Handgunner’s Gift Guide: Our Picks for Your Favorite Shooter


Real American Tomahawks

Chop, build, improvise, break, escape, cut, trim, defend, improvise, throw. The list of things you can do with a proper tomahawk is near endless. Founded and run by “a group of incredibly skilled outdoorsmen capable of surviving for years with nothing more than their Tomahawk and a blade of grass,” the company takes inspiration from its flagship product from Peter Lagana, a descendant of an Iroquois brave.

With a head drop-forged from 1060 carbon steel and choice of Dupont Nylon 66 textured or Tennessee flamed and lacquered wood for the handle, it’s a tool that’ll last through tough use. I know this from experience. After many “aggressive” throws, they’re still intact. You can even choose one in olive drab green for that authentic 1968 look.

Two bits on the American Tomahawk website stand out: Not made in China and Makes owner cooler than their friends. The former rings true as these fine tools are crafted in Chattanooga, Tenn., and we can certainly agree with the latter. AmericanTomahawk.com

Blue Force Gear Double Pistol Belt Pouch

The Pistol Belt Pouch from Blue Force Gear, available in single and double configurations, brings flexibility to a new level.
The pouches are soft, made from a material Blue Force called ULTRAcomp. Think elastic, but orders of magnitude tougher. The inherent flex in the material allows one-size-fits-everything use for single- or double-stack magazines or anything else. The key is there is no “memory effect,” so you can carry something thin one day and thick the next without loss of tension. I like the Double Pistol Pouch model not just for carrying two magazines, but because it offers the flexibility to carry other items like a flashlight, multi-tool or even car keys.

The other benefit of the design is comfort. The hook- and-loop belt loops allow attachment to belts up to 2″ wide and the soft contour helps the pouch mold around the body. You’ll also appreciate the lack of hard edges and corners. BlueForceGear.com

Streamlight Pocket Mate USB

As the saying goes, “Two is one, and one is none.” And if one of the two is a mighty mouse, all the better.

The Streamlight Pocket Mate is a tiny, and I do mean tiny, keychain light with a big attitude. Its single-activation button — handy for a thumb — turns on the low-power mode, beaming out 45 lumens of light. That’s plenty to make your way from the car to the house or find lost keys or a light switch. Another press amps the output up to a whopping 325 lumens, turning the Pocket Mate into a viable alternate defensive tool.

The light weighs next to nothing (0.5 oz.) and features a mini-USB charging port. A charge will get you an hour at low power or 20 minutes on high. A spring-loaded hook allows easy keychain attachment and a subtle clip lets you go hands-free. Streamlight.com

CAT Tourniquet

Before rolling your eyes at the “tactical tourniquet” craze, consider this: a hospital worker acquaintance of mine applied seven of them in just one week. That’s because tourniquets aren’t just for the rare gunshot wound — they can save lives from many types of severe extremity bleeds. While you may not encounter a gunshot wound in your lifetime, the odds are pretty high you’ll be a first responder to some accident sooner or later.

The CAT Tourniquet is simple to use with basic training. The hook-and-loop adjustment design makes it easy to apply to your own arm or leg in a pinch. Once “rough-sized” with the Velcro, crank down the windlass and lock it in place. There’s even a tab on which to write the time of application.

I keep them in my shooting bag and car because you never know. You just might save a life. Get your favorite shooter a few for car, home and range bag. CombatTourniquet.com

EyePal Peep Sighting System

I’m blind. Well, not entirely, but things have been getting fuzzier ever since 12:01 a.m. on the day of my 40th birthday. Important things, like front sights and targets. The human eye is designed to focus on one distance at a time, but youthful eyeballs can compensate and switch back and forth better.

If you want to see your rear sight, front sight and target clearly, check out a time-tested solution — a small aperture.
The EyePal is a vinyl-like “sticker” but without gooey stuff. It adheres to your shooting glasses and presents a tiny hole through which you view sights and targets. Optical magic brings your sights and target into much sharper focus. It’s similar to a small aperture on a camera — the in-focus depth of field is much longer.

Versions are available for rifle and pistol sighting, and take it from me, these are indispensable for precision shooting over iron sights. I use them for all accuracy testing. EyePalUSA.com

RCBS Universal Hand Priming Tool

Here’s the reloading tool I use more than any other — the RCBS Universal Hand Priming Tool. If you use a single-stage reloading press, handling the priming operation separately can save lots of time and aggravation. Even if you use a progressive, offloading primer seating often makes sense, especially with finicky presses or calibers.

With this tool, say goodbye to caliber-specific adapters forever. Insert a cartridge case between the spring-loaded clamps, and it’s automatically centered and ready to go. The heavy-duty grips won’t give you blisters after a few hundred cases and will last a lifetime. The primer reservoir doubles as a “flip tray” to properly orient a box of primers in seconds. And the tray is segregated from the primer insertion punch to protect against mass detonation. A brilliant and “musthave” tool! RCBS.com

American Gunsmithing Institute Courses

If your special someone likes to tinker, spare them those embarrassing trips to the gunsmith to “fix” the home repair or customization job. Enter American Gunsmithing Institute.

Offering three-plus-boatloads of DVD courses (more than I can easily count), the company has packaged knowledge on everything from armorer programs to trigger jobs and everything in between.

I’ve had a hankering to customize my own basic 1911 pistol, so I’m starting with “Colt 1911-Style Auto Pistols Technical Manual and Armorers Course.” This 21/2-hour program illustrates the basics of mechanical operation and debugging. Real guns with visibility cutouts are used to show how parts work together. With that foundation, I’m next diving into “Building the Ultimate 1911, Volume 1.” No need to wish me luck; the programs inspire me with plenty of confidence. The vast catalog will undoubtedly have something for your special giftee. AmericanGunsmith.com

Streamlight Wedge Flashlight

This gift recommendation has passed the ultimate utility test. In a drawer of “EDC stuff” packed with various flashlights, I pick this one up to tote around in my support-side pocket every single time I leave the house, day or night. Why?

The flat profile seamlessly slips into a front pocket, while the built-in clip holds it in an easy-to-access position and consistent orientation. It’s rechargeable via a standard USB-C cord.

The big value in this one is its novel activation mechanism. Simply press your thumb forward to rotate the on/off switch. Push harder, and the unit bursts 1,000 lumens instead of the standard 300. No modes or complicated series of button taps are required. It just works, so it’s an outstanding option for defensive use. You will get a solid three hours of use before a recharge is needed. Streamlight.com

SofHold American Patriot Gun Magnet

unusual like sit at a desk, drive a car or sleep in a bed? If so, check out this magnetic holster from SofHold. It’s a magnetic disk slightly larger than a silver dollar and covered in leather. Mount this to a surface of your choice — under a desk, nightstand or car dashboard — and it will hold your handgun in place. No matter how much hoplophobes fret about undetectable “plastic guns,” the barrel and slide are always made of steel, so this approach works.

The embedded magnetic disk packs 50 lbs. of pulling force, so unless you carry a Hakim battle rifle, it should secure any pistol you can shoot. Be aware this is not a safety device — if young ones or guests are in the area, secure your gun under lock and key. Sofhold.com

Hogue HandALL Beavertail Grip Sleeve

Hogue grip sleeves are nothing new. I added one to a GLOCK 32 well over a decade ago, and it did a yeoman’s job of taming the sharper recoil of that hot little bottleneck .357 SIG round. Back then, grip sleeves were … sleeves.

The newer HandAll models are still slip-on accessories but perform more like permanent grip modifications — a good thing. The sleeve is sturdier and, as the name implies, extends all the way up to cover most of the beavertail. I appreciate the finger grooves up front. The result is a sure grip surface that also changes the whole profile by adding “meat.” For slim single stacks and compact pistols, you’ll get more usable surface area.

Do follow the instructions precisely, even the odd suggestions. These grips are tight and somewhat difficult to install. This is a good thing as they won’t move or rotate like earlier models — at all. HogueInc.com

Holosun HE508T-RD X2

Holosun has come on strong in the durable handgun red dot category with models ready and well-suited for hard use, in part thanks to titanium bodies surrounding the more delicate electronic parts.

One of the standout features of this optic is the “target” reticle — a 32 MOA circle surrounding a 2 MOA center red dot. It’s an addictive sight picture once you try it. You can also run with just the outer circle or center dot only. You have to see to appreciate — this is the unit currently on my everyday carry gun.

The side-mounted battery tray means no change of zero when swapping the battery every 50,000 hours. Its Shake Awake technology ensures the dot is on and ready to go when the gun is moving. Last but certainly not least is the solar panel mini-farm on the top. If you manage to run a battery dry, the unit still runs on solar power. Holosun.com

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