Best Gifts For Shooters
These Ideas Are 'Right On Target'
November 1, 2016
Before you know it, gift-giving season will be upon us. If you have a shooter in your life — a boss, a spouse, a sibling, a best friend, a child or grandchild — I’m here to make your holiday a little easier. Here are some of my top picks: the best gifts for the shooter on your shopping list.
One thing everyone learns quickly is that loading magazines is hard on the fingers. Loading them by hand takes strength and dexterity, and hardly anyone I know can do it quickly. Glocks come with a loader, and it is serviceable, but there is a much better way. The UpLULA is a speed loader that is easy to use and makes filling magazines quick and easy. They come in a bunch of colors (even pink!), and they are less than $30. You can pick one up at most sporting goods and gun stores, and you can also get them from Amazon. These things are the best!
Electronic Ear Protection
Ear protection is a must when shooting, even if you are outside. Foam earplugs are better than nothing, but just barely. Earmuffs are better, but electronic earmuffs are the best. They react to sound and muffle the sounds of gunshots, and are adjustable so that if you are in a class, you can still hear your instructor. We found ours on sale at Cabelas for less than $80. You’ll want to buy the highest decibel rating you can afford — the higher the number, the better the protection. They take batteries, but those last quite a long time. Any shooter would be thrilled to find these under the tree.
Nothing is quite as satisfying as the immediate gratification of spatter targets. These are targets that start out one color, then show different fluorescent colors around every hole you put in the target. On some brands there are different colors the farther you hit from the bullseye. These targets cost more than the plain paper ones, but they are so much more fun, plus they make it much easier for old eyes to see how the shots are impacting. Targets come in a variety of sizes and you can get packages with just a few or a whole bunch, so how much you spend is completely up to you. These are a fun gift, especially for a penny-pinching shooter who wouldn’t splurge on them for himself.
Gun-Cleaning Kit For Range Bag
Every now and then, any shooter is going to wish she had a little gun-cleaning kit in her range bag. Maybe she needs to clear a jam, or maybe something is a bit gummed up. A small gun-cleaning kit is a very good thing to have along on a hunting trip as well. One of my favorites is the Otis Tactical Cleaning Kit. You can actually get one right now on MidwayUSA.com for less than $40, and that’s a sweet deal. This little kit hardly takes up any room at all, yet it has the basics to clean up a variety of calibers. I bought these for my father-in-law and my son a few years ago, and they both loved it. The perfect stocking stuffer for any shooter!
Odds are, there is a shooting range near you that offers classes. Some of the Game and Fish ranges offer some free classes, especially for beginners. For the more seasoned shooter, advanced courses are offered at various shooting ranges such as Shooters World, and those are usually a couple of hundred dollars or so. But, are they ever fun! Call them up and ask them about the various classes they offer. Find out if there are prerequisites, and whether the class is at the store or at an outdoor range. The ones at the range often let you shoot while moving or from cover, which is really nice because you can never do those kinds of things at a public range (except in a class). This is a bit of a splurge, but it’s a first-class gift that will thrill any shooter.
Laser Training System
Ammunition is expensive, but shooting is like every other skill — if you want to be good at it, you need to practice. The best way to practice without ammo is with a laser training system. Laser guns come in different models so that you can get one that is exactly like your real gun, so practice develops all the right muscle memory. You can use them without the special targets if you want to because you can see where the laser is hitting. But, the targets make it a lot of fun because you get instant feedback. These systems can be pricey, and you can check out several different kinds on Amazon. Also, check out laserlyte.com. You can get all set up for around $200.
Every now and then, almost every shooter will find it necessary to transport a handgun in his car. If you don’t carry it on your body, you need a safe place to keep it — where it won’t be stolen, and where inquisitive youngsters can’t get to it. I solved the problem by purchasing a locking gun vault for my car. They come with airline cable so the box can be cabled to a seat, or any immovable part of the car — most cars have big metal rings in the trunk. GunVault has a variety of models, and you can get them for as little as $30. The GunVault NV300 NanoVault has a combination lock and goes for about $35 on Amazon. You can also find these lock boxes at any gun store or sporting goods store.
Tactical flashlights are all the rage right now. They usually have a couple of settings, including a strobe effect and different brightness settings. They are black and military-looking and just about every shooter wants one. You can get them for as little as $20 and as much as a couple of hundred. Some of the best tactical flashlights are made by Fenix. Tactical flashlights come in a huge variety of sizes. The latest high-tech flashlights are incredibly bright — we even bought a Fenix flashlight for the boat for night fishing and it will light up the bank from almost 400 yards away! They are very high quality and made to last, plus they are have a lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship. Seriously good flashlights.
Airsoft guns are another great way to practice shooting on the cheap. They come in many models including various pistols, AR’s, etc. They shoot plastic pellets and are powered by electric, gas, or springs. The velocity isn’t enough to really hurt a person but eye protection is a must. These run from about $26 and up, plus you’ll end up buying accessories and of course, pellets. You can check them out at airsoftstation.com.
The cat’s out of the bag about tactical pens. They are meant to be a discreet “weapon”, but they are so popular now that almost anyone who sees one knows what it is. They are pens made of metal, usually black, with textured surfaces that allow you to grip them without having them slip, and they are designed to be used as a weapon in places where you are not allowed to carry a gun. Some can break a car window; some have lock picking tools or a handcuff key inside. They are usually black and quite military looking. And, of course, they actually work as pens, although some are so thick that they are a bit awkward to write with. If you don’t want to get an obvious tactical pen, visit your local office-supply store and check out the well-made metal ballpoint pens they have there. These can serve the same purpose without being overtly “tactical” looking. Tactical pens can run anywhere from $4 to over $100, and you can get them at gun shops and online.
Well, there you have my top gift ideas for shooters. If you aren’t sure exactly what to buy, you can always get them a gift card for their favorite gun store. No matter what you choose, I’m sure your gunner will be tickled pink on Christmas morning.