Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas! December 25th will arrive shortly.  In fact, the big day is rushing towards us like a freight train.  In this land of COVID and masks, we at GSL wanted to share some Christmas gifts that lean towards useful and helpful rather than a(nother) tie or pajamas.

Yes, for the man or woman in your life who has almost everything, we present some ideas that they may not have in their life just yet. Recipients will think of you almost everyday with many of these ideas.

Mantis X training system. With ammo becoming unobtainium, good dry fire practice is priceless.

The Mantis X will partner with your smart phone, tablet or other device to analyze your dry-fire practice skills, diagnose problems and suggest improvements. Works with handguns, shotguns and rifles. It’s excellent. $175 – $225 – or about the price of a hundred rounds of good 5.56 ammo today.


A pocket flashlight. As we grow older, we lose the low-light visual acuity we had at age 18. Not to mention the majority of unpleasant criminality takes place in low-light environments. With that in mind, everyone should have a flashlight in their pocket or purse because you’ll use it everyday.

i3T EOS AAA-flashlight (pictured above). $20ish. Momentary on, 180 lumens.

Klarus XT1A AA-flashlight. $50ish. Unique dual tail switch gives either a momentary low-light or a blinding 1000-lumens with included lithium ion rechargeable battery. Also has battery charge level indicator.


Self-defense insurance. Anyone who carries a gun regularly (or even occasionally) should sign up for self-defense insurance. Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network and US Law Shield are two of the best, most affordable options out there. Mention GSL and save $25 at Armed Citizens (360-978-5200). GSL members skip the initiation fee and get two extra months with an annual sign up with US Law Shield. Email Josh Horton (Jhorton@uslawshield.com). $110-$135 with GSL discounts.  For more info on these, check out this story at the GSL website:  Preparing for the legal aftermath of using self-defense.


GSL Membership. A no-brainer. Guns Save Life membership comes with a number of perks, perhaps the single best being a subscription to GunNews. $30. $20 addition to sign up a second person. GunsSaveLife.com/Join or see the back page of any issue of GunNews.


Tactical Baby Gear diaper bag. Got a new baby coming or recently arrived? Leave those flimsy, sissy bags behind. Instead, get mom or dad a “Tactical Baby Gear” diaper bag (about $80-100). Functional, durable and bad-assed.  Spend an extra $40 on the “Drop Zone – Stand Clear” changing pad if you don’t get it as part of a package deal.


Dash Cam. More and more folks have installed dash cams in their rides. Unless you drive like an idiot or suffer sudden and profound instances of road rage, there’s no downside to having one. Turn off the speed recording if you have a heavy foot at times. Then protect yourself at accident scenes, contest wrongful traffic citations (“That light was yellow officer… I have it on cam…”) or false allegations of illegal activity. 

Like the commercial driver accused of pulling a gun on an offended motorcycle rider.  The dashcam proved to the Macon County State’s Attorney there was zero rage from the commercial driver and no threats from him.  In fact, he wasn’t even aware he had offended the cycle rider until the cops told him about it before the driver’s (wrongful) arrest.

A real-life capture from my camera. Right click then “view image” for full-size screen capture.

There’s a lot of cameras on the market as they grow in popularity here in America.  I’ve had two disappointments before now (both 1080 resolution).  I’m very happy for over the past year and a half with a pair of Rove R2-4K cameras ($100ish each). Apeman makes some well-reviewed systems as does Garmin (Dash Cam 66W $200ish). I strongly recommend 4K systems for the higher resolution. Use a 128Gb card and once you set it up, it will record over old files.  Set it up and forget about it until you have an incident. Anyone that drives for a living needs one of these yesterday.



Range bag. Shooters need a place for their gear. It could be for a grab and go for emergencies or trips, or a place to put gear and supplies for a trip to the range. The LA Police Gear “Bail Out Bag” is tough as nails, functional and a great buy at $26 (currently on sale). The end user can customize it with their own nametags or morale patches as there’s about a half-acre of velcro available. It also comes in a host of colors from basic black to girly colors. Visit LA Police Gear online and search for “bail out bag.” New to their lineup is a “Jumbo bag” that goes for $37ish. Unless someone’s outfitting a carload of shooters, the regular one should provide plenty of space.


Body armor.  Either soft armor or ceramic hard plates can save someone’s life. The only problem is that like ammo, armor – especially ceramic plates – are hard to come by right now. And because of demand, expect to pay a bit of a premium at the moment. Better soft armor will run about $500ish.  Ceramic plates and a quality carrier will cost about that or a little less.  Some of the super-comfortable, thin (.16″) stuff will set you back closer to $2k. That would have to be a very special friend or family member…

For a great tutorial on armor, head on over to Pew Pew Tactical for a comprehensive run-down on types of armor, what they protect against and much, much more:  Best Body Armor (2020 Testing)

Bodycam.  GoPro has long been the standard for high-quality bodycam and otherwise mountable cams. With one of these, anyone can shoot first-person video of their adventures (or potentially, confrontations). The GoPro Hero 9 ($450ish) is one of the latest with a bigger battery and 5k (!) resolution.  Buy it and make breathtaking videos that will look awesome for many years to come.