Do you have a gun owner on your Christmas gift list? While ammo and cleaning supplies are always appreciated by any gun owner, maybe you’ve done that already and are looking for something else to surprise that person with this year. Here is a list of 10 items that your gun enthusiast would love to find under the Christmas tree:
A good quality set of shooting earmuffs is a must to protect your shooter’s hearing. Electronic earmuffs are designed to filter out the louder sounds of gun shots and heavy equipment while amplifying voices to a safe level. Most of the newer models also come with MP3 capabilities so that your gun enthusiast can safely listen to their favorite music whether they are on the shooting range or out on hunting trip.
2. Magazine Subscription
Give your gun enthusiast a subscription to his favorite gun or hunting magazine. ‘Guns and Ammo’, ‘Gun World’, ‘Shooting Times’ or ‘Field and Stream’ are popular choices and allow your recipient to keep up with all the current news and newest gadgets available. As they flip through the magazine’s pages, they are sure to keep you updated on all the newest ‘toys’ that they are interested in; giving you a list of items they would love to have for next Christmas!
3. Range Bag
If your gun enthusiast doesn’t already have one, a range bag can make a great gift. It will hold all of the things that they need to tote with them to the shooting range. The best choices offer multiple pockets and fasteners to keep everything in its own place. There should be plenty of room for a gun or two, ammo, safety glasses, earmuffs, gloves and anything else they might need to carry along. Depending upon your recipient’s style you can find range bags that look like any other bag that someone would carry to the gym or full-out tactical bags with multiple pockets, zippers, Velcro and all the bells and whistles.
4. Gun Vault – Nano Vault
This is a great little item to have on hand. This is a small, portable handgun safe. It is lockable. It meets TSA airline firearm guidelines. This mini safe works well for home or for travel if your gun enthusiast holds a CCW permit. These mini safes generally have combination locks built into them. While they won’t keep someone from stealing a firearm; they will keep curious children safe both at home and while traveling with a gun
5. Firearms Training
Consider paying for a concealed carry class if your gift recipient doesn’t already have one. Even if they don’t plan on carrying on an everyday basis, the training in these classes will give them the necessary information on the current legal issues with carrying a gun as well as training in basic gun safety. Perhaps the most important part of CCW training is learning about awareness and keeping the proper mindset for carrying that weapon.
Repairing and upgrading your own guns is an important skill to acquire. Some people are a little more skittish about handing their guns over to someone else even for a short time. Although most gun owners with some mechanical aptitude can learn to do simple repairs, gunsmithing is a skilled trade that takes lots of training and experience. This would make a great gift for a veteran gun owner, but maybe not for the novice.
7. Bore Light
If your favorite gun enthusiast is a collector, or would like to be, a bore light would make a great gift. A bore light is a light source connected to flexible tubing that is inserted into one end of the gun barrel so that you can inspect it for scratches, rust and imperfections. This inexpensive tool is a must for anyone interested in buying second-hand guns
8. Tactical Pen
While this is not necessarily a gun accessory, many gun enthusiasts are also into self-defense, survival and protection. This is an inexpensive stocking stuffer. A tactical pen writes just like any other pen, and is refillable; but it is also a weapon. Most tactical pens are made of aircraft aluminum to make them strong enough to be used to strike a would-be assailant. The aircraft aluminum makes the pen strong enough to use the blunt end for stopping power or the writing end for stabbing.
9. Reactive Splatter Targets
Target practice can be easier and more fun with splatter targets. These targets are black with neon under-colors so that when you hit the target the penetration creates a neon colored halo around the striking point. This neon halo makes it easier to see from a distance. No more spotting with binoculars or walking down to the target between shots.
10. NRA Membership
Give your loved one the gift of freedom! Sign them up as a new NRA member or if they are already a member you can add on another year to their membership! We are currently offering discounts on 1, 3 and 5 year memberships so while you are there you should join, renew or extend yourself!
And if you still can’t figure out what to get your loved one, ammo is always on the top of everyone’s list. You can never have enough. Just figure out what caliber(s) they usually use and then pick up some training or self defense ammo in that caliber. Or just buy them a gift card to someplace where they can pick their own ammo out. This is a great stocking stuffer that you can’t go wrong with.
Whether your favorite gun enthusiast is a hunter, a survivalist or a collector there are plenty of interesting gift items out there in all price ranges to put a smile on their face on Christmas morning.
Handgun Self-Defense: Move to Stay Alive
by W.H. “Chip” Gross, BuckeyeFirearms.org
If you ever become involved in a self-defense situation, it will likely occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and could turn very violent very quickly. And if you feel threatened to the point that you choose to draw your concealed handgun, remember that it’s now a gunfight, not target shooting. Your goal is to win and survive any way you can. Because reaction is always slower than action, you will be slightly behind the curve. But you can counter that disadvantage through movement. By moving while shooting you are doing something the aggressor did not expect, so now he/she must react to you. In short, movement could save your life.
But to become proficient at this technique, you must incorporate movement into your regular handgun training. Unfortunately, most public ranges don’t allow this type of advanced practice. If you were to try running while shooting, as well as reloading a handgun on the run at a public range, you’d see how quickly you were asked to leave. (NB: Please don’t do that.)
Which is why I sought out the Move or Die advanced-handgun training course conducted recently by the Buckeye Firearms Association at the EAST Group range in north-central Ohio. Usually available only to police officers and military personnel, EAST Group opens its outdoor ranges half a dozen times per year to the public. Its owner and head instructor (“Sly”) is more than qualified to teach such instruction. A retired U. S. Marine Corps “gunny” turned personal protective specialist, you can check out his background by clicking on a previous NRA Family story here.
The day began with a half-hour classroom session. “The ultimate goal for the next eight hours is for you to learn to perceive and react to a threat in a timely manner—just 1.5 seconds,” Sly began. “In other words, to move off what is called the ‘X’ quickly and aggressively. Because if you don’t move, the ‘X’ is where you are going to die during a gunfight.”
Sly next explained the Combat Triad. “Think of it as the three points of a triangle: mindset, gun manipulation and marksmanship,” he said. “The proper mindset involves being ready and willing to do whatever you have to do to survive a gunfight. Gun manipulation, also known as ‘running the gun,’ is being so familiar with your handgun that shooting and reloading are automatic; you don’t have to consciously think about what you are doing. And marksmanship is simply hitting what you aim at. Because a threatening situation is not likely to change unless and until you are able to put hits on the target.”
Once to the range, live firing for the day began with a 40-round assessment drill. The three instructors (a woman, Candy, and another guy, Jeff, in addition to Sly) worked with the 19 students, about a third of whom were women. Students ranged in age from their 20s to a few folks in their 60s or even 70s.
Next came the movement drills, which is about learning to react to a situation quickly, then pivot and run laterally, right or left. “Don’t move backwards from a threat, for two reasons,” said Sly. “First, moving backwards still keeps you directly in line with the threat. And second, by backpedaling it’s more likely you will catch your heel on something and fall backwards. Then you’re really screwed. Instead, make your first move right or left and seek cover.”
Sly added that a self-defender should remember to aim at center mass, which translates to the torso of the threat. “As human beings, we are hardwired to look each other in the eye,” he said. “But during a gunfight that’s counterproductive because your shots will likely go where you are looking…the head is a much smaller target than the torso, so look and aim there.”
Following a break for lunch, the afternoon range session was a series of various drills teaching students to anticipate a threat, draw our handguns, and fire several shots while running laterally to cover. “You should be drawing your sidearm as you begin moving,” Sly often repeated. “Don’t move and then draw, that’s too late. And if for some reason you can’t get your gun out of the holster, which sometimes happens during high-stress situations, especially if you are wearing a cover garment, don’t stop to do so, keep moving. The same for reloading, if your gun runs dry, reload on the move, don’t stop. Stopping gets you killed.”
As you may have already surmised, the one-day course was intense training, the instructors attempting to put the students under pressure to simulate the stress of a gunfight as much as possible. Upon returning to the classroom for a final debriefing session, the consensus of the participants was that it had been an excellent day of instruction at an excellent facility, and that they would highly recommend the training to other concealed-carry holders.
Sly summed up the training with this last sobering bit of advice. “Continue practicing what you learned by incorporating movement into your handgun training. Learn to quickly assess a potentially dangerous situation, and then if it does hit the fan, move and shoot your way out of it.”