12 Beneficial Range Bag Essentials
In another post, Jacob explained precisely why it is vital to have a dedicated range bag or gear bag. Read Jacob's article on it here.
12 Range Bag Essentials:
For this post, I wanted to list out 12 range bag essentials. Items that you should have in your bag for the next trip to the range.
I use all of the items listed and make sure to stock them in my range bag.
If you don't already have a dedicated range bag, this is the best one I have found. It has a pocket for all the different items I take to the range. I love that it is a backpack and how it protects my handguns from damage.
Let's build the Range Bag Essentials List:
- Ammunition, of course
- Maglula Uplula Mag Loader
- Sharpie for putting your name on stuff
- The Real Avid Pistol Tool
- Trauma Kit
- Dummy Ammo and Type 3 Malfunction Round
- 3×5 Index Cards / Self-Stick Colored Notes
- The Ready Up Gear Handgun Cleaning Kit
- Adhesive Targets
- A Shot Timer – The Rangetech Timer
- Electronic Hearing Protection
- Eye Protection
So get your range bag out, and prepare to gather these essential items:
It's hard to do any target practice without a proper amount of ammunition. So make sure you have some in your range bag. How much should you bring? Well, that largely depends on your goal with your live-fire practice. Each time I go, I try to bring a few hundred rounds of full metal jacket FMJ.
If you haven't already, you should run a magazine or two of your self-defense ammo to make sure it's still cycling correctly.
I talk about the reasons why I do this here in this article.
Maglula Uplula —
It is hard to find a product with a name stranger than this. But the Uplula from Maglula makes filling your magazines easier. Sometimes new magazine springs are tight, sometimes it is cold, and some people have hand strength issues. The Uplula is by far the best product for filling magazines.
Pen/Marker and Paper —
I'm odd in this regard, but this stems back to my Marine Corps days keeping track of things when I shoot longer distances. It's good to keep track of things like shot-calling or mistakes you've made while shooting. You should also be noting times for drills and other training benchmarks.
A marker helps mark shot holes as well as your gear. Always have this gear in your bag, trust me.
If you don't use adhesive targets like the ones we sell in our online store, then you'll need a way to attach them to the stand. I always have a stapler and staples in my range bag. In addition to that, I have a few thumbtacks as a backup. Just in case my stapler has a catastrophic malfunction or runs out of staples.
I always have a multi-tool in my range bag just if I need to do any maintenance on the fly. That one I linked to has some gun-specific tools built in that are great for getting you out of a jam.
Trauma Kit —
I learned firsthand just how important it was to need first aid and not have it when I brought my pops to the range shooting one day. He had just bought a new gun and never fired a semi-auto before, which he had that day.
I did my best trying to show him how to grip the gun properly, but teaching family members is rarely a good idea, and he didn't listen to me. The slide bit the web of his thumb, and my man is on blood thinners, so he was bleeding profusely all over the place. He didn't want to stop shooting and wrapped it in some napkins we found in the glove box.
The point is that we needed some stuff to fix his booboos and didn't have one. Now for the average person, that wouldn't have been a bad injury. For a guy on blood thinners, it could have been much worse than it was. I've learned my lesson and have a first aid kit now. You should, too, because you never know what is going to happen.
First Aid Kit vs. Trauma Kit
Additionally, shooting guns is an inherently dangerous activity. Being around people shooting guns is also dangerous. If someone is injured, you need to have trauma gear there at that moment. The gear in a trauma kit is different than what is found in a first aid kit. A trauma kit is part of range bag essentials, but it is even more than that. I recommend having one in your vehicles, boats, workshop, or anywhere you spend a lot of time.
Not run to some RSO building or the next range over. EMS may have a delayed response due to the location of many shooting ranges being in rural areas. If you don't have a trauma kit that you take with you to and from the range, I am sorry. You need to fix it and get one.
Dummy Ammunition and a Type 3 Malfunction Training Round —
It's all fun to head to the range and blast off a bunch of rounds. But what about purposeful training. Sometimes that requires inert dummy rounds. These can help you train malfunctions, as well as expose anticipation issues.
A new product that has come out is a dummy round that helps you train type 3 malfunctions, better known as double feeds. This device is a fantastic tool to have when you want to practice clearing double feeds without knowing when it will happen.
Toss various dummy rounds in your range bag, so you have it when you need to work on those skills.
3×5 Index Cards and Sticky Notes —
This item takes up nearly no space in your range bag. I like to run many different types of drills. Many of these drills involve shooting different zones of different sizes and shapes. I can create or modify by training by adding sticky notes or an index card to a target. Be creative and spice up a predictable day at the range by challenging yourself to run some new drills.
Consider evaluating your concealed carry skills by running these standards.
Gun Cleaning Gear AND a Good Lubricant —
Most people clean their guns at home. However, there are many times I've needed to disassemble clean or lube my firearm or someone else's gun while at the range. That is where a cleaning kit like this one comes in handy. Maybe that is because my range sessions are usually an entire day or multiple days. Nevertheless, it's better to have the gear and not need it than need it and not have it.
Having a dedicated gun cleaning kit in your range bag is a bright idea; that's why we included it as part of the range bag essentials.
And I can't overstate the importance of a good lubricant. Guns can run after they get filthy. However, a dry handgun is more likely to cause reliability issues. Make sure you have an appropriate lubricant based on the temperature and conditions in which you're training. I personally love pig lube!
Whether or not you use cardboard or paper targets, you need something to shoot. We like adhesive targets and now have our line of them in the store.
Shot Timer —
Okay, so some people think shot-timers are taboo for self-defense. Not so!
A shot timer is definitely part of the range bag essentials, and the best way to gather quantitative data on your skills.
When you have the information, you can compare your times to previous runs or other people's times and standards. You are stifling your growth as a shooter if you don't use a timer. I know they are expensive. That is why our company decided to manufacturer a shot-timer here in Colorado. It is the only timer sold with Bluetooth and the set of features the RangeTech Shot Timer has. Check out the RangeTech Shot Timer.
Electronic Hearing Protection —
You may wonder why I specified that it should be electronic hearing protection. Well, that is because electronic muffs like these block out gunshots and still allow you to hear normal conversation and range commands. It may not seem like a big deal until you take a shooting course and have to keep asking the instructor to repeat the range commands. Believe me, once you go electronic, you won't go back.
Redundancy is good when it comes to items that protect you. Keep an extra set of ear pro in your range bag. You can thank me later.
I will also let you know that we have a new product that makes electronic hearing protection even more comfortable. These gel earpad Soft Seals replace the standard ones that come on your hearing protection. Every single person who has tried them has fallen in love, I included. I wish I held the patent for these things.
Eye Protection —
There can be a lot of stuff flying around while you're at the range shooting. One time shooting at a steel plate from 50 yards with a rifle chambered in .30-06, the bullet went straight through and sent shards of steel backward at me.
I was far enough from the target that, in theory, I should have been fine.
I ducked and missed the big piece as it flew at my head but got pelted with several other smaller pieces.
Always have multiple pieces of eye protection because you never know when a pair may break, or you may be with someone who forgot theirs, allowing you to lend yours.
Okay, the bonus item isn't an item. Instead, it is a suggestion that you have backup gear for some of these items in your range bag. An extra pair of glasses or hearing protection can save the day. Try to keep your gear bag stocked and ready to go so you don't leave stuff at home.
So there you have it, range bag essential items that I think should be included in everyone's bag. How many of these 12 items do you keep in your bag? Are there any items in your bag that didn't make my list? Let me know in the comments.
Free Download —
Want a free Range Bag Checklist?
At my outdoor range a handy item is a staple gun to fix paper targets to the backboard.
Do you take phone orders? I prefer speaking to a real person
Sure. Our number is on our contact page as are the business hours.
Any idea what’s the brand of the bag on title picture? Looks cool …
That is the GPS Outdoors Handgunner Bag. The link to buy it is in the above article and you can find it in our online store
Would be an asset at the range..
If you have the sound of a heart beat in one of your ears and have high cholesterol, you may have an artery plugging up. Might be worth having it checked out.
What is the cost of all of this?
Robert what is the price of what specifically? The checklist is free. The various products are going to vary depending on what ammo, what targets, etc that you choose to put in your bag.
I bring extra ears and eyes in case I run into a buddy who needs em. ?