A day at the range is something you might look forward to every weekend as a gun owner, and if it is, you know that getting ready requires more than just grabbing your firearm and gear and heading out.
If you’re new to the world of owning a weapon or just want to refresh your range bag to make sure you have what you need, we’ve put together a list to guarantee that you’re prepared and ready for whatever might happen at the range.
Range Bag Options
If it’s your first time putting together a range bag, you might find yourself asking what type of bag you should use for this necessity that will serve you best. Fortunately, you have a few range luggage options that will all work fine.
Duffel Range Bag
If you want, you can pick up a dedicated range bag or something that’s specifically designed for this use. These can be a little pricey and aren't entirely necessary; however, since they are made for going to the range, they’ll have internal pockets and pouches that you’ll find extremely useful.
Otherwise known as a laptop bag, this is what you would see someone carrying going into work- We don’t advise bringing your range bag to work even if it looks like this, though unless you work at the range.
But a laptop bag can be a solid, subtle alternative to the range bag, as they typically have a lot of pockets and compartments that work great for everything you need.
Backpacks are the classic carrying options for just about anything, and there are plenty that will fit your range needs. Backpacks designed to carry laptops will have sleeves with extra padding that work great for your firearm; otherwise, they’ve got plenty of places to keep your supplies.
1. Eye Protection
The first few essentials on this list are safety devices, and for a good reason. Even when practicing with your firearm at the range, accidents can happen, and you need to make sure that you’ve taken precautions. Eye protection is critical in case a stray fragment or casing comes rocketing towards your face.
Obviously, your eyes are sensitive to impact, so eyewear will save you an unpleasant trip to the ER. Vision glasses and sunglasses aren’t considered safe protection because they don’t protect the side of the eyes and provide full coverage. Ensure that the glasses you wear are rated for ballistics, or they might shatter and cause even more trouble.
2. Ear Protection
This one is pretty obvious, but on the off chance you didn’t know: Guns are loud. Very loud.
Particularly if you’re firing anything over a small caliber, you’ll want to protect your ears with ear muffs. Sudden and extreme volumes leave you with permanent hearing damage. So a few years down the road, you’ll be thanking yourself for using a solid pair of earmuffs or plugs. There are specialty earmuffs designed to cancel loud noises over a certain decibel level, allowing you to comfortably have a conversation with someone even as gunshots go off around you.
3. First Aid
Like we mentioned, the reality is that even when following every protocol and safety regulation, you never know exactly what might happen. You always want to protect yourself and your firearm. Things go wrong and you want to make sure you’re prepared when they do.
First Aid kits or trauma kits help prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Make sure to have things like gauze, wound-cleaning products like rubbing alcohol, and bandages (not just the small ones.)
You can often find pre-loaded First Aid kits, and it’s generally always a good idea to have one handy.
4. More Ammo Than You Think You Need
While headed out to the range, you might assume that you’ll be there for a certain amount of time, but most gun owners will know that ammunition goes faster than you expect them to. It’s just the way it is.
Always bring a little more lead than you think you’re going to need because there’s nothing worse than getting into the groove and suddenly realizing you’re out of ammo before you’re ready to go.
5. Extra Mags
Your time at a gun range is valuable, so don’t waste it spending time reloading the same magazine over and over. Load up a few extra magazines before you head out so that you can spend the majority of your time shooting instead.
6. Squib Rod
Having a high-quality squib rod can help you clear a jammed weapon if a case or bullet ever becomes stuck without damaging the barrel or any other element of your firearm.
Whether you travel with your firearm in a carrying case or already in its holster, you’ll want to include one with you to the range for when you're not discharging your weapon. Beyond keeping your gun off the ground or table, a holster can be a great way to show off some personality, especially when you use something like a high-quality vinyl wrap to protect and dress it up.
8. Back-Up Targets
It’s always good to have a few extra targets because they don’t tend to last long. After getting a few good rounds in, you might find that all of your paper targets are toast.
Bringing extra targets lets you confidently continue knowing that you’ll have plenty ahead, even when you really get going.
9. Tape and/or Stapler
If you bring extra targets, you’ll need a way to affix them to the board, and tape is a great choice. You can also use tape to fix any extreme holes in the target, and we all know how universally handy duct tape clear packing tape can be. It’s a better option than duct tape because it’s see-through so it doesn’t hide previous bullet holes or target artwork.
A staple gun is also a fine option because you won’t have to worry about the wind blowing off the target with staples. However, you don’t get the added utility of tape.
If you’re shooting during the evening hours, a small flashlight can come in handy. Most indoor gun ranges are well-lit, but if you happen to be outside later in the day, a flashlight can be helpful.
And if you want to, you can also breathe some life into your flashlights with GunSkins vinyl sheets to make them way more interesting.
After a few rounds of shooting, it’s advised that you take a clean cloth and wipe down your firearm and magazines. They may collect debris, dirt, dust, or grime from your hands, and it’s always critical to make sure that your weapon is clean.
You never know when you need to adjust or tighten something, so having a multi-tool on hand can be extremely useful. You don’t need an entire tool kit, but having a few things can save a lot of space and headaches. A multi-tool with a few sizes of Alan wrenches are very important because they are commonly used for mounting accessories and disassembly of the frame.
13. Weather Conscious Clothes
Whether the gun range you go to is indoor or outside, bringing clothes to prepare for any environment is helpful. You don’t want your hands getting cold and slow on you, so a solid pair of thin but insulated gloves will do the trick.
You’ll also want to consider a solid hat and jacket. Shivering on the gun range will be very detrimental to your accuracy and hamper the experience you have.