“It’s Not Testing If You Aren’t Wearing A Lab Coat”

I once said that “It’s Not Testing If You Aren’t Wearing A Lab Coat” which was a tongue-in-cheek jab at online “testers” attempts to defame products based on half-assed efforts. While I was on active duty I conducted numerous tests without the lab coat. The reality is that if you don’t have a test plan, it’s not testing.

Taking a product out to the backyard or to a local range and putting a magazine through it isn’t testing. Neither is coming up with some one-off scenario like shooting a helmet with a threat it wasn’t designed for. Or, another fun one is watching some guy claim an item of FR clothing sucks because it caught fire when he held his flambé blowtorch to it.

Such demonstrations are often entertaining, but testing must be repeatable. What’s more, there are established test protocols for every single lifesaving item you’ll use and those tests must be conducted under very strict conditions.

Machine developed at the National Bureau of Standards to test the endurance of women’s shoes, Washington DC, 1945.

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