Buying gifts for the gun-lover in your family can be a real hassle. Between legal restrictions on buying guns on behalf of others in certain states, and the ultra niche nature of the hobby, it’s tough to find the right gift.
Thankfully, as someone who has spent the vast majority of his disposable (and often non-disposable) income on guns, ammo and their accessories, I can point you laymen in the right direction. Pick any of these five gifts to make this holiday one your gun guy (or gal) will never forget.
Henry Repeating Arms
Whether he just loves John Wayne movies or is a full-time Single Action Shooting Society competitor - there’s a gift just perfect for your favorite gun-slinger online.
If you recipient is more casual in their love of Westerns, try one of the many lever-action rifles from Henry Arms. 100% made in America, these rugged lever-guns are based on the original Winchester Model 1866.
While the original was chambered in the archaic .44 Henry rimfire cartridge, Henry offers dozens of models in as many calibers. Allowing your favorite cowboy to either hunt medium game with a .30-30, teach youngsters the basics with the Goldenboy in .22lr or go all-in with the authentic reproduction Original Henry Rifle in .44-40 WCF or .45 Colt.
Whatever your budget is, there’s a beautiful Henry rifle available to fit it. And if you’re unsure which of the guns to buy, Henry also offers gift certificates on their site. But let’s be honest, the bright brass receiver would look great glimmering under the tree’s lights Christmas morning.
Premier Body Armor Plate
Wait a minute, this list is supposed to be about gun-lovers and guns. So what is an armor company doing on the list?
After my recent experience with Premiere’s plates, and the fact that every officer friend I’ve showed them to has bought one - I think they’d make a perfect gift for the law enforcement officer in the family.
Unfortunately, many police departments are stuck with old, outdated (And sadly ineffective) equipment. If your favorite boy in blue happens to be fortunate enough to be issued a decent trauma plate for their body armor, chances are it’s so heavy they normally don’t wear it. That’s where Premier comes in.
Developed in response to complaints about armor strength to weight ratios, Premier’s trauma plates are revolutionary in their construction. Tipping the scales at a scant 6.9lbs (compared to ESAPI plates at 13lbs), these ultra-thin plates can stop any round traveling under 3,200 fps. This means all pistol rounds, most 5.56, all .308 and 7.62x39mm and dozens others at a mere 16 yards. (and all those pistol rounds and most rifle rounds will stop even if at the muzzle!)
So while not as flashy or glamorous as the brass-receivered Henry above, these plates can keep your loved ones in law enforcement safe all year long.
B&T Atlas Bipods
The long-range shooter is one of the toughest gun-lovers to buy for. They are extremely particular about their ammo, scope, stock, barrel and action. Thankfully, there’s one product that is almost universally praised as the gold standard in bipods: the Atlas.
Like the mythological being that held up the world, these bipods can shoulder a n incredible amount of weight while holding the rifle perfectly still. With the ability to adjust the height of the rifle from 5.5 inches collapsed to 10.5 inches extended, these bipods are appropriate for any precision rifle system.
More than that, Atlas bipods can pan and cant 15 degrees in either direction. Allowing shooters to obtain a solid shooting position on uneven, or rocky terrain. Both the camming and panning functions can be locked down for rock-solid shooting. Plus, the legs can pivot into five different positions - 0, 45, 90, 135 and 180 degrees. Ensuring the lowest shooting position possible regardless of the rifle.
Constructed of 6061-T6, Mil-Spec Type III hard-coat anodized aluminum, the Atlas is nearly indestructible. The only downsides of the Atlas series of bipods are weight and cost. With the most expensive option running $450, and the least at $220.
Lancer L5 Warfighter Magazines
So you’ve got a loved one that eats, sleep and drinks AR-15s. Every handguard they own is free-floated, and their optics are all mil-spec, and battle-proven. One component most AR guys neglect, are magazines.
This wasn’t the case in the early 2000s, when Magpul came out with their PMAG that put the existing aluminum USGI mags to shame. Since then, many shooters simply buy themselves a few PMAGs and call it a day.
While PMAGs are great, many competitive shooters prefer Lancer’s magazines over them.
Unlike PMAGs, Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazines feature steel reinforcements to ensure more positive feeding during hard use. These steel reinforcements also address the degradation of feed lips on magazines after extensive use.
Canadian shooters are very familiar with this issue. Their Thermold polymer magazine began encountering issues with melting under high temperatures. So much so, they earned the nickname, “Thermelts”.
With the steel collar and feed lips of the AWM, these issues are totally eliminated. Another benefit? Lancer’s magazines are available for around the same price as Magpul’s PMAGS. They also come in dozens of colors including opaque and translucent ones.
SilencerShop.com Gift Card
Unlike the other options on this list, products from SilencerShop can only be bought by the actual owner (or someone in their NFA trust). Still, with E Form 1 turnaround at an all-time low, now is the time to buy your first sound suppressor.
SilencerShop isn’t a manufacturer, but a reseller. But not just any reseller, the biggest and often the least expensive one.
With hundreds of different cans available at virtually all price points, shooters can pick up a lightweight inexpensive rimfire suppressor for little more than 200 bucks.
For those in search of hearing safe plinking, pistol suppressors are available for a few hundred bucks. One in particular that I’m very fond of, is the SilencerCo Osprey 45. This asymmetric suppressor is designed for .45 ACP caliber handguns and carbines, but can utilize different pistons to function on any pistol caliber under .45. Plus, shooters with an AR-15 chambered in .300blk, can use the same can with a 5/8x24 piston to fire subsonic rounds at movie-quiet-levels.
Two things to keep in mind though, first of all every NFA item requires a $200 tax stamp. And, if your loved one intends to buy a rifle-caliber suppressor, better to buy slightly bigger and an extra adaptor than two cans. You might not get all the performance of a dedicated suppressor, but you’ll save hundreds in the process. So if you’re going to buy a gift card for a loved one, $500 should be the minimum to cover the cost of the widest selection of suppressors.
No matter which of these gifts you pick for your loved one, they’ll be very happy. If you’re not 100% sure, just keep the receipt - after all, it’s the thought that counts.