One of the best things about being a firearms enthusiast, from beginner to professional, is the ability to accessorize, personalize and improve your firearm experience. Gun owners have many choices, from pure aesthetics to products that add even more functionality for home and personal defense and items for target shooting practice. If you don't know where to start or are having difficulty deciding, let our experts advise on the accessories every gun owner should have.
Handgun Optics and Sights
Slide-mounted mini red dot sights (MRDS) are taking over standard iron sights. Most handgun manufacturers now offer at least one handgun model with integrated mounting for a red dot sight. MRDS on handguns are taking over the market for several good reasons.
- Our eyes can only focus on one thing at a time on one focal plane. When we shoot a handgun with a traditional iron sight, trainers will tell us to focus hard on the front sight, making the rear sight and the target slightly blurry. Studies have shown that our biology prioritizes what we view as a threat. We tend to focus on that perceived threat, especially a threat's weapon when we're in a defensive or stressful situation—instead of focusing on the front sight. The advantage of MRDS optics is that only a single focal plan is required. Focus on the target, align the handgun, and the red dot 'appears' on the target without the confusing 3-focal plane of older optics.
- Unlike traditional sights that use a center hold that requires shooters to cover the bottom half of the target with sights to achieve accurate picture and alignment, a red dot allows you a much greater view of the target, point of aim, and the area below it.
- Red dot sights are far more accurate, excelling at a distance and in situations where speed is essential.
Which MRDS do we recommend the most and sell the most? Trijicon's RMR Red Sight Dots are a customer and expert's favorite go-to for handgun optics and sights.
Weapon Mounted Lights
Many changes and advances in technology in firearms have made the weapon-mounted light smaller and more lightweight than ever. But do you really need one? We think so! Depending on what you want and need, some of the weapon-mounted lights available are exceptionally powerful, offering 1,000 lumens with beams wide and powerful enough to fill a room or that can act as a searchlight outside.
One of the reasons why we think a weapon or handgun-mounted light is critical is for PID or positive identification. PID ensures you have determined, recognized, and spotted what, who and where a thread is located without a doubt. In addition to being a powerful PID tool, you no longer need to juggle a handheld light and a firearm.
Which weapon-mounted light brands do we rely on and love? Our experts' favorites are Modlite, Streamlight, and Surefire.
Accidents can occur at any time, any place, no matter how careful or professional a shooter may be. Errant birdshot, a ricochet, and excessive powder blowback—even when a firearm is discharged—can all severely injure your eyes. Prescription-strength or protective glasses are a must for any gunpowder of any skill, as it's the only way to ensure your eyes remain protected from mishaps and hazards.
Eye protection isn't just valuable during the act of shooting but eye protection can prevent:
- Falling debris such as leaves, twigs, dirt, and dust from getting into your eyes while you hunt or practice.
- Protect against cleaning solvents during gun cleaning.
- Keeping your eyes protected in high wind
- It can provide excellent contrast when target shooting
- Depending on the brand and design, protective glasses can be worn over prescription glasses or contacts or can even be made specifically to your prescription in some cases.
Many different brands of protective eyewear will also offer excellent impact resistance and shatter-proof materials. Additionally, many come with polycarbonate lenses which are fantastic for UVA and UVB protection. We believe eye protection is a must-have accessory for every gun owner. Our personal favorite is Carhartt Carthage.
You may believe or have heard some hunters and firearms owners say they need to hear an animal to hunt it or be able to listen to the conversation around them. But ask an old hand or older hunter if they would go back and use hearing protection now. They no doubt would say they wished for hearing protection now that issues with hearing and hearing loss are rampant from the rifles, shotguns, or handguns used when they were younger.
There is still a real risk of permanent hearing loss whenever you fire a gun. Proper hearing protection is another must-have accessory for training, practice, hunting, or any time when using a gun.
Our favorite hearing protection? The Impact Pro Electronic Earmuff by Howard Leight. These not only protect your hearing but also:
- Amplify ambient noise up to four times with directional microphones, helping you to hear range commands or ambient sounds at a safe decibel providing a natural listening and enhanced communication experience.
- Blocks hazardous noise by actively listening for it and automatically shutting off amplification when any sound reaches 82 dB while passively blocking out noise at 30 dB.
- Includes a port for portable music players and scanners
- Incredibly high noise reduction rating (NRR) explicitly designed for handgun and pistol shooters.
Every gun owner, from the collector and enthusiast beginner to experienced LEO and Military Veteran, must have a high-quality gun cleaning kit and should be trained to use the kit and clean their gun. If you've never owned a firearm or cleaned one, you may think it must be a complicated process. Luckily, a good gun manufacturer and quality cleaning kit should provide detailed and easy-to-follow instructions.
You should always clean your gun, as putting it off or forgetting to do so can lead to severe risks and significant damage to your firearm over time. Why are gun cleaning kits one of our must-haves for gun owners?
- Improve the lifespan of your firearm
- Prevention of numerous harmful effects like corrosion or rusting
- Ensure your firearm remains in working condition for reliability and accuracy
- Helps to spot any minor faults before they turn into major issues
We only stock our high-quality kits from Birchwood, Breakthrough, Hoppes, and Real Avid.
There are, of course, many different accessories and opinions on what accessories every gun owner should have, but here at Freedom Outdoors, we believe these 5 are the top must-haves for every gun owner of all ages and experiences. Make sure to add these to your kit today if you don't have them!
Want to know more about any of these accessories? We're here for you! Please feel free to reach out to our experts today. We'd love to help.