As a longtime archery insider, it sometimes seems to me some companies exist only to copy other manufacturer’s ideas and make as much money on copy-cat products as possible before lawyers deliver the cease-and-desist orders. I’ve never quite understood this, other than I guess some people have no shame as long as they’re lining their pockets. It’s been going on to some degree for the 30-plus years I’ve been in the industry and keeps the lawyers funded.
A relatively new phenomenon in the era of cyber shopping is direct knockoffs, mirror copies of established and popular products offered for sale as the real deal. One of the largest mechanical broadhead brands in the industry just concluded a legal battle with an overseas knockoff manufacturer, but it’s quite difficult to enforce trade laws with foreign countries, particularly communist nations where corruption is part of the very fabric of society.
This really leaves consumers to police ourselves, by simply refusing to buy knockoff products. But how do you know if you’re buying knockoffs?One obvious tipoff is price. Let’s say you normally pay $40 for three NAP Spitfire broadheads. While cruising, say, eBay or Amazon, you discover 12 Spitfires for only $19.99. No, New Archery Products didn’t go suddenly jackrabbit crazy and decide to give away the shop; you’re looking at knockoff product. If a deal seems too good to be true, it is.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of online items that are still counterfeit and priced the same as the original. It then comes to trust in your provider. There are plenty of deals to be found on eBay, but again you do not know of their origination. The best thing you can do is go to your local archery shop and buy them firsthand. Stimulating the economy in your area is never a bad thing.
“Why should I care?” I hear some asking. “Those fat cats at NAP are ripping us off, charging $40 for three broadheads. Those dozen heads for $19.99 only prove that!”
Okay, I understand money’s tight. I get the idea of wanting a bargain. I can even fathom a little class warfare resentment we have been brainwashed to accept. But buying inferior product is hardly what I’d call a deal. NAP broadheads cost more because they are made from only top-grade materials that are stronger, more reliable and hold an edge longer and more reliably. NAP blades, for example, are some of the most advanced in the industry, edges including multi-angled bevels to be sharper than sharp, to hold those edges longer, and under adverse conditions such as blasting through ribs or shoulder blades. A lot of costly research and testing went into selecting a stainless steel grade offering the ideal combination of hardness and durability. What are you getting from inferior, uninspected products made in China? Who knows?
Initial research and development is a HUGE part of overall costs
Nothing comes out of NAP’s doors that hasn’t been thoroughly tested and evaluated. NAP has maintained one of the lowest recall rates in the industry for more than 46 years. You screw a NAP broadhead into your arrow and you absolutely know it can be trusted to perform. Buy Asian knockoffs and you’re gambling hard-earned vacation time and your big hunt on copycats that may or may not be up to snuff. What’s the price of confidence?
Just for the sake of argument, pretend you’ve invested a couple years and tens of thousands of dollars developing and testing prototypes and patenting a revolutionary new vehicle tire that never gets flats. Immediately after release your neighbor takes one of your tires, makes an exact copy (out of lesser materials) and sells it at a fraction of the cost—while passing it off as a product you made! But those knockoff tires get chronic flats, unlike the foolproof tire you’ve developed and made a reputation on. How would that make you feel?
Ethics well aside, knockoffs hurt the archery industry. Knockoff broadheads eat into company profits. If that profit erosion grows large enough research and development slows to a crawl, American workers are laid off and homes are ruined. More importantly (if you wish to make this an egocentric exercise) there are no new products for the knockoff artists to knock off. Innovation stops. Products are never improved upon.
Think about that the next time you’re tempted to save a few bucks buying knockoff broadheads. You’re buying a product more likely to let you down on hard-earned shot opportunities, killing American jobs, and the overall future of bowhunting.
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