Home Product Reviews Can You Gift a Gun? Tis the Season By: Kat Ainsworth

Can You Gift a Gun? Tis the Season By: Kat Ainsworth

Can You Gift a Gun? Tis the Season   By: Kat Ainsworth

It’s not at all uncommon among gun owners to consider giving the gift of a firearm whether for a major holiday like Christmas or for a smaller birthday celebration (or just because it’s Wednesday). But there’s more to giving someone a firearm than buying a Beretta off the shelf and handing it over. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. Check out our tips for gifting guns this holiday season.

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Disclaimer: This is not and should not be construed as legal advice. It’s your responsibility to know and follow both federal and state laws. And remember, claiming ignorance of the law is never a valid legal defense. Do your homework.

sig sauer p226
All guns aren’t perfect for every shooter. (Photo credit: Kat Stevens)

But wait…what gun?

Odds are, you have your all-time favorite gun or a model you believe simply can’t be beat for whatever purpose. But whether it’s a micro 380 or a Government sized 1911, it’s important to remember that it’s your preference, not theirs. Unless you know the exact gun someone wants, it’s not really a good idea to choose one for them. That goes for brand-new shooters, too. People should choose their own guns because no two people are alike. Hand size, skill, application…it all varies.

Here are a few guidelines for gun selection:

  • Don’t choose a gun for someone. Let them choose it themselves. When possible, the person getting a gun should get their hands on it prior to the process of buying it. They should be able to comfortably hold it, reach controls without drastically adjusting their grip, and have the skill or ability to handle the recoil and size.
  • Don’t get bogged down by stereotypes like revolvers for women, 380 ACPs for self-defense deep concealment, or picking the same model your local police department uses for their standard issue.
  • Do your homework. Just because something is billed as the latest and greatest doesn’t mean it is.
  • Don’t choose a gun based on aesthetics. How it looks doesn’t have a lot to do with how well it functions. Remember that guns are task-driven, so first figure out what the gun will be used for.

Basically, it’s a wonderful idea to be willing to invest in expanding someone else’s firearms collection, but it’s best to let them choose for themselves. In those rare instances where you know the exact model, color, and caliber someone wants, then you can consider it. Even then you must adhere to local and federal laws.

What about training?

woman shooting a rifle
Training can be an even better gift than a gun because it gives the recipient the chance to learn new skills and sharpen existing ones. (Photo credit: Kat Stevens)

Let’s say you’re willing to make the financial investment to get someone their first gun. That person is responsible, lawful, and legally eligible for firearms ownership. The caveat is that they’re new. First, refer to the above section about letting people choose their own guns. That goes double for newbies. If you’re qualified, you can walk them through the process of what to look for and how to make sure a gun fits their hands. Then there’s the fact it needs to be useful for the purpose because let’s face it, Dirty Harry’s revolver was cool but not exactly practical for a carry gun.

When you’re debating giving someone the gift of a gun, stop and consider whether it might not be better to give them the gift of firearms education, 1st. Or, if you can swing it, pay for the gun and the class at the same time. Being properly trained with firearms is important and getting that education from a qualified instructor is smart. Generally speaking, it isn’t ideal for loved ones or even close friends to teach one another. There are certainly exceptions, but it’s wise not to automatically jump straight to doing it yourself.

Training should go beyond basic concealed carry classes required by some states. It goes past the basics of a hunter’s education course, too. Find a reputable firearms academy and start with a basic class, then work your way, or their way, up. Think how happy a gun owner would be for the opportunity to sharpen their skills. Just don’t forget to check the ammo requirements for the class, because they can be significant.

Do they have a safe?

under the bed safe
SnapSafe makes a fantastic, rugged, heavy under-bed safe. (Photo credit: gunsafes.com)

This is a legit question. It’s not good to have a pile of guns, or even a single handgun, sitting loose in the box it came in. Having a quality safe that can be bolted down is vital for preventing your firearm from getting into the hands of someone who shouldn’t have it. Why bolt it down? Because a loose handgun safe, or any safe small enough to carry, can simply be walked off with.

When selecting a safe, which is also a cool gift, consider the locking methods, steel type, and whether it’s pry resistant. Starting with a respected company like SnapSafe is a good idea, then go from there. You’ll need a safe big enough to hold the gun(s), preferably one that can’t be easily broken into. Ideally, it will have more than just a key lock, but put serious thought into safes secured by a fingerprint. It’s great to have a redundant system with something like a key lock and a keypad combination pad and nice if it is heat resistant beyond the bare minimum.

Bonus: gift the gun and the safe to go with it.

Is it legal to gift a gun?

Gifting a gun is something that depends on where you live. Federal law sets the basic rules everyone must abide by, but states can choose to restrict further. Not a lot of states have massive restrictions on gun-gifting on the books, but some do. It’s your job to find out what the law currently says and to follow it.

Should you gift a gun?

This one’s a bit different than can you and how should you choose the gun. So, should you give someone a gun? We think it’s a pretty cool idea when it’s legally possible and we wish more people would give us a custom Cabot 1911 chambered in 10mm. That said, this isn’t the kind of gift you should give someone in an attempt to change their mind about firearms or just because you wish your significant other carried. Guns are tools and should be treated as such, and with respect, too.

There are all kinds of gun-adjacent gifts you can give someone for the holidays. Here are some ideas:

  • Ammunition
  • Holsters
  • Gun belts
  • Slings
  • Spare magazines
  • Lube
  • Gun tools
  • Barrel upgrades
  • Cerakote finishes on existing guns
  • Firearms training
  • Weapon mounted light
  • Laser
  • Optics
  • Quality electronic ear pro
  • Safe
  • Tourniquet
  • Self-defense insurance/carry coverage
  • Related books

Whatever you do this holiday season, put some time into researching what the person needs and wants. And, of course, find out what your area’s laws say on the matter. Above all, have fun, be safe, and enter the new year with some gun-related resolutions on your list.