With the holidays fast approaching now is the time to order ahead and gift those nearest and dearest with something they really need. Of course, you could leave a hint as to what you really want (or just purchase it for yourself…). We’ll cover a little bit of everything in this holiday gift guide.
I have enjoyed Fiocchi ammunition for many years. Performance is good with a clean powder burn and above-average accuracy. Among my favorite loads is the 9mm 124-grain Extrema.
I also like Fiocchi .38 Special loads and consider the 110-grain +P a fine outdoors load. My favorite .45 ACP load from Fiocchi (and my top two or three available) is the Fiocchi 200-grain XTP load. Using the superbly accurate Hornady XTP bullet, the 200-grain weight makes for an excellent balance of penetration and expansion. Accuracy is exceptional.
Falco Security Lock Holster
If you understand the difference between vegetable and pine tanning, and saddle leather versus bridle leather, you will treasure Falco’s leather holsters. I first encountered Italian leather in Florence in 1978 and still appreciate the craftsmanship. Yes, the treatment is exceptional. In fact, every detail is excellent in these Falco holsters.
These holsters are properly dyed and dried. The holsters are boned (molded) for the specific handgun. There will be a modest break-in period for most holsters — a hallmark of a custom-quality holster.
The newest Falco holster is an OWB type, available in both scabbard and pancake style. This holster answers a concern for those with an active lifestyle who are also concerned with retention. The holster offers a brilliantly fast draw due to proper design and angle.
A retention device is de-activated with the thumb as the pistol is drawn. A high sweat guard aids in protecting the body from the handgun and helps facilitate the draw.
A good friend has muscles corded from wearing a pack on the trail, hands calloused from climbing, and skin that is tanned and creased. Also, I might add, an ageless vitality. She took the holster along with her Glock 19X on a rugged trail and found it good enough to climb with. This holster is concealable beneath a light covering garment.
This knife is the antithesis of delicate. In a working knife that may cut rope, cardboard, twine, vegetation, or food, I like a well-designed safety blade. Sometimes called a sailor’s knife, the point is nicely smoothed over to avoid accidental stabbing.
The Ripsnort is thin, almost razor thin, and makes a fine, low-profile companion for daily chores. The Ripsnort features a liner lock — arguably the sturdiest of all locks. I like this one very much. And yet this flipper-opening knife is modeled after a cleaver. And yes, just recently I sliced turkey with it! The knife weighs less than six ounces and features a lifetime warranty.
Colt Steel Voyager
In this case, I am going to demur to the incomparable Lynn Thompson, founder of Cold Steel Knives, and simply add that I agree with his description of the Voyager.
“There are an awful lot of outdoorsmen out there who only want two things from their folding knife — the ability to field dress and skin game, and still be able to perform camp chores. That’s why we are now offering our iconic Voyager series with 4-inch and 5.5-inch long drop point blade shapes, as this blade style has proved to be highly versatile and is an ideal shape for a hunting knife.
One of the things I like about our new drop point Voyagers is that their points are acute enough for sticking (some points are too blunt) and their cutting edges are continuously curved with a big belly near the tip. This makes them particularly useful when skinning the big animals I harvest every year, and I’m sure you’ll find them equally useful —especially for the money asked.” – Lynn Thompson
XS Sights Glock Sight Tool
This sight tool is designed for the do-it-yourself shooter. However, a gunsmith would be well advised to keep one on hand as well. I like the compact design. I can take the XS tool to the range for easy fine-tuning of the rear sight. Plus, the bolt and sight tool are magnetized to prevent dropping small parts.
My workshop is a shack that Abraham Lincoln would turn his nose up at, but it works well for me. I don’t want to have to dig through the sawdust on the floor for a critical part. While I was evaluating this tool, I installed yet another set of XS R3D sights. This is my favorite sight set from XS, and it makes for a great all-around 24-hour utility.
Heritage Cowboy Tactical
When Heritage first introduced the Cowboy Tactical, I wondered how it would fit in. Several of my friends underestimated this handgun by a great margin. The Cowboy Tactical is much more useful than the simple fixed-sight Heritage revolvers I play and plink with. They are fun, sure, and accurate enough for training the young and informal plinking.
However, the Cowboy Tactical outclasses them. The Cowboy Tactical features excellent sights. the fiber-optic front sight is especially appreciated. The Heritage Cowboy Tactical features a light rail that allows the mounting of a red dot sight. All at a very affordable price and a .22 Magnum cylinder too!
I have tested and evaluated most Taurus handguns. The standout for value and utility is the Taurus G2C. This handy, lightweight, reliable, compact 9mm has made a big name for itself.
While I have also tested the G2 and GX4, I feel the size, weight, handling, and features of the Taurus G2C 9mm make it a great choice for anyone needing an affordable carry gun. The bottom line is this. It takes a good shot to achieve a better score with more expensive handguns. The Taurus G2C will save your life if properly handled.
Whichever you choose — the standard P365, deep cover SAS, easy shooting XL, or the fantastic new P365 XMACRO 9mm — the P365 will do the business and save your life. This is a little gun that shoots like a big gun. The P365 is more accurate than most would think possible (given a trained shooter and time behind the sights and trigger). I prefer the P365 XL Spectre over the shorter standard model and the ported 365 XMACRO. Your choice may be different. This is a good gun from one of our most respected makers.
Winchester 9mm Target and Practice
The 9mm Luger is our most popular handgun cartridge. Most defense cartridges use a 115 or 124-grain bullet. Personal defense loads such as the Winchester 115-grain Silvertip or Winchester 124-grain +P are formidable loads.
It is easy enough to find practice loads that fire to the point of aim with defense loads. If you use the deep penetrating 147-grain loads with their heavy balance on penetration, the choice is more difficult. Winchester offers a 147-grain practice load. This loading is superbly accurate in the SIG P210 pistol. I have also fired it in the Ruger PCC carbine. With a full powder burn and modest recoil, this loading is also a candidate for suppressor use. Winchester also loads target and practice loads in 9mm 115-grain FMJ.
Buffalo Bore .38 Special +P
Buffalo Bore offers a wide selection of powerful and effective loads. Several offer the best possible choice for personal defense in certain calibers including .45 Colt — one of my favorite outdoors cartridges. I own a rugged well worn and dependable Ruger Speed Six .357 Magnum that I often carry in what passes for my outback.
Wandering from the Natchez Trace to the Appalachian Trail and setting on the cusp of a hummock waiting for ghost lights (sure enough, whatever it was they did not disappoint) a good revolver is a comfort. Train-hitching hippies vary as to the danger posed, but there is more danger in the field than at any other time since perhaps Lorenzo Dow’s day.
The 110-grain Barnes load uses an all-copper bullet. At just over 1,100 fps, this isn’t a magnum, but it is easily controlled and accurate. The heavy 125-grain hollow point is perhaps the best of the .38 Special loads for personal defense. At 1,100 fps in the Smith and Wesson 640 short barrel .357 Magnum, and just over 1,150 fps in the Ruger, this load maximizes the .38 Special while offering a formidable defense load that recoils less than the .357 Magnum. I like these loads.
If your threat is more wild animals than evil men, the Outdoorsman load is indicated. This is a hard-cast 158-grain SWC at over 1,100 fps in a four-inch barrel. This is a formidable load, accurate at long range, and easily controlled in a four-inch barrel revolver. These loads are well suited to personal defense and trail use.
Galco Summer Comfort
As I look over the Galco Summer Comfort inside-the-waistband holster, I am able to list every design feature that must be incorporated into a viable concealed carry holster. The spine is strong to keep the holster rigid. Dual belt loops cinch the holster tight against the body. The holster body is nicely boned for a good fit of the specific handgun.
The holster mouth features a reinforced holstering welt. This welt allows for easy re-holstering after the handgun is drawn. The holster does not collapse after the handgun is drawn. This inside-the-waistband holster allows carrying the handgun concealed inside the trousers. This means only the handle is exposed.
A relatively short covering garment is all that is needed to conceal a properly designed inside-the-waistband holster. I use several of these holsters. They are well made of good material and among my favorite products from Galco.
Cimmaron Thunderer, Hornady .45 Colt Cowboy, DeSantis Wild Hog
The Single Action Army (SAA) seems to be the one handgun that will never die. Rugged, reliable, accurate, and with an undeniable sense of history — even emotional attachment — the SAA is available in handguns with modern steel and a smoother action than Bat Masterson could have dreamed of.
Cimarron firearms are well respected for fit, finish, and accuracy. Whether for cowboy action shooting, trail use, or simply recreational shooting, the Cimarron Thunderer is my favorite single-action revolver. The Birdshead grip isn’t historically correct, but it certainly feels good in the hand. The action is faultless and so is the finish.
I most often carry this piece in a DeSantis Wild Hog holster. I also own a DeSantis Doc Holliday cross-draw. I simply find the Wild Hog ideal for most uses. This is a rugged field holster with a well-designed safety strap. You must have something to stuff in the cylinders as well. (Only load five with an empty chamber under the hammer.)
Hornady’s 255-grain Cowboy load is mild shooting and accurate. The bullet features a coating that limits leading in the bore. While I own modern defensive and hunting handguns, I am never happier than when carrying and shooting this combination.
Wilson Combat 1911 Magazine
The 1911 is a wonderfully useful handgun. Don’t go too cheap, keep the piece maintained, and it will serve you well. A great deal of the 1911’s reliability rests in the magazine. Bill Wilson perfected the 1911 magazine some time ago, and despite the best efforts of many, the Wilson Combat magazine cannot be bested. Offered in 8 and 10-round configurations in .45 ACP, the Wilson Combat magazine is a must-have for serious 1911 shooters.
UpLULA Magazine Loader
Some magazines are difficult to load to full capacity — especially the new breed of sub-compact, high-capacity magazines. The UpLULA magazine loader is hands down tougher and easier to use well than the thin loaders often supplied with modern handguns. You’ll have plenty of leverage and durability in this tool.