5 Shooting Range Essentials – What To Bring On Range Day
If you are relatively new to serious shooting, and a friend has invited you down to the range to fire off a few rounds, you may be a little confused as to what you need to bring. Fear not – I’m here to take you through the essentials that you need to take.
Before I start, however, I know that I’m going to get a lot of angry emails from experienced shooters who claim that you are going to need a lot more than the items below.
Of course, as you get more experienced on the range, you are going to develop habits, and find items that you simply can’t do without. That’s up to you. My purpose here is to outline just the absolute essentials you are going to need.
One further piece of advice – if you are new to range shooting, and are going to buy some of the items below, don’t compromise on quality. You are going to need these items for years to come, so investing in the best value products you can afford will ensure that they last for years, and actually save you money in the long term.
This is the first and most important part of your kit. Selecting the perfect range bag is a bit of a tricky process, because everybody shoots in a different way, but there are so many types available that finding the right one for you is just a matter of time. Ask your friends if you are unsure.
Note, also, that even if you are renting a gun to shoot from the range, you are still going to need a decent bag to carry all your other gear. Ideally, a good range bag should allow you to carry plenty of ammunition, at least two pistols, your hearing protection, eyewear, and perhaps a snack or two.
If you are taking your own gun to the range, of course, you are going to need something to carry it in. I don’t advise carrying your prized gun loose in a range bag, so have a look at some gun cases or rifle slings – these will protect your weapon, and yourself, from any accidents.
First up, is the 5.11 Tactical Range Ready Bag. Now, don’t go thinking this bag’s all show and no go. Sure, it looks tough as nails (because it is) and it sure as hell ain’t gonna fall apart on you after a couple of trips to the range.
The 5.11 Tactical is built to last. We’re talking a 600D Polyester construction that takes every bit of punishment you can dish out and then some. You ever get stuck out in the rain or drop your bag in the dirt? Well, worry not my friend, coz this bag brushes off the elements like a pro.
Now, a range bag’s gotta do more than just take a beating. It’s gotta have space for your gear. And the Tactical 5.11 comes out swinging. The main compartment measures a hefty 9″ x 18″ x 10″. Yeah, that’s large enough to fit a whole second amendment in there.
Pockets, Pockets, Pockets
The bag also sports five external pockets and eight magazine slots. You got space for your eyes and ears, a brass bag, and slots for eight mags. That’s a lot of hardware you can haul around. And don’t forget the adjustable and removable inner dividers. These babies let you customize the bag to your exact needs. You can personalize this bag more than your Facebook feed.
So, if toughness and versatility are your game, the 5.11 Tactical’s the name.
For those of you gun-toting aficionados who like a bit of luxe in your life, the Blackhawk Sportster Deluxe Range Bag has got you covered. Go ahead, live it up. This bag’s as premium as they come, without the sticker shock you’d expect.
The Sportster Deluxe ain’t a bag that’s just about looking good though. Just like the 5.11 Tactical, it’s made from durable material – a strong, reliable polyester. You’d think they’d skimped on the toughness to get the style, but no sir.
In terms of storage, the Sportster Deluxe comes with three large dual-zippered compartments and one slash pocket. Enough room for all your guns, ammo, and accessories. It’s got an adjustable shoulder strap for comfort, and it even includes two removable pistol pouches. How’s that for value?
2. Safety Equipment
You are going to need hearing and eye protection. Whilst most ranges will allow you to rent these items for a minimal cost, if you take your shooting seriously it is worth investing in a good pair of goggles and ear defenders.
Most safety equipment available for hire on the range is pretty uncomfortable, and even if it is cheap to hire after a few trips the cost mounts. Ultimately, having your own gear means you will be more comfortable whilst shooting, and thus less distracted, and this means that you will be better at it.
3. Cleaning Kit
If you are taking your own weapons to the range, you are going to need a gun cleaning kit. It doesn’t matter whether you’re toting an old six shooter or brand new Gen 5 Glock 19 — everyone should bring a kit to the range. With a decent kit, you can shoot all day, with only small pauses to clean out your weapon. Keeping a gun clean prolongs its life, and also improves your shooting performance.
A gun cleaning kit need not be a huge expense. Nowadays, there are relatively cheap kits available that do not take up much room in your range bag, whilst also providing a full set of cleaning tools for whatever weapon you have.
4. Pen, Tape, and Camera
A lot of novice shooters forget these items, but they are a staple of experienced shooters’ range bags. Having a pen to document your shooting is a must, of course, if only so you can brag about your score after your range session. Tape is always useful for holding up targets, and a camera can preserve your memories of the range.
5. Suitable Clothing
It goes without saying that, when on the range, you need to wear appropriate clothing. There are a few essentials to keep you safe. Firstly, you should have a pair of sturdy, close-toed shoes.
Second, your pants and shirt should be loose enough to allow you to feel comfortable, without being so loose that you catch them on your weapon when you are drawing. Bear in mind that many ranges are climate-controlled, so you are not going to need a heavy coat to keep you warm.
Gun Range FAQs
Some of the most asked questions about what to bring to the gun range.
What type of safety equipment should I bring to a gun range?
Safety should always be your top priority when visiting a gun range. Ear protection, either in the form of foam plugs or earmuffs, is a must to protect against damaging noise levels. Eye protection is also crucial to guard against any flying debris or ejected shells. A hat with a brim can provide supplementary protection for your eyes as well.
Can I bring my own ammunition to a gun range?
While policies differ depending on the gun range, most ranges do allow you to bring your own ammunition. However, it’s important to confirm beforehand as some gun ranges only permit the use of ammunition purchased on-site. Whether you bring your own or buy at the range, ensure you’re using the correct ammunition for your firearm to maintain safety and functionality.
What is appropriate attire for a gun range?
You should wear comfortable, loose shirts that cover your entire torso area to protect against hot ejected shells. Closed-toed shoes are recommended and it’s also wise to avoid low cut clothing. In terms of pants, jeans or any other durable material is suitable.
Is it necessary to bring targets to a gun range?
Some ranges provide targets, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own just in case. Having your own targets means you can choose ones best aligned with your practicing needs whether you’re shooting rifles or pistols.
Are personal firearms allowed on gun ranges?
Yes, most ranges do allow you to bring your own firearm. They require you to have the firearm locked and unloaded upon arrival. Confirm the regulations with the range beforehand as some ranges may have restrictions based on the type or size of firearm.
Shooting Range Essentials Conclusion
Beyond this, everybody has their own preferences, and experienced shooters will swear by a particular item, a particular pair of boots, or their “lucky shirt”.
In the end, what you take to the range will grow and adapt over the years, and eventually become totally personalized. Take these 5 things as a minimum, and see where it goes from there!