Mother’s Day is upon us yet again (it’s not too late!) and with it comes the avalanche of Mother’s Day Gift Guides, Mother’s Day Must-Haves, and Best Guns for Mothers. Here’s the thing. Here at TTAG we – well, I’m speaking for myself, here – don’t go with the stereotypical flow. This isn’t exactly a gift guide, it’s more a suggestion for the badass woman in your life.
Guns and Things that Go Boom
Yes, this is where I’m supposed recommend a gun – preferably something brand new from a known manufacturer. Instead, here’s a suggestion. Unless the badass woman in your life has specifically told you what gun she wants, don’t do it. Do you know exactly what she wants? Awesome. Go for it. Otherwise, either get her a gift certificate or simply take her to your local FFL to do some shopping.
If you’re dead set on getting her a gun without any feedback from her I’m likely to reach through this monitor and slap you upside your head. Don’t do that. I absolutely understand the desire to get someone involved in guns but please, do it right. Take newbies somewhere with solid rental options or find a well-armed friend willing to let their guns be tried out. Don’t steer them towards a .380 ACP or snubnose .38 Special; at the least, go for a 9mm.
Of course, you could always buy her some Tannerite. Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like blowing away a beaver dam.
An Actual Hunt
Treat her to a hunt at an outfitter offering fair chase hunts and good company. Make sure you know the guides are friendly and the acreage plentiful. Over the years I’ve been to quite a few different outfitters across the country and I do have a favorite: Spike Box Ranch and Hunting in Benjamin, Texas.
The Spike Box is a working cattle ranch that also offers hunting for deer, hogs, doves, and the usual predators like coyotes and bobcats. I try to hunt there every year – more than once a year when I can swing it – and highly recommend them.
The hunting manager, Tyler Pounds, has become a great friend and the guides I’ve hunted with are awesome as well. Ronnie Ainsworth – no relation, guys – is a phenomenal turkey hunter and Dusty Stevens is dedicated, persistent, and funny as hell. I’m just saying, they rock.
You can stay in your home state, too. It’s certainly more cost effective. There are good outfitters all over the place, just decide on your game or predator of choice and hit Google. My personal requirements for an outfitter are pretty simple. I want a free range, fair chase location – I don’t hunt high fence (we can fight about that later). Lodging should be clean, but need not fancy and meals should be substantial and tasty.
Dove poppers? Backstrap? Steak? Yes, please. Guides should be personable and relaxed; I may or may not curse a blue streak and have a wicked, sometimes sick, sense of humor. Although I do try to bite my tongue on work trips, it’s fantastic when your guides will let loose with you. When I go on a hunt, I’m there to have fun hunting. End of story.
(There are some incredibly beautiful lodges and high-end outfitters out there. If that’s what your other half prefers, more power to you. Just do me a favor and make sure they’re still fair chase.)
You know how much this costs. My heart would absolutely skip a beat if someone gave me the gift of a Euro. Consider a certificate for a future hunt if your family does public land deer in the fall. This is the gift that keeps on giving because it is wonderful to look at your finished mount and have all those memories come rushing back. My house may look like an ode to dead things, but it makes me happy.
I felt some pressure to include clothing items, so here goes.
Some of the coolest shirts in the industry are made by Grunt Style. Quite a few of my Grunt Style shirts were either ordered purposefully from the men’s section or swiped from guys I know (I have no shame). They have everything from tees to fleece joggers to tank tops.
I wear their Beautiful Badass tank to yoga on a regular basis. There’s even a selection of Dolman tops and cardigans if your wife/mother/whoever isn’t the type to enjoy snarky-themed tops.
If you were expecting me to espouse the joys of women’s concealed carry clothing, you came to the wrong place. Although there are a rare few out there that are nice, most of what’s being marketed to women falls under the “Oh God, anything but that” or “Wow, that’s dangerous” categories.
In order to carry concealed, some women need to go up a size in jeans. Those aren’t CC jeans, though, they’re just the usual brands. Allow me to take this opportunity to state that carrying on body — not off — is always best and that belly bands slow down your draw significantly (and typically limit you to micro pistols).
It isn’t just firearms I love, I like knives, too. Folding knives, fixed blades, love them all. I have dedicated hunting knives, skinning knives (Havalon for the win), folders for pocket carry – the list goes on. If you want to go all out for Mother’s Day, consider a custom knife. Yes, they cost more, but they’re well worth it.
A company by the name of Valavian Edgecraft happens to make some seriously breathtaking knives and axes. Valavian is owned by Jeremy Valentine – a guy also known as Boulder because, let’s face it, Jeremy is somewhat large and imposing in a “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” way – and based in Oregon (why are so many great knife makers there?). Jeremy is also an artist and makes sheaths with unbelievable detail. I’ve been repeatedly impressed by his work.
Sharp stuff is cool. We all need sharps. Even if you don’t hunt, edged weapons come in handy for opening packages, cutting vegetables, and threatening that bitchy cheer team mom. Well, okay, maybe not that last one since it’s technically against the law. But you get the idea.
Jeremy is a skilled craftsman and has been featured in Blade Magazine and has been showcased in Fiocchi ammunition’s annual catalog. Check him out.
You can’t go wrong with training. Shooters need training, it’s just reality. There is always something to learn. If you can possibly afford it, head to Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. Anyone claiming Gunsite is overrun by Fudds who don’t teach modern methods is clearly butthurt over either not being invited or flat-out can’t afford it (it is pricey).
It takes time to afford these things, I know that. But it’s worth it. Their 250 class is excellent for your first trip. They have fricking amazing shoot houses, cool ranges with obstacles and fake rooftops to shoot over, and they will make you work. When you go to Gunsite, you go to train hard.
Until you save your pennies to get whipped into shape by Ed Head or one of the other Gunsite instructors, go somewhere local (or semi-local). Take the time to be sure the instructor is truly qualified and teaching what you need.
For example, someone in need of basic pistol instruction won’t benefit from intermediate shoot-and-move drills and someone looking to work on CQB won’t get much out of basic pistol. All gun owners serious about carrying should also take force-on-force and medical classes such as those offered by Dark Angel Medical, which brings me to my next point.
Get her a tourniquet (it’s what every girl really wants). She should have a TQ at home, at the range, and in her med kit in her car. No med kit? Get one. TacMed Solutions has some nice IFAKs and supplies; they can get you squared away in no time. But first, get a TQ. For both of you. It’s the gift that’ll keep on giving when it saves a life, and since you can’t schedule almost bleeding to death I suggest getting one sooner rather than later.
TacMed website here.
Is she a patch junky? (I totally am.) Check out Patriot Patch. Their “Make Your Own Damn Sandwich” patch has accompanied me on multiple out-of-state trips and their Patch of the Month Club is killer. Consider their monthly option instead of just getting her a single patch. That way she’ll receive a monthly reminder of just how cool you think she is.
Patriot Patch’s website here.
Coffee and Coffee Holders
Mugs, that’s it. Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) keeps the gun theme going and it tastes good, too. They have all kinds of roasts and even sell K-Cups for those with Keurigs. And yes, they do have mugs.
That said, I was going to say to look for a unique mug. Sometimes cool ones pop up as ads in my Facebook feed – I’ve been successfully marketed to for three mugs at this point – but you can find them all over. Or you could buy a really big mug when you make that trip to Gunsite; theirs easily holds sixteen ounces of coffee with room to spare.
Black Rifle Coffee Company website here.
I like flowers. There, I said it. Most of us do although there are varying degrees of flower love and some of us – ahem, me – despise certain types such as carnations and lilies.
If the badass in your life doesn’t like cut flowers, maybe she’d like a new hybrid tea rose for the garden or a hydrangea to plant by the front walk. The thorns on roses make decent deterrents when planted under and around windows. Climbing roses are even better.
Hanging plants are also an option. If you have cats, take a moment to make sure your selection isn’t toxic since they’ll probably attempt to eat it.
Remember her. Even when she says Mother’s Day isn’t a big deal and not to worry about it. Most of us don’t expect parades in our honor or diamond jewelry, despite what the commercials claim. We just want to be remembered and thanked. So show the badass mom in your life some love. Let her know she is appreciated. And if you do get her a gift, make sure it’s something she’ll actually enjoy.
And Now, a Note
A quick note from one mom to the others. It’s exhausting being a mom. From sleepless nights – which appear to be permanent, I might add, because we worry when they’re older, too – to cuts and broken bones to bad breakups, there’s no shortage of pain. But there are beautiful moments, too. My daughter is amazing whether she’s boxing, painting, or shooting her 1911. In the hardest of times, remember the beauty. It’s always there, you just need to look.
Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at TTAG to all the badass moms out there.
All images by Kat Ainsworth except as noted.
This post was originally published in 2018.