In keeping with long-established tradition, I’m dedicating my final column of the year to listing some sporting gifts and gear designed to keep your favorite sportsman and woman smiling throughout the New Year.
Every time that I go into a sporting goods store these days, my grin stretches from ear to ear. Sporting ammunition of every brand and variety can be found stocked literally from floor to ceiling. What a remarkable contrast this is from the dark days of 2008-16 when the ammunition shelves at your local sporting goods and big box stores were quite literally bare of rimfire and centerfire stock.
Even though the prices are substantially higher today than they were before the last ammunition drought, they are still reasonably affordable for the average Joe. And because it’s impossible to accurately predict the future, it might be wise to follow historical precedent and realize that “ammunition will never be more affordable, more available, and more legal than it is today.” So get some!
From an economic standpoint, the best deals on ammunition come from buying in bulk. And to my everlasting joy, most popular rimfire and centerfire cartridges are currently being offered that way. Why not go to your local retailer today and pick up several 400/500 round bulk packs of 22LR ammo to slip under the tree. Prices range from $20-$25, depending on brand and bullet type and a substantial supply will keep your family’s .22s running all year. Similar bargains are available for most popular centerfire pistol and rifle cartridges, as well as shotgun gauges.
As a bonus, lots of the ammunition manufacturers are offering rebates on their bulk pack rounds till the end of the year. Be sure to check out Federal, Winchester, C.C.I. Blazer, Remington and Aquila rebate offerings. Two weeks ago, I picked up a 500 round bulk pack of Blazer 9mm Luger ammo for a tidy $69.99, after rebate. Online sources are offering similar bargains.
Optics is another area where bargains currently abound. Never before has a greater variety of quality scopes, red dot sights, reflex sights, binoculars, and spotting scopes been available. Check out your favorite retailers and online sources for red-hot bargains.
Most of the popular brands — like Vortex, Bushnell, Leopold, Sig Sauer, TRUGLOW, Holosun, Redfield, Trijicon and Nightforce — are offering special holiday pricing to entice you to sample their wares.
Modern shooters have come to realize the true value of quality optics, particularly with the current emphasis on precise long-range target and tactical shooting, as well ensuring that every hunter has an obligation to use and train with quality optics that allows them to make clean, ethical harvests on the game animals they pursue.
Magazines, particularly mags designed to be used in semi-automatic weapons (be they pistols, rifles, or shotguns) have become the new whipping boys of the anti-gun faction. With the advent of the new year, Speaker Pelosi has promised that she will do all that she can to “reinvigorate” her party’s efforts to tax, regulate, register, and ban certain types of firearms, magazines, and ammunition.
Modern polymer and metal magazines are a wonder of manufactured precision and reliability; there are very few brands that don’t offer premium performance at reasonable prices. My perennial favorites for handguns and AR-style carbines and rifles are the factory-branded models, of course, as well as quality aftermarket brands like MagPul, Hexmag, Lancer, MecGar, and Amend 2. Magazine capacities vary according to model and intended application. Before purchasing please check your state (and community) laws to assure your legal compliance.
Currently in most Idaho and Nevada communities magazines are readily available and reasonably priced. Don’t hesitate to stock up now with the special holiday pricing offers.
Christmas has always been a traditional occasion to give that young budding shooting enthusiast their first firearm, typically a .22 or youth rifle/shotgun. Retail outlets and online dealers have plenty of youth models available; 22 caliber carbines and rifles abound, as well as compact youth big game rifles and shotguns. Remington, Winchester, Savage, and Howa offer fine selections of firearms dimensioned to fit youngsters and smaller-stature adults. Many are affordably offered as packaged combos, with scopes mounted topside.
I’d like to make special mention of a number of gifts that always find a welcome place in the stocking or under the tree. Some of my favorites are IWB and OWB holsters and magazine pouches for those who conceal carry or always want to have a firearm handy when hiking or camping in the great out-of-doors. My personal choices in holster, magazine pouches, and carry belts are the quality products of Bravo Concealment and Alien Gear. Check out their extensive product lines today.
Since it’s often difficult to know exactly what someone else really wants for Christmas, gift cards are never a bad idea. Most retail stores and online distributors have gift cards available.
Good Shopping and Merry Christmas!