Four Days – Countless Rounds of Ammunition – Shoot-Houses – Night-Shoots – Provided Firearms – Provided Equipment .. and one TTAG gun-writer. All those things combine to create one thing – The Crimson Chronicles . . .
Three days before the NRA meetings in Pittsburgh, PA – my phone rings. El jefe, Mr. Robert Farago asks me a simple question: “can you free up four days in your schedule come early May?” (Mind you, this is ~two-weeks before the dates he’s asking me to “free up,” and contrary to my own personal desires I actually DO have a day job). Why do I need to free up some time? TTAG has been extended an invite by Crimson Trace to attend a product demo at GunSite Academy in Arizona for their Lightguard weapon lights – introduced at SHOT last January.
I’ll be travelling to Gunsite this Sunday – leaving the recently dull, rainy, and dreary weather of the DC metro area behind for the blissful mid 70’s clime of late-spring Arizona. Tack on to that four days packed with shoot-house drills, access to various shooting stations / ranges, work with both rifles and pistols (provided by Smith and Wesson), NVG’s and IR shooting scenarios, and dining out with Crimson Trace’s Media Relations Manager and Top Shot Season 1 winner Iain Harrison – it all starts to look like the deal’s pretty sweet.
Sweeter still – this is on CTC’s dime. I make that statement up front to TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia to ensure that everyone is fully aware of the significant financial contribution Crimson Trace is making to bring media and industry to their event for the testing and evaluation of this product. The invite list sits at around ten individuals, an indication that TTAG is further taking-off and getting noticed; and that’s all thanks to you.
Yes, I’m basically being “paid” to go play with guns and other fun toys for the week. Is it going to impact the comments I make on Crimson Trace’s product in my final review? Aside from plastering a smile on my face (the same smile I get every time I pull the trigger), Hell no. Iain’s on the level with this sentiment too. During the coordination stages for this event, Iain told us he’s “not going down the well-worn path of chummy backscratching prevalent in the industry” and that “if the product is crap, I expect you to write about it [being crap].”
That said, I met with Iain at Crimson Trace’s display at the NRA meetings this past weekend, and had the opportunity to fondle the Lightguard. Initial impression: it appears solid and well-built. I reserve the right to pass final judgement until after I’ve tortured it for a week going to and from holster, running various courses, and doing anything I can to determine if it’s a worthwhile investment. The only promise we’ve made to Crimson Trace as a result of our invite to their event – good or bad, we’ll report on it.
Shortly after agreeing to all of this, and receiving a “get your ass in gear” E-mail from Iain, I realized crap, I have NOTHING that’s on the packing list… Double crap, I have less than two-weeks to get it… Triple crap, this is going to be expensive [to someone on a Jr.-level salary]. Luckily for me, El jefe had the solution – product reviews. Various pieces of kit I’ll be wearing and or using throughout the event have been provided by the marketing teams of the product’s manufacturers for my evaluation. I’ll provide a detailed list, and comments on each in the coming days, during my time there, and in my summary.
Something I do have that is not on the packing list; a Contour 1080p HD wearable video recorder. This little dandy will be accompanying me on my journey. I have already confirmed with Iain that field photography is allowed. I use the camera to record my daily commute through DC traffic on a motorcycle – I was hit-and-run in October of 2008 and the driver was never found; since that time, video evidence has been something I’m determined to have should it happen again.
A quick jaunt to Amazon.com yielded two new gadgets for my Contour HD; a Picatinny mount and a headband mount (still working out how that would work while wearing ears). I may look like a tool wearing it, but bringing TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia along with me for the ride will ease the blow to my ego.
Expect to see some interesting videos of my experiences in addition to my hunt-and-peck blogging. Intelligentsia be warned – the tactical kilt will be making an appearance. I will exercise due diligence in not burning the corneas from your head by ensuring that I am not in line-of-sight when Iain decides to go prone..
And so begins the Crimson Chronicles. Stay tuned . . .