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Gun Gift Ideas: 2020 Edition

.22 LR Handgun conversion slide gun gift

This year has turned the holiday gift-giving tradition into a more serious affair than usual. This year’s gifts are more likely to be used for serious purposes.

At the same time, widespread shortages made casual choices of previous years suddenly significant. The notoriously scarce 9mm Luger ammunition is such an item.

Previously, people would give carry ammo or long-storage containers like CanMunitions, now everything that might fit a 9×19 firearm is suddenly a special gun gift for the most favored people.

What to Get the Gun Lover in Your Life

Firearms and accessories are a lot like clothing: individual fit and style count. Giving guns presupposes a close familiarity with the recipient’s taste.

Since many recipients are first-time owners, it pays to involve them in the selection process, even at the cost of surprise.

It’s a little safer to give accessories, including AR-15 uppers, optics and grips. If your friends have guns but no slings, there’s your cue.

Some of them might lack sling swivel studs or QD sockets too, so shop for complete solutions.

Anyway, here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. What They Want/Need!

If your friend has a centerfire rifle but no .22 upper, that’s a very obvious way to stretch the training budget, and also to be able to use ranges without rifle-rated backstops.

For people whose guns are less modular, air gun equivalents of their favorite pistols or rifles make for excellent trainers — they can be shot at home and without expending scarce real ammunition.

Air guns or even airsoft can be memorable not only through their long-term utility, but also because an informal competition can be set up right at the party with a purpose-built or improvised pellet trap.

And, to that end, don’t forget eye and ear protection. If your friends still rely on earplugs or passive muffs, step them up to electronic protectors.

.22 LR AR-15 complete upper

2. Ammunition

Real ammunition is always a welcome gift, but more so today.

For friends who have few guns, defensive ammo in second-tier calibers like .410 can bring a hunting or plinking gun into front-line service for previously unarmed family members.

Generally, the shorter-ranged the gun is, the easier it will be to match ammunition to it.

Pretty much any .25 ACP ball will work with any .25 ACP pistol, but a long-distance shooter with 6.5 Creedmoor zeroed with 140-grain VLD match bullets would find a single box of 120-grain hunting soft points just enough to verify zero at various ranges.

Assume that part of the gift would be required to verify function and point of impact, adjust the amounts given accordingly.

hornady ammo and two handguns

3. Optics

An optic upgrade can stretch the effective range of somebody’s rifle.

For people who only have iron sights, even a moderately-priced red dot or scope would represent a massive improvement in practical accuracy.

Don’t forget compatible rings and mounts — few things are more frustrating than a gun gift that can’t be installed at once.

If you own an optical or laser boresight, bring it along to establish at least a rough zero for your friend.

4. Targets

Consider paper targets for friends using public ranges, and steel or self-sealing plastic for those who can shoot on their own land.

Reactive plastic targets are inexpensive, but provide useful feedback for a long time. Zeroing paper targets are terrific companions for new optics. Scenario-based targets are just plain fun.

target collage

 5. Spares

Belts, holsters, spare magazines and pouches are especially helpful for those who are just now starting to carry.

These may seem like very plain choices, but your friends would have daily reminders of your thoughtful selection right at their fingertips.

For recreational guns, larger magazines or mag loaders would be enthusiastically received.

What Not to Get

What might not work so well? Unless previously discussed, super-specialized guns or optics are unlikely to be exactly what the recipient envisioned.

Take care not to give a hard-kicking shotgun to a recoil-sensitive person, or a revolver with a long, heavy trigger to a shooter whose hand doesn’t stretch far enough to pull it.

If you know your friends’ needs closely, great! Otherwise, stay with the more universally useful gifts.

And remember the legal constraints: guns are fine so long as given inside the same state, and so long as state laws don’t forbid it. If in doubt, have the gun gift sent to an FFL.

The same is true of things like magazines and ammunition sent to certain oppressive jurisdictions: don’t ship somebody a felony for the holidays due to not checking their state or city restrictions.

While the same is true for knives, they are usually far less restricted and go over well with most people…and can be used to open other gift-wraps.

knife on handgun in holster

Other Gun Gift Options

Finally, gun culture isn’t just about hardware. Books and movies make splendid stocking-stuffers, as do posters and memorabilia.

If you are able to be that generous, presenting gift certificates for training with competent instructors can be literally life-changing.

What are some gun gifts you would like to see this year? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Oleg Volk

Oleg Volk is a creative director working mainly in firearms advertising. A great fan of America and the right to bear arms, he uses his photography to support the right of every individual to self-determination and independence. To that end, he is also a big fan of firearms.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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