My secret sources…
As said on the home page, one of the major goals for Inside the X Ring is to make all of your firearm related experiences positive – including product research and selection. The way I aim to to do that is to combine years of hands-on experience with extensive research to bring you straight forward, accurate and high-value information, that connects with your wants and needs.
Personally, I research most purchases extensively before pulling the trigger. Certainly on all purchases I consider major or important. For me, firearms, guns, knives and just about all related gear definitely fall into those “major” and “important” categories. I want to know I’m getting the best product for my needs, and at least good, solid value for my money. I also typically don’t just take one person’s opinion, or follow the masses, so doing my reseach usually includes getting a breadth of information from a variety of sources.
In the realm of guns, firearms and related gear, I’m lucky to have a number of “Go-To” people, whose opinions and experience I value:
My Dad, who spent 32 years on-the-job, who remains an avid firearms enthusiast, and who still carries daily.
My local gun store owner, who won’t win any ‘Miss Congeniality‘ contests, but who is very knowledgeable, and extremely value focused.
Numerous other close family members and friends currently in Law Enforcement, or on Active Duty in the Armed Forces.
But my research goes beyond just that personal network of seasoned, experienced professionals. I watch informative and educational TV Shows, like those on “MidwayUSA Wednesday Night At the Range“. I stay current with industry publications and magazines, and these days, I spend a lot of time browsing Internet forums, other blogs, and YouTube videos.
When you stop and think about it, the Internet is revolutionary in terms of giving everyone a voice, and putting overwhelming amounts of information at your immediate disposal. However, since literally everyone has a voice, the sheer volume of information overload can make it daunting to separate good from bad. So when doing my own research and to bring you the best information possible, I read and watch as many available reviews as possible on the same firearm, gun, knife or other piece of gear. Yeah, it takes a lot of time, but it helps ensure I’m getting objective, accruate, logical and consistent feedback (as opposed to a ‘one-off’ experience, the random ‘brand-hater’ or the ‘know-it-all’.)
Of course, no matter what I read or watch, I always combine it with my own hands-on experience, and feedback from my personal network of seasoned professionals. While I can’t put you in touch with my personal contacts, I can point you to some great resources from around the web, for your own reading and viewing pleasure.
Here is a quick collection of some of The Best Gun and Gear Reviewers from around the Web. All have been vetted and fact checked, so you know you’re getting good, solid information. They are honest, very well thought out, well prepared, organized, logical, educational and relatively polished, (meaning not a lot of “Uh”s or “Um”s or dead air space). You can tell they care about their viewers, and put real effort into making informative, helpful videos.
In every case, I’ve found these folks while researching a particular firearm, knife or piece of gear related to shooting, hunting or survival. While there are others out there, and while the segment of YouTube reviewers continues to expand, these are the few I keep coming back to over the years, time after time, for opinions, insight and thoughts. As we expand our own content, I will be linking specific videos from many of these folks, but no need to make you wait until we get there.
Nutnfancy – Self proclaimed “Reviewer of Dangerous things”, and VERY good at it! My reference standard for extremely detailed and thorough table-top reviews.
I stumbled across ‘Nutn’ 2 – 3 years ago while looking for a knife to buy my Dad for Christmas. Compared to everything else I had seen on YouTube, I was extremely impressed. He goes beyond the basics. He explains his terminology. He explains his way of thinking. He more than justifies his opinions. His stuff just plain makes sense to me. It jives with my own experiences. It is real-World usable information. I’ve been extremely happy with all purchases I’ve made as a result of his videos; he hasn’t steered me wrong yet. As a result, I’ve come to value Nutnfancy’s table top reviews and opinions, and in the sincerest form of flattery, you’re likely to read some of his terms in my posts…. like “POU”, “Second Kind of Cool” and “Keepin it Real”, but hey, “Your Mileage May Vary”… He also has some great SHOT Show coverage going all the way back to at least 2010. (Word to wise, take a bathroom break, get something to drink and a snack before strappin’ in for some of his videos, especially the multi-part series. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!)
See www.youtube.com/nutnfancy for high quality, unbiased gear reviews and gear adventures. Videos courtesy of The Nutnfancy Project. Used with permission.
GunBlast – Jeff Quinn and Team. “THE Online Gun Magazine”
I stumbled onto GlunBlast and Jeff Quinn back in 2003 – 2004 while researching a recommendation from my local gun store (LGS). I wanted something I could take to the range and shoot comfortably all day long, without developing poor shooting habits, and without breaking the bank. I also wanted tack-driving accuracy from 100 to 300+yards, and enough versatility (read power) to use hunting for up to whitetail sized game – should the then very random opportunity arise. (I told you, I like versatility and value.) My LGS recommended a Savage 12VBSS in .22-250, with the then-new AccuTrigger. As always, I did a ton of research on the recommendation. Jeff’s written review on that exact rifle was one of the best I found. It was excellent, very well done and thorough. In the years since, I will tell you my experience with that rifle are 100% in-line with his thoughts. (Yes, I still go back to that review from time to time.) So, I’ve been a fan of Jeff, his website and his YouTube channel ever since. Jeff also has SHOT Show coverage going back to at least 2010. You can check his site and videos via the links below:
Hickok45 – Gabbin. Shootin. Gettin’ it done with short barreled guns – and proving they can be extremely accurate. He’s a damn good shot, and his range looks like a ton of fun.
I found Hickok45 somewhat recently, but quickly became a fan. His videos are part table-top review and part shoot-em-up at the range, with general thoughts and observations thrown in along the way. Good stuff. You can watch them here: http://www.youtube.com/hickok45 Used with permission.
…and it’s not [just] a Man’s World. Here are a couple of ladies jumping into the gun, knife and related gear action.
Personally, I’m very happy to see knowledgeable ladies providing very well presented gun, gear and related reviews. It is encouraging and I’m sure it will help a lot of the new women shooters. My Mom has always been, and remains a great shot. While my wife didn’t grow up with guns, she is well on her way to also becoming a great shot – as are many women around the country. In fact, a recent Channel 2 News story I saw highlighted the fact that in 2011 women made up 41-51% of all new gun owners. It is a welcomed and great trend.
FateofDestinee – A much prettier Nutnfancy?! Like, GunBlast and Hickok45, Destinee offers a good series of gun and gear related videos with general observations and thoughts. Some are table-top reviews, some are trips to the range, some are head-to-head comparisons and some all of the above.
Destinee is another recent good find. I came across her vids while researching the Beretta Nano. She’s recently posted a number of great videos on that hot, new little pocket 9mm, and a very well done head-to-head comparison with the Kahr CM9. Likewise, all of her other videos that I watched are very good, but accurate and informative, relatively short reviews. Most also have an artistic flare, and some good bits of humor thrown in. What can I say, I felt compelled to watch… 😉 I appreciated her 2012 SHOT Show coverage, again especially on that Beretta Nano.
Here’s a link to her page: http://www.youtube.com/FateofDestinee Used with permission.
Faliaphotography – Another much prettier Nutnfancy?! Focused on the female shooter, and women firearms enthusiasts. Offering the woman’s perspective on guns, knives and gear.
I stumbled onto Falia while researching concealed carry holsters. She did a great review on a few Remora holsters. I wasn’t previously familiar with the brand, but thanks to her, it looks I’ve found a viable, functional and high-value option. Then I watched a few of her other concealed carry related vids, and while most of the options she presented just won’t work for me, but as with Destinee, I felt compelled to keep watching… 😉 She’s also got a good series of videos on her own BCM (Bravo Company Machine) based AR, the initial build-out, and later modifications. I’ll be watching those again as part of my own quest for the Black rifle. Falia also has some good SHOT Show 2012 coverage, most of which seemed geared towards the female shooter.
http://www.youtube.com/faliaphotography Persmission Requested.
I may roll-in a few others, but the links above provide a great starting point. Again, I’ll be rolling in specific videos or series as our content expands. In the meantime, I hope you find their sites and channels as valuable as I have.