If you want to be effective with your firearms, whether it is from hunting, self-defense, or competitive shooting, you need to practice regularly. And the best place to improve your shooting skills is at the shooting range.
To have a productive, safe, and fun experience at the shooting range, you need to make sure that you have all the essential gear. From extra ammo to hearing protection, there are many things that you should pack in your range bag. Obviously, the specific gear that any shooter carries can be different, depends on the type of shooting they are doing, the weapons they are using, and several other factors.
However, here are some packing hacks and a checklist that all tactical operators can use to optimize their range bags.
The Ultimate Range Bag Checklist
Keep in mind that the ultimate range bag checklist can be unique for every shooter. However, here are some essential items that you can start from.
Ammo and Accessories
The first thing that every shooter needs to have in their range bag is obviously extra ammo. Whether you are shooting with a rifle, shotgun, or pistol, you need to have a decent amount of Ammo with you. Ideally, instead of carrying Ammo boxes, you should preload magazines, and carry them in your range bag. This makes them easier to organize, and you can spend your time at the range actually shooting instead of loading magazines.
You should also carry different accessories that you might need at the range. For instance, you can carry optics, suppressors, and other accessories that you may use while shooting.
Here is a list of things to keep in mind.
- Extra Magazines, loaded
- Extra Ammo boxes, in case of shotguns
- Gun oil
- A firearm cleaning kit
- Chamber flags or empty chamber indicators
- Accessories like optics, suppressors, bipods, etc
Protection and Safety Essentials
Next up, when you are using a firearm, or near them, like at the range, it is very important to have personal protection gear. Hearing protection and eye protection are a must. However, apart from that, you should also have a trauma kit, with stuff like bandages, tourniquets, and other medical gear. If you are at an outdoor range, you should also keep some sunscreen and mosquito repellant in your bag.
Here is a checklist of things you should have for personal protection
- A Medical Trauma kit
- A pair of earplugs, or noise-canceling ear protection
- Shooting glasses
- Sunscreen and mosquito repellant
- A pair of shooting gloves
- A heat resistant cloth to gran hot suppressors after shooting
A complete range bag also needs to have some tools that you may need to optimize your range day. First of all, you need to have the basic tools you may need to disassemble your firearm, make small repairs, and install new parts and accessories.
Moreover, one of the primary reasons for visiting the shooting range is to improve your shooting skills, and for that, you need to be able to track your progress. For that, you need to have a shot timer in your bag, along with some other essentials which can help you mark targets, and keep a record of your performance.
Here is a checklist of tools that we should consider adding to your range bag.
- A small knife, or preferably a multitool
- Screwdriver sets and Allen wrenches that you may need to mount scopes and other accessories
- A firearm cleaning kit
- A flashlight
- A small survival kit
- A shot timer
- A roll of duct tape
- A small ruler to measure shot groups
- A pair of binoculars for long-range shooting
Miscellaneous Gear and Range Essentials
Lastly, apart from all the mentioned gear, there are several other items that can be a part of your range bag to make sure that your day at the shooting range goes smoothly and efficiently.
First off, you should have some water and maybe a couple of high-energy snacks in your bag. Moreover, you should make sure that you have some extra batteries, for your range timer, flashlight, optics, and any other electronics.
When you are at the range, you usually have to mark targets, so make sure that you have a sharpie in your bag, some people also carry a range journal, to keep a record of their performance at the range. If you’re intent on improving your shooting, keeping a shooting journal is highly recommended so you can keep track of your mistakes and progress.
If you like to reload your ammunition, you should also have a light paper or cloth sack to keep fired brass in, otherwise, you may have to carry loose dirty brass in your bag, which is not good.
Here is a checklist for some important miscellaneous gear for your range bag.
- A bottle of Water
- High-protein snacks like a protein bar or nuts
- Extra batteries for your shot times, optics, and electronic ear muffs
- A marker or sharpie for marking shot groups
- A notepad or shooting journal
- A sack for fired brass if you are a reloader
Though the checklist mentioned above contains a lot of general-purpose gear that can improve your range experience and make it safer, it is important to understand that the space inside a range bag is valuable. To carry every single thing mentioned in this list, you will need quite a large bag. So, you need to prioritize.
Moreover, it is quite unlikely that you can optimize your rage bag on the first try. Instead, you need to keep improving your loadout with every trip to the range, making your bag more efficient and effective according to your specific needs and preferences. Knowing your needs and preferences will also help you in determining what range bag you’ll be needing.
Therefore, here are some tips that seasoned shooters use to step up their range bags.
Keep the Essentials. Get Rid of the Extras
The keyword here is essential. Your range bag should be tailored to you and your needs as a shooter. Every shooter has different tastes in weapons, firearm setups, ammunition, and shooting styles. Therefore, it is important that your range bag reflects that.
Take the time and identify what you need when building your range bag setup. Understand that there is a difference between the things that you absolutely need to have, and the things that would be nice to have. This can help you build a practical and well-organized range bag.
Imagine a perfect day at the range, and imagine the things around you. Now, ask yourself how often you use each thing. Will it be necessary for the activities you have planned for that specific day at the range?
Do you have things in your bag that you haven’t used for more than two range trips? If so, they are taking up space that could be used for something more useful, unless they could be useful in case of an emergency, because your safety should be your first priority.
Prioritize Safety and Protection Gear
Emergency and medical trauma kits should be an absolute priority in your range bag. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it, but it is essential that you have it there just in case. If an accident does happen, that medkit is going to be more valuable than any other item in your range bag. So, the goal is to take things that you don’t use out of the bag, but never at the cost of safety.
To make sure that your range bag always has the supplies you need, you should keep track of everything that you use at the range. For instance, if you use multiple types of firearms on a typical range day, and have to carry different kinds of ammo, keep track of how much ammo you have used so that you know what you have to replace.
With a checklist of everything you have used, you won’t have to dump out your bag and repack it every time.
Buy the Right Range Bag
Lastly, remember to buy a good quality range bag. Many people use a simple duffel bag to carry their range equipment, and though it might get the job done, it won’t get it done efficiently. Range bags are specifically designed for carrying ammunition, weapons, and other tactical gear. They have multiple features that allow you to customize and organize your range loadout.
Knowing how to pack your range bag, and what to keep in it is very important. Understand that every shooter may need different things for an ideal range experience. However, if you are getting started and need a checklist to get an idea of what the essentials are, we hope that this checklist helps you out. Using this as a starting template, you can eventually customize and organize your range bag to be perfect for your specific plans at the shooting range, while improving your safety and preparedness as well.