First Gear: Must-Haves for Gun Owners

posted on March 9, 2023
firearm must haves
Photo: Peter Fountain

1. Fix It Fast
You need a trauma kit containing all the critical items but with no fluff to add needless weight—and you also need a smart way to carry it. The Phokus Research Expedition Trauma Kit (ETK) offers the former and pairs perfectly with the GBRS Group Individual First Aid System (IFAS) Pouch. The ETK gives you hemostatic and z-fold gauzes, an elastic bandage, occlusive dressings, NPA (Nasopharyngeal airway) set with lubricating jelly, needle, tape, gloves and an eye shield, along with small items like safety pins that we might easily overlook building our own kit. The IFAS pouch gives you an easy way to carry it all, with rapid deployment in mind. Its MOLLE and BELT compatibility with a side-release buckle and laminate material are all practical choices, plus it has a tourniquet sleeve that fits most types. (ETK $183; IFAS pouch $54.99;

2. No-Scrape Vehicle Safe
The Hornady RAPiD Vehicle Safe has all the usual things I like to see in gun storage, including a cable to secure it to the car’s frame and multiple ways to access the compartment. In this case, you’ll have the RFID wrist band, key fob or decal—any of which are programmable to your other Hornady RAPiD safes as well—plus a backup key. What makes this safe unique compared to others I’ve owned is its inflatable bladder, which allows you to fit the safe into its space in the vehicle better and to prevent the metal from scratching up the console. I also like that you can use the 12-volt adapter for power instead of having to rely on the AAA batteries. ($316.99;

3. Cozy Core
Layering is critical for outdoor range time, and the Forloh ThermoNeutral down vest is perfect for your mid-layer—and now it’s available for women, too. Forloh has a lot of technology packed into this water-resistant vest that makes it both warm and breathable, plus very packable but simultaneously tough. (I plan to put this vest in my will, since the seams on it look like they’ll hold together a lot longer than I will.) It’s also comfortable, but with a flattering fit, and I’m always cold, so I find myself reaching for this rather frequently. It fits snugly as a mid-layer, so size it up to use as an outer layer. ($299;


shooter at outdoor range
shooter at outdoor range

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