The gear package seen above is already gone. I gave it away to my first Patron as a “thank you” for supporting my reviews and tests. With further trigger, muzzle device, flashlight, and other objective tests planned plus non-stop reviews in the queue, I need your support, too. Here’s why (and how) . . .
TTAG maintains its editorial independence by avoiding advertising dollars from the firearms industry except under specific (and rare) conditions. Therefore, the budget for payroll and such is smaller than you might think given the site’s solid traffic numbers. Traffic that we earn, of course, through our honest reviews and reporting. Truth and independence is the brand.
As TTAG’s Testing & Reviews Editor I am paid a small salary, but it doesn’t cover the rent on my notably cheap place even before tax. Basically, this is a hobby. A labor of love. But love doesn’t pay the bills (don’t go there) and it doesn’t pay for the kinds of gun and gear testing I’d like to do much more of.
So this is where I’d like you to step in.
Patreon allows you to become a Patron of someone who’s doing something you want to support. You choose the recurring monthly amount (which you can change at any time) and Patreon forwards it, minus a small cut, to that someone.
That someone can choose to give back to their Patrons in all sorts of ways. For me, I’ve created various tiers of Patrons with increasing likelihood of receiving boxes of free swag and gear like what my first Patron is receiving. I’ll be doing live chats, providing early access to content, creating Patron-exclusive content, providing direct access to me for making special requests, inviting you to join me at the range or just to chat when I’m on the road, and more. I think for most of y’all, though, the reward of this support will be more and better content from me.
My short-term goal for Patreon is to offset or completely pay for the cost of more comparison testing. I have the tools to do more roundups like the extremely popular muzzle device and trigger roundups I’ve already done, but don’t typically have the resources to purchase the quantity of products necessary for a thorough shootout. Yes, we have some success at getting these sorts of things donated or loaned by the manufacturers, but many want nothing to do with being legitimately compared to their competition. Our independence and willingness to expose the truth doesn’t always lead to cooperative relationships.
The next step is for Patreon to fund my ability to perform more scientific testing for you. Testing optics for proper mechanical tracking, light transmission, aberration, etc. I’d like to make ballistic gel testing a regular TTAG feature. I’d like to improve accuracy testing via tools like a Ransom Rest. I’d like to ramp up a small photo studio at TTAG HQ to improve our photography game, plus upgrade the low-end video camera, audio equipment, and editing software I use for my YouTube videos. I’d love to add some slow motion video capabilities.
Ultimately, if enough of y’all choose to sponsor this work with a few bucks a month, I’d like to do this full time. Create a lot of top-quality review and testing work for you. Multiple reviews every week plus technical articles and far more comparison buyer’s guide type roundups.
It’ll be a different world from today, where I’m TTAG’ing during the limited time I’m not working 50 hours a week and traveling 35% of the time for my “real job” in the tech industry. Or spending time with my 5- and 3-year-old daughters (and the wife), which has priority on my free time. In fact, it looks like the “real job” won’t allow me to attend SHOT Show this year, which is a big blow and another impetus for attempting this Patreon thing.
So, there it is. The pie-in-the-sky goal of producing valuable, entertaining, meaningful, regular content for you as a full time gig. Your patronage — whether $1 or $3 or whatever it is per month — will be hugely appreciated and will be turned right around as better content. At some point, if a point comes where I can pay the rent with it, a lot of better content.