Gift Ideas For Gun Nuts For People Who Aren’t

Gift Ideas for Gun Nuts for People Who Aren’t

One of many great gun gift ideasLet’s face it: If you’re a 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 at length about how she doesn’t 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 due to my former career as a photographer, which is another profession with pretty specific gear needs, so I learned how to drop broad hints to my family and friends about what I needed/wanted and how to buy for me.

I also know that some people 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. This list is just some suggestions for your list that don’t involve going into a gun shop or dealing with calibers and cartridges, but are nice gifts that the gun lover in your life will probably love.

  • Flashlights: 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. If they need something bigger, I like the Pelican 2360 rather than other higher-priced lights because it kicks out enough light to be useful but takes plain ol’ AA’s over expensive lithiums. This mean you can get replacement batteries on the moon if you need them, and if want lithium, it’s still an option.
  • 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 Leatherman Micra is in my pocket 24/7. My favorite, though, is a trim little SOG multitool that opens quickly and easily.
  • Gear Bags. This doesn’t need to be some camouflage combat-ready tactical ready bag: Even a Maxpedition man-purse messenger bag will be appreciated by the shooter you love.
  • Binoculars. Some useful and something you can get just about anywhere. The general rule of thumb for binos is you want a camera manufacturer’s brand name on it, as they 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 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.
  • Rangefinders. If your loved one ones have a rifle, they’re going to need to know the distance to the stuff they’re shooting at, be it paper target, steel gong or four-legged critter. Laser rangefinders have dropped in price to where you can buy one for the same price as a really nice meal out on the town, and the money your loved one saves in ammo with this little gadget can be spent on said meal.
  • Organic Gourmet Beef Jerky. Because beef jerky, that’s why.
  • 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 Landsharks to help them stop and start quickly on the shooting range.
  • Smartphone Apps. There’s apps out there for competitive shooting, for precision rifle-shooting, for hunting and for training. Chances are one or more of them will be useful to the shooter in your life.
  • Time. Print up a nice “gift certificate” good for a weekend of shooting. Shooting is a time-intesive sport, and giving them a few days to do it in means a whole bunch.
  • Movies. I have a few suggestions for movies that a gun nut might like, but be advised that none of them are what you might call a chick flick. There is a time and a place for period romance film, (ask me how much I like Emma Thompson in “Sense and Sensibility” sometime when no one else is around), but that’s not usually when there are guns on-screen.
  • 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? And if you’re new to the site, feel free to stick around or give me like on Facebook.

Three. It’s A Magic Number.

Three. It’s a magic number.

ENDO asked earlier this week what three weapons we’d chose to survive the zombie apocalypse. His choices of a Glock 17, 10/22 and AR are good, but I’d go with the three weapons I’d have if I had to radically downsize my life

  1. An 18″ AR-15 in .223 with a low-power (1-6x) scope and a .22LR conversion kit. 
  2. A compact 9mm service pistol.
  3. A 12ga pump action shotgun with a short (18.5″) barrel. 

Good for protection and hunting and almost everything else. If the AR don’t drop ’em, a 12 gauge slug will. 

So the zombies are coming… What three guns do you head out the door with? 

Concealed Prepping

Concealed Prepping

Sebastian connects the dots between concealed carry and prepping. I carry a sidearm not because I want to be a cop or rapid tactical force team member, but because I realize I will ALWAYS be my own first responder. 

Same idea with a natural disaster. FEMA won’t be there when I’ll need them, just like there won’t be a cop around if I get mugged. Prepping and CCW are both just two sides of the same self-reliance coin:  It’s not paranoid to have three days of food and water in the house and a bug out bag ready to go, it’s just logical to have backups for the single points of failure in your life. 

Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Have a kit


Ok, Pop Quiz, Hotshot…

Ok, pop quiz, hotshot…

Kit Up! asks…

You and your family are finishing up out on the range and you’re next to a couple of guys, one giving the other some instruction.
You clear your weapons, get your kids off-line and start walking towards your vehicle, you hear a muffled ‘pop’ and a yell of pain. You turn and see the ‘instructor’ holding his left thigh and bright, red blood pulsing out at an alarming rate and quantity.
Three questions: (serious answers only please)

1) What type of vessel has been hit?
2) What do you do?
3) With this type of injury, how much blood can the average adult lose within the first minute post-injury?
4) What do you have with you in your range kit or vehicle to handle such emergencies, and is it sufficient?


My answer?

1. Pulsing, so it’s probably an artery.
2. Call 911, run like hell to my car, retrieve a pouch off my Go Bag, start with QuickClot, then pressure. 
3. Damifino.
4. I have a IFAK in a pouch on the outside of my ‘Get home’ bag.

And I might have killed him. According to the commenters (some of which are combat medics), I needed to start with a pressure and a tourniquet rather than the QuikClot. 

Which exposes a big gaping hole (no pun intended…) in my training: Aside from CPR and some basic first aid, I’ve had no training in dealing with the effects of a negligent discharge. 

Time to change that. 

Bleg: Everyday Carry Flashlight

Bleg: Everyday Carry Flashlight

Right now, the only flashlight I carry day in, day out is a Photon Micro II on my keychain. It’s good, but it’s not something I’d rely on for extended use nor something that can be used defensively. 

I’d like something bigger, something in-between a AAA Maglite and a AA Maglite, 75+ lumens, lithium battery and ideally something under $50 so I’m not heartbroken when I lose it. 


Book Review: The Prepper’s Pocket Guide

Book Review: The Prepper’s Pocket Guide

Pocket Prepper GuideMy recent bout of funemployment got me a-thinkin’ about my family’s long-term sustainability. If my wife or myself are out of work for an extended period, what will become of our family? And on a related note, what can we do right now, for not much money, that’ll ensure our prosperity if there’s a disaster scenario someday. 

Enter The Prepper’s Pocket Guide.

At under $15, it’s priced right for almost everyone and it’s an excellent overview of what it takes to be disaster-resistant. It’s not for everyone: If you spend your days surfing the ‘net looking for the ulitmate ant-zombie Picatinny-compatible accessories for your AR, you’ll be disappointed in this book. Likewise, if you’ve gone beyond 72 hour kits and are now looking to build a 72 month kit, this isn’t for you.

But if you’ve realized that you are your own first responder, then this is the book for you. It doesn’t go into detail about the best anti-looter shotguns, but it does say that security is a concern in a disaster scenario. It doesn’t go into detail about how to feed a family on MRE’s, but it does have a nifty little $5 a week disaster survival plan that anyone can use. And unlike most other survival books I’ve read, it takes the procurment and cleaning of water VERY seriously (something that’s of prime importance out here in the Desert Southwest).

The bottom line is, this a great book to start with if you’re looking to improving your family’s ability to survive tough times. It may not be for everyone, but for people who’ve recently become aware of just how fragile our modern world is, The Prepper’s Pocket Guide is a great place to begin the journey towards self-preparedness.



Unc links to an interesting wallet-sized survival kit. There’s some stuff in it that I need to add to my small kit (Kevlar cord) and some stuff in it that I don’t need (non-metallic handcuff key), but the one thing that fascinates me about this kit and practically every other kit out there is the obession with fishing gear. 

I understand that fishing line and hooks have other uses and that a lead sinker doesn’t take up a lot of space, but the fact is, you’ll die from dehyrdaration or drinking polluted water LONG before you’ll die of starvation. Any Boy Scout will tell you to worry about first aid, shelter, fire and water first, then worry about food.

Going Home.

Going home.

Michael Bane, Rev. Paul and Guffaw are all talking about the idea of a “go-to” gun, the gun you use when your pistol just ain’t enough. 

I have two, one for the car and one for the house. Let’s tackle the easy subject, the house gun, first. 

In my safe room, I have my Mossberg 500

In my car, I have something different. 

Get Home Rifle

I’ve got my get-home bag in the trunk of my car, along with my CavArms AR on a three-point sling and the Sccy 9mm pistol which I usually carry inside my car. 

Ok, why this stuff? 

  1. It’s stuff I already have. I don’t have a big budget for firearms (heck, right now, I have NO budget at all), so I have to use what I have. The CavArms rifle is LIGHT (just about 6 pounds unloaded), and I know I can hit with it out to 300 yards. 

  2. It’s light. The whole kit together weighs about 30 pounds, yet it has the things I need to keep me going for 3 days or more, no matter where I am. 

  3. It’s enough. Look, if I can’t deal with whatever is going on with a rifle, a pistol and 3 days of food, then it’s time for the full Rockatansky

  4. It works in Arizona. If I were traveling around the country like Michael Bane does, I’d want something lighter and less conspicuous. But I don’t, so this is all I’ll most likely ever need within the boundaries of the Copper State. 

What would I change if I could? 

  • The pistol. I like the idea of a subcompact 9mm in this kit as it gives me enough gun but it’s still small enough to pocket-carry if need be, but me and the Sccy have a rocky relationship together. I want to replace it with Ruger LC9 or similar whenever I can. 

  • The rifle. Being able to reach out to 200+ yards with a rifle is good, but I give up ammo compatibility with my pistol and all-around utility. I’m thinking about changing that out for either a 9mm Kel-Tec Sub2000 or another pump-action shotgun in the near future. 

And yes, I leave all that in my car all the time. 

I understand people’s concerns about idea of leaving two guns unattended, but the fact is, there’s nothing either inside or outside my car that is remotely desirable to even the most desperate of car thieves, and I leave my car in my garage at night. My car is a seriously uncool late-model import painted a bland medium grey. It has a factory radio and a kid’s car seat and that’s about it. 

Sometimes, the best way to avoid a robbery is making it look like there’s nothing there to steal. 

Light Bright

Light Bright

Sometimes, you don’t need a laser for accurate shooting at night.

For me, the Streamlight TLR-1 on my SIG SAUER P226R projects a circle of light where my bullet’s point of impact is near 12 o’clock in the beam’s hotspot. I have shot many groups at the range and trust this orientation out to five yards.

The Surefire lights on my H-K MP-5 and Remington 870 were also “minute-of-man” at close range during actual shooting drills.

Where is this important? At CQB distances in room clearing, I am confident that, with the light on, punching out at the target and sending rounds into the beam’s focal point will give me center of mass hits.

I’ve found this to be the case with the Insight light I won at the NRA Convention and my Mossberg 500.

Mossberg 500 with Insight light

This is about the longest shot I’ll need to take in a defensive position inside my house: It’s the view looking down from the top floor to the front door, and the only reason I’ll need to do it is to watch over my kids as they pass behind me from their rooms into the safe room. If anything else happens, we’ll hole up in the there and leave the house-clearing to the cops when they show up.

Mall ninjas, have at it!

What’s interesting is that small circle of light in the middle of the door, or rather, the small circle of shadow caused by the bulb and reflector from the Insight light. It’s a little off off center from the barrel, so I need to hold slightly to the left, but it’s close enough for government work.

And sonuvagun if that shadow isn’t also about the same size as the buckshot shot pattern from the Mossie.

If (God forbid) I need to use the gun to defend my family, I know I can get it onto target quickly, thanks to the way the Insight light projects onto the target.


Defence By The Numbers, Part 1

Defence By The Numbers, Part 1

We shoot. We train. We compete. We carry our sidearms with us every day so we can defend ourselves on that horrible day when we need them.

But what do we really need them for? What exactly are your risks?

With the help of, I’m able to see the type and severity of crime in my quiet surbanan Phoenix neighborhood, and the answers surprised me. This is what the police responded to within a one-mile radius of my home over the past six months.

Type of Crime Number of Crimes since April 2011
Assault w/ Deadly 2
Breaking and Entering 7
Disorderly Conduct (Fighting) 11
Other Assault 11

Right off the bat, the number of violent, non-lethal crimes jumped out at me. I am much more likely to get my @$$ kicked than I am stabbed or shot (although one of the Assault With A Deadly Weapon Incidents happened on my street. Yikes!).

Also, no sexual assaults or rapes, although there is one registered Level 3 sex offender within a mile of my house.

Oh joy.

A number of those assault charges are multiple charges for the same offence on the same day, i.e. Disorderly Conduct and Assault With Reckless Injury charges.

I’m also more likely to have my house broken into than I am facing a deadly weapon, which suggests than an alarm system, big dog, porch lights and anything else I can do to “harden” my home and make it less attractive to burglars is a good thing.

Now, does this mean I should forgo firearms training and run to the dojo?

No, of course not.

For one thing, there is no real substitute for a defensive sidearm. Martial arts and pepper spray can help, but the only sure way to end an attack with lethal force is to respond in-kind. The chances of defending myself against an active shooter are infinitesimally small, but the same skills that I use to keep myself safe day in and day out also apply equally as well against a homicidal madman.

Also, those are the stats for my neighborhood, but that is not my world. I regularly travel throughout to the Phoenix area, sometimes to nice places, sometimes not.

What these numbers tell me, though, is that I need to integrate my training. I need to be able to stop any threat, any time, from 1 inch away to 100 feet away, with whatever tools are appropriate and handy. Training and training for a 20 yard pistol headshot does me little good if someone throws a punch at my head.

Part II Tomorrow: What about random acts of violence?