(Editor Note: Tom provided two articles for our holiday gift special edition and failed to mention his own books. You may or may not know, Tom Mchale is a prolific and popular writer. Please check his books out on Amazon.)
They say that to give is better than to receive. Considering the state of the world today, giving that special concealed carrier a piece of high-quality gear might just save your life! Hey, it’s OK if you benefit from your own generosity, right?
I’m taking a slightly non-traditional approach with this list. Rather than barf up a list of the newest gadgets, I’m choosing stuff that actually keeps its place in my everyday use gear. You know, those items that I have consistently chosen to carry and use over the long haul. If it earns a permanent place in my limited pocket space, it must be good.
With that said, here are some of my favorite concealed carry lifestyle gift ideas.
I’ve accumulated about a million folding knives, but the one that finds its way into my pocket just about every day is the Blackhawk! MOD SFK Folder. This Applegate / Fairbairn inspired design is about five inches long closed, but I just love the feel. The double hilt protects your fingers, and the handle grooves provide a sure grip. A finger tab allows you top easily open this knife one-handed. The pointed blade will suck at prying, but is great for everyday chores. You can mount the belt clip in four different positions to fit your carry and opening motion style. I don’t carry this one to be “badass” – I carry it because it’s so darn handy. It goes without saying it’ll serve as a great defensive tool if needed.
You can find one for about $130.
For the small folder, that’s also an easy no brainer. My all-time favorite is the SOG Twitch II. At just three and one-half inches long closed, it has an assisted open that literally flings and locks the blade into place with a touch of the finger. You can get it with a smooth or serrated blade, and a sliding lock keeps it from opening in your pocket.
MSRP on the Twitch II is $72.50, but you can find it for less if you shop.
The Maglula Uplula is one of those things that you really can’t appreciate until you use it. I’ve always loaded magazines the old-fashioned way – by hand. Not because I’m trying to be macho or anything, I think it’s just been a habit. I gave one each to my wife and sister while neglecting to buy one for myself. Big mistake. Once you see how these work, you’ll never want to crush your thumbs again. The standard 9mm to .45ACP model loads most any single or double stack magazine effortlessly. There are a couple of magazine types that aren’t compatible, so check the website first.
You can get them at Brownells for $29.99 to $34.99 depending on color.
If you have a touchy-feely relationship with your giftee, consider a gift that will keep those love handles abrasion free. The N82 Tactical IWB holster is the softest and most comfortable IWB holster I’ve found for small to medium-sized handguns. The three-layer construction has suede on the inside while the sandwich construction creates a large back panel with a padded feel. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that wearing one of these feels like stuffing a pillow between your skin and pants. There are three basic holster pouch options. The original is an elastic pocket that holds your gun in place. Different sizes and shapes are available for different handguns. You can also get the elastic version in a tuckable configuration. If you want positive retention, check out the Professional model. The gun pocket is made from a polycarbonate material that locks the gun in place. A simple twist during the draw releases it.
Prices range from $39.95 to $69.95 depending on which model you choose.
In a perfect world, we’d all carry a gun, a light, and a knife at a minimum at all times. With the realities of pockets and all the other junk we’ve got to lug around like keys, cell phones, wallets and loose change, that can be a challenge.
A year or so ago, I picked up a Princeton Tec Impulse LED light. At about two and a half inches long, this tiny little thing makes a great key ring addition. The oval shape, non-existent weight, and flat profile make it a realistic additional that you’ll actually leave on your key ring. It has three modes of operation controlled by a push button: low, high and flashing. The 10-lumen LED isn’t going to burn out an attacker’s eyeballs, but it will help you see where you’re going in the dark.
You can find this little gem for about $12.
Moving right along in the not necessarily new but exceedingly useful category are Bianchi Speed Strips. These flexible urethane (think rubber) strips hold .38 Special / .357 Magnum or .44 / .45 caliber rounds inline. This means that you can carry spare ammo for your snubbie revolver flat, as in a pants pocket. They’re not as fast as the reload as compared to round speed loaders, but they sure are portable and concealable. With a bit of practice, you can load two rounds at a time. If your giftee carries a revolver, these are a must have addition to their gear.
MSRP is $9 for a pair