A Gift Guide for Gun People
If you have a range junkie or two on your holiday gift list and are at a loss, here are a few things that will definitely spark a smile when the wrapping paper is torn.
IT’S HERE AGAIN. The silly season, where you have to dig down into the deepest depths of memory and sentiment to come up with some gifts that won’t disappoint. If you know and/or are related to a lot of gun people, it makes things exponentially easier. Below are some gift recommendations from some of our top contributors. Hopefully this list will help take some of the stress out of your shopping season. Happy Holidays! —DM
The Maglula UpLULA Universal Pistol Magazine Loader. author photo
The Maglula UpLULA continues to be one of the great inventions for pistol shooters. As the “universal” part of the name implies, it makes easy magazine loading and unloading chores for a wide variety of calibers from .380 through .45 ACP. The self-centering design allows you to load narrow single-stack magazines and wide double-stacks without altering the loader.
The secret is how the UpLULA makes use of big muscles instead of finger and thumb strength. Rather than trying to press rounds against heavy magazine springs, especially those particularly hard last two or three, you slide the UpLULA over the magazine, set the magazine base on a table or bench, and use your arm to compress the magazine spring.
When you squeeze the loader and press, a tongue pushes the bullets down, allowing you to simply drop in the next cartridge. Release your grip before allowing the UpLULA to move back up, and you’re ready to repeat the process.
Once you get the hang of it, loading is super fast and reliable. There’s also a cutout on the back which helps you quickly unload a magazine without tearing up your fingers. —Tom McHale
Concealment leggings from Under Tech. mfg photo
Leggings have been popular among women for quite some time. They’re not only comfortable, but cute. They can be worn as part of an athletic outfit to the gym or jogging, or they can be dressed up by throwing on a long sweater or cute top.
The only thing about leggings is that they’re not pants. No, I’m not being judgmental of anyone’s fashion choices, but i’m justing saying they don’t have belt loops or provide much support around the waist for carrying a firearm. That’s all changed with the invention of concealment leggings!
The UnderTech UnderCover Concealment Leggings are available in capri or full-length models. They each feature two holsters, one in the appendix location and one behind the hip in the 5 o’clock position.
Each holster has a retention loop to hold the firearm snuggly and securely against your body. There’s also a small pocket in the front, opposite of the appendix holster, for a spare magazine, cell phone, debit card, or anything else you’d like to store there.
The material is thick enough that the trigger is safely covered, while still being comfortable to wear. —Stacy Bright
One of the many concealed carry bags from Hiding Hilda. mfg photo
Some concealed carry bags get in the way of, well, concealed carry draws. They flop around and never seem to fit a woman’s curves. If only you could take a quilted Vera Bradley bag and make it a concealed carry bag, using top-of-the-line quilted (and washable) fabric.
That’s what Dawn Hillyer did, with the creation of her line of CCW bags made of sturdy, yet flexible fabric—being manufactured in Indiana on an old, you guessed it, Vera Bradley manufacturing set up.
Presently, the HidingHilda line includes 3 types of bag: the 3-Zip Messenger (pictured above), the Treasure Tote, and the Mini Messenger, in a variety of colors. The bags come with Velcro covered holster compartments that include leather holsters made with Velcro attachments specifically for her bags. All this adds structure.
I have been carrying the 3-Zip Messenger bag in crimson this fall. Every time I take it out, a woman says, “Love that bag.” And little do they know … —Barbara Baird
The Manta-Ray AR-15 snap-on weapon light. author photo
Here’s an unusual but handy invention. The Manta Ray by Lasermax is a snap-on light for AR-15s and other rifles with a rail. About five inches long, the unit weights next to nothing and contains a “mint green” 140-lumen LED light.
The entire unit is coated in rubber and snaps onto the rail without any screws, levers or tools. It goes on, and stays on, with just a bit of spring pressure.
That means that if you want a handheld light, even temporarily, just pop it off and use it like any other flashlight. The shape and button placement make it equally natural to use either on or off your rifle.
It’s a rechargeable light that you juice up with a standard mini-USB connection. Use the included cable or any of the 74 others you probably already have, and you’re good to go. —Tom McHale
It’s hard to go wrong gifting a Hoppe’s BoreSnake Pistol Cleaning Kit. mfg photo
For this one, all you have to know is whether your gift target is a handgun shooter or not. If they are, then pick them up a Hoppe’s Boresnake. The simple cleaning tool makes polishing up the bore of any handgun, even at the range, a breeze and its even good for deep cleaning a gun at home.
One size will work for handguns chambered in 9mm, .357, .380, and .38; another will handle anything from .40 cal on up, so you can grab both if you aren’t totally sure about which to get.
Of course, BoreSnakes are available for larger and smaller calibers, including .22LR, and shotguns. When it comes to rifles, they get pretty caliber-specific, so it’s better to know what the person shoots the most, though there aren’t too many shooter who couldn’t find a use for a .223-sized BoreSnake these days.
Just to dress it up a little, why not spring for the BoreSnake Pistol Cleaning kit, which also comes with a nylon case that can attach to a belt or strap, a bottle of Hoppe’s No. 9 Solvent, Hoppe’s Lubricating Oil, Hoppe’s Weatherguard Cloths and a pulling tool to make using the BoreSnake easier.
Master Series Green Lasergrips from Crimson Trace. author photo
If you really want to make a gift statement for a special shooting enthusiast on your list, check out the new green laser 1911 Master Series Lasergrips from Crimson Trace. You can get them to fit full-size 1911s, compact models, pistols with a bobtail grip profile and even those with a round butt.
The new green laser models are available in wood or black and gray G10 synthetic.
Pro tip: Check out the wood models. You can buy your choice of Walnut, Rosewood, or Cocobolo. All of them are gorgeous. While the side panels are wood, the front instinctive-activation switch is rubber, and the laser housing is a tough polymer.
The green lasers will run about two hours continuously on four of the thin CR 2016 batteries. There’s a sliding on/off master switch on the left side if you want to save batteries during daylight practice sessions. —Tom McHale
The Blue Force Gear Double Pistol belt pouch.
We’ve mentioned these before but given the sheer handiness and affordability, they deserve a spot on any shooter’s gift list.
Carrying spare magazines is a pain. With the normal belt-attach method, you’ve now got extra bulk on both sides of your waist. Even the extra thickness of leather or Kydex magazine carriers makes a difference. That’s one of the things so cool about the Blue Force Gear Double Pistol Belt Pouches. They’re made of an ultra-thin magic stretchy material, so they add zero thickness. Being made of fabric, they’re also comfortable as they bend around the curve of your waist.
The best part is that the pouches assume whatever size and shape you need. They’ll hold single-stack magazines, double-stacks, or even other gear like multi-tools or a flashlight. They’re insanely handy. —Tom McHale
These shooting glasses are designed interchangeable lenses that allow you to personalized the shooting glasses to view both your front sight and the target according to your preference mfg photo
Anyone who visits a shooting range often should own their own pair of shooting glasses. Keeping your eyes safe from debris, flying casings, and even ricochets, is vital. However, not all eye protection is equal.
Safety glasses and ballistic glasses are not the same. Look for glasses that are ANSI Z87.1 rated. This is a standard for eye protection that prevents or minimizes injuries from eye hazards. There are also different color lenses for indoor and outdoor shooting.
A problem that also needs to be addressed is eyesight. According to a recent Pew Research study, there are more gun owners over the age of 50 than under. With age comes eyesight problems, especially up close. Seeing the front sight on the firearm, as well as seeing the target, can be difficult. Many people try to wear their reading glasses under a pair of safety glasses to fix this problem, often resulting in a distorted view.
One product on the market that seeks to eliminate this problem is Top Focal Lenses from SSP Eyewear.
They have designed interchangeable lenses that allow you to personalized the shooting glasses to view both your front sight and the target according to your preference. You choose the correct magnification power from 1.25-2.50, depending on what you would use for your reading glasses. They also exceed the ANSI Z87.1 specification, and have anti-fog coating on the lenses. —Stacy Bright
Mechanix Wear FastFit gloves are great shooting gloves, but can be used for pretty much anything. mfg photo
Regardless of the kind of shooting or hunting one does, there always arises the need for gloves. But finding a good pair of shooting gloves can be tough. They need to be sturdy and thick enough to protect your hands or keep them from getting numb in the cold, but they must also have the dexterity and thin profile to allow the user to easily and reliably manipulate a firearm and its controls without getting in the way.
Those attributes are exactly why soldiers LEOs have been choosing Mechanix Wear gloves for years. They are just tough enough, and offered in different levels of toughness, while providing just enough dexterity and feel to get the job done.
The company’s FastFit version is a simplified, pull-on glove with some light elastic at the wrist to keep it in place instead of the velcro tab on the originals. They’re rugged and tough enough to act as light work gloves when not on the range, and inexpensive enough that you don’t care if a pair gets ruined (or if you’re a shooter who likes to cut the index finger and thumb off your range gloves) and they’re pretty much the best shooting gloves you can buy.
They come in a range of colors, including Multicam (picture above), coyote, and black, of course. Grab two or three pairs in different colors—they’re great for stuffing a stocking, if you do that sort of thing, and will never disappoint, though it’s definitely more of a useful gift than a flashy one. —Dave Maccar
There are plenty of companies that sell laser targets that allow the user to practice shooting drills at home. I recently had the chance to try a couple products offered by Laser Ammo and instantly loved them! It’s especially fun when challenging a friend or family member.
With the weather getting cooler in many parts of the country, this often prohibits outdoor firearms training. Even going to an indoor range can be difficult due to time constraints, other obligations, or just plain lack of motivation. Now you can train from the comfort of your own home with laser targets.
Laser Ammo has various products, but I’d like to focus on one that can be used in large or small spaces.
The Interactive Multi Target Training System has a wireless target-to-target communication system that allows for 5 shooting modes which include: Standalone, Steel-Plate shooting, Tactical training (“Chase the Ball”), Shoot/no-shoot, and Double-Speed shoot/no-shoot.
Place the targets in various locations around your house, or have someone else place them instead. Depending on the mode chosen, the targets will illuminate red or green, or react with light/sound when hit. Users will need to purchase a cartridge insert for their gun caliber to use with this product. —Stacy Bright
A Volquartsen Firearms Scorpion in action. mfg photo
It’s like driving a fine sports car to the annual office Christmas party when you show up at the range with this target pistol. Long gone are the days of dull plinking or competing with the bare minimum, and frankly, boring gun. Volquartsen Firearms offers a line of “ultimate target pistols” – under the name of Scorpion.
Volquartsen redesigned its LLV barreled receiver. They started with a CNC-machined billet receiver, and then machined the receiver and barrel shroud as one piece from aluminum alloy. The buyer has a choice of either a 4.5-inch or a 6-inch stainless steel barrel that has been machine-honed, lapped and contoured. The LLV competition upper also sports a stainless-steel barrel and breech face.
I added a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro to the rail on mine, and then, went to town on the range – hitting targets that I would have missed with iron sights. You may customize the gun to your preferences in the custom shop, or choose from several finishes, including the American flag, Battle Worn, OD Green, or black. Choose Hogue grips, an upper comp with Hi-Viz front sights and target rear sights or other options to make your gun fit you (or that special person on your list this year). —Barbara Baird
The Ruger American rifle. mfg photo
I’ve never experienced hunter’s luck such as this … on opening morning in Missouri, I climbed into my elevated blind and began to set up for a long sit, as usual and expected. Twenty minutes into the process, I noticed movement after first light in the field in front of me. A 9-point buck stood on his hind legs, licking a branch and checking to see who had visited his territory lately.
After his inspection, the bruiser began a slow amble across the field, at about 75 yards from my position. I fired one shot from the Ruger American rifle in 7mm.08 at him, and he streaked off into the woods. The next 30 minutes seemed excruciatingly long. I disembarked from the blind and headed out to look for a blood trail.
I started a circular search, no more than 50 yards from where the bullet hit the buck and in the direction he headed. I found the buck, curled up and with entry and exit wounds. The bullet path went through its lungs. I’m a firm believer in pairing a great gun and the best-you-can-afford scope together, so I used a Trijicon AccuPower riflescope in 3-9×40.
I have since talked to other whitetail hunters about this gun, and we cannot believe the price point of just under $500 for a firearm of this quality. It includes a synthetic stock, Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger with a pull weight of between 3 and 5 pounds and a one-piece, three-lug bolt that allows for scope clearance and easy cycling. —Barbara Baird
Syren’s Italian Shooting Vest, Range Bag, and Gun Slip. mfg photos
Syren makes incredible women’s shotguns – but they also make range gear designed for women. Their Italian Shooting Vest is extremely comfortable with a mesh back and suede shoulder patch (the vest is right- or left-hand specific). The bellows pockets hold a full box of shells and there is a mesh hull bag in the back. I shot with this vest for a day with a Syren pro-shooter and loved it.
It was very comfortable and moved well with me while shooting. Note that they do run on the small side, so take a close look at their size chart before placing your order!
The Syren Range Bag is a padded shooting bag that could just as easily head with you to the gym or on a short weekend getaway. The bag is Syren purple and made with heavyweight quilted nylon fabric. It has padded straps like a regular tote bag, or you can attach the included padded shoulder strap if you fill it up with the number of rounds this bag can hold.
Yup, this deceptive little thing can help you carry as many as 12 boxes of 12-gauge shotgun shells with no problem. Now you have no excuse for not being able to shoot as long as you want!
Finally, Syren makes a padded “Forcing Cone” Gun Slip that is the perfect lightweight bag to carry your precious shotgun to the range and around between sporting clays stations.
Using the same purple heavy-weight quilted nylon fabric, the gun slip is as functional as it is feminine. The bag has an easy “stay open” end allowing you to easily put your gun in the bag and pull it out at the next station.
There is a removable security strap that can be attached around the folding end of the bag to ensure that your gun will not fall out when you don’t need to get it quickly. The padded shoulder strap and ergonomic rubber handle make it very easy to transport your gun wherever you go. This gun slip is a definite winner at the range. —Jodi Stemler
Beretta Off-Shot Hearing Protection is available in active or passive models. mfg photo
Buying good hearing protection may not just be a gift for your loved one—it’s also a gift to you if you can help them preserve their hearing. Shooting regularly without hearing protection puts you on the fast lane to hearing loss, yet many shooters will not invest in quality hearing protection because of the cost.
Beretta’s Off-Shot passive plugs provide a reasonably priced option for higher quality ear plugs that reduces all noises by 32 decibels. But the real winner is the Off-Shot Active ST-W hearing protection.
These lightweight comfortable headsets offer a base protection of the same 32 decibels but provides amplified hearing for ambient noises and automatic electronic muffling of noises greater than 82 decibels. These are extremely comfortable and while the electronic amplification takes a little getting used to, I was able to hold conversations and even hear the natural sounds around me when I used them hunting.
Oh, and if you don’t really want to hear the conversations of the people in the station next to you, these will connect to your Bluetooth device so that you can listen to whatever tunes you’d like or get alerts from your phone. —Jodi Stemler
When you’re in the field, the last thing you want to worry about is your clothing. However, it hasn’t been easy to find very high-quality hunting apparel that fits women perfectly and has all the same technical capabilities that men’s gear has. At SHOT Show last year, Sitka launched its women’s apparel line and it is a perfect gift for the avid female hunter.
Like with their men’s line, Sitka offers an entire system of gear that will take you through the warmest to the coldest of days. They offer two systems. The first uses their new Optifade Subalpine pattern that is designed to blend in at ground level, the second with their Optifade Elevated pattern that is perfect for whitetail hunting from a tree stand.
Every piece of the Sitka women’s line is comfortable and well thought out. The jackets can be layered to add additional warmth. Or you can use the Heavyweight Hoody which is my personal favorite with its integrated face mask that doesn’t obstruct visibility whatsoever. The Timberline Pants have plenty of give allowing for layering and easy movement – I loved the padded knees when I was turkey hunting last spring.
All in all, you cannot go wrong with Sitka’s women’s clothes – it will be a treat for the woman that you love to hunt with. —Jodi Stemler