Have gun bag, will travel: 5 Best range bags

Sure, you can carry your guns and gear in a cheap, disposible duffel bag, but when you invest both serious money and adoring sentiment into your guns and accessories, they deserve more serious protection. After research and testing, Guns.com has found the best range bags. Whether specialized, tactical or classic, one common thread binds them all – they’re well-made, firearm-designed range bags built to last a lifetime.

Mobile range bags with wheels, it's just how I roll.  (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Mobile range bags with wheels, it’s just how I roll. (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Best wheeled bag: G-Outdoors Large Rolling Range Bag

I’d be hard-pressed to name another company as innovative as G-Outdoors. These guys are passionate about improving every minute detail of their product, and it shows in the layout and design of their gear.

You can fit everything except the kitchen sink! (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

You can fit everything except the kitchen sink! (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Our test bag from the Wild About Shooting line is the Large Rolling Range bag, and as far as mobile range bags go, is top of the line. With sturdy wheels and a rigid frame, it stands up to serious abuse. We not only filled it with over 50 pounds of ammo and guns, but piled gear on top, yet the Rolling Range Bag kept on trucking. In fact, we even used this bag as a pack mule for working a weekend gun show with no issues; this thing is a workhorse.

We especially like the wide, hinge-type bucket mouth and pockets that line the main compartment to keep the large storage area clear. Vertical handgun holders inside the bag grant safe storage for two small-to-medium frame handguns, leaving plenty of room for additional handgun cases and ammo. Though this bag is designed for handgunning, it also works well as a cart for carrying both the sporting clays course equipment and to the rifle range. The telescoping and triple-reinforced carry handle makes it easy to maneuver and carry. If you tire of slinging loads of guns and ammo over your shoulder all day, this bag is for you.

Sometimes you want to be absolutely sure your guns are safe. (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Sometimes you want to be absolutely sure your guns are safe. (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Best hard-sided range case: GunCruzer Prepper Quick Draw

When you think “range bag”, the GunCruzer line from CaseCruzer is probably not what comes to mind. But given the plethora of styles accommodating two to six handguns or rifle/handgun combos, GunCruzer offers a hard-case for every need. The company advertises these as cases for “safe storage, shipping and carrying” and that’s exactly their market.

Tell me this doesn't make you feel like RoboCop (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Tell me this doesn’t make you feel like RoboCop (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

With the Prepper Quick Draw Two-Pack outfit, you get not only a hard sided range case, but one that is ruggedly built and equipped with an ambient pressure equalization valve for airline baggage compartment travel. These cases as 100 percent watertight, airtight and dust and corrosion proof, plus it floats! Their products withstood testing by both Law Enforcement and the US Armed Forces, demonstrating their ruggedness.

As soon as I pulled the Quick Draw out of its box, the quality was obvious. While I personally baby my guns, if I had to drop them off a balcony, I’d put them in this case. Our test case measures 20.25 inches in length, 16.6 inches in width and 8.75 inches in height. It weighs nearly 11 pounds empty, has space for two handguns and four magazine slots and includes removable foam liners. Cases are available for magnum and long-barreled guns as well.

I easily put this at the top of all hard-cases I’ve tested in the gun industry. GunCruzers carry a lifetime guarantee, though it’s hard to imagine needing it. We joked about all the things we think this case could survive, including drops, moderate explosions and being lost at sea. Heck, we even used it as a shooting bench at the range. This is by no means a do-all range case, but it was not designed as such, it was designed for security and built like a tank. If an American made, purpose-built high-quality hard-sided airline friendly case is what you need, the $225 MSRP is manageable. Besides, if properly secured, GunCruzers could serve as a viable home security storage option.

Backpacks are a godsend when you need to carry heavy equipment and keep both hands free (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Backpacks are a godsend when you need to carry heavy equipment and keep both hands free (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Best range backpack: G-Outdoors Tactical Range Backpack

Even pack-rats can't fill these capacious pockets (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Even pack-rats can’t fill these capacious pockets (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

I initially sought G-Outdoor’s sweet Handgunner Backpack, but was pleased to be introduced to the Tactical Range Backpack. In the line of range backpacks, I have fallen head over heels for this one. The frame’s padded shoulder, chest and waist straps make even the heaviest loads comfortable, all while leaving your hands free. Our testers loved the dedicated lower section of the bag, where the rigid support houses three included handgun cases, each nicely padded while accommodating extra magazine storage. Both front and side flaps zip open completely flat and are lined with soft loop material, acting as gun rugs.

As with the Large Rolling Bag, the “GPS” logo patch is secured with Velcro, allowing users to customize with their own morale patches. There are interior hydration holders, perfectly sized for keeping cans of oil or solvent in the upright position, if you don’t need to hydrate at the range. A pull-out rain cover is a nice addition, as is the MOLLE webbing for attaching additional gear. The company attends to little details, like velour lining the eyewear and ear plug storage areas and providing phone and GPS pockets. If you’re not a naturally organized shooter, G-Outdoors bags do all the work.

Though a bit unconventional, Boyt's bag is extremely handy (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Though a bit unconventional, Boyt’s bag is extremely handy (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Best classic range bag (tie): Boyt Harness Plantation Range Bag

With a soft outer shell and leather trim, Boyt offers the antithesis of tactical packs, without sacrificing durability. We found the matching pockets on either end to be amply sized for all sorts of gear, from shotgun shell

Boyt's backpack holds much more than it looks (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

The Boytbag holds  an ton (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

boxes to muffs. The rear slash pocket holds smaller items for quick access. Closed cell foam lines the main compartment while the top of the bag is also very heavily padded for protection. While there are no built-in magazine pouches, handgun cases or dedicated ammo holders, that’s not how this bag was designed. The Plantation Range bag fills the needs for mostly any range time, from trap to rifle to the pistol. For clays, we hauled seven full boxes of shotgun shells in the main compartment with room for two earmuffs, glasses and gloves.

When not on range-duty, it doubles as a classy traveling bag. Although an MSRP around $100 may seem a little steep for a non-specialized range bag, this is an unassuming, well-made, do-all bag.

Duluth's hand-made quality is apparent to everyone who lays hands on it. (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Duluth’s hand-made quality is apparent to everyone who lays hands on it. (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Best classic range bag (tie):  Duluth Pack Range Bag

After learning Duluth Pack products been handmade in Duluth, MN by craftsman since 1911, I needed their Range Bag. Like the Boyt, this is another unassuming, classic shooting pack. The Duluth Pack Range Bag is available in 16 color/fabric options to suit every shooter’s taste. They are built from 15-ounce, rugged cotton canvas and our test model was waxed for better water-resistance. With the combination of waxed canvas and a padded, reinforce-stitched bottom, we were not afraid to set the range bag on damp ground or slide it in the truck bed. In fact, it seems to get better with age and use. Straps are made of webbing with leather trim on both hand and shoulder areas, as well as zipper pulls.

The large, gusseted front pocket opens wide enough to accept a full sandbag, a big plus for bench-shooters. We found it best to pile ammo and heavy gear in the main compartment, while tucking a few soft handgun cases inside the front pocket. The U-shaped, double-zipper top opens wide for easy access to the contents, while a rear slash pocket works well for holding smaller gear. If shotgunning is your game, this pack holds at least eight full boxes of shotgun shells in the main compartment.

When you buy a Duluth Pack, you are getting a lifetime product. The pricey $220 MSRP is softened not only by the quality, but also Duluth Pack’s Made in the USA tags and lifetime guarantee. Should you ever have a problem—which I doubt—the craftsmanship guarantee and customer service are there to please.

5.11 always makes quality stuff, and the Range Ready Bag is no exception (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

5.11 always makes quality stuff, and the Range Ready Bag is no exception (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Best tactical range bag:  5.11 Range Ready Bag

While the 5.11 Range Ready Bag was designed pistol-specific, it serves all aspects of shooting sports quite well. With internal dimensions of 10 inches high, 21 inches long and 15 inches wide, the 5.11 bag is plenty big for range sessions involving multiple guns. A lift-out center section works equally well for boxes of shotgun shells as it does for pistol and rifle shooting gear. Eight magazine pouches inside the front pocket are handy and also work well for choke tube cases and the front pocket zips all the way down to double as a gun mat. Padded interior areas are ideal for pistols, while an included, removable, mesh-bottomed brass pouch is handy for hanging outside the bag.

We had no problem securely packing four handguns, mags, ammo and all the accoutrements.  With ample areas to keep everything separated, the 5.11 is your quintessential range bag. The discreetly tactical black 5.11 is available online for less than $100 and while you may find knock-offs for less, don’t expect them to last as long. The old saying of getting what you pay for holds as true to range bags as it does to other shooting gear.

The Vertex is an up-and-coming star (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

The Vertex is an up-and-coming star (Photo by Kristin Alberts)

Best new range bag: Vertx A-Range Bag

Vertx is shaking up the range bag-world, so if you haven’t heard of this company, listen up.  The Vertx A-Range Bag is built quite differently from other range bags. Dubbed the “garage deck system,” it features distinct top and bottom sections. Atop, there’s open storage made accessible by a wide, U-zip flap. Underneath are dual pull-out drawers perfect for packing ammo, each with a removable mesh-bottomed bag for shaking out brass. We appreciated the ability to remove one or both drawers altogether, allowing storage for pistol pouches. A rigid frame keeps the areas upright, but is not intrusive for carry. In addition, the A-Range Bag has plenty of pockets to keep gear separate, safe and accessible.

Like the 5.11, our Vertx pack’s front pocket also zips flat as a pistol rug. This one, however, is significantly larger and is backed with soft hook-compatible surface. At 10 inches by 12 inches  by 19 inches,  this bag seems much bigger than its dimensions. Props to Vertx for including a quality, portable six-magazine pouch which can also be used for choke tubes. Another inventive feature is the pull-out cable lock down system, similar to a bicycle-lock. As is the rage with tactical products today, Vertx offers Velcro areas for attaching patches or nametapes. The MSRP of $219 may seem steep, but not only is this a high quality product, but there’s not another like it on the market.

Any of these fine bags will serve its owner for a years, but shooters who pick one that fills their specific niche needs for a range-bag will undoubtedly find a life-long range partner. In fact, the only bad thing about these bags is having to choose one.