You’ve acquired your first firearm. You’ve taken some training classes and maybe even started carrying it on a regular basis. Whether it’s a rifle, handgun, or shotgun, just leaving it “as-is” is admittedly rather boring. You can extend the capabilities and useful life of your gun with many affordable accessories. Below we present our recommendations on essential gun accessories.
The best part is, these are all unrestricted items and can be delivered straight to your door!
Be safe and have fun!
Always remember priority one is safety. Our sister site offers an excellent safety guide here.
A firearm is a simple machine, but is still a machine nonetheless. And like all machines, it requires some care and maintenance to keep it going for a lifetime of practical purpose and fun. One of the easiest things you can do is keep the gun clean. Generally, we recommend cleaning your rifle, pistol, or shotgun after every range trip, and every two weeks regardless of use. A great kit to use is this 62-piece one from Outers. The kit ships in a sturdy bright red case for easy identification, and contains an assortment of copper wire and cotton brushes, along with a good quantity of cleaning patches, jags, and rods suitable for most common firearm calibers. Like most cleaning kits, most of the items contained are consumable over time and will need to be refreshed. But for a start, the Outers Universal 62-Piece cleaning kit is a fantastic purchase.
Of course, if you are cleaning your rifle, pistol, or shotgun, just using cleaning brushes is ineffective and pointless. To really clean, you need essential gun accessories like a quality gun cleaning solution or solvent to really break down that carbon, lead, oil, and copper residue. And for that, we can’t say enough good things about the products from Breakthrough Clean. We’re a little biased since Breakthrough is located in the 305 just like we are, but we’re sure their Military Grade Solvent will not fail to please. It cleans so thoroughly that even neglected guns have come back to life in our experience. Plus, it’s actually non-toxic, which is amazing considering what it is designed to do. It also won’t harm the gun’s plastics or any special paint jobs you may have on your firearm, i.e. cerakoting, hydrographics, and so on. Breakthrough Clean is definitely an essential gun accessory. Note that this is just a solvent and not a lubricant – your gun will be bone dry after applying Breakthrough Clean. You’ll need a quality firearm lubricant as well.
Essential gun accessories include lubricating products. Most quality firearm solvents strip away everything. Grime, carbon fouling, lead residue, and oil as well. The end result is a clean gun that is totally “dry”. While modern firearms often have coatings on the working components which enable them to run dry, it’s not a recommended practice for a weapon you are depending on to work in an emergency. Thus, your trusty sidearm should have lubrication on the working components of the system, i.e. the action and so forth. For that, we recommend another Breakthrough product, their Battle Born HP Pro Oil. Like it’s solvent brethren, the Battle Born lubricant is non-toxic and does not stain. Plus, it works in temperatures from -65 F to over 500 F. The unique formula not only lubricates, but it protects critical components from rust and corrosion as well. Tip – the manufacturer recommends you let Battle Born “soak” into the components for a few hours before use for even more protection.
One of the four rules of firearm safety is to be sure of your target and what is beyond it. It is easy when you are in an indoor range with good lighting and a stationary target, but it is definitely not so easy when something goes bump in the night at 3 AM at your home. Is it a home invader? Or is it your teenage son trying to sneak in after curfew? Target identification is critical in an emergency. And for that, we trust the essential gun accessories by the wonderful people at Streamlight to light the way. Streamlight makes a wide variety of firearm-mounted lights for rifles, pistols, and tactical shotguns. Trusted by professional users for over 40 years, their products stand up to the most harsh environments. If a Streamlight can take the abuse an urban police officer throws at it, you know it will stand ready for citizen home defense use. Current Streamlight offerings boast high-output LED lights that will last a lifetime, and some models even include red-dot laser functionality to assist in shot placement.
You might be going on vacation, but crime doesn’t. If you have a carry permit for your firearm, you may be able to bring it with you on your travels due to reciprocity laws between states. If you are traveling by air, you can check your firearm onto the plane as checked luggage in most cases. See our sister site’s handy guide to traveling with a firearm for details. Be that as it may, your gun needs to be securely encased to travel on the aircraft, and for that we can’t say enough good things about Pelican cases in terms of essential gun accessories. Pelican cases have been trusted for over 40 years for the secure transport of firearms, industrial items, electronics, medical devices, you name it. We can guarantee you’ve seen a Pelican case at one time or another. In our experience for the prepared citizen traveling with their reliable pistol, the Pelican 1400 case fits the bill. It can accommodate one or two handguns and some accessories, or just one gun, accessories, and things like extra ammo. Each case includes provisions for two sturdy padlocks.
An often-overlooked item in the world of essential gun accessories for an AR-15 rifle is a quality sling. While for the casual trip to the range, it may not be important, having a sling for your rifle is critical for when you take more advanced classes where the instructor has you shooting and moving. Also, during (god forbid) an emergency, you may need your hands free for things like first aid and repair, while keeping your rifle close at hand for immediate deployment. For this, we recommend the Vickers Combat Application Sling. Manufactured by Blue Force Gear, a police supply company, and designed by legendary firearms instructor Larry Vickers, this sling incorporates key features from real world experience that makes the sling effective and durable, and is often requested by name by military and police operators worldwide, so you know it will be more than adequate for citizen use.
Quick access to a home defense firearm is critical. Our recommendation for essential gun accessories is to have a main safe for guns you don’t use often, and a quick-access safe for emergency use. The general rule is that if you aren’t carrying or using a gun, it should be locked away somewhere to avoid accidents, especially with inexperienced people in the household. Education is key, as well. For the best combination of security and quick access, we recommend Vaultek Gun Safes. Endorsed and used by luminaries in the firearms world such as Colion Noir, Vaultek makes pistol safes for pretty much any size sidearm. Some Vaultek safes include biometric security (unlock with your fingerprint) as well as backup batteries that will last up to 4 months without external power. In addition, all Vaultek safes include anti-pry features, impact-resistant hinges, and other anti-theft protections. Keep your defense on lock with Vaultek.
Range trips rarely are quick. You want to go, and you want to make them count. So invariably you end up bringing a bunch of extra stuff with you. Ammo, first aid kit, basic cleaning supplies, magazines, and so on – it’s not going to all fit in your gun case. So, you’re going to need a range bag to accommodate all that, and more if you are shooting outdoors away from civilization. And for this task we recommend the Tactical Range Ready Bag from 5.11. It has plenty of room for magazines, ammo, ear/eye protection, and other accessories. It even has specialized pockets for spent ammo casings if you are into reloading. Plus it’s made of an extremely durable nylon so it’ll take a beating and keep in service for years to come. It’s available in black or sandstone (tan) so if you’re picky about color coordination you have some options for essential gun accessories like this.
Gunfire is loud. Like, 160dB loud, which is louder than a fighter jet on full power. Even outdoors, this is still loud enough to cause instant permanent hearing damage and loss. Even if you are lucky enough to have a suppressor for your firearm, you will still need ear protection since suppressed gunfire still clocks in at 130dB which can cause hearing damage over time. So, with that in mind, we recommend in terms of essential gun accessories is a solid pair of hearing protectors, like the Peltor Sport 300. Taking features from it’s professional brethren, the Sport 300s have electronic noise-canceling microphones so you can hear important things like range commands, but not dangerous noises like gunfire. These ear protectors also include an audio input port for various devices like a cell phone or a two-way radio. Power is supplied either by AA batteries or a (sold separately) USB-rechargeable battery
Equally as important as ear protection, in terms of essential gun accessories, is eye protection when at the range. Not only does eye protection protect your eyes from the rare instance of flying debris and fragments, it also keeps more mundane things out of your eyes like smoke particulates and the occasional burst of lubrication that can fly out of a firearm especially after sustained fire. While most gun ranges will supply you with a pair of free disposable eye protection, you shouldn’t count on it, especially if your range is outdoors and away from civilization. Our recommendation is to stick with Peltor, most notably their SecureFit 400 glasses. The kit ships with 3 different swappable impact-resistant lenses, including clear, tinted, and amber. The lenses also block 99.9 percent of incoming UV light, which is especially handy outdoors. A neat feature is the flexibility of the frame, which ensures a snug fit when worn with hearing protection. Keep your eyes safe and secure with Peltor.