A range bag is a necessary transportation accessory for the “normal” things you need at the shooting range as well as for the more specified or unusual items that tag along. A bag filled with the right gear can make your shooting experience much more valuable and enjoyable.
Besides eye and ear protection, guns, holsters, magazines, ammunition and an IFAK (individual first-aid kit with rescue essentials), what is a girl to pack for a little practice, a shooting competition or a gun training class? Our must-haves will likely differ from person to person and will probably change based on the purpose of the trip. But whether for an afternoon, a day, a weekend or a week-long adventure, here are some things to consider stowing away.
- Bandages and Antibiotic Ointment — Throw in a small first-aid kit for those smaller cuts or blisters.
- Sunscreen — Even if it’s cloudy or cool.
- Lip Balm with SPF — So you do not end up with dry or chapped lips.
- Bug Spray or Wipes — A good idea for outdoor ranges and warmer weather — especially since I am convinced that the most bloodthirsty insects lie in wait at the range.
- Hand Wipes — For lead and dirt. They are great to tuck away in a pocket for times you need to clean up but cannot get to soap and water.
- Face Wipes — Or toner/cleaner can help get particles and dirt off your face.
- Hat —Usually a must to keep the hot sun — and the hot brass — off your head.
- Hairbands — And maybe a few bobby pins or barrettes, if needed. These small, simple items can come in handy.
- Food and Water — Pack gum or mints, a refillable water bottle and some snacks (protein and good things, if possible).
- Towel or Cooling Rag — For those hot temperatures.
- Gloves and Hand Warmers — Great for colder weather.
- Extra Clothes —For temperatures that are warmer or cooler than what you expect. Layers are great because you can take them off or add to them. Consider wet-weather gear.
- Extra Socks — These can make a big difference for wet, cold or sore feet.
FOR YOUR GUN:
- Maintenance Tools — A small cleaning kit, some lube and a multi-tool might come in handy once in a while. No matter how well you maintain your firearm, there is always a chance you may need to work on it at the range.
- Chamber Flags — Empty-chamber indicators are a must at some ranges, so it is always good to have a few stowed away.
- Gun Mat or Rug — Can come in handy if you need to transport, work on or protect a firearm.
FOR THE TARGETS:
- Target Pasters or Masking Tape — These come in handy for taping up targets or covering shots.
- Staple Gun and Extra Staples — These are staples (pun intended, obviously) for many range bags.
- Zip-Top and Grocery Bags — Bring one (or two or 15) for carrying any extra items, such as an interesting round, brass for reloading or any items that get dirty or wet.
- Gorilla Tape —Many say that it is better than duct tape. It is a handy item for those just-in-case situations.
- Shot Timer — Jokingly known as a brain melter, this can be helpful for matches or for anything timed. Don’t forget extra batteries.
- Snap-Caps —These dummy rounds can help if you need them.
- Notebook and Pen — For jotting down information, drills, results or other things to remember. A waterproof pad that writes in the rain (or in the humidity) is a great option. It is also a great idea to have personal emergency contact information written here.
- Permanent Markers —Red and black ink. They are great for writing on targets, cardboard or wherever else larger notes or messages are required.
- Cash — Dollars and change (in case there are vending machines or snack tables) are a good addition.
- Knife — If you have not packed one already.
- Small Flashlight — For darkness or for dark spaces.
What did I forget? What do you always pack in your range bag? Just keep in mind that your range bag should include what works best for you and should be set up to best serve your needs. And for that, I say, “To each, her own.”