What’s in your range bag?

What’s in your range bag?

New shooters either bring too much or not enough gear to the range.

I shoot a lot so I have some idea of what is worth carrying along.  While my range bag load out may not be ideal for you, I went ahead and laid it out on the shop floor (along with my drag bag), climbed to the top of a 8′ step-ladder and snapped a pic, so you can get an idea of what I pack.

Starting at the upper left and moving down:

  • Bush hat- for sunny days on the firing line
  • Gloves-  in case it gets cold
  • Backpack– to carry everything, I use a 3-day assault type pack.
  • 1911 magazines– for some reason I end up shooting 1911s more than I want to.
  • Safariland ALS paddle holster for a G19- I normally carry and shoot a G19, so when I train at the range I also bring a paddle holster.
  • Glock 19 magazines– for the G19.
  • Markers and pens- to mark targets and take notes.
  • Empty chamber indicators– it is good practice for safety and required at some of the clubs and matches I shoot.
  • Stapler- I carry two, a big one and small one.  The larger Arrow T50 is for cardboard targets, the smaller stapler is for paper targets.
  • Staples- for both.  Invariably, I run out at the worst possible time.
  • Small rear bag- never hurts to have a spare, I typically lend it out to the unprepared.
  • Electronic ear protection- I wear double hearing protection.  Electronic ears over soft plugs.  The electronic ears allow me to hear range commands and to speak without screaming.
  • Eye protection- I bring two sets, the other is attached to the bag.  I normally use clear lenses unless I am shooting into the sun.
  • Choke tube set– I shoot a lot of shotgun.  All of my shotguns (except my over/unders) are outfitted for REMchoke tubes.  I carry this three piece extended choke tube set from Brownells to make sure I have the choke I need for the gun.
  • D-Kit x 2- I carry a couple of small “d” (disassembly) kits.  These should have all of the tools you need to tighten your scope rings and bases as well as to disassemble your rifle.
  • Timers– I use timers whenever I am shooting pistol or carbine.  I try to make the most out of my range time and bring a back up timer just in case.
  • AICS 10-round magazine- occasionally I’ll forget to bring along a mag in the rifle.  I like to have an extra just in case.
  • 22 ammunition- for some reason, I am always in need of a box or two of 22 LR.
  • 223 ammunition- same thing, always good to have some extra 223.  If nothing else you can lend it to a friend who forgot his.
  • Loading block- For matches and load development.  Helps keep track of longer strings of fire.
  • Field trauma kit- I like to bring a blow out kit with me to the range.
  • Tool kit- I also bring an assorted tool kit with torque wrench.
  • Field cleaning kit- This is good to have, I like to have some way to dislodge things from the bore and clean something that is fouled while it is at the range.
  • Blue box with assorted tools- this case holds small tools, I’ll discuss it below.
  • Roll of targetsBrownells/Sinclair sells these, they are great if you forget your targets.  Just slap them on pretty much anything and you are in business.
  • Log book- I use a multi-gun log book to log the number of rounds fired per session.  I only log rifles that I have barreled with premium barrels.  I don’t log factory tubes.

In the drag bag

  • Medium Harris Bi-pod– Sometimes the shorter BP isn’t tall enough.  If you are stuck spending the day wishing you had a taller bipod, you’d have wished you lugged this thing along.
  • Kestrel– I carry one so it looks like I know what I’m doing.  This is the first time I looked at it in the last 3 years.  I like to dope wind the old fashioned way.
  • Leupold spotter with Ray-Vin tactical tripod- I always bring a spotting scope.  Sometimes I bring a larger Zeiss or Swarovski, but this one stays in the bag.  The Ray-Vin tripod is excellent.
  • Rear bag- Get a good rear bag, they are worth every penny.
  • AICS 5 and 10 round mags- Most of my bolt guns use AICS mags, I always bring a few extra.
  • Cleaning rod- I leave a 22 caliber Dewey rod in my bag with a jag in case I need to remove something from the bore of a rifle.  I carry a smaller rod since it’ll also work with larger rifles.
  • Rifle- You don’t want to forget your stick!

In the small box I normally carry:

  • Allen and Torx bits for optics- if an optic comes with a special wrench, I throw it in this box.
  • M16 front sight tool- beats using the tip of a bullet.
  • Choke tube wrench- in case a choke needs to be removed or tightened.
  • Pin punch- general purpose punch.
  • Spare battery for timer and MagnetoSpeed- I actually carry more batteries for my equipment and leave them in the truck.
  • Spare 700 extractor (std bolt face)– if a factory extractor goes down in the field it is an easy fix.  If it is your friend’s gun, you are a hero.
  • AK front sight tool– this is a necessity for an AK or SKS.
  • Folding wrench set, standard, Metric and Torx- I like to carry plenty of wrenches.

In addition to batteries, I carry a couple of broken shell extractors (above, bottom).  Normally I carry a 223 and 308.  While I have never needed one for myself, every couple of year it comes in handy and saves the day of someone who needs to extract a broken case!

My chronograph and targets are stored in the back of the truck.  I’ve been using a MagnetoSpeed V3 for a chronograph and it works great.  The targets are printed on Rite In the Rain paper and work great in any weather condition.

So that’s what I carry in my range bag.  What do you think?  What do you bring to the range?