Exclusive: Where Gun and Gear Reviews Come From

Here’s a little gun’riter secret: Gun and gear reviews originate at the annual SHOT Show and travel home in luggage where they are washed, ironed, and then published in magazines or websites throughout the year. Well, sort of.

A few weeks ago I did return from the SHOT Show. And yes, I had tons of ideas for gear reviews, business cards from the people who will supply me with all that gear, literature about the gear I want to review, and several freebies or giveaways. All of it (even some of the bigger ideas) was packed into a Flying Circle Business Backpack, one of two bags I carried on my flight to and from Las Vegas. The other bag contained all my clothes, including a dark navy suit, dress shirts, ties, and other dress-up accoutrements. This was, after all, a business trip for me.

But back to the backpack and how I got it all the gun and gear review ideas home. I selected the Flying Circle Business Backpack for this trip for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a backpack. Two shoulder straps means the load is evenly distributed across my shoulders, which saves my back, which means I feel better. In college, I could carry a backpack all day using only one shoulder strap. I’m not in college anymore.
  2. It’s well appointed, with useful pockets in all the right places.
  3. It’s large enough to hold a lot of gear but small enough to be ultra portable. More on this in a minute.

Here are the features and specs from the Flying Circle website:

  • Front flap has Velcro® for name tape along with a large zippered pocket, MOLLE webbing, webbing loops, removable carabiner, & Velcro® patch to add your own flags, patches, etc.
  • Front section has 2 small zippered pockets, several slip-in pockets, & a large zippered pocket for a small notepad, electronics, power cords, etc.
  • Large main section padded on all sides
  • Fits up to a 15″ laptop
  • Enough room for a laptop plus tablet, folders, notebooks, etc.
  • Carry as a backpack, over the shoulder, or cross body
  • 2 zippers on the back open to slip over a rolling suitcase handle
  • Open only the top zipper on the back & use it as an extra pocket
  • 2 small side pockets , one stretch mesh for water bottle
  • Water resistant durable polyester fabric
  • $59.95

My favorite features? It could turn into a single-strap, cross body messenger bag if I wanted it to. The main compartment is fully padded, protecting not only my notebook computer, but everything else I placed in it. The stretch mesh pocket held my 24 oz. Camelbak Chute at the ready and never let go of it, even when the bag was on its side. But the best feature is the size: 12.75” w x 15″ h x 6″ d. This is known in business parlance as being “just right” — able to carry all your stuff but still able to fit easily under the airline seat in front you. And easy to tote around trade shows and taxis.

So, I’m back from SHOT and here’s what’s noteworthy: The Flying Circle Business Backpack is still on duty, hauling review gear and other related stuff around with me to and from the range, around town, to and from the office, and so on. In fact, I recently I checked one of the pockets and found an idea stuffed in there — something about letting you know how these gun and gear reviews come to be. Now you know.

— Mark Kakkuri

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