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Let’s face it: If you’re a
shooting sports enthusiast gun nut, you’re not easy to buy gifts for: Try explaining to your wife that yes, those magazines for an AK are wonderful, but you own an AR, not an AK. She’ll say “It’s just one letter, what’s the big deal?” and then go on about how she doesn’t actually own six pairs of black pumps, she owns one pair that’s black, one’s that ebony, one that’s jet, one that’s deep charcoal, one that’s…
Where was I? Oh yeah; gun gift ideas.
I’ve had a fair amount of experience with this sort of thing because of my previous career as an advertising photographer. I learned to drop subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints to my family about what specific items I wanted for Christmas, because If I didn’t drop hints, they’d end up buying me 20 rolls of 24-exposure VR-G 100, and photographers can always use more film, right?
I didn’t have the heart to tell them I’d shoot two or three rolls of color negative film a year, but I’d shoot my weight in Fujichrome 100 each month. But it’s the thought that counts, right? This is why I’m not including ammo on this list, because we
shooting sports enthusiasts gun nuts tend to be pretty specific about such things and know exactly what works best for us. We’re finicky and we know it, and we want everyone to be happy on Christmas morning.
I also know that some people who just don’t like guns and don’t want to deal with them at Christmas time, and that’s cool too: That discussion needs to happen, but the holiday season probably isn’t the time nor the place. Here are some suggestions for your list that don’t involve going into a gun shop or dealing with calibers and cartridges, yet are still nice gifts for the gun lover in your life.
- Flashlights: This is pretty much a no-brainer. If they’re into guns, chances are they’re into flashlights as well. If they don’t have a pocket flashlight, I recommend the Streamlight Microstream for price, size and power. It’s so small, there’s really no reason not to have it with you all the time. If they need something bigger, I like the Pelican 2360 over other higher-priced lights because it kicks out enough lumens to be useful but takes plain ol’ AA’s instead of expensive dedicated lithium batteries. This means you can get replacement batteries for your flashlight on the moon if you need them, and lithium cells are still an option if you want the extra power and battery life.
- Multitools. Another no-brainer. We like our gadgets, and we like to be able to fix them when they break. I’ve carried Leathermans for decades (literally) and a TSA-compliant Leatherman PS is in my pocket as I type this. My favorite, though, is a trim little SOG multitool that opens quickly and easily and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Gear Bags. This doesn’t need to be some camouflage combat-ready tactical ready bag: Even a Maxpedition
man-pursemessenger bag will be appreciated by the shooter in your life.
- Binoculars. Very useful and something you can get just about anywhere. A good rule of thumb for inexpensive binoculars is you want a camera manufacturer’s brand name on them, as camera makers know how to make clear optics at a decent price. Something more than 4x power and less than 12x is fine, and the higher the ratio between the first number (power) and the second number (size of the front lens), the easier it is to see through and the better it is at night. Something like these Nikons would be a good balance between size, power and clarity.
- First Aid Kits. Because stuff happens whether you own a gun or not. Adventure Medical Kits have all the essentials and are priced right. Be sure to buy two: One to give as a present and one to keep for yourself, because you are going to need a Band-Aid this year, I guarantee it. If you’re worried about something more traumatic than scrapes and cuts, there are many trauma/gunshot wounds kits available to deal with what might happen on the worst day of your life. I just ordered three (one for my car, one for the house, one for my range bag) Pocket Trauma Kits from Rescue Essentials because they’re compact, priced right and they have all the gear you need to deal with the bad things in life.
- Rangefinders. If your loved ones have a rifle, they’re going to need to know the distance to their target, be it paper, steel, or a four-legged critter. Laser rangefinders have dropped in price to where you can buy one for the same price as a nice meal out on the town, and with increased accuracy, the ammo savings your loved one will have with this little gadget can be spent on said meal. Win-win.
- Boots/Shoes. Just because guys don’t spend hours in a shoe store doesn’t mean comfortable feet aren’t important to us. There’s a whole bunch of good, comfortable hiking/outdoor boots to be had if he/she is a hunter, and if they compete in practical shooting, they’ll need something like a pair of Nike Land Sharks to help them stop and start quickly on the shooting range.
- Time. Print up a nice “gift certificate” good for a weekend of shooting. Shooting is a time-intensive sport, and giving someone a few days to themselves to throw rounds downrange means quite a lot.
- Movies. Here’s a few movies that just about every
shooting sports enthusiastgun nut can agree on, but be advised that none of them are what you might call a “chick flick.” There is a time and a place for a period romance, (ask me how much I like Emma Thompson in “Sense and Sensibility” sometime when no one else is around), but that time and place rarely has guns on the big screen.
- Pale Rider. While it may not be the tour de force that Unforgiven was, the gun-handling and attention to detail are first rate in this movie, and besides, there’s nothing like a nice piece of hickory.
- A Better Tomorrow. Modern gunfight choreography begins here. John Woo did for movie gunfights what Bruce Lee did for movie martial arts, and this is where it all began.
- Magnum Force. In my opinion, the best Dirty Harry movie. Better than the first one, better than Sudden Impact, and speak to me not of abomination that is The Dead Pool.
- Uncommon Valor. The movie that taught me that most problems in life can be solved with an appropriate charge of high explosives.
- The Wild Bunch. Another gunfight that changed how movies are made. For better or worse, the cinematography in this movie ramped up the violence and forever changed how gunfights were shown on the silver screen.
- Heat. The noise, the beautiful noise during that downtown gun battle. Incredible.
- Gift Certificates. When all else fails, head down to Cabela’s or Bass Pro or Gander Mountain, buy a gift certificate and let them decide.
Okay, shooters, what did I miss? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.Published in