List Your Use Cases:
This is applicable to any piece of gear or kit. Think about how it will be used. What tasks will in need to perform well? Will your knife be used as a defensive tool or for slicing apples? Or both? Will your flashlight be used for close up work or spotlighting distant areas? Knowing your use cases will help you narrow down your search in a big way!
Find Features that Match your Use Cases:
Find out which features help you in your given use cases. Do you really care about whether your flashlight is Titanium if you are just storing it in the glove compartment? Do you really want 500 lumens if you are using the flashlight for close-up reading in bed? Should you go with the liner-lock or do your use cases call for a frame-lock? Sometimes this is easier said than done. Proprietary feature names often make it difficult to know what a feature does or how it would help your use cases.
Get Advice From Several Sources –
This could be from coworkers, a friend who knows a lot about XXXX, fellow EDC enthusiasts, people on a forum, someone who sells XXXX for a living, etc. So long as you know how to process the information, more advice is better. Whenever you get advice, be sure to take the source into account and don’t be afraid to dismiss it if it doesn’t apply to you or doesn’t help you. If you don’t know many people who know much about the gear you are looking for, call or send and email to a reputable online vendor. There are also active forums full of enthusiasts dedicated to nearly any piece of gear.(google: XXXX forums) Don’t be afraid to tap into their knowledge.
Ask Specific Questions –
Don’t ask: “What is the best X?” You will receive unqualified answers that probably won’t be helpful. A better question would be:
“I work the night shift doing security for a local business and I need a light that can help me XXXXXXX and XXXXXXX and be carried in a holster on my belt. I would prefer that it use XXXXX type of batteries that are readily available at decent prices. I also prefer a XXXXX interface for instant on/off. What would you recommend?”
The answers to the detailed, qualified inquiry will be much more usable than answers to the first inquiry. Adapt the qualifications to fit your personal use case, and you will get advice .
Start General, Then Get More Specific –
Since you don’t know before you start searching how many products will fit your needs, you should start general. Start with one or two general qualifications and make sure you are headed in right direction. As you get deeper into the search, you will get better idea of how many options are available. At that point, you should adjust your qualifications to expand your options or add qualifications to narrow down the search.
If you follow these guidelines, you should come up with gear that will make you happy and satisfy your needs!