There are numerous perks associated with being an outdoor writer. For one thing, I have thousands of proofreaders, who take great delight in pointing out my mistakes and typos, both real and imagined. I can claim deductions on my federal income tax returns for items such as deer corn, fishing worms, ammunition, and even fox urine. Yes, fox urine is deductible, provided I write about it. Let’s see a lawyer try THAT.
Also, I sometimes get to try out neat stuff people have invented, which is sometimes a Good Thing and sometimes a Bad Thing. The hope, at least for the inventors, is that I will let my readers know about these items, so they will go buy them, and the inventors will become so wealthy that they commonly leave huge diamonds as tips.
It doesn’t always work that way, of course. Sometimes the stuff is really good, and I don’t mind promoting it. But sometimes the stuff, how shall I put this . . . bites.
Normally, when something doesn’t work, I just ignore it. I hate to write bad things about someone’s invention. But once in a while the item is so hideous that I feel compelled to let others know about it, so they won’t waste legal tender they could have spent on something valuable, like fox urine.
In the plus column, there’s some stuff a fellow named Grant Landis sent me called ‘Flare Down.’ This stuff is evidently made by ‘Grate Chef,’ (I see what they did there) and is designed to keep backyard grillers, such as myself, from having to call the local fire department every time they cook outside. Grant sent me a bottle hoping I would like it.
The next time I grilled outside, as usual, I had a fire start to get a little out of hand in my gas grill. This is common because I regularly put meat on the grill, and fat drips down, and fat is evidently an incendiary, which is not something I even want to think about. Anyway, I squirted the flames with the Flare Down, and pretty much nothing happened.
So the next time Grant sent me an email, I told him they should change the name of the product to Flameout, which is easier to remember. I also told him it didn’t work. He said, “Did you shake it up first, like it says on the bottle?”
Well. Everybody’s a critic. Of course I didn’t shake it up first. Because I didn’t read the bottle. Because that would be dangerously close to research, which I avoid at all costs.
So the next time I shook the bottle, and the Flameout worked fine. And it is completely safe if you get some on your food, because it’s made from some stuff that’s listed on the bottle I didn’t read, and it’s safe to eat. I’ve gotten it on burgers and pork chops and other stuff, and no one in my family has died yet. No one even notices any abnormal taste. So I can safely recommend Flare Down, but I still wish they’d change the name.
Grant also sent me some Grate Chef firestarters, which they cleverly call ‘FireStarters.’ I won’t comment on the irony of a company that makes stuff to start fires and also stuff to put fires out, except that Grate Chef seems to have things covered, no matter what. I’ll just say that the firestarters work as advertised. They’re little cubes that burn for ten minutes at exactly a very high temperature. Anything flamable nearby is going to go up. Arsonists should love these.
Now, in the minus column is a product called the ‘Hypergat Trigger.’ I think the idea is to insinuate this device will turn a semiautomatic firearm into a Gatling Gun, but it doesn’t do that. Or at least mine didn’t. It’s supposed to make the gun shoot faster, but mine didn’t do that, too.
The Hypergat is made in several models to fit specific guns, and I got one that fits the Ruger 10/22, because almost everybody has one of those. It came with instructions, which I actually read and followed very carefully, because I couldn’t figure out how to install it on my 10/22 via my usual method, which is to drink a glass of tea while staring off into space.
The device is made to fit into the triggerguard of the rifle, with little set screws on the bottom that hold it in place when you screw them in against the bottom of the guard. I got the thing on, but when I tried it out it wouldn’t work. The destructions said to adjust it by pushing it to the rear if it did what mine did, but it wouldn’t go, because it was already all the way back.
I tried to call the company, Flashco/Hypergat Inc., in Montrose, CO, several times, since the destructions say ‘feel free to call,’ but they never answered. I left messages, but they won’t call me back.
The worst part is the set screws left some impressively deep holes in my triggerguard, even though I put electrical tape on there first. I don’t think Hypergat cares.
So, if you’d like to drop fifty bucks on a product that won’t actually do anything except ruin your gun, I highly recommend the Hypergat Trigger. I’m very proud of mine. I plan to send Hypergat a video of it melting down over several of my Grate Chef FireStarters . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who never starts fires without adult supervision. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org