There’s nothing worse than rolling up to your shooting spot with all the wrong supplies or worse having to borrow some from neighboring shooters. Gun owners who know the essential supplies to pack before heading out can get the most out of a range trip. A well-stocked range bag can really turn a range trip from the ordinary to the extraordinary. This list will cover the must haves for any range bag.
Hearing and Eye Protection
Safety gear is a must and it all starts with hearing and eye protection. A somewhat obvious choice for range bag essentials, it never fails that at least one or two shooters show up to the range without this gear. Luckily, most ranges stock extras but donning a pair of glasses and earmuffs previously worn by someone else might not be your cup of tea. Therefore, it pays to stock your own pair in your bag.
A necessity to protect both eyes and ears from the effects of shooting, hearing and eye pro come in many shapes and forms. While foam inserts will certainly do the trick and offer an affordable means of protection, electronic earmuffs do an even better job to prevent that all too familiar ringing after a couple of hours on the range. Despite their improvements, electronic earmuffs do suffer a fatal flaw in the way of batteries, so don’t forget to pack a spare set just in case.
Eye protection, like hearing pro, comes in a variety of styles, to include various lens colors. The upside to this is gun owners can customize what looks and feels best for them. For those of us sporting regular glasses, prescription range glasses by SportRX offer a prescription-based alternative to standard, everyday glasses. Alongside eye protection, it’s worth it to throw a few packages of eyeglass cleaner into the bag to keep lenses clean from oil, dust and grime while on the range.
Guns, Ammo and Spare Mags
With safety gear packed, it’s time to throw in the fun — guns, ammo and spare mags, of course. You can’t really go shooting without them. Many prefer to store their guns unloaded inside a case, which protects the guns from scratches, dirt and debris. A space saving technique, though, is keeping spare mags inside the case as well. Using a single storage container saves time, too, since you won’t have to dig through the bag for the magazine.
Ammunition is also a must. Most gun ranges stock plenty of ammo, but often with a higher price tag. Save a few extra bucks, buy ammo ahead and pack it. Use a best estimate on how much to use and then add another box or two just in case.
Portable Cleaning Kits and Multi-tool
While most people aren’t cleaning their guns immediately after coming off the firing line, a small, portable cleaning kit comes in handy when things go wrong. Packed with cleaning rods and brushes, a cleaning kit can take care of minor issues like dirt and debris in the action. Paired with a small bottle of gun oil, a cleaning kit ensures that the gun runs smoothly during fire and if it doesn’t, well, you can get it back up and running.
In addition to a cleaning kit, a multi-tool is also a fantastic item to have on hand. Sporting a variety of useful tools in a compact package, multi-tools like Leatherman or Gerber provide shooters with the means to tweak accessories or even cut packaging while on the range.
First Aid Kit
Every range bag should absolutely come with a first aid kit. Decked out in orange or red for easy visibility, the first aid kit should be readily accessible in case of an emergency. A good first aid kit should always include the following supplies: band-aids of various sizes, gauze pads, medical tape, gloves, antiseptic wipes, first aid cream, CPR mask, Tylenol, Ibuprofen and tourniquet.
In addition to stowing the first aid kit in your bag, make sure you know how to use it. First aid classes are readily available and inexpensive. It’s worth the Saturday and a few bucks to get trained so if an accident occurs, you’re prepared.
Targets are easy to come by and a must-have if you intend to keep track of where you’re shooting. Again, most ranges stock these but you can often save some money by bringing your own. Additionally, supplying your own targets means that you can customize them to your shooting preferences. From zombies to silhouettes to shapes, there’s plenty of variety in the world of targets. However, if you prefer to save even more money, there are templates online you can print at home. Colored paper and/or paper plates also make great DIY targets on the cheap.
When shooting outdoors, and with the permission of the range master, other household items can be used as targets to spice up a practice. Aside from water bottles and fruit, which make an impactful display when shot, balloons are also an excellent way to get outside the paper target routine.
Bonus: UpLula, gloves, holsters, mag pouches, belt
Above are the basics and anything more should aid in efficiency, comfort or fun. The UpLula by MagLula is a great addition to a range bag, helping shooters easily and quickly load magazines. Additionally, a pair of shooting gloves protects hands and for long days at the range may be a welcomed reprieve from aggressive stippling.
Bringing along a sturdy gun belt, holster and mag pouches to also spice up practice if drawing from holsters is allowed at your home range. These accessories give shooters the opportunity to practice drawing and concealment drills. At the very least, mag pouches come in handy to keep spare magazines at the ready.
Time to Pack Your Bags
Though we here at Guns.com compiled this list based on commonly needed items at the range, it’s important to remember that our list is not all-inclusive. Based on your shooting location you might also need to tote along sunscreen, bug spray, hat, etc. Study up on your location and arm yourself with the items you might need while plinking at the range.