Santa Claus arm wearing white gloves points a Hand Gun. 45 calib
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Merry Cyber Monday. There’s still time left and there’s a lot of gear that shooters want, but just never seem to get around to getting for themselves. Christmas, of course, is a fantastic time to give them that gift that will help them on their quest for TOTAL RANGE DOMINATION.

There are many more awesome pieces of gear out there, and please sound off about those in the comments. Obviously, there could be no comprehensive guide to shooting gear; it would take all year to compile and would be out of date by the time we ran it, which people would definitely complain about.

But here are 8 serious pieces of kit for the competitive or avid shooters that you know.

AR-15 Magazine Loader

Maglula Range Benchloader
Courtesy Maglula

Reloading is a pain, so why not make it easier? For regular AR shooters, Maglula makes a fantastic speed loader, the cleverly-named Range Benchloader.

It’s a beautifully made pice of machinery and works with 10-, 20- and 30-round magazines without issue. The Range Benchloader is the ideal loader for someone who’s a dedicated AR shooter and it runs about $133.

Maglula also makes great loaders for pistols and a number of other rifle systems, so you aren’t out in the cold if you don’t have an AR.

Ambidextrous Charging Handle

Credit: Rainier Arms

One of the wonderful things about the AR platform that we all love so much is the inherent customizability. You can take a run-of-the-mill, average gun and change parts until it’s amazing.

One of the first things that most people change out is the charging handle, which also happens to be one of the easiest things to upgrade.

BCMGunfighter makes some great ones, such as their Ambidextrous Charging Handle. It’s made of anodized aluminum, and gives the operator a larger gripping surface without enlarging the overall silhouette. It’s about $80 and is compatible with any mil-spec rifle.

Tactical Carry Belt


For someone looking to get into competitive shooting or who just wants to upgrade their carry gear, get them started with a decent range belt. Crossbreed’s OD & Black reversible belt is a great starting point. It’s a 1.5-inch dual-sided nylon web belt with an adjustable buckle. Simple, strong, goes great in a range bag and it isn’t too tough on the wallet at $22.

Grip Pod for AR-15 Rifles


Speaking of AR shooters, grip pods are one of the best accessories to get. A grip pod with retractable bipod legs is a hugely popular add-on, and GPS, LLC makes some good ones. You could get one of their high-impact polymer grip pods, but the one to acquire is the Cam Lever V2 Grip Pod.

This model features aluminum legs, as the plastic ones tend to get bent if used hard. At about $215, the V2 isn’t cheap, but it’s made to take a beating so the recipient will get years of use from it. Gifts that last tend to be the best ones.

Range Bag

Courtesy Palmetto State Armory

A good range bag is definitely a must-have item, and GPS makes a pretty darn good one. The GPS  Medium Range Bag is a fantastic unit with a padded bottom, and multiple compartments for carrying darn near everything, including ear pro, eye pro, ammunition, magazines, and everything else shooters need for a range day.

That way, you can toss everything but your guns and target stands in the bag and keep it ready to go.

Target Stand


Since we mentioned target stands, it would be nice if there was one that could handle steel or silhouette targets, so you don’t have to buy both. As it happens, there are a few that do that. One such is the HYSKORE target stand, which has sockets that accept 1X2 and 2X4 lumber.

And at only $35, it’s simple and priced right.

Steel Target


One of the best reactive targets for training and general practice is the steel hostage target, one like the Titan Hostage Target. The Titan Hostage Target has two swinging paddles, a 5-inch diameter paddle at the head and a 5-⅞” paddle in the chest.

While you get that satisfying “GONNNNNG!” of ringing the steel, it also helps work accuracy as well, which after all is the name of the game. They’re made of AR500 equivalent steel, so they’ll stand up to a lot of use and abuse.

Biometric Handgun Lock

Courtesy Amazon

If you have children or other people in the house who shouldn’t have access to a firearm, you need a good way to secure it while still keeping the gun within easy reach. The Identilock biometric lock is the one fo the best options on the market.

The Identilock is one of the fastest-access gun locks of any kind available. You can set it fo multiple people will have access and Identilock makes versions for a range of popular semi-automatic handguns. At $150, it’s a great way to make sure your gun is safe and quickly available.

Any other cool gear that you wish you were getting for Christmas? Some of you have been naughty in the comments, so Santa’s going to the reindeer stables for your stocking. (You know who you are.) Sound off in the comments!

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    • I came here to say this!

      I hope whoever reads this article looking for actual gift-giving suggestions will also read the comments. Who on earth wants a Grip Pod? The only person who wants or needs a Grip Pod is a historical reinactor who is wanting a period accurate rifle from 2004.

      • I always read the comments after an article like this. Sometimes I learn more from the comments than the article.

      • It’s a waste of time, space, money, and weight. Also it makes guns ugly.

        Usually people have one because they don’t know what their rifle is for. There a lot of better options out there like a foregrip or vertical grip or bipod.

        • Um, it is a vertical grip. It is also a fore grip. They are the same thing. Perhaps you meant angled fore grip? It just has spring-loaded legs. The US military uses them, or at least they used to, I don’t keep up on everything military.

          If you are going to use a vertical fore grip, this seems about the best to me.

          But thanks for replying. No one else who has decried this grip has replied.

  1. {To Aerosmith’s ‘Janie’s got a gun’}

    Santa’s got a gun.

    (And he’s tired of putting up with Rudolph’s smarting off…)

  2. Hmmm…the only “might get” is a better charging handle. As a non-competitor and old man shooter I’m not sure I’ll need one. Ditto for the mag loader. But I’ll accept donations😏

    • Same here…as for the mag “loader”, you have to load it first before you load the mag, what’s the sense in that…??? I only use stripper clips to load AR mags, by the time someone loads the mag loader, I already have a mag loaded…

      • And when you don’t have the stripper clips loaded and a have box of loose cartridges, then you might see the utility. And time saved. And ….

        • Since they tend to work at night, a stripper would be ideal to hire for loading stripper clips at the range…

    • Charging handles are one of those preference items that, IMHO, have to do with the set up you’ve created and it’s intended use.

      I put an upgrade on my competition rifle because it’s running a scope that puts the eyepiece/ocular lens in a position where it can be difficult to get at the handle quickly depending on your body-to-rifle position. On my other one I left the handle stock because there’s nothing to impede your hand getting to it.

      The vast majority of the time it doesn’t matter because you fire til you’re empty and then use the bolt release instead of dicking with the charging handle. But for those rare times where you need to get at the handle and time is of the essence and you’ve got something up top like I do on that rifle then it makes sense.

      I could however see it mattering in some cases for folks with big thick fingers.

  3. I already have most of this but I like the HYSKORE target stand. Might have to start whispering the site’s URL into my wife’s ear at 4:00am and leave the credit card out on the dresser.

  4. I just give out giftcards from the LGS, let em get what they want. Us gun folk can be pretty particular, myself included.

  5. A cheap DiY present is a lockable ammo can. I did a few of these for birthday presents. Just paint it their favorite color, bolt on the male part of a padlock hasp, or buy a ammo box padlock kit from Amazon. But cannot present it empty, so put a padlock and/or a short length of truckers chain (wrap in an old bicycle inner tube). But not a cable, they’re easy to cut with diagonal pliers. Can’t go wrong with either the 30 or 50 cal ammo cans.

    • Another DIY gift is a first aid kit. Better than most of the store-bought ones. Put in big bandages, quick clot, tournequet, tape, alcohol swabs, scissors, latex gloves, magnifying glass, ponytail ties/rubber bands, tweezers. Oh yeah, and an envelope with some cash in it, for emergencies where they don’t take charge cards.

      • That’s a damn fine idea.

        I’d add chest seals to the kit if it’s for shooters but… I like this idea a lot.

  6. For an AR magazine loader, I cannot recommend the ETS ‘C.A.M. Universal Loader for Rifles’ enough. Small, compact, simple to use. Works across multiple calibers & magazine formats. Makes loading 32-round Colt 9mm SMG magazines a breeze too. Probably the best money I’ve ever spent on a shooting accessory.

  7. That steel reactive target looks really good. I have a few Pepper Poppers, a whirly gig and a dueling tree. Steel is the best thing to train on. Instant feedback. The lizard brain says, “Oh! That’s how it’s done!”

    • I agree. I like the instant feedback. Have you tried the plastic ones that are good for .22’s. I was thinking of buying one. I can’t use my metal spinner for my .22.

      • Victoria, I’m sorry, but no. I haven’t tried plastic. I use paper targets with the 1″ grid for zero on scoped rifles. Black bull’s eye for zeroing open sights. 6 o’clock hold of course. Mil-Park for my standard timed combat rifle and pistol drills. Steel for “I’m making this up as I go along.”

    • Unfortunately, the reactive, steel Titan Hostage Target is not available anymore on Amazon. Also, Amazon doesn’t list prices for items that are “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”

      Hopefully, this or a similar target will be available again.

  8. I don’t see a buckle on that Tactical Range Belt. Does anyone wear those non-buckle belts? I quit wearing anything like that when I almost peed in my pants trying to get the thing un-done on a camping trip.

    • I have several belts, including a top-shelf tactical buckle-less model. The thing holds all the gear like a champ and doesn’t budge or shift during maneuvers, but is kind of a pain to undo when I need to use the gents.

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