Each year my wife asks me what I want for Christmas. “Ammunition” is a standard answer and a good gift idea for anyone who enjoys exercising their Second Amendment rights on a regular basis. But loved ones often would rather give gifts that are less about the guns and more about the lifestyle. I’ve created this article for you to give to your family so they can buy you some gear you will love. These are items from 5.11 that I have used and feel comfortable recommending.
Jeans that are comfortable, good-looking, and conducive to concealed carry are difficult to find. Defender-flex straight jeans fit the bill here. These are my favorite jeans bar none. For the past year, I’ve been using them and they are my go-to pants for casual wear. They have some give built into the waistline without being bunched up “stretchy pants”. These jeans are super comfortable and easy to use with appendix carry. Some people think they are “skinny jeans” because of the 5.11 advertisements featuring Tim Kennedy. It’s the man, not the jeans. Tim doesn’t skip leg day, so he makes these jeans look like skinny jeans. Mr. Kennedy would do that with any jeans. For people with a normal to muscular build defender jeans fit well without being tight. The eight belt loops easily handle a tough belt for concealed carry use. All seven pockets are highly functional. Both available colors look great – the blue has a classic blue jean look (shown) and the indigo is a black/green shade that adds some variety to one’s wardrobe. $69
Looking for a lightweight comfortable jacket with some unique features for concealed carry? The 5.11 Peninsula Insulator Packable Jacket fits well but also has enough room at the waist to accommodate concealed carry. It comes with a removable small pouch that the jacket may be packed into. The fact that it is packable is a nice feature, but I just like the jacket as a jacket. The Primaloft insulation is warm and lightweight – 100 gram in the body and 80 gram in the sleeves. The handwarmer pockets have zippers on the outside and the inside. 5.11 calls this “RapiDrawTM”. This means that one may access an appendix carry through the pocket rather than having to lift the jacket. It is also possible to reach into your pants pocket in this way. I’m not sure what to think about this feature as more dry fire practice will be required. Two other security type pockets are well placed for small items such as credit cards or wallets – one outside on the left chest, and one inside on the right chest. This jacket is versatile and can be used as a mid-layer or an easy to wear about town lightweight coat. Available in black, brown, blue or green. $129.99
My wife, the runner, has been testing the Apollo Tech Fleece for a while now. She has been using it as a fall jacket. You could say she likes it. I had to hide it from her to be able to take photographs. Similar to other 5.11 gear it is cut to enable concealed carry, so it isn’t a tight fitting slim jacket. It isn’t a potato sack either. The Apollo Tech fleece shares the RapiDraw pass-through pocket feature with the Peninsula jacket. Our tester noted that one may drop one’s keys if one forgets to zip the inner pocket. The upper chest “ready pockets” easily accommodate an ID, phone, or similar items. The collar, cuffs, and hem have a finished elastic binding. Available in amethyst (shown), black, or coin (gray) for $99.99.
The odds are good that someone on your list is a flashlight junkie. I try to keep a good one in each vehicle as well as in various go bags for different types of hunting. 5.11 Tactical offers a few different flashlights and these two are worth considering for gift giving season. The first is a simple but well-built pen light featuring a CREE XP-G3 light source. The EDC PL 2AAA is just what it sounds like – an everyday carry pen light that uses two AAA batteries. It provides 107 lumens for 260 minutes. The light beam is mostly concentrated in the center, but there is some flooding. It is useful for reading maps or other up-close tasks. Available in orange (shown), gray, black, or sandstone for $24.99. A larger option with more robust uses is the Response CR1 flashlight. It uses a CREE XP-L2 LED, produces 549 lumens, and runs for 265 minutes. This rechargeable flashlight mounts into a wall or desk-mounted cradle for easy recharging. It uses a micro USB port and the cable and wall unit are included. Also included is a backup CR123 cartridge that holds two CR123 batteries. The tail switch has three modes: high, low, and strobe and there is a belt clip permanently attached. A couple of other nice features are the knurling on the tail and head as well as the large knobs near the tail that keep the flashlight from rolling when set down. $149.99
Gear bags are always a good gift choice, and the Dart duffel has some great features including two zip through top pockets, a contrasting interior color, and T pullers for the main compartment. Why advertise to everyone that you are carrying gun gear? The Dart has a low profile exterior that says you are going to the gym. Inside there is a removable mesh-top bag that attaches to the main bag bottom with hook and loop. Also inside are Molle loops to attach additional items. The top pockets are mesh faced on the inside for easy viewing of your gear. The exterior is made of 420D nylon (320D in the gray color shown). There is a removable shoulder strap as well as reinforced side handles and top handles. The front and back have compression straps which have a couple of purposes – they may be used to cinch down the bag or they may be used to attach a coat or similar item to the outside of the bag. Finally, there is a pocket in the back that 5.11 indicates is “concealed carry ready”. The inside of this pocket has loop fabric, and the outer part has two hook panels for closure. My Sig P365 fits in this pocket with a great deal of room to spare. The pistol does print ever so slightly, but you have to know what you are looking for, and as stated above the Dart Duffel has a low profile look. Overall the bag is a good size and it seems very well built. Available colors are black, brown, blue, and gray. Dimensions are 10.5”H x 20”W x 11”D for 2440 cubic inches of capacity. $99.99
Now go forth and get your shopping done. Should you wish to thank me for my gift giving guide, any of the items above would be welcomed to my home.