For The Serving Soldier

The 2012 Military Christmas Gift Guide.

If you’ve got a family member, friend or loved one deployed overseas in service, we’ve got some great gift ideas for you again. If you’re one of our many—and very much appreciated—GUNS readers who considers all of our warriors as “friends and family they just haven’t met yet,” we have suggestions for you too.

To bring some Christmas cheer to those who won’t be home for Christmas, go to,,,, There you’ll find personal notes from troops stationed in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Kuwait, Djibouti and some places you’ve never heard of, explaining their units’ situations and their needs which are not being met by military means. AnySoldier will lead you through the process of what and how to send to whom, and the warmth you get back in a thank you message can keep you toasty through Christmas.

Another very effective charity is TroopsDirect at It began with one patriotic entrepreneur sending shoebox-size “care packages” to a Marine friend in Afghanistan, and has grown through his business contacts to an organization, which supplies company to 1,000-man, battalion-size units. When one combat medical unit was waiting 4 weeks for stretchers, bandages, syringes and gauze, TroopsDirect filled their needs completely in hours. When several units were getting almost no protein and one meal per day, TroopsDirect sent 5 tons of nutritional supplements, energy bars and protein powder. You send the checks and they take care of the rest, right to the last forgotten grunt on the last scorched rock in the last lonely place. I’ve been that guy, and so have some of you. ’Nuff said, friends.


SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, LLC

The PowerLock multitool from SOG Knives is already a huge favorite with military personnel, and I’ve used two myself for years. But it was only a year ago I got SOG’s Hex Bit Accessory Kit, and began using it almost daily. Five of the 12 PowerLock models feature a 1/4″ socket drive like the one you see pokin’ outta the end of my PowerLock in the photo. With a dozen flathead, Torx, Phillips and hex bits plus all the on-board PowerLock tools, the combo makes a terrific toolbox for our troops!

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, LLC
6521 212th St. S.W., Lynnwood, WA 98036
(888) 405-6433,



Any service member of any rank or specialty will enjoy and value the Pocket Ref from Maxpedition. A virtual encyclopedia, it contains 3,500 conversions and info on everything from time zones to physics and 50 knots to country codes plus far more than we can list here. The Pocket Ref puts a world of education and even entertainment into a BDU pocket—a great gift!

P.O. Box 5008, Palos Verdes, CA 90274
(877) 629-5556

Best Made

Best Made Designs

Speaking of BDUs, every service has ’em now, and every BDU-wearer has to keep their pants up, right? Spec-Ops Brand has a better way to do it: Their Better BDU Belt is stout without being too stiff, micro-adjustable, non-magnetic and non-sparking, available in all approved service colors plus the USMC Martial Arts Program. If you want to really provide “support,” this is a good way to do it!

Best Made Designs LLC
P.O. Box 475, Monahans TX 79756
(432) 943-4888,



Binoculars: Everybody wants ’em, few are issued—and when they are, they’re too big and heavy to hump with your battle gear. A pair of lightweight (under 1 pound) compact, waterproof H2O 8x26mm compact binoculars by Bushnell are just the ticket. Grippy rubber armor, fully coated lenses and tough, nitrogen-purged construction provides superior light transmission in a rugged little package—and you’ll like the price too!

Bushnell Corporation
9200 Cody, Overland Park, KS 66214
(800) 423-3537,



Regardless of service, one of these Adamas knives by Benchmade, the 275 folder or 375 fixed-blade model make highly utilitarian and potentially life-saving gifts. Both have drop-point blades of tough D2 tool steel. The 275 folder has a smooth, strong AXIS Locking action, ambidextrous thumb studs, and a reversible pocket clip. The 375 fixed-blade Adamas has a MOLLE compatible injection molded sheath, secondary locking strap and tension screw to provide both security and speed. The skeletonized handle can be paracord-wrapped for more grip. A portion of proceeds from the Adamas knives goes to the Ranger Assistance Foundation.

Benchmade Knife Company
300 Beavercreek Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045
(800) 800-7427,



Developed by a former Navy SEAL officer, FrogLube is a non-toxic, biodegradable—even “food-grade”—cleaner, lube and protectant for firearms, knives or just about anything mechanical. I’ve been testing it on a Glock pistol and a carbine, and results are impressive. The only complaint from the troops is, they can’t get enough of it. Take care of that, willya? It’s highly resistant to salt water, works well in sandy, gritty environments, and it penetrates steel surfaces for long-lasting lube effect. Don’t worry: It’s food-grade but contains no bacon! A portion of proceeds goes to Troops Direct and the Navy SEAL Foundation.

FrogLube Weapon Care Products
P.O. Box 60581, San Diego, CA 92107
(855) 376-4582,



Troops need an illuminated compass, but only with on-demand light so it won’t reveal their position at night. In steep, broken country, forest, jungle or when batteries die, digital and satellite-dependent systems fail. So two Special Operations soldiers invented and patented the wrist-mounted NavELite backlit magnetic compass. Rugged and accurate, it’s an invaluable aid for any ground-pounder or mechanized mover.

2138 Palm Harbor Rd., Ste B, Palm Harbor, FL 34683
(727) 488-9926,



Otis already supplies their excellent compact weapons cleaning systems to the military, but as with so many other things, there’s just not enough of ’em. Depending on the issue weapon of your giftee, Otis provides specialty kits for most military weapons, or, they offer systems like this MFG-556-eFect, with everything needed to clean and maintain the M16/M4 family plus the M9 pistol, M249 SAW and more. A feature-loaded Gerber eFect weapons multi-tool is included, making this kinda the king of compact cleaning kits!

Otis Technology
6987 Laura Street
Lyon Falls, NY 13368
(800) 684-7486

toner tech

Toner Machining Technologies

Your fellow GUNS reader Jim Toner of Toner Machining Technologies developed his super-rugged, O-ring-sealed polymer TMT Wallet for military personnel, cops, emergency services and outdoorsmen. It’s packed with features including a pen, tweezers, toothpick, compass, glass breaker, hidden compartments and more. Light and compact, it’s the ideal wallet for harsh conditions. If you order quickly, you can have one laser-engraved with name, rank, and service too!

Toner Machining Technologies
P.O. Box 2876, Morganton, NC 28680
(828) 432-8007



Whether it’s strapping gear to their ruck, their bunk, the outside of a Stryker or organizing contents of a duffel bag, Maxpedition’s StrapGear straps are a huge improvement over rubber bands, bungee cords and tape. Available in 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ lengths and five colors, their smooth teardrop hooks won’t damage gear, the hooks go into holes along the strap, and they stretch to twice their length. Soft, quiet, springy and durable, they’re eminently useful and sure to be appreciated.

P.O. Box 5008, Palos Verdes, CA 90274
(877) 629-5556,

Forbidden Favorites!

Forbidden because… Well, because they say so!

The current administration has banned sending any pork products of any kind to our troops deployed in any country with a significant population of “people who may be offended.” That covers just about everywhere we have boots on the ground. So, no more bags of bacon-bits, no fried pork rinds, none of those juicy 1-pound canned DAK hams, and none of the “golden fleece of grunt-gifts,” Yoder’s canned pre-cooked bacon strips!

Lithium Batteries & Devices With Integral Lithium Batteries:

This prohibition applies to all mail going to our APO and FPO addresses worldwide and includes most flashlights, iPhones, iPads, iPods etc., computer batts, GPS devices, cell phones, most charging devices, MP3 players, handheld games, Bluetooth headsets, portable DVD players and just about anything else that offers our warriors personal communications, recreation and a little diversion. Government spokes-organisms say this “brings USPS into compliance with the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Universal Postal Union.” Never heard of ’em? They’re tentacles of the United Nations, that collection of highly polished football bats in New York.

PIHP’s—Persons In High Places—assure the troops they can still purchase lithium batteries and lithium-powered devices at their local PX/BX stores. Yeah, right. Ask a grunt on a rock in WhereZitStan how that works for him.

There’s lots of argument pro and con on the potential hazard factor, but to my knowledge, no credible evidence of an air disaster linked to transport of properly packaged lithium batteries or devices. At this writing, the ICAO says limited transport of some lithium battery devices may be allowed in early 2013. I smell a “follow the money” situation here. We shall await their ruling with baited breath—and clenched teeth.
By John Connor

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