2018 Holiday Gift Guide
November 06, 2018
Streamlight TLR-8 Green from $215
Streamlight hit a homerun earlier this year with the introduction of its TLR-7 and TLR-8 pistol-mounted white lights and lasers designed for compact carry pistols. The reason for this is simple, it gave consumers exactly what they were asking for, when they were asking for it and at the level of quality they expect.
Streamlight continues that streak with the introduction of its TLR-8 with a green aiming laser. Green lasers are all the rage, as they greatly extend the distance the aiming point can be seen during the hours of daylight. The green dot appears much brighter and is more pleasing to the eye. Its science, look it up.
The TLR-8 offers 500 lumens of focused white light emitting from a high-output LED for up to 1.5-hours. The unit runs off of a single CR123 lithium battery, that can quickly be swapped out by unscrewing the front lens assembly. This is advantageous because the battery change doesn’t require the removal of the unit from the host pistol. Once the unit is zeroed it stays zeroed. The days are getting shorter – it’s time to add a miniaturized light/laser to your compact carry pistol, and this is the one.
Crimson Trace Red Dot Sights From $300
Using a red-dot sight is like hitting the easy button when it comes to shooting. We have come to enjoy just how simple they are to use and how easy it is to make huge accuracy gains.
The latest red dots to hit the market are from Crimson Trace. Its new family of sights consist of the CTS-1000, CTS-1200, CTS-1300 and the CTS-1400 sights.
Crimson Trace’s CTS-1200 and 1300 sights are similar in size, but the CTS 1300 is intended for use on a rifle or carbine. The 1200’s window is slightly taller, but the entire aluminum housing around the window and the components of the 1300 is thicker. This is evidence that it was engineered to brush off abuse.
The CTS-1400 is meant for rifles and shotguns and provides a slightly larger option versus the CTS-1300. There is a noticeable difference in viewing screen size with the 1400 being quite a bit bigger in both height and width. But the 1400 still qualifies as an MRD. The large viewing screen makes it our top pick of these new models for any shoulder-fired firearm. It has an even thicker aluminum housing than on the CTS-1300.
Crimson Trace’s red-dot sight that breaks away from the rest of the pack is the CTS-1000. This sight is intended for use on a rifle or carbine and comes with a quick-detach, throw-lever mount that takes all the pain out of mounting or dismounting the optic. The CTS-1000 has excellent build quality, and the dot has almost no perceptible blooming, even at the highest illumination settings. There are 10 illumination settings, with the dimmest being usable with night vision equipment, ideal for use on your carbine.
SIG Sauer Dyable X-Frames $45
SIG Sauer hit it big with its P320, then again with its P320 X-Series and again with its P320 MHS, and well … you get the point.
One of the P320’s greatest attributes is the ability to customize the gun to your particular liking. Slides, grips, triggers, sights, the whole nine yards can be configured and reconfigured yet again all in a single minute. Grip frames have traditionally come in three flavors – black, flat dark earth and green, but that’s about to change.
SIG recently introduced white, dyable grip frames for its X-Series grips. To us, this is fantastic news. Rit-Dye is available at most craft stories for about $4 and can be had in a huge assortment of colors, and when blended together, the color choices are virtually endless. With a pot, some hot water and a few bottles of Rit-Dye, we went to work. We dyed one of our grip frames an Aquamarine Blue and added a UTM slide assembly to it signifying that pistol is now set up to fire non-lethal force on force marking rounds. Second, we dyed a grip frame Cherry Red to signify a dry-fire only pistol with a plugged, non-firing barrel installed. Lastly, a bit of chocolate brown, a pinch of purple and a dash of aquamarine and we had ourselves an attractive dark brown frame as a throwback to the appearance of wood grips – just for the fun of it.
The combinations are endless and with a little trial and error (and a lot of fun for the whole family) you (or the missus) can have almost any color grip frame you can imagine. Decorate cookies or dye P320 frames? We’ll let you decide, but have fun with it and share your creations with us on Instagram by tagging @gunsandammomag
Hornady 9mm 135-grain +P Critical Duty FBI Load $20
Sometimes we feel like we’re in or approaching the golden-era of bullet technology. So many great choices are available to us today. Like every other category, there is good and then there is better. Or in this case, the best.
It’s no secret Hornady hit a grand slam with its Critical Duty 135-grain 9mm duty ammunition. It wasn’t developed in a vacuum and it certainly was not conceived overnight. A lot of time and effort was put forth by both the leadership and ballisticians at Hornady that spans many years of trial and error. The fruits of all that labor is the 9mm 135-grain +P Critical Duty round recently chosen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). That is no small feat, as the FBI’s testing protocol is demanding, to say the least. Yet Hornady eventually aced all the tests and the new load is being carried by agents world-wide and will no doubt find its way into your local law enforcement officers duty pistols as well.
If you work in or around vehicles at all, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better round for your CCW.
Magpul Hybrid Hoodie $190
We’ll be the first to say it, we love hybrid garments. They make us feel like we got my money’s worth on a piece of apparel that can be used for more than just one thing – in this case, broader temperature ranges. That’s called versatility.
Magpul introduced a hybrid ¾ zip jacket that incorporates an uninsulated softshell material around the torso, under arms and forearm/wrist areas. PrimaLoft Active + insulation is used in the chest, outer arms, yoke and hood. The areas of your body where major muscle groups are located are appropriately insulated, while the others, or high sweat zones, are covered by an uninsulated, air-permeable hydrophobic softshell.
Here’s the deal with insulated jackets; when you’re moving and underload they get hot and the materials just can’t transfer the perspiration your body generates, resulting in you becoming both cold and wet – not a good combination in the backcountry. Magpul’s Hybrid Hoodie doesn’t have that problem.
While this jacket would not be our
first choice for a casual night on the town, it is ideal for use in the field and no doubt excels as a mid-layer garment when the temps drop, but the activity level remains high.
Surefire Stiletto $109
Surefire’s new Stiletto illumination tool has quickly become a staff favorite. Most lights in this category, that is tactical-based, are tubular in shape to accommodate the CR123A batteries that power them. The Stiletto breaks the mold a bit with an integrated rechargeable lithium battery, complete with an onboard fuel gauge. The light is quickly recharged via micro USB port.
Thanks to this engine, the body is flattened considerably and closely resembles the shape of a medium sized folding knife, which is much more ergonomic when carried in a front pants pocket. A spring-clip pocket clip adds to that resemblance and allows the light to be affixed to your pants pocket and be quickly drawn.
One of the features we really appreciate about the Stiletto is how it’s activated, and its variable power settings. Not all utility lights need the power of the sun behind them. While the Stiletto puts out 650 lumens of white light through its MaxVision reflector with a momentary press of a button on its base, it can also be operated more traditionally.
A large, second button is ergonomically placed about an inch back from the reflector and allows the user to handle the light in a more utilitarian manner. This button is completely programable by pressing and holding the button adjacent to it. The consensus around here is more of the traditional low, medium, high levels of light with each click of the button, but other menus can be chosen. We’ve also come appreciate that if the light is being used on a low setting, quickly punching the rear activation button overrides the current selection, immediately producing 650 lumens. The new Stiletto is an item worth adding to your EDC ensemble.
SnapSafe Titan Series From $1,250
Everyone should own a safe; whether it be to store your firearms, jewelry, important documents or other valuables – it’s always a good idea. Until recently, housing a safe in your residence was far easier for homeowners or those renting single-family dwellings.
The reasons for this are many, but in-short, moving a 500-1,000lbs safe up sets of stairs or through an apartment building was not only back-breaking, but quickly raised the eyebrow of nosey neighbors and certainly caught the attention of those with a less than honest mind. A company called Snap Safe, owned by Hornady, has changed all that and created a series of modular safes that are assembled in pieces.
Now a safe that you assemble at home may raise your eyebrow but know that Snap Safe states its modular models offer all the security, and are as impenetrable, as a welded safe and offer the same 2,300F fire protection as most conventional safes. The beauty of this line is that they ship to your doorstep for free and arrive in pieces that can be subtly moved anywhere. Once in your space, you can quickly turn a closet into a vault, or position the safe virtually anywhere you please.
The Titan series can be fully assembled from the inside with an included socket wrench in 30-60 minutes, depending on the model. Snap Safe offers models ranging from the 12-gun Titan all the way up the Titan XXL Double Door which holds 56+ long-guns.
SB Tactical SBA3 $170
We give SB Tactical credit for almost single-handily breathing new life into AR pistols and variants. The company continues to one-up its products release after release and its newest addition to a growing line is the SBA3 and it has proven to be the best yet.
Why do we love the SBA3? For starters, the unit comes with a mil-spec diameter, 7075 aluminum receiver extension that threads onto your lower receiver, if you don’t already have one. Second, the unit offers five adjustment positions allowing you to tune its position to your liking and on the fly, similar to your M4 carbine. Next, the SBA3 features a minimalist design and offers a pair of flush QD sling cups for adding your favorite sling.
AR pistols are becoming exceedingly popular for a number of reasons and the new SBA3 is the pinnacle of braces to date. If you’ve got an AR pistol, it deserves this functional brace – grab it if you can find one in-stock.
Guns & Ammo Subscription; $13 for one year, $21 for two-years.
Yes, that’s right, you can get Guns & Ammo delivered right to your door each and every month. It’s a gift the whole family can enjoy, what household doesn’t want that? My motto is never do math in public, but as I see it, you’re saving a ton of cash subscribing to the most widely read gun magazine in the world. A 2-year subscription (24 issues) is just one greenback more than the cost of just 4 issues purchased at the newsstand, an 82% savings. Go ahead and follow this link and thank us later.
Vedder Holsters LightDraw Kydex OWB Holster From $66
G&A staff members are big fans of Vedder Holsters, specifically the company’s LightDraw outside the waistband (OWB) rig. This carry rig checks all the boxes on our list of must-haves.
The LightDraw Holster is designed for comfortable on or behind the hip carry. We like the steeply curved angels of the holster’s wings and how they effectively pull the package in tight to the curvature of our body, reducing the likelihood of printing. These wings also allow the holster to be adjusted for both ride height and cant, allowing you to tailor its fit to you.
When inserting a pistol into the LightDraw, an audible and tactile clicklets you know that your pistol is secure. The amount of force required for drawing the pistol can be adjusted using a Philips-head screwdriver to tighten or loosen an adjustment screw located under the triggerguard, a nice touch not found on many kydex holsters.
Vedder uses kydex of .08-inch thickness, allowing the holster to remain sleek and concealable, while also providing enough rigidity and structure for professional use. The material forward of the frontstrap has been molded to allow a high master grip upon the draw, a feature many manufacturers get wrong, but one Vedder Holsters certainly got right.
Guns & Ammo Guide to AK-47s
Everything you need to know about AK-47s from top firearms writers.
The Guns & Ammo Guide to AK-47s is packed with a wealth of valuable information compiled by the foremost firearms writers today. A vast range of topics is covered in these articles, including:
An RPK for America
Guns of the mercenaries
Now: A civilian AKM
Automatic Carbine 5
Molot's Wild Boar
And much more!
Discover tried and true tips, tactics, and techniques from the pros along with guidance on buying gear and firearms from experts including Tom Beckstrand, Jeremy Stafford, David M. Fortier, Jack Lott, and Eric R. Poole. The Guns & Ammo Guide to AK-47s has everything you could want to learn about AK-47s.
Guns & Ammo Guide to Concealed Carry
Everything you need to know about concealed carry from top firearms writers.
The Guns & Ammo Guide to Concealed Carry is packed with a wealth of valuable information compiled by the foremost firearms writers today. A vast range of topics is covered in these articles, including:
Defense of others
The armed traveler
Fortifying your castle
Responding to an active shooter
And much more!
Discover tried and true tips, tactics, and techniques from the pros along with guidance on buying gear and firearms from experts including Massad Ayoob, Jason Teague, Tom Beckstrand, and Richard Nance. The Guns & Ammo Guide to Concealed Carry has everything you could want to learn about personal defense firearms.
Guns & Ammo Guide to AR-15s
Everything you need to know about AR-15s from top firearms writers.
The Guns & Ammo Guide to AR-15s is packed with a wealth of valuable information compiled by the foremost firearms writers today. A vast range of topics is covered in these articles, including:
The lure of the SBR
The evolution of the REPR
Bore conditions that affect your cold-bore shot
High precision (down) range
AR 9mm perfection
Reloading for AR-15s
And much more!
Discover tried and true tips, tactics, and techniques from the pros along with guidance on buying gear and firearms from experts including Patrick Sweeney, David Faubion, SGM Kyle Lamb, Tom Beckstrand, and Eric R. Poole. The Guns & Ammo Guide to AR-15s has everything you could want to learn about AR-15s.
Guns & Ammo Guide to Sniping
Everything you need to know about sniping from top firearms writers.
The Guns & Ammo Guide to Sniping is packed with a wealth of valuable information compiled by the foremost firearms writers today. A vast range of topics is covered in these articles, including:
Unusual shooting positions
The US Army's XM2010
The sniper's ultimate "one gun"
Distance shooting for police
Ballistics for beginners
And much more!
Discover tried and true tips, tactics, and techniques from the pros along with guidance on buying gear and firearms from experts including CaylenE. Wojcik, Tom Beckstrand, Todd Hodnett, and Jeff Hoffman. The Guns & Ammo Guide to Sniping has everything you could want to learn about sniping!