Between inflation and unprecedented supply chain issues, shopping for Christmas gifts will be especially challenging this year. It's nearly Thanksgiving, so if you're like me, you're getting ready to knock out all your Christmas shopping so you can make sure you can get all the gifts on your loved ones' lists.
Last year I posted a similar list, and many of those items are still fantastic gifts that made their way onto this list. But I thought I would change it up and recommend some gear your friend or loved one will appreciate.
Concealed Carry Belt-
1) Foundation Belt:
If your loved one is carrying their every day (EDC) gun in a holster clipped onto a regular belt, do them a favor. Get them a belt explicitly designed to support the weight of a handgun. I've gone through a lot of different belts from various manufacturers over the years. There are a few that I go to every time, though.
If I narrow it down to the belt I use the most, the Foundation Belt from the EDC Belt Company would be it. The belt is extremely comfortable, sufficiently stiff, and supportive, and is simple enough that I can wear it with various clothing styles.
2) RangeTech Bluetooth Shot Timer:
Shot timers are not just for competition shooting. Establishing performance baselines through objective metrics is important for progress. The RangeTech shot timer is the only timer that connects to a smartphone for its operation and display. It also stores all your shot data for review.
Dummy Training Cartridge-
3) ReadyUpGear Dummy Rounds:
A dummy round is an inert cartridge with the exact specifications of a genuine round. It just has no power charge or live primer. Dummy rounds are incredibly useful in a wide range of applications. For example, there are live fire and dry fire drills that involve the use of dummy rounds. Some folks even use dummy rounds any time they perform any dry fire practice.
I prefer these dummy rounds from ReadyUpGear over many of the other styles sold. These use a soft, plastic bullet and primer that won't mar or produce aluminum shavings like different styles. Also, the projectile is brightly colored to ensure it is not confused with a live round, and you can find it when it falls to the ground out on the range.
4) Laser Dot Trainer:
Dry fire practice can get mundane, but not when you use something like a laser cartridge. This one, called the Laser Dot Trainer, is a caliber-specific device that looks similar to a cartridge. However, it has no propellant; instead, striking the “primer” of the cartridge produces a laser pulse from the barrel.
Paring the Laser Dot Trainer with shot recording software like LASR X unlocks a new dimension of dry fire practice. You can follow along with our monthly Shooter Ready Challenge, where we use LASR software to increase proficiency.
Electronic Hearing Protection Ear Pads-
5) SoftSeal Ear Pads:
I'll assume your loved one is already using electronic hearing protection; if not, turn them on to something like these roger 22's. Electronic hearing protection allows hearing normal conversation, still protecting from sounds at dangerously high dB levels.
But one drawback to muff style hearing protection is that extended use can cause discomfort around the ears. The solution is these gel-filled ear pads that replace the standard ear cups. The SoftSeals change the feel of muff style hearing protection so noticeably that you won't ever go back to a standard ear cup.
SoftSeals is one of those simple products that have a significant impact on enjoyment at the range.
6) The Law of Self-Defense:
I don't think it's an unfair generalization to say that most concealed carriers don't fully understand self-defense law to the level they should. In fact, we offered a quiz to our audience. Over 17,000 people took the quiz, and the average score was around 55%. That means many people carrying guns are unclear about the laws that could send them to prison or a courthouse for a second fight for their lives.
I haven't found a better book on the topic than the Law of Self Defense written by Attorney Andrew Branca. Atty Branca is an industry-recognized expert and authority in the realm of self-defense law. I have read this book at least two times, and I recommend each concealed carrier read it and understand the guiding principles presented in its pages.
7) Modular Compact Flashlight:
The benefits of carrying a handheld flashlight go beyond tactical purposes. For a few years, I've had a Surefire Stiletto in my pocket wherever I went. It is a great light. However, it is a bit pricey I know. I find the MCF Spark light from ReadyUpGear is an excellent option because it is customizable and versatile. The MCF (Modular Compact Flashlight) Spark comes with a couple of different tail cap styles and housing lengths, so you can adapt it to suit your preference.
8) StopBox Vault:
You may work in or routinely visit an environment where you can't carry your handgun with you. In these situations, leaving your firearm in the glove box is not the best option. Instead, a handgun vault tethered under the seat or mounted somewhere in the vehicle is a much better strategy. We should also secure our firearms inside the house in a manner that allows quick access.
A vault such as this one from StopBox doesn't require electricity or any complicated numeric code. Its lock is intuitive and straightforward to operate under stress. If you need something more substantive, take a look at these options that may fit your specific needs.
9) ReadyUpGear Rechargeable battery lineup:
There are apparent benefits to rechargeable batteries. Over time, you save money by simply recharging the ones you have instead of buying new ones. Additionally, these rechargeable batteries can boost the light output of flashlights capable of running with increased amperage.
These rechargeable 18650 batteries typically replace 2 CR123 batteries found in many handheld flashlights. But if your flashlight uses CR123 batteries, you're covered with these 16340 rechargeable batteries.
Medical Gear and Training-
10) Trauma Kit:
You will find this item on my list of recommended products from last year as well. The reason is that I think it's that important.
Trauma gear may seem overkill to some of you, but hear me out on this. You need your own trauma kit, not just a first-aid kit with bandaids. Instead, you need a kit with the appropriate equipment to treat the type of injuries you could sustain from shooting guns.
First, your gun range may or may not even have a trauma kit. If it does, it may not even be accessible when you need it, then if it is, how do you know if it has the necessary gear or that the equipment is even serviceable?
Do you know how to use the gear? Maybe there is someone around who does, maybe not.
In other words, you may bleed out because you don't have the necessary gear or training to treat an injury.
Get the point? Having your own trauma gear must be something you take to the range, and I would recommend having a dedicated kit in your home and vehicle as well.
Mountain Man Medical has kits of all types to fit the purpose, all at a great price.
Hopefully, you will never need to use it on yourself or anyone else, but it literally could determine if someone lives or dies. While we're talking about using the kit, knowing how to use the gear is just as important as having it. Providing immediate care to a trauma patient doesn't require a medical degree, but it isn't something you will learn in your CPR class. So get some training on how to use the essential tools that could save a life.
Even if there wasn't an ammo shortage, which there is, dryfire (practicing with an unloaded firearm) is an incredible way to become more proficient. There are many different items you can get to make dry fire practice more enjoyable and more beneficial. Here are some options:
Christmas List for Gun Owners:
Let us know about some of the items you find valuable as a gun owner. For full disclosure, many of the products mentioned in the article are items that our company sells. However, this isn't the reason I included them.
The items included are products I personally use and have no hesitation in recommending to anyone.