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 targets– Brownells/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?