Any purchase of firearms or ammunition for a gift should be done only with thorough knowledge and observance of governing laws and regulations. That’s not to discourage purchasers; even Sarah Brady, the (in)famous gun control advocate, bought her son a rifle for Christmas! So for those of you looking for the perfect gift for the gun lover in your life, here are seven solid ideas:
#7 – Ammo
Prices on ammunition are well more than double or triple what they were a few years ago, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to find any. And in many areas, the scarcity has made it unavailable at any price. No gift for a gun lover will have more universal appeal than fresh ammo, the consumable requirement for the hobby. It’s also free from many of the government regulations regarding the purchase and transfer of a firearm.
#6 – Colt Peacemaker, AKA Single Action Army
Alec Baldwin shot and killed his cinematographer with this gun, and it’s on this list not to troll Baldwin but because it is the iconic cowboy/western pistol. That is why Baldwin was using it, why John Wayne said it was his favorite, and why Clint Eastwood used one in High Plains Drifter. The original, or its clone, which can be bought new today, includes some safety compromises that new shooters should research before purchase, especially if they intend to carry one, as General George Patton did. Baldwin’s production used a Pietta model, which faithfully replicates the original Colt.
#5 – AR-15
Perhaps no gun so animates gun-grabbers like the AR-15. This firearm is likely the first to be banned, and so getting one, while the getting’s good (and still legal), is a great idea. In his decision striking down California’s ban on AR-15s, Judge Robert Benitez wrote:
“Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle, the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller, and United States v. Miller.”
#4 – 9mm Glock Pistol
You can’t go wrong with a Glock pistol. It is made tough enough that even a well-used one can be purchased without worry about functionality. No particular model is suggested because the best is one that fits the shooter’s hand. Glock has many different frame sizes and configurations from which to choose. While many use rifles and shotguns for home defense, a handgun offers a feature they cannot: a free hand. That allows the user to open and shut, lock and unlock doors, pick up the phone, operate light switches, or hold a flashlight, for instance. And it can multitask for carrying, too.
The 9mm is a great choice because it is widely available and effective. Find out what modern defense brand your state or local police use and buy the same. That way, if you ever have to fire it, and the prosecutor tries to demonize you – as Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger did to Kyle Rittenhouse — you can say you just use what the police do.
#3 – Any Pistol Brace Gun
Short-barreled rifles and shotguns have had additional layers of regulation and costs associated with their ownership – until recently. Exploiting a loophole in the law, gun manufacturers started making “pistol” versions of shotguns and rifles that use a brace instead of a stock, which most people find indistinguishable. The law still allows people to buy and possess these without the additional regulations, taxes, delays, and government interference of those without the braces – for now. Popular models include AR-15 variants and shotguns that are now short enough for vehicle carry.
#2 – 80% Receiver
Homemade guns are generally legal for those who can have a store-bought one. The best part is the pride of accomplishment in creating a one-of-a-kind unit that you know well. For the tin-foil-hat wearers among us, another major benefit is that the government is not a party to purchase. Modern manufacturing has brought us off-the-shelf kits with jigs and drill bits that make the project accessible to many.
These are typically called 80% guns because the manufacturers are allowed to deliver the product 80% done, and the end-user need only complete the remaining work. While anyone attempting to build such a firearm should be handy, a Santa’s workshop full of tools and know-how are not required. They are available in the most popular gun forms, including the AR-15 rifle and the 1911 .45 pistol.
#1 – “Now I Have a Machine Gun – Ho-Ho-Ho”
When he saw the line above written on the shirt of a dead Confederate, Hans Gruber knew his attempt to steal $640 million in untraceable bearer bonds from Nakatomi Tower would not be as easy as he had hoped. The Christmas Eve heist portrayed in Die Hard featured one of the most iconic submachine guns in history, the Heckler & Koch MP-5. It would make an excellent gift for any firearm enthusiast.
While Ronald Reagan has a reputation for being pro-gun, he is responsible for killing the full-auto firearm market for civilians. No machine guns made after 1986 are allowed for regular folks to own, thanks to a law the Gipper signed, and so they have become absurdly expensive. Instead of $1,000 for a copy of John McClane’s HK, you can instead expect to pay about $50,000. Add to that the cost of ammo to regularly shoot one, and you can see why this is a present for the very nice and very nicely heeled. While more like a Nieman Marcus catalog wish than a practical present, not all fully automatic firearms are quite so dear, but they are all in the many thousands for a good one. Unlike most guns, however, because of their scarcity and new production prohibitions, they may be sound financial investments. Full auto firearms are much more highly regulated than regular guns; however, in some places like California, they are totally forbidden.
All the above come with numerous laws and regulations that control who may own, possess, and fire them issued at the federal, state, and perhaps local level. Your best bet for good information on how to buy and give legally is a local gun shop. For gunnies on the left coast, the best gift is the only thing harder to find than ammo: a one-way ticket to Florida!
~ Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.