallagrim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foNDh4t8X34). He's entertaining. We need less Nutnfacy and more 8541 Tactical (https://www.youtube.com/user/LoneWolfUSMC). Sure, it's still high-production and commercial, it's straight-forward and to-the-point. MAC (https://www.youtube.com/user/Sturmgewehre) reminds me of a Canadian version of 8541. Iraveteran888 (https://www.youtube.com/user/Iraqveteran8888)also has his place, but that's high-production too.

I really liked skal too, sort of a folksy whimsical channel with swords and stuff :) But - i will confess I de-subscribed just the other day because I've found of late his content has really been lacking. At the end of the day, no matter what you do you still need to produce good content.

I can't stand nuthinfancy.

02-25-2015, 01:38 PM
Nutnfancy sounds like someone is committing in my ear and routinely embarrasses himself to people in the know. You on the other hand Edward are good people and I understand your frustrations. I do what I do in my spare time because if it were a full time job I don't know if I would enjoy it. I try not to write negative reviews because the review process is very time consuming. People don't realise how many hours or even dollars can go into a review. To then waste even more time writing, editing, photographing and then editing those pictures is just not worth it. I do include things I dislike with the products I do write about though. My reviews are note of a way to say these are things I give my seal of approval to. If I wrote a fluff price not only am I not being truthful to myself I lose trust in the reader. I am always the first to mention if something is a personal preference and ask others I trust their oppinion so it's not just my thinking.

On the topic of people getting paid by the company it's deplorable to me. Your not a reviewer your now a marketing firm lying to your readership/viewership by pretending what you say is factual. I know for a fact several companies do this as people I one wrote for or are industry friends gave me a heads up.

Keep doing what your doing.

06-20-2015, 03:25 PM
Just wanted to say I've enjoyed your work and make a point of stopping by your blog and you tube channel now and then. You're one of the people I think of when it comes to making firearms in Canada seem accessible and fun in media.

01-12-2017, 06:38 AM
I like your channel Edward, probably one of the first Canadian gun channels I watched. Still haven't got myself a Tavor yet, but I want one. Probably my favorite YouTube channel is Iraqiveteran8888. He just seems like an average guy having some fun, usually has a good informational theme, and his videos are nice and clear, I can't stand some grainy video with the camera bouncing all over.

01-12-2017, 08:21 AM
I wouldn't worry about comparing your media work to youtubers. The bar is set way too low. Some people like to wave their hands around a product a lot and hear their own voice. People listen to that who like to hear that voice. Maybe it is just because they bought the same thing and like to feel good about it.

The model around youtube is to brand yourself and grow a subscriber base. There are lots of wanna-bes and very low quality content. It is easy to make distracting content and get hits, and harder to make quality content and slowly build subscribers.

In terms of reviews, short term reviews are the norm all over. Consumer Reports, magazines such as Maximum PC, etc., all do reviews based on one week or so with the product. They sometimes create a long term review category to let people know how the product has behaved in real world ownership.

01-12-2017, 04:41 PM
Starship Troopers.. awesome. One of my favorite movies, and I too always wondered why we didn't have TV's where you could click on a link to "know more".

So I'll be honest, I don't really know you or your video's. But I wanted to put in my two cents here since you mentions nuttintolistentohere. He's a windbag, not a single person I know who is into firearms watches his channel. You're a young guy and you appeal to younger viewers? Then take a queue from other companies who market to them and keep your videos short. Even if you make two videos and call the second one the Extended Version.

Videos for the younger generation are three to five minutes. They're not spending much more time than that before moving on.

As for your work, if it makes you happy and you're earning money from it, then keep on keeping on. Consider it a money making hobby if you need to. You don't need to earn the big bucks now, it will come when someone sees your dedication, drive and insight.