Stand By To Stuff Some Stockin’s, Shooters!
We know, OK? You’d rather be visiting the dentist for a root canal than go shopping — especially during the Christmas season. And your suspicions are correct: Without public notice, across the country, people confined in jails and mental institutions are given wads of cash and stolen credit cards and bussed to shopping malls. Their mission is to keep you from getting within 6′ of any gift commodity you seem interested in, by violent means if necessary.
I think some of ’em are clones, and others are pro’s … I’m sure I’ve seen the same woman in different stores in a half dozen cities, each time guarding the Sweater Sale display like a junkyard dog. She changes hair color and style between missions, but I recognize the distinctive pattern of harpoon scars on her hump.
Not to worry, mates! Use our GUNS Christmas Gift Guide and you may not have to leave the house at all — just take this magazine, fire up your computer, and bust out that zero-balance credit card you’ve been waiting to abuse. Good luck!
There’s one in every buncha hunting buddies: the guy called “Chilly Willy” who would shiver sitting on a red-hot wood stove or the guy who borrows your genuine SnivelGear fleecie and never gives it back. Get him a battery-powered radiant-heated cap, gloves, parka or bomber jacket — or all of the above — from ThermoLogic. Featuring controllable temperature settings ranging from a toasty 85 degrees to a microwaved-burrito 110, their gear uses no hot wire grids, but expanses of “sealed ink matrix.” Yeah, sounds weird, but it works! Get all the details at www.thermologicgear.com.
Leupold has jumped into the illumination tool business and come up with a winning idea: the MX Modular series, which allows you to build your own flashlight. All components of the system are compatible with all others. For example, you can choose one of four bezels with different functions (our sample has the “MX-300 Hunter” bezel, offering three levels of light output plus an SOS strobe feature), and two-cell or three-cell maintubes. The lineup will grow, too, as popularity increases. Since it bears Leupold’s famed Gold Ring, you can bet on it. See them at www.leupold.com.
How many times have those friends fed you dinner, and how many times have you heard the lady of the house mention her old, dull dinged-up kitchen knives? Time to “pay it forward,” pal. If you’ve ever bought a Benchmade knife you know their blades are delivered scary-sharp. Well, that’s true of Benchmade’s Model 4501 PrestigEdges cutlery set too, so you might want to drop a warning note into the attractive gift box they come in. This is a lifetime gift for lifelong friends. If she’s a really good cook and you’ve consumed over a ton of their chow, you ought to pop for a Pink Griptilian for her too. That way every time she cuts something she’ll think of you and murmur, “We’ve really got to have him over for dinner more often …” Check ’em both out at www.benchmade.com.
PrestigEdges kitchen knives make a prestigious gift, and a portion of proceeds from sales of Benchmade’s Pink Griptilian goes to breast cancer research.
The folks at MTM Case-Gard have done it again. Last year their Shotgun Hunter Case was a huge hit with scattergunners, and this year their new RBMC – Range Box Maintenance Center for rifle shooters looks even better. Designed with specific spaces for items like bore brushes and jags plus customizable compartments for other items like vision and hearing protection, ammo — even your Lucky Rubber Ducky — it will hold all you need for a long day at the range. For specifics on features like the non-marring overmolded rubber-padded rifle forks, go to www.mtmcase-gard.com.
This is something everybody needs in their field-bag, so start with yourself and get more for friends and family: SteriPEN is a lightweight, compact UV (ultraviolet) water purifier which kills 99.9999 percent of bacteria, 99.99 percent of viruses and 99.9 percent of protozoa. In other words, a whole lot better than a section of old skivvie shirt stretched over a canteen cup. Push one button and you can purify a liter of contaminated water in 90 seconds! If you’ve never experienced dysentery, take it from me: Don’t! Read the details at www.steripen.com.
Just look down your Christmas list and you’ll know right away who should get the GSM Epic Action Sports Video Camera. Now don’t have a heart attack, Harold; you might be surprised at the price — especially considering it captures five Mega pixels on high setting, three on low, stores up to 200 minutes of video plus high-speed bursts of nine consecutive “still” images. Less than 3″ long and weighing just 2.5 ounces, the Epic can be clipped to your cap bill, mounted on handlebars or helmet, or worn on a wrist/armband mount. Tell your giftee to be careful telling those tales about “the one that got away” — there could be video of the incident. Great for the range, the field, and your reputation as a gift-giver from www.epicstealthcam.com
Maxpedition Hard-Use Gear is one of those outfits who react quickly to input from the field, and their Triad Admin Pouch is a prime example. Maxpedition took three of their most asked-for products and combined them into a single user-friendly unit — a knife, pistol mag or flashlight pouch, a Barnacle pouch with internal accordion-style dividers, and a radio/phone pouch — then added a flat rear security pocket with three elastic loops to hold a variety of items. Attaches to MOLLE gear with two short Malice clips, so be sure to include a pack of those with your order from www.maxpedition.com.
FIRST —LIGHT USA
FirstLight USA cut its teeth on lights for cops, but their small, powerful Tomahawk model has proven so popular with the troops they now make two versions specifically for military use. The ability to clip it to MOLLE gear, belts and pockets combined with its blinding 120-plus lumen output makes it “soldier-friendly,” and the finger retention loop keeps it on target in the user’s hand. The Tomahawk GP is mil-spec and white light only, while the NV model combines white light and selectable IR (infrared) LED’s. Check the mech-and-tech specs at www.first-light-usa.com
If your giftee lost his only knife in a nighttime fight in Fallujah, you can take care of all of his cutting needs with one visit to www.blackhawk.com. The big, full-featured fixed-blade in the photo is the Nightedge, an Allen Elishewitz creation designed to meet virtually any combat need. The folders are designated simply BHB40 for the larger 3.75″ blade model and BHB41 for the 2.95″ version. Both are available with plain or partially serrated blades. All three knives were created in response to military users’ desire for less expensive versions of BLACKHAWK!’s MOD blades. Priced like “combat consumables,” but built for tough duty over long campaigns, any serving soldier would be pleased to get ’em.
A tiny, versatile light called the “Proton” got rave reviews from Marines, so the maker sat down with ’em and asked for suggestions to improve it. The result is the Proton Pro, a 5″, 1,000-candlepower weatherproof unit featuring one-button control of both white and red LEDs. Dimming, brightening, three strobe modes and auto-flashing SOS signals provide tremendous versatility. Read up on features like the 24-karat gold contacts at www.laughingrabbitinc.com, ’cause we just don’t have the space here to list ’em all.
In many situations big, issued packs are a liability rather than an asset, and several makers have responded with smaller, quick-detach “go-bags” carriers big enough to hold mission-critical gear but small enough to fit into and through cramped, tight quarters — and “dump” in a hurry when the need’s for speed. Made to US Special Forces specifications by military contractor SO Tech, the GO BAG is one of the best of its kind, offering a long, cylindrical main compartment, three exterior pouches and a wide, comfortable padded shoulder strap. Proudly made in the USA by and for true patriots; see it at www.specopstech.com
For man or woman, munchkin or monster, Maxpedition Hard-Use Gear’s Malaga Gearslinger just might be the best all-around go-bag I’ve ever used. It’s built to the usual nearly bombproof specs, has lots of inner and outer compartments and pouches to help the bearer get organized, and it’s truly ambidextrous! For right-handed hunters, this means you can wear the shoulder strap on your left, where it won’t interfere with shouldering your long gun. Go to www.maxpedition.com and check other features like the detachable waist belt.
It was made for diving, but you don’t have to swim with sharks to appreciate Spyderco’s Caspian Salt knife. Give this one, and it will get used! Aside from the blade of rustproof H1 steel and secure rot-proof sheath, you get a sorta funny-lookin’ but imminently user-friendly design. Once you get used to gripping it with your index finger through the hole, you’ll like both the stability of the grip and being able to let go of it without losing it. Great for foul-weather and slippery situations. Visit www.spyderco.com.
You could fill out your entire Christmas list at www.birchwoodcasey.com, but don’t burn through your credit card before getting to their terrific lineup of lightweight heavy-duty swinging steel targets. BC offers tons of fun for shooters launching everything from .22 zingers to .44 Magnum maulers. Most are so light you won’t have to hire help to haul ’em downrange, yet they’ll stand up solid through countless thousands of hits. Talk about “gifts that go on giving”? Birchwood Casey’s got ’em!
For the “modern traditionalists” on your list, the gift of a Buck Knife is a natural. The Gen-5 Skinner is a classic design updated for a new millennium, delivering all the strength of Al Buck’s original with less weight and bulk. Its modern blade steel — 154CM — balances beautifully with a rosewood and brass handle. A hard-working folder, the Bravo offers one-handed operation, textured G-10 handle slabs and a “Besh Wedge” chisel-ground blade strong enough for prying, wedging and puncturing. See www.buckknives.com. Buck’s Gen-5 skinner combines classic lines with new materials, and the folding Bravo is a heavy-duty tool for hefty cutting chores.
The SPOT Satellite Messenger is a great gift for anyone who hunts the high country, fishes the Big Blue, roams the desert or just travels a lot — it’s the gift of peace of mind. With the push of a button you can send your exact location and a variety of messages to friends and family like “I’m right here and I’m OK,” or “Need non-emergency help,” or “Call 9-1-1!” You can even track yourself, designating different waypoints along your route, which you can later overlay precisely using Google Maps. SPOT uses global satellite systems so it works even where there is no cell-phone service. Buy the compact unit, activate it on-line, and choose from different levels of services. Visit www.findmespot.com
ALMAR & TECH GEAR
Insight Tech Gear’s H1X Proxima and Al Mar Knives’ Havana Clipper are best-buddy matched for a “best buddy gift.” The stubby single-battery Proxima features constant-on, controlled dimming, and disorienting strobe modes, with 80 lumens pumped through a shockproof LED. The little Havana Clipper is a multi-mission mutant too — a money clip, box cutter, defensive backup, and of course, a precision cigar cutter for stogies up to 50mm and some 52’s. Check their many features at www.insighttechgear.com and www.almarknives.com; you’ll see why they belong together – and make a dynamite gift!
A great little light and a great little knife: Insight Tech Gear’s H1X Proxima and the Havana Clipper from Al Mar Knives – made for each other, and for your gift list.
PentagonLight’s Porcupine K2 is a “light with bite” from either end. Lots of lights have crenellated bezels which can be very valuable in close-quarters engagements, but the Porcupine is the only one I know of with retractable “teeth.” And note: retractability also means those teeth can be sharper than if they were exposed all the time. Twist the bezel to expose or retract ’em, and push the tailcap-mounted control for momentary and constant-on modes from its 70-lumen Xenon lamp. Optional accessories abound, so don’t miss them — go to www.pentagonlight.com.
SureFire’s G2 and G3 Nitrolon incandescent tactical flashlights are enormously popular with the troops, and even more popular now that both models are available in LED versions. But users said they really need sturdy, fast-access MOLLE-compatible pouches to carry them in — and TAG Tactical Assault Gear listened. TAG offers made-in-USA top quality pouches for two-cell and three-cell SureFire lights at www.theoperatorschoice.com. Just find out which type your trooper carries, or, put a new SureFire in that pouch before you wrap it, OK? Great!
Combat is where otherwise minor shortcomings in equipment create major, potentially lethal malfunctions, and rifle slings are no exception. While DoD is waking up to smell that particular cup of coffee, combat vets have already dictated their needs to folks like TAG Tactical Assault Gear. If your warrior is packing an M16, get ’em TAG’s CQC Double Hook Sling, and if their issue weapon is the shorty M4, they’ll like the CQC Single Hook Sling. Both are made with fully adjustable 2″ webbing and shock-corded sections encased in nylon for weapon-strikes and greater mobility from www.theoperatorschoice.com.
GUNS Gift Guide For The Serving Soldier
You’ve been there with Christmas gifts for our troops “deployed forward” in the past, and it’s time once again to show them you care — and support them in their efforts to protect a sometimes uncaring, unknowing America. Whether the recipient is a lonely 19-year old Lance Corporal from Laramie or a time-toughened battle-tested Gunnery Sergeant from Georgia, receiving any kind of Christmas gift from a fellow American is a tremendous morale boost, and a reminder of what they’re fighting for. We’ve also listed several worthwhile charities providing relief for our wounded warriors and their faithful families in the past, and you can find those, as well as other great gift suggestions, in the Gift Guide archives click here.
If you don’t know where to send a “to whom it may concern” gift, here’s a suggestion: Our pal and fellow GUNS enthusiast Major Dan Dudziak is currently serving at Camp Phoenix, outside Kabul, Afghanistan. Dan prides himself on knowing and taking care of his personnel, and he has volunteered to distribute gifts to the troops for us. His mailing address is:
HHT 2-101 CAV (SecFor)
APO AE 09320
Dan says they always appreciate copies of GUNS and shooting sports magazines regardless of age, paperback books of all kinds, unscented hand sanitizers and lotions — anything to keep them healthier, cleaner, and “linked” to their fellow Americans. You’ll find more “filling in the corners” ideas in those Gift Guide archives too. Personal note: Once or twice a week, Dan gathers some troops to smoke cigars, let off some steam, and talk about home. If you toss in a couple of cigars — in crush-resistant tubes — Dan and I and his troops would all thank you. Now, more great gifts for the grunts!
Last Christmas a young soldier I know got a package addressed to “Soldier in Iraq.” He told me he couldn’t tell from the printed note inside if it was written by a child or a not-very-literate adult. He said either way, he was deeply touched. The package contained some candy, a toothbrush and toothpaste, some hand sanitizer and band-aids. The only thing that lasted through his tour was the note. In simple block penciled letters it said, “Thank you. I pray for you. Please come home okay.”
Even if there is no note, that is what an unexpected gift says to our troops. Merry Christmas, all — Connor .
Please remember the gear featured in our past military Christmas Gift Guides was selected for its utility and excellence, and they’re still great gifts.