TTAG 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Foghorn Edition

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s time once again to get my holiday shopping done and buy gifts for all my friends and family. We ran a similar series last year, and being another year older and (I hope) another year wiser, I’ve refined my gift list a tad. I’ll be focusing more on long range and precision shooting, and I’m sure my fellow writers will chime in with their own flavors of gift guides. But first, here’s my list:

  • Leatherman MUT ($134) — This has been the single most useful thing I’ve reviewed this year, hence the five star rating. I’ve used it to do everything from basic firearms maintenance to swapping triggers on my Remington 700, and it has never failed to beat my expectations for how well something that fits in my pocket can work. If your target doesn’t have one yet, buy this before anything else.
  • Leupold RX-800i/TBR Rangefinder ($280) — My friend Tyler has a friggin’ awesome ranch here in Texas. And while it’s great for the most part, there are no fixed range markings out in his fields. Guessing distances has worked pretty well so far, but where the known distance markings are absent, the ability to quickly get a precise range on your target is essential for hunting and precision shooting. Chris Dumm really liked this rangefinder and I’m considering getting one for Tyler (shhhh…don’t tell him!).
  • Kestrel 4500NV Pocket Weather Tracker ($351) — Making a precise shot is all about knowing the atmospherics. How fast is the wind blowing? From what direction? What’s the barometric pressure? The humidity? The human body can’t sense these things accurately enough which is where the Kestrel comes in handy. This version in particular, with Bluetooth built in, connects to your pocket ballistic calculator of choice and alters the atmospherics in real time to match the current conditions, adjusting your firing solution as it goes. Which is awesome.
  • Surefire EP5 Sonic Defenders Max ($12.95) — I hate hearing protection. Which is part of the reason why I spent an inordinate amount of time and money getting a silencer. But if your guns (or your buddy’s guns) are still too loud, a set of these will hold you in good stead. They’re comfortable for all day wear, don’t get in the way of your cheek weld and above all are CHEAP!
  • LET 10″ Steel Plate & Stand Combo – The only thing more satisfying than shooting at 1,000 yards is hearing the “ping” of a steel target after you break the shot. There’s something amazing about shooting steel, and this kit I got as a Christmas present a few years back was the absolute ideal gift for me. I gave one to Tyler last year and he loves it too. (LET, $90)
  • Barska Spotting Scope ($108) — Sometimes you just need that extra magnification to see the holes you’re putting in paper, and a spotting scope does it best. I’ve been using this one for ages, and it has taken all sorts of abuse and kept on ticking. Not exactly the clearest glass on the market, but a good value for the money.
  • Blackhawk Adjustable Bipod ($60) — I used to think that adjustable bipods were a waste of money. I also used to think that Thomas the Tank Engine was the epitome of television programming, but those days are well behind us. Adjustable bipods that let you tilt the gun not only make shooting more comfortable, but make you more accurate too as you can keep your scope level to the world for every shot. Worth every penny.
  • CTD Gift Cards — Cheaper Than Dirt is one of the larger retailers of firearms and firearms related stuff. Anytime I need a part, they always have it in stock. For the gift giver that has no idea what to get someone a gift card to CTD is the cop out that you’re looking for, just load it up with cash and pass it on to your loved one.
  • Getting Started with Firearms in the United States (Book) ($5) — The #1 book about guns for the new shooter ever written, this absolutely perfect masterpiece should be on every bookshelf in America. Plus, the author is friggin’ cool and totally deserves your money.

That’s my list, but if you guys have any other bright ideas, feel free to pop them in the comments.