Reviewing Products

Recently I have had several companies contact me and ask me to review products for them. I have struggled a little with whether or not I want to do this.

On the one hand I still have so much to learn and I don’t have a lot of experience, but on the other hand it gives me a great opportunity to try things I might not normally get a chance to try and therefore increase my experience and learning.  I like that idea.

I received a backpack last week and I feel fine reviewing that because, well, the only real qualification I need for that is a back, but ammo, that was a different story.

Here is the email exchange I recently had with a company…

We have found that a lot of our customers appreciate product reviews and feel more confident in their purchases if they can read a review and relate with someone who has already tested the product.

Given your strong following of firearm and ammo enthusiasts, would you be willing to review some product for me and for our customers? I can ship you ammo for free if you will shoot it, enjoy it, and tell the world about it.

This was my response…

Good morning! Thank you for the email…I want to let you know I am new to shooting. I have only been shooting about a year…I am not sure how much credibility I have in the community in terms of product reviews of ammo. I want to be sure you understand that I am not a seasoned shooter like the other bloggers you listed.

And their response…

This is great… I’m excited for the chance to work together. I appreciate that you wanted to make sure and identify yourself as a new shooter…a new shooter is less likely to carry preconceived notions into a review, so a new and refreshing point of view is always a great thing to read!

So, here is the deal. I am going to try this from the perspective of how I have approached my entire blog. I am going to simply tell you my experience with whatever product I get.  It won’t be a typical review or even a recommendation in the normal blogger fashion.  I probably will not be able to give technical specs and whatnot of certain things because in most cases I won’t know, but hopefully I will be able to give a newbies perspective of things and then if I am lucky(and I am) you all will chime in with extremely helpful ideas, suggestions and/or points of view to help me and other new shooters who read my blog.

It will be an experiment and we shall see how it works out.  If it turns out not to be such a great idea then I’ll just stop.  I think it will be fine though. Plus I know right after I post this those of you who love me are gonna leave a comment or send me an email cautioning me against this or that which I always appreciate.  Keeps me from getting myself into too much trouble.

I am not going to review every single thing I am asked because for one I don’t have the time and for two I am still learning about some of these companies.   I am a capitalist and I have no problem with a company using me to try to push their product and I have no problem benefiting from that relationship, but my goal is and always will be to help people learn from my experience and to hopefully encourage them to find ways to be more safe.  I won’t sacrifice that for a free holster or ammo.  Although I might for a 1911 or a M1 Garand, but what are the odds of that?

34 thoughts on “Reviewing Products

  1. Actually, when one considers how many new people are getting into shooting your reviews might be a bit more valuable. Experienced shooters will view things with a seasoned eye and throw around technical terms like beads at Mardi Gras. This may be confusing for a new shooter who just wants to know what works and what doesn’t.

  2. When I look at product reviews, I look at those from experienced users, new folks, those who rate it almost but not quite perfectly, and those who rate it almost but not quite horribly. A new person’s review is just as helpful as an experienced person’s, as it shows how user-friendly a product is, absolute first impressions, is in regular person non-jargon terms, and can be less biased. When I look for experienced user reviews, it’s precisely for the experience with that and other similar products to give me an “older and wiser” opinion on how things should work or things to look out for. Have fun trying and reviewing!

  3. I second ordnancecorner,to say nothing of the value of the female perspective.

    • Dear companies who are hopefully reading AGirl’s blog:

      I am an avid shooter and have no reservations about getting free stuff to try out. In addition, I am also a semi-professional writer, which means I can make the review sound very pretty.

      Also, I have many pony fans, so if you’re interested in reaching out to the gun-brony community, I’m your link.

      Call me! 😀

  4. And your journey continues . . . . enjoy!! Just because you have fewer miles under your belt does not – in any way – reduce the value of your opinion, and that’s exactly what a review is, an opinion.

    Go . . . learn . . . make holes . . . have fun . . .

    And let us know what ya think!!

  5. Lucky Gunner hits us all up for reviews at least once. Seldom do they ask for a second. It’s almost free advertisement for them. So, have fun.

  6. Ordnance has it right. The new user perspective is always a valuable one. Will it meet expectations for new shooters? That’s a question many of us have.

    But you DO have quite a bit of experience with what you’ve done so far, so to an extent you do have a baseline to compare it to. For example, if you’ve been shooting XXXX ammo and found the results decent, but now you shoot this new stuff and your groups are looser, you can say that based on your experiences.

    That’s a good thing too.

    You can use that new eye to ask the questions or make the comments the ‘experienced’ people are afraid to say or ask. That’s a good thing too.

    Now I have an M1 Garand for you to test. It’s from 1944 (May). Just gotta get here to test it! 😉 I’ll let you shoot my 1911’s for nothin! lol

  7. I love doing reviews, because it allows me to try things I many not normally have tried. For example, the 5.11 bag I just reviewed. I can tell you, as much as I love 5.11 gear, there was no way I was going to dish out $120 just to try something out. I’m glad I did the review – I love the bag, and am thrilled to have it. Just be honest in your reviews. I don’t go too far into the specs of things I review, I just let people know what I liked and didn’t like about it. For instance, the bag is almost too big for me to use. I much prefer to read reviews from people who are not “professional” reviewers; people who can give the good AND bad of a product, because nothing’s perfect and I won’t believe your review if you tell me it is.

    You know, just enjoy it. If you hate doing the reviews, then stop. But I bet you’ll love them 🙂

  8. The way I approach it is to be straight up about how I got the item (paid for it or was given it), give points that I like and don’t like, and give my honest opinion as to whether the price for the item was reasonable and gave good value. Doing reviews is a good way for you to examine what you think is important about an item like clothing or a bag and share it with people like you. I look for reviews from ordinary people to see how it fits in with the way people like me live.

  9. I agree completely that you should do reviews.

    The perspective of a novice is very useful to people who are inexperienced themselves.

    Ammo, backpacks, holsters, guns… go for it.

    To be honest there aren’t TOO many products out there that work poorly for the inexperienced which suddenly magically work well for the expert.

    Be upfront about your experience level, upfront about your relationship if any with the manufacturer or retailer, and honest about your experience with the product.

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