Buying Gun Gifts Can Be Tough
Christmas will soon be upon us. While this season may be one of the most momentous occasions of the year, it’s also time to give gifts to those whom we love. This can be a problem for people who don’t share your interest in the shooting sports. We take the time to patiently explain to our spouse the exact specifications of the optic that has caught our eye, only to unwrap something completely different on Christmas morning.
Buying the right present for a gun enthusiast can be a daunting task if you’re not into guns. We speak a distinctive lingo. While it may not matter to people on the outside if a given firearm shoots 7.63x39mm versus 7.62x54mm ammunition, it matters a great deal to us.
That’s why we’re here to help. Rather than have you practice your fake smiles and try to make “Gosh, honey, thank you very much,” sound as sincere as possible, we’ve put together a list of Christmas gun gifts for the non-gun owners in your life. All of these gifts are specifically chosen to help you avoid the most embarrassing Christmas question: “Did you keep the receipt?”
Guns break and need repairing. In addition, gun owners tend to use their guns in places far, far away from the nearest tool box. A small multitool may not be the best tool for any given job, but it’s better than using a stick or sharp rock. A multitool, like those made by SOG, Gerber, or Leatherman, allows one to make on-the-spot repairs. And, because they’re designed to allow one to carry a bunch of tools in one package, they’re usable in just about any situation.
Scratch a gun nut and chances are you’ll find a flashlight nut underneath. I’m completely addicted to the lumens, and I share that passion for portable candlepower with pretty much all of my gun-owning friends. Today’s modern LED flashlights are compact powerhouses that pump out photons at a level comparable to the spotlights of not so long ago. For best results, find models that use an LED bulb and are compatible with high-power Nickel Metal Hydride (NImH), Lithium Ion (LI) batteries, or CR123A batteries. Streamlight and Surefire are two brand names to look for. Both have been proven tough by law enforcement and military personnel.
Years of shooting practical pistol matches and wading through thickets looking for feral hogs has taught me the value of having solid, dependable shoes on my feet. If your special someone shoots matches like 3 Gun, USPSA, or IDPA, a pair of high quality shoes would be a welcome surprise on Christmas morning. Look for something that’s designed for grip in gravel or vegetation and allows for quick acceleration and fast changes in direction.
For the hunters in your life, look for something that is waterproof and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I’ve found that a snake proof boot is comforting to wear down here in Florida, where it seems that half the wildlife is venomous and doesn’t mind biting you.
Not just the big standup safes that hold a dozen or more rifles, but also smaller ones that hold a single pistol. The smaller safes are usually used to keep children away from your carry pistol. They work really well for that purpose. However, I’ve also found that a small pistol safe comes in handy when I’m flying with a firearm. Rather than dedicate a piece of luggage to carry my defensive pistol, I place the gun, spare magazine, and defensive ammo in a small safe and lock it closed. I then lock that case to the inside frame of the suitcase that holds all my clothes and whatnot needed for my trip. This halves the number of bags I need to check in at the gate. A secure, lockable safe is a gun gift for not only the gun owner in your life, but everyone else in the house as well.
First Aid Gear
You may be a safe, conscientious gun owner who follows the Four Rules of Gun Safety like your life depends on it. However, the same is not true of everyone at the range, so be prepared. I have a tourniquet in my range bag where I can easily reach it if needed. I also have a Pocket Emergency Wallet from Phlster Holsters to cover all the other trauma needs.
In addition, I have a small first aid kit in my bag for all the various cuts, scrapes, and bruises that can happen at the range. This gear isn’t dependent on a specific caliber or firearm, and it helps make a day at the range a little safer.
Eye Protection and Hearing Protection
If you watch any of the videos I make for this site, you’ll see that I’m wearing eye protection over my glasses. The lenses on my eyeglasses are quite thick and impact-resistant. However, they don’t cover my entire eye, and a ricochet can come from any direction. Remember, then, that if you shop for eye protection, you should shop for something that protects the entire eye, not just the part that faces the target.
Hearing protection is one of those gun gifts that pretty much every gun owner needs. There are many different styles and price points for this sort of gear. I prefer electronic ear protection that cuts out the loud noise of gunfire but still allows me to hear the conversations around me, including the ever-so-important range officer commands. However, I still keep a bag of in-ear foam earplugs and a couple of pairs of passive earmuffs in my car for when I go shooting with friends. In fact, there really is no such thing as having too much ear and eye protection handy. Shooting guns is fun. Shooting guns safely with your friends is even more fun.
Yes, I know, they’re cheating. A gift certificate is an admission that you’re not really sure what to get someone, so you give them a gift certificate instead.
I can dig it.
As I said before, it can be really, really hard to buy for someone who is passionate about their activities. I found this out for myself when I worked as a professional photographer. My relatives would give me rolls and rolls of color negative film that is similar to what they themselves used in their cameras. However, it was wildly different than the mountains of professional-grade transparency film that I shot on a daily basis. They meant well, but they just didn’t understand what my needs really were. A gift certificate for a camera store, though, meant that they knew what my passions were and they wanted to support those passions as best as they could.
I should mention here that we sell gift certificates. These make awesome gun gifts for the gun owner in your life, because a gun without ammo is nothing but a rather awkward paper weight.
Time: One Of Most Precious Gun Gifts Of All
Going to the range takes time. Going hunting takes time, as well. Time is a finite resource. This Christmas, why not give the gift of range time, or maybe arrange a hunting trip for them? Practical shooting matches tend to happen on the weekend. Why not set the “honey do” list aside for a weekend or two and give your spouse time to go compete in a sport they love?
Better still, take the time to get involved in these sports yourself. I know so many people who have learned to enjoy the shooting sports because they went to the range with a friend or relative. This Christmas, make the effort to get involved in the shooting sports. It’s fun, and better still, it is literally a part of what makes America, America.