Christmas is upon us and it’s my favorite time of the year. SHOT is just around the corner, companies are pumping out new gear and I get to write about my favorite pieces of gear in gift guides like ours. Finding the right gift for the knife or gun enthusiast in your life can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite stuff in the tactical world.
Update The Wardrobe with 5.11 Tactical
The old gun guy look of cargo pants, a rigger’s belt, and a photographers vest is long gone from most gun guy’s closets. While those old IDPA warriors are still around we’ve seen a major change in tactical fashion. Adding tactical to something doesn’t necessarily make it tactical. Any kind of tactical clothing should help you complete your mission and for most of us normal folks, that’s blending into our environment. The modern 5.11 Tactical clothing does just that while giving you an edge and an incredible amount of comfort.
Who doesn’t love jeans? They are the perfect gift because everyone wears them. The Defender jeans are a little different though. These stretchy, super comfortable pants are rock solid. They are very well made and the flexible denim allows you to easily move and groove throughout your day.
They come in a straight cut and a skinny jean and are so damn comfy. The have 7 pockets giving you almost cargo pocket capacity without actual cargo pockets. The extra two pockets are rear hip pockets approximately the same size as a 30 round AR magazine. They are comfy, allow you to move, and of course, they look like jeans.
The Edge Chino
If your gift receiver has to dress up a little the Edge Chino looks a little fancier than jeans. These Chino’s are built with 5.11’s Flex-Tac material to be incredibly flexible. They allow you to move easily and never restrict mobility.
The Chino’s offer the same hidden hip pockets that fit AR mags as well as any other gear you wish to stash. You also get a front device pocket. The front pockets also has a sharp corner that turns into a flat surface for carrying knives, flashlights, and other accessories straight up and down for an easy draw.
My current favorite kicks look like a traditional canvas high top but are much tougher. They offer decent ankle support, a puncture-proof sole, super-strong stitching, and are comfy to wear. The Norris sneakers also feature an awesome grip texture. They aren’t quite boots, but they are as close as shoes get to being boots. These are an awesome gift for the tactical fashionista.
Hawthorn Long Sleeve
The Hawthorn Long Sleeve looks pretty normal. It’s a long sleeve button down shirt that is professional and discreet. However it does packs 5.11’s RAPIDraw placket that allows you to quickly open the shirt and retrieve your favorite firearm.
There is dual chest pockets and a hidden zippered pocket for carrying small valuables. It’s 100% cotton twill and both comfortable and good looking.
“Talk to me Goose.” Aviators are a timeless design for a few reasons. They work, are comfortable, and look good on everyone.
When purchasing sunglasses it can be tricky to fit someone’s style but most people like aviators. The Tomcat’s are also polarized, have an abrasion and oil resistant coating, and do a damn good job of protecting your eyes.
Show Love, Gift a Gun
My favorite gift ever was my first 1911, given to me at 16 by my dad. I was pumped beyond belief. Giving or getting a gun as a gift is a big deal. It’s a major purchase and one reserved for your most beloved family members.
The Hellcat is hard to find, they are shipping and showing up in stores but man do they sell fast. The Hellcat is a class leading micro compact that turns capacity up to 11 but size down to about a 3. It’s available in both standard and optic’s ready models with an 11 and 13 round magazine. It’s an excellent pistol for concealed carry and comes ready to go from Springfield.
Springfield Saint AR 15
There are tons of routes you can take for a AR 15 these days, from ultra-cheap to Gucci as hell. In the middle you get the Saint-Victor, at least it’s in the middle price wise. Honestly, it’s a fantastic value. It comes with sights, a free-floating rail, an awesome case, a BCM gunflighter stock and pistol grip, a recoil-reducing muzzle brake, and a flat face nickel boron trigger. Its the best AR 15 under a grand.
A Polymer 80 Glock
If you live in a state that makes it difficult to gift guns you can gift a Polymer 80 frame and the parts for someone to build their own. Building a gun is legal, and you can gift an 80 percent lower or frame to avoid universal background checks. The Polymer 80 Glock is stupid simple to build and only requires a few tools.
It takes very little effort to install the Glock Gen 3 parts and get it running. These frames are pretty cheap these days and lots of websites offer complete kits for very little money.
Refine Someone’s EDC
Your everyday carry can include a lot of things, but for this section we are going to cover a few unique items. A knife, a light, and some medical gear and some armor. The following items are what I find to be innovative and well made in a very crowded market.
Although I’m listing a knife the Stiletto by Surefire isn’t a knife. The Stiletto is my favorite new flashlight and to be honest I’m hoping I get one under the tree this year. The Stiletto is a flat flashlight that’s rechargeable, super powerful, and very convenient to carry. Surefire always knocks it out of the park and this light is no different.
Hogue OTF Knife
The Hogue brand is mainly known for gun grips and stocks but they dived head first into bladed goods recently. I have two Hogue automatics but the Out the Front is my favorite.
It’s super comfortable, looks amazing, and is stupid sharp. I love automatic knives and if someone in your life likes knives they’ll love the Hogue OTF. It’s a pointy gift and those can be the best.
PHLSTER Pocket Emergency Wallet
Carrying enough medical gear to make a difference in a convenient and non-difficult manner is a real pain in the ass, but PHLSTER’s Pocket Emergency Waller seems to be an awesome way to do so. The Pocket Emergency Wallet comes both empty and filled, but go with the full model.
The wallet has 3 compartments, and holds 1 H&H Flat COmpressed gauze, a H&H Mini bandage, 1 pair of gloves, and 1 Quikclot gauze. Pocket carry a tourniquet and you will be ready to go.
AR500 Soft Armor Panel
Wearing armor as part of your EDC is pretty much only acceptable if you are law enforcement, military, or armed security. However, carrying a soft armored panel is pretty easy.
I keep one in my daily go bag and I barely notice it. AR500 has soft armor panels in various sizes to accommodate any bag you carry. From 6×6 inches all the way up to 11×15 inches. It’s a gift that gives someone a slight edge in their daily life.
Make the Range More Fun
The majority of rounds you’ll fire will be at the range. Even for the armed professionals in our audience you’ll likely shoot more in one day at the range than you’d ever in a gunfight. Why not enjoy that range time? Here’s a few things to make it better.
Peltor 500 Tactical
The Peltor 500 Tacticals are over the ear muffs that act as high tech hearing protection. They are electronic and allow you to hear between the gunfire. This ensures you can hear range commands, instructions, and even have a conversation.
They are also Bluetooth compatible and can connect to your phone to listen to music or even take phone calls. I even use them off the range when I mow to listen to Joe Rogan in peace and comfort.
Targets from Modern Warrior
The fellas at My Ready Room who run the Modern Warrior Project make some awesome targets the T1 Targets are my favorite.
These man-sized targets accurately show a man’s vitals and allows you to train yourself in the art of proper shot placement. These targets are thick, tough, and look amazing.
Wilder Tactical Ultimate Operator Kit
The Wilder Tactical Ultimate Operator Kit is nearly everything you need to build a battle belt. I adore mine and have found it to be ultra-comfortable, easy to use and very well made.
The kit consists of a belt pad, two Wilder tactical rifle pouches, two pistol pouches, and a tourniquet pouch. Add a medkit, a pistol holster, and belt and you have a full kit ready to rock and roll.
The only thing that’s more fun than a gun is an explosion and tannerite gives you that explosion. Explosive targets are mostly legal and quite safe if you aren’t an idiot. Tannerite explodes when hit with a powerful enough caliber and gives you an instant reaction that’s fun for everyone.
It’s cheap too, and readily available online and at most sporting goods stores.
Stock the Stockings
Looking for some smaller goodies to stock stuffing, submit as an office Christmas gift, or whatever? Well, we have a few for you smaller, more affordable items for you them.
5.11 Money Clip Multi-Tool
I like things that are stupidly simple and the 5.11 Money Clip Multitool is stupid simple. Not only does it reduce wallet space and hold your cash, but it provides you a few tools in a TSA approved package.
This includes a flat head driver, a bottle opener, a small ruler, a wire stripper and a multi-sized bolt wrench. It’s cheap, laser etchable, and quite handy.
5.11 PL 2AAA
Not to pimp another 5.11 product, but I will because I have carried this exact light for almost two years and it’s a great light. I hate big full pockets and the PL 2AAA is perfect for keeping things quite light. It’s a Pen Light that runs on two AAA batteries and gives you a wide 107 lumen beam of light.
It’s got a rear single mode switch, is made of aluminum, and is IPX4 water resistant and 2 meter impact resistant. The PL 2AAA is one of my almost daily pocket companions and I don’t leave home without it at least in my bag. It’s an excellent low price gift for anyone.
Gerber Key Note
This little knife is best described as adorable. The Key Note is a mini knife about the same size as a key fob and provides you with a handy little blade.
It’s not incredibly versatile but will get the job done when it comes to light EDC tasks. This little guy is so small and unobtrusive it can be attached to a key chain and carried anywhere.
Ammo and Magazines
This one is always easy. If someone you know likes guns just buy them ammo. You can never have too much of it and the same goes for magazines. This requires you to know the gun and caliber they use, but if you can find that out you can get a gift any shooter would love.
Prices range, but with AR mags are low as 7 bucks and 9mm as low as 8 bucks a box it’s a cheap way to stuff a stocking.
Like the 5.11 Money clip the EDT tool is a tiny multi tool that is airport friendly and very simple and affordable.
ItSs made from stainless steel and gives you a flat bottle opener, pry tool, wire stripper, hex wrench, screwdriver, and a ruler is a super small package. It’s a sweet little design that comes with a kydex sheath for easy carry.
Gift Giving Madness
Gift giving can be hard for fellas and ladies in the tactical world. Especially if you aren’t a part of that world yourself. That’s why I tried to make this gift guide as diverse as possible. I’m hoping it covers just about everything at a variety of different prices. Have anything to add? Let us know what below.