First Gear: Prep for the Holidays

posted on December 3, 2022
shooting gear
Photo: Peter Fountain

1. Equipping Made Easy
Do you have a friend or family member who just won’t get a bag together? Get them Clinger Holsters’ Tactical Bug Out Bag, which comes pre-stuffed with enough food, water, shelter and survival tools for four people to feasibly survive 72 hours, with plenty of space remaining for you to add more if desired. (I would suggest topping up the minimal first-aid kit.) Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime; a bag like this can help your loved ones be ready. ($269.99;

2. Build A Tiny AR-15
GoatGuns’ miniature die-cast 1:3 models have been around a while, but not everyone knows about them. This model, named “Charky,” is an ideal gift for your AR-15 enthusiast, who will appreciate the moveable trigger, loadable magazine, adjustable stock and other realistic details. A display base is included. ($39.99;

3. Re-Thinking Plinking
Throom’s self-healing and highly portable targets offer a variety of setups: Pair the alpha brackets with 2x4s, then set up hanging targets, knock-down targets or bounce-back targets; a dueling tree setup and Pepper Popper replacements are also available. Fun targets, from bowling pins to spades to varmints, make this an ideal gift. Bullets pass right through the self-healing polymer with no ricochet, and the whole setup is far lighter than steel. (Prices depend on options;

4. Conceal in Any Bag
While on-body carry is always ideal, it’s not always possible; this Modular Bag Holster from Versacarry makes it possible to carry nearly any gun in nearly any bag. Three Chicago screws adjust the holster to fit to the gun. Just attach the adhesive Velcro patch in your bag, and the holster’s Velcro patch (on either side) to that. Besides its sheer utility, vegetable-tanned water-buffalo leather makes it a handsome gift. ($39.99;

5. Vital Protection
Outside of the law-enforcement field, the likelihood of ever needing armor like this is extremely low, but not zero. (Heck, I’ve been on some under-regulated ranges where I would’ve liked to have it on.) Predator Armor’s Level III and Level III+ Loaded Bundles include two lightweight plates, a mesh-lined Cordura-material plate carrier and a quick-draw triple-mag pouch with Kydex inserts—everything you need in one giftable package. ($269 and up;

6. Fire Up The Holiday Grog
A high-quality, handmade decanter is a nice gift for those who like a drink with style; one with a .50 BMG bullet seeming to nearly pierce it, however, is clearly superior to the normal offerings. And, if you really like the recipient, engraving is also available. ($39.99 plain decanter alone; $89.99 set;

7. T-Hawk To The Rescue
This CRKT compact outdoor tomahawk, called the Jenny Wren, is an ideal gift for any lover of the outdoors. It is lightweight but strong, with a glass-reinforced grippy nylon handle and triple cutting edges on its head. The MOLLE-compatible thermoplastic sheath fits snugly and has a safety strap. ($119;

8. Same Knife, Different Blades
Multiple pocket knives can be a thing of the past, thanks to the True Swift Edge with replaceable blades. The fast-flip knife sports a two-step blade release so you can switch out dull blades or change the blade style. It comes with two drop-point blades, one tanto blade and one saw blade, plus a blade case to keep them safe. ($49.99;

9. Blade Upkeep
Will you be gifting a blade of any kind during the holidays? Be sure to grab a high-quality blade cleaner, too, like this one from Modern Spartan Systems. Its eco-friendly chemical makeup is designed to smooth friction and to enhance the metal of the blade. ($14.50;

10. Hoppe’s for the Holidays
You know that friend who loves the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9 cleaner? Either you know such a person, or maybe you need to get out more—it’s such a trend among gun owners that Hoppe’s even sells air fresheners ... which, I must admit, make the perfect stocking-stuffer. Ah ... the smell of clean guns for the holidays. ($11.45 three-pack;

11. Light or Firelight
The super-portable, USB-chargeable Dark Energy Plasma Lighter has a 120-Lumen flashlight/strobe on one side, and a fire-starting dual-arc plasma emitter on the other (safely ensconced under a latched, waterproof cap). ($29.99;

12. Locked and Dry
Vaultek’s LifePod water-resistant lockable storage case is lightweight, airtight and, most importantly, secure, with anti-impact latches and the ability to disable manual key access. It fits most full-sized firearms. ($109.99 and up;

13. Changing Sights
Glocks are notable for being highly customizable, but that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily easy to change. RealAvid’s Glock SightPusher, however, makes at least one customization easy; it allows you to anchor the slide and, via extra-fine threads on the torque handle, to get leverage. ($99.99;

14. A Mini-Sized, Max-Featured Bag
Voodoo Tactical’s Mini Tobago Pack has all the pockets, pouches, pen slots and other whatnots you want in any good backpack, plus a few extras for the tactical-minded, including mag pouches, webbed attachment loops, space for an armor plate and a unique panel to slide your arm through, thus turning your pack into a shield. A pouch at the bottom near your back can also hold a pistol (add your own holster or trigger guard) and is dual-zippered for either hand to reach in. ($109.95;


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