Now before you go all anti-gun liberal coward on me, I'm not saying that you should give people guns for Christmas...that's what birthdays are for.  What I am advocating is the constant spread of credible information on owning and carrying a firearm.  Frank James' Effective Handgun Defense A Comprehensive Guide to Concealed Carry (available at Amazon here) really goes through tons of information about practicing, carrying, and the use of your firearm.  James starts at the beginning, goes to the end and when he gets there, he stops.  It's a practical guide for selection of a pistol that includes the history of the pistol and takes the time to explain the origins of the ammo, the styles and even recommends carry styles and gives the pros and cons for each.  James uses past real world scenarios, his actual experiences, and scientific research to examine everything from caliber to make model and style.  Guns and Ammo Magazine (of which I subscribe) calls this book "a must read".

There are some drawbacks to the book.  It was written in 2004 a full seven years ago and CCW has come a long way since then (33 states allowed their citizens to concealed carry then and now in 2011 only Illinois and D.C. are the holdouts).  The ranges and companies mentioned aren't ALL still in existence and because the book is seven years old, there have been tons of advances in response to our country's concealed carry movement.  Namely the production of larger caliber smaller framed pistols (like the 9mm Beretta NanoKel-tec P3AT, or Ruger LC9 with laser sight) and more advanced fully concealed holster systems.  With all those issue withstanding, the book is chock full of nuggets of wisdom and info.

My favorite section is Chapter 3 on Wound Ballistics.  It goes into practical details (not gory details) on why LE/Military/Special Forces use the weapons they use...and what weapons they don't.  I also dug the Rules of Gun Fighting section like:

1.  Always bring your gun.

1a, If you can, bring two guns.

1b Bring your friends with guns.

The author goes on to say that the United States Marines perform this theory quite well and are some of it's better practitioners.  =)

In short, this book rocks and would make an excellent gift either paperback or hell throw it on your e-reader.  Though I consider myself proficient in handgun defense, the tips, tricks, and examples in this book helped me rethink some of my decisions on what, how, and when I carry.  One small example is the advice to check for "printing" of your weapon on your clothing.  Printing occurs when part or whole of your firearm or holster can be seen through your clothing which defeats the entire concept of CONCEALED carry.  James also goes on to recommend some form of security rating for the holster you carry and explains that someone getting a glimpse of your firearm increases the likelihood of them disarming you and possibly shooting you with your own weapon.  When I purchased my holster for CCW I focused more on ease of access not realizing that EVERY fight I get into from now on will involve a firearm...MY OWN!  I've learned from my mistakes and found several tidbits of info to share with my gun buds and you will too.