Written by ILya Koshkin
I have had some interaction at one time or another with most companies out there who sell sporting optics and I tend to reman on reasonable terms with most of the.. However, there are some with whom I have had reasonably close relationships over the years. Same goes for many of the optics brands. Ultimately, I want all of them to succeed, but I very frequently say things they do not like. I sympathize, but don’t really care. Fundamentally, I am on the side of the consumer, and my audience has dibs on my loyalty. Hence, what you see here is my unvarnished opinion.
First and foremost, I have maintained a very cordial relationship with SWFA. They have loaned a number of scopes to me for evaluation over the years and without them I would not have had a chance to really get started with this. Aside from all that, they are a bunch of nice people who are enthusiastic about the products they sell.
There are many excellent discussion sites on the internet. Some are proprietary to the retailers who own them and others are independent. I routinely participate in a few of them:
I get optics questions all the time. The other day, I got a question from a very polite and unassuming gentleman who mentioned that he writes a gun-related blog. I checked in on it and was very impressed with the quality of the content and the quality of the writing. I also found a short videoclip of him shooting and he is easily one of the best and fastest boltgun shots I have seen to date. He goes by a moniker Rifleslinger and I highly recommend it: http://artoftherifle.com/. The last thing I should mention about Mr. Rifleslinger is that he came up with his own shooting support sling design and I have switched all of my rifles to it. Recently, he stopped updating his blog, but the existing content is excellent and available.
Then there is Matt. He is an incredible resource as it comes to all things hunting and he writes about gear of all sorts a fair bit.http://www.rokslide.com/2012-01-10-08-43-59/prostaff/matt-cashell
Matt from Everyday Marksman is an all around good dude and a knowledgeable one to boot (except for the times when he disagrees with; he is just wrong in those cases).
Last, but not least is Ron Evenson of Kinetic Ops. He has helped me out in the past with scopes when I needed them and he runs a pretty interesting business that is involved in advanced weapons system design, UAV aeronautics, and weapons training.