What’s In My Range Bag?
When I’m just running around town, I rarely have much more with me than my wallet, flashlight, gun, extra magazine, and knife. When I go shooting, though, the contents of my range bag start looking much more like that of a stereotypical purse, if only in the amount and variety of things that can be found inside. What do I drag along with me? Here’s a peek:
Don’t laugh, but over the years I’ve definitely forgotten important parts of range trip packing like: guns, magazines, ammunition, and eye and ear protection. They are the bare minimum to get a little shooting done, but they can still get left behind at home.
My kind of training and matches also require a holster, magazine carriers, and a special, two-layer belt. With all of the horror stories of forgetting them for a match, I always double-check I have those with me.
On the theory that “two is one and one is none”, I often bring extras too. Even if I plan to only be shooting one gun, I like to bring a backup in case my primary gun breaks. I also pack extra magazines and more than enough ammunition for my plans.
For hearing protection, I like to wear muffs over a set of custom earplugs so it’s hard to forget both, but just in case, disposable foam ear plugs are cheap and don’t take up a lot of space or weight. Meanwhile, I keep a case with extra lenses for my eye protection in my bag, as well as a set of prescription inserts in case my contacts aren’t working out for any reason. If I know I’m going to be on the range for a long day, I keep my regular glasses in the car too.
Tools of the Trade
I maintain my own guns and while I do my best to take care of them at home, things can pop up while I’m shooting. Whether it’s a regular screwdriver, a specialized hex wrench, or a bigger, sharper knife than I normally carry, I’ve needed them all on the range. Multitools can save space if you need to travel light. I also make sure I have a small cleaning and lube kit with me.
For training and practice, it’s also helpful for me to always have a shot timer in my bag so that I can measure what I’m doing objectively if I’m working on skills that require speed. I usually stash some extra targets in my bag too, along with pasters so that I can cover up holes I’ve shot and continue using the same target while still seeing my hits. And most importantly, I keep a plain notepad and pen in a side pocket so that I can write down what I’ve worked on and how it went.
Almost everyone who spends a lot of time outside knows that they need sunscreen and bug spray. But are you also aware of the importance of staying fed and hydrated? Low blood sugar and dehydration aren’t just uncomfortable; they can also become safety issues as they cause you to become uncoordinated and unfocused. Since I can’t count on having food and water at the range, I always keep snacks in my bag and toss water in the car.
Finally, my range bag includes a small personal care kit along with my trauma kit. The Band-Aids, tissues, hand sanitizer, and blister tape are for everyone. Boys, you might want to skip to the next paragraph now. Ladies, you know how your period sometimes arrives at inconvenient times? Yeah, you might want to make sure you tuck all of the necessary supplies deep into your range bag.
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