It’s that time of year when many of us begin to consider what sort of presents to get for the important people in our lives. This can be difficult. We all know that one person who has everything and is always a challenge.
If that special man or woman is a gun person, it can be even more daunting. We tend to have very specific likes and dislikes. But finding something that your friend or loved one will appreciate can benefit from just a bit of recon before you decide.
By the way, setting a spending limit for each person will help keep you within budget. For example, I love my 12-year-old granddaughter, but she will not be finding a 300 Weatherby under her tree!
Do Some Intel Gathering
From range bags to clothing for concealed carry, there are a lot of gear choices.
Finding out what friends and family want doesn’t have to be difficult. Gun people love to talk about preferences in firearms, ammunition, holsters and on and on. Having a casual conversation can produce ideas without telegraphing your intentions.
In general, the more generic the gift, the better. At the low end price-wise, targets are always appreciated. If he or she is a rifle shooter, find out which targets are preferred for sighting in the gun. If someone carries a gun for personal protection, targets designed for self-defense training are a good choice.
If your budget allows it, a quality shooting rest is a nice option for a rifle shooter. Make sure you understand how it will be used (e.g. sighting in or hunting). Ask if he or she has a specific model on a wish list. Everyone has a wish list.
For shooters who reload, a chronograph is a must-have. If they don’t yet own one, it would make a very nice gift. Here again, it’s easy to find out if a shooter has a preference. Just ask for a recommendation. It will usually be the one on his or her own wish list.
Ammo Is Always a Safe Bet
Every shooter needs ammunition. When it comes to rifles, hunters typically use very expensive ammo but not much of it. They use just enough to sight in the gun each year, then relatively few rounds during hunting season.
On the other hand, shooters with AR-style rifles often fire hundreds of (cheap) target rounds in a single day at the range. And 5.56/223 ammo — from practice rounds to high-tech hunting and defensive loads — is available everywhere, even online. A box or a whole case? Your choice.
Serious bird hunters will typically go through a lot more ammo when hunting. They will use a lot of target shotgun shells during the off-season while practicing at the trap, skeet and sporting clay ranges. Hunting loads will vary based on the quarry: grouse and pheasant or ducks and geese.
Whether rifle or shotgun, simply asking “What’s your favorite ammo for practice or hunting/self-defense?” will help. Target ammo will be substantially cheaper than hunting loads.
When it comes to guns for personal protection, unless you know exactly the load someone carries for self-defense, it’s easer (and cheaper) to stick with practice ammo. Since handgunners often burn a lot of ammo, they will genuinely appreciate any decent target ammo in the correct caliber.
Bottom line? Decide on a budget, do your research, then, happy hunting!
About John Caile
John Caile is an NRA Firearms Instructor Certified in Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Home Firearm Safety and Personal Protection in the Home. He has more than 35 years of experience in concealed carry training and practical handgun shooting skills. John was communications director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee and was instrumental in passing Minnesota’s landmark concealed carry permit law. John is a contributing writer for USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine and has appeared on national talk radio and network and public television and has been frequently published in the press. John lives in Palm Coast, Florida, where he continues his lifelong activism for gun owners and their rights.