–By Jason Hanson, former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author.
If you’ve ever gone to a gun store and purchased a firearm or just picked up a gun magazine, you have undoubtedly been inundated with the many, many gun accessories you can add to your firearm. The reality is there are some people who spend more on gun accessories than they do on the gun itself. Which begs the question: are any of these accessories really necessary? The short answer is yes — as long as you purchase the right accessories.
Accessories for your gun are worth every penny if you buy ones that actually make a difference in performance. Don’t waste your money on an add-on that has no functional purpose. With that in mind, here are the most important gun accessories I recommend for your firearm:
This is the No. 1 gun accessory I recommend. If you wake up in the middle of the night from the sound of someone in your house, you’ll need a light to investigate. Most people will just grab a flashlight in this scenario, which is fine. But if you decide to go this route, I encourage you to practice shooting while holding your flashlight so you get used to having only one hand on the gun instead of two.
You can also buy a tactical light/laser combo that will help you aim in the dark, but like anything gun related, these gadgets can be expensive, and they’re not something you want to go cheap on.
Whenever you purchase a new gun, you should buy a holster at the same time. Owning multiple holsters is beneficial for a few reasons. First, you need to make sure you always have a holster that works with the clothes you’re wearing. For example, the holster I wear with my jeans wouldn’t work with the shorts I wear on my morning run.
Second, you need to have a holster that best fits your lifestyle. What I mean is if you’re always going to carry concealed, you might want an inside-the-waistband holster. However, if you live on a large piece of property and regularly patrol it, you may find that an outside-the-waistband holster is more comfortable and convenient.
When it comes to long guns, I believe a sling is a must-have accessory. A sling makes it easier to carry your gun while hunting or patrolling. Plus, a sling often makes it easier to transition from a long gun to a pistol in an emergency. Don’t forget, if you buy a sling, you will have to purchase swivels to attach the sling to your gun, but this accessory is well worth the price.
I recommend everyone have — at the absolute minimum — three magazines for each gun they own. The fact is, if you are in a bug-out situation, you should have all three mags loaded and ready to go. Even if you just keep your guns at home, you should keep your extra mags ready. If, heaven forbid, multiple intruders break into your home, you’ll be glad you’re prepared. In addition to having extra magazines, remember to practice reloading them so you won’t miss a beat in an emergency.
A basic gun cleaning kit isn’t expensive, and while it’s certainly not the sexiest gun accessory, it’s one that’s often overlooked. Keeping your gun clean and well oiled is critical to ensure it functions properly when you need it. Now, I know people who say they’ve shot thousands of rounds with a Glock without having to clean it. While that may be true, the fact is grime and dirt will build up eventually, so always remember to clean your gun regularly.
Some people spend thousands of dollars to add all kind of bells and whistles to their firearms, but I’m a big believer in the idea that a quality self-defense gun doesn’t need a lot of fancy add-ons. One final note: No matter what, please don’t do a trigger job on your self-defense gun. You don’t want to find yourself facing a prosecutor trying to explain why your gun has a two-pound trigger.
Jason Hanson is a former CIA officer and New York Times bestselling author. After graduating from Radford University, Hanson joined the Arlington County Police Force. Not long thereafter, Jason set his sights on the Central Intelligence Agency. Once he was accepted into the CIA, he made a name for himself and received the CIA’s Exceptional Performance Award twice; once in 2005 and again in 2008. After over six years with the CIA, Hanson left to start a family and founded Spy Escape & Evasion with the goal of teaching men and women how to be safe using secrets and methods honed from years with the intelligence community. Then in 2014, Jason won a deal on the ABC hit show Shark Tank. Jason then authored his first New York Time Bestseller, Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life, and began expanding his spy instructing company by opening the 320-acre Spy Ranch. To get a free copy of his book or learn more about his training programs, visit www.SpyEscape.com.