RANGE BAGS AND THE CLOTHES you wear to go shooting may seem trivial, but when you’re serious about the shooting lifestyle, good gear and give you a bit of an advantage, or at least make you more comfortable and organized so you can focus on what you should be focused on: the target. Here are some of the best bags, range clothing, and accessories that our contributors found this year.
Let’s start off with the big boy. The 5.11 Tactical SOMS 3.0 rolling duffel bag offers a gaping 126 liters of storage for pretty much any and all gear you could ever need to bring to the range.
This obviously isn’t for everyone or even for every range trip, but sometimes, when you’re bringing a variety of firearms that all eat different ammo, and packing eyes, ears, and other shooting gear for a bunch of shooters, space can run out quick. Instead of carrying multiple bags and forgetting where you put what, just throw it all in the SOMS.
The main compartment is cavernous and the bag comes with tough dividers held in place by hook and loops, so you can divide that main compartment however you want. It’s deep enough to easily contain 8″ tall hunting boots soles down with room to spare. Plus one side features two large square zippered pockets and the other side has a long rectangular pocket, which is perfect for stashing rain gear or extra layers.
One of the coolest things about the bag is that you can make it a softer, more flexible duffel if you want, or set it up to keep its shape entirely, making it easier to fill and empty. The SOMS comes with removable fiberglass rods that velcro into place and, along with the molded side panels, makes the bag more of a large suitcase that can freely stand on its end.
And when not needed for the range, it can be used to haul as much gear as you need for pretty much any hunt. I traveled to Wyoming recently for a pronghorn antelope hunt with the SOMS 3.0 in tow as my only luggage. It easily accommodated all my gear and clothing, including several sets and layers of camo clothes, a pair of tall boots, a pair of sneakers, outerwear, rain gear, knives, binocs, an empty day pack, ear and eye pro, and lots more—and I didn’t even pack out the available storage space.
The robust wheels, extendable handle, well-placed and tough grab handles and carry straps made moving the big bag around airports and into and out of vehicles easy and quick.
A word of warning though, the bag itself weights 16 lbs., mostly because it’s pretty overbuilt for durability, so you only have about 34 lbs. worth of gear until you hit the 50 lbs. weight limit imposed by most airlines. Pretty much, if you’re packing out the SOMS and you’re flying with it, be prepared to have plenty of space, but also to pay extra to check it.
Additionally, the bag is tough as nails and will put up with a ton of serious abuse. The heavy duty wheels, wheel housings, skid rails, corner protectors, and U feet are all robust and, more importantly, replaceable. So even if a serious crash damages one of these components, it can be swapped out and the bag can be put back into service. The entirety is constructed of water resistant 1050D nylon and 1680D ballistic nylon.
Other features include a clear vinyl document storage pocket on the top of the bag with and ID/business card holder; retractable handle and self-retracting grab handles, name tape and morale patch holders on exterior pockets, MOLLE platform webbing inside main compartment for adding any pouch configuration you desire, light colored interior lining to more easily see your gear, top and side compression straps, removable webbing strap with buck included for tethering addition 5.11 luggage or bags, lockable YKK zippers.
The SOMS bag is available in Ranger Green, Black, Double Tap (gray and black), and Kangaroo (shown).
- Main Compartment: 32″H x 18.5″L x 14.0″D
- Total Capacity: 7684 cubic inches / 126 liters
- Weight:16.09 lbs
And if this isn’t big enough for you, after all “SOMS” stands for “Some Of My Stuff”, 5.11 also makes the CAMS 3.0 (Carry All My Stuff) with a stunning 190 liters of storage space. It’s a true monster built to carry an operator’s full kit including body armor and rifle, so you can imagine how much you can pack into it. —D. Maccar
A torque wrench or driver is an absolute must have item for your firearms toolkit, and this is one you can take absolutely anywhere and that will fit in any range bag.
This simple tool will handle all the tasks of a multi-driver with a solid selection of bits, but it also works as a torque driver, ensuring you don’t over-tighten screws on optics mounts—which is crucially for proper function and for not destroying your scope by crushing it with your rings. And with the included adapters, you can use the torque driver with other bits and attachments if necessary.
The lightweight, well-organized kit includes the All-In-One Torque Driver, a T-Way T-Handle wrench, 15 bits, 1/2″ socket and 1/4″ bit adapter set, and a solid zippered case with molded interior to keep everything in place.
This useful kit would be a welcome gift for any hunter or gun owner, no matter their preference of shooting discipline or firearm. —D. Maccar
Gaiters are an old piece of gear that has gone through a resurgence of use in recent years, because they work. They allow you to wear lower boots if you choose without sacrificing weatherproofing coverage, and even if you wear high boots, gaiters can bring that protection up to the knee without adding weight, and also while keeping brambles and other things from getting between your pants and your boots.
And if you’ve ever had to slog through the winter slush a few hundred hards downrange to change targets, you understand how valuable a good pair of gaiters in your winter range bag can be, especially if you forgot to wear boots to the range that day.
The Brambler Gaiter from First Lite is an excellent all-seasons gaiter that is overbuilt with 3.5 layers that will keep you warm and heavy duty Cordura insteps with Hypalon straps and bombproof seams to keep you dry in the roughest conditions. They also feature an adjustable calf strap, snap reinforced velcro closure, and a metal hook that attaches to your boot laces. The pair weighs in at a feather light 12 oz. —D Maccar
The 5.11 Mira 2-in-1 Pack is the perfect combination of style and function. Disguised as the perfect backpack, the Mira has a detachable crossbody bag with a holster pocket, ensuring I can keep my pistol close when I’m out and about. I’ve had the Mira for about a year and though I’ve used it pretty hard, it still looks new. It acts as my carry-on when I travel and has also doubled as a range bag for me on occasion. It’s roomy, and zips all the way down, making it easy to pack and unpack with whatever gear you’re carrying in it. It’s a great size for a man or a woman, not too large but not small. MSRP: $129.99 —Annette Doerr
Ladies! This is the high-end conceal carry purse you’ve been looking for! If you’re like me, you find most of the options for conceal carry purses to be either too “westerny” or they’re “vegan” leather. The Del Holster Handbag from Galco Gunleather does not disappoint. The lockable, separate holster compartment contains a soft elastic, secure holster that secures my gun, yet allows for quick access should the need arise. Because the gun is the only thing in the compartment, this purse can accommodate a large frame defensive handgun. The main compartment is roomy and organized with a place for my phone, sunglasses, and business cards. There’s also a zippered compartment to secure valuables or smaller items. MSRP: $340 —Annette Doerr
I tend to use totes that can be attractive as a large purse but, particularly when I travel, can also pack around a bunch of different things as a carry-on bag. The 5.11 Molly Shopper Tote fits the bill perfectly for me and would be a great gift for ladies looking for an attractive concealed carry bag that is also functional on so many other levels. There is a padded, zipper close interior pocket that separates the two sides of the tote. This pocket perfectly fits my 12.9″ iPad Pro—and there are a host of other pockets large and small. The cool part is the concealed carry pocket that offers compatibility with 5.11’s TacTec System holster pouch that can be attached to the padded fleece lined pocket. This allows you to hide and protect your firearm while keeping it readily accessible from either direction through the zippered pocket openings. I’ve received a number of compliments on this tote bag and so far, no one has guessed that it’s a CCW bag. MSRP: $149.99 —Jodi Stemler
If you’re going to spend a day at the range, you need something sturdy to hold all your stuff—ammo, optics, cleaning tools, ear muffs, targets, and the like. The Spotter range bag is a large-capacity carry-all that fills the bill. Originally designed to be used by the spotter in a spotter-sniper team, it features movable internal dividers that allow you to create a custom storage bag. Internal pockets and a generous assortment of modular webbing allow for further customization, and the rubber bottom protect contents from wet and dusty surfaces at the range. The top-zipper link utilizes a big pulling handle for fast opening and full access to the contents. MSRP: $159. —Slaton L. White
I’ve taken to Hoppe’s series of range bags in recent months. The series is available in three sizes – Small (1,755 cubic inches), Medium (1,980), and Large (3,600). I have the Large, mainly because I, again like many, pack a ton of stuff onto the range. The bag itself is made of tough easy-to-clean Cordura polyester. And – Get this! – the hardware is all metal, which means it isn’t going to snap and break the very first time you take it out of the house. The handles are wide and easy on the hands; the adjustable carrying strap is well-padded and packs the loaded bag nicely. As for aesthetics, the bags all come in a neutral battleship grey color, with black accents and the Hoppe’s 9 logo in black ‘n red embroidery on the front. She’s sharp, but not overly Tacti-Cool. MSRP: $84 —M.D. Johnson
If you are thinking of gifting a new rugged range cooler, take a look at OtterBox’s line made for the outdoors. The Trooper LT 30 is the perfect size for packing a lunch or keeping beverages cool for a long car ride. It’s not going to hold ice for a week—though OtterBox says it keeps ice for at least 3 days, which isn’t too shabby. It opens wide and stays open, so you can easily see and reach whatever you have inside. There are comfortable shoulder straps so it can be used as a backpack, or it converts to a single strap for over-the-shoulder carry. There are two side pockets and an accessory mounting system that (nicely) comes equipped with a bottle opener and offers optional accessories. Fully loaded, this thing isn’t super light, but I can guarantee this will be your new shooting range/outdoor concert/road-tripping/ favorite cooler – and it is a great gift idea. MSRP: $299.99
If your giftee is looking for a hardside cooler, the Venture 65 cooler might be perfect. This cooler has a true 65-quart internal space and will hold ice up to 16 days, according to OtterBox. It has hard integrated handles so it’s easy to carry and the latch system is truly innovative, and I think superior. The bottom of the cooler angles slightly to easily direct liquids out of the drain that seals completely with a screw on cap, and you can add dividers to create three separate compartments.
The cooler comes with a bottle opener and internal dry storage tray, but there are a lot of other useful accessories that can attach to the exterior mounts including a table (perfect for the outdoor range and the campsite), cupholders, and a dry box. On a recent hunt, this cooler worked perfectly for all four quarters from my pronghorn and a bag of ice, and kept everything perfectly cool in 60+ degree temps until we were able to package the meat. MSRP: $349.99 —Jodi Stemler
Spotting scopes are great to have, but for moderate distance shooting and handgun ranges, all you really need is a good set of binoculars. It’s always best to have your binocs on you at all times, so they’re at the ready when you need them, but hanging them around your neck is no way to do that.
Binocular chest harnesses are the answer (if you’ve never used one, you won’t believe how well they work) and a binocular chest pack is the most useful form of a harness, combining a protective bag and shoulder harness to support your binoculars.
The First Lite Alaska Classic binocular chest pack can accommodate full-sized binoculars with up to 50mm objective lenses and also includes the “harness and binocular tether system” that keeps your spyglasses right where you want them. A hook and bungee closure system can be operated silently with one hand. The main compartment is 6.5″ x 6.25″ x 3″ with a smaller front compartment and a side and rear compartment for stashing tools and other small items and papers you might need.
Plus, when you need your binocs for a hunt, just change out the accessories in the smaller pockets and its ready to go.
It’s great for stashing your ID, range badge, and a notebook, along with a multi tool and anything else you want to have at the ready. It weighs in at just over 15 ounces. —D. Maccar
SlumberJack Packs and Rain Gear
If you haven’t heard of SlumberJack, you should check them out. They make some excellent packs and other gear for hunters that are great for the most rustic of range days. I recently got to use their new DeadFall65 pack and their Windage DST jacket and pants in the field and couldn’t have been happier with how they performed.
First the pack: the Deadfall is a do it all pack with tons of space (3950 cubic inches to be exact) and meat hauling ability, but still compressible and light, so that it works as a day pack without being too bulky. The wings are designed to accommodate long guns with all kinds of optics and they can also haul a bow with quiver attached, while still being streamlined. It includes an aluminum stay frame and adjustable torso suspension so you get the perfect fit. Frankly, it’s the most comfortable pack I’ve worn. MSRP: $229.95
The Slumberjack Windage jacket and pants are fully waterproof with a 3-layer construction that stood up all day for me in heavy rain. And if something can keep your range day going despite foul weather, that’s a good piece of gear. The full coverage hood and visor make sure no water seeps into your neck while contouring so that it doesn’t obstruct periphery vision or head movement, and it doesn’t get in the way when you’re trying to get on a scope. The jacket works as an outer shell or as a jacket on its own in mild temps. Plus, there are PU coated zippered pockets throughout to keep your stuff dry too. They’re positioned so you can access them while seated or standing with ease and armpit vents allow for air circulation on those warm rainy days.
The waterproof pants have knee-high ankle zips so you can pull them on easily over your regular pants and boots. Both feature the company’s new Perception DST camo pattern designed to create the illusion of depth. MSRP – Jacket: $75, Pants $60. —David Maccar
After 17 years of crafting items that improve the function of firearms and support the shooting lifestyle, Magpul has entered the apparel game with the introduction of seven new items that are at home on the range—or just wishing you were. Magpul’s new long sleeve Logger Shirt, Commando Zip Neck Sweater, Softshell Utility Pant, Reversible Tech Logger Shacket, Light Insulated Jacket, Light Insulated Hoody, and the Light Insulated Hybrid and make your time at the range or in the woods more enjoyable. MSRP – Commando Zip Neck: $120; Softshell Utility Pant: $115; Light Insulated Hybrid pullover: $190. —Joe Albanese
Comfortable, well designed clothing for concealed carry and shooting, that also looks good around town, isn’t always easy to find for women. This fall, Girls With Guns Clothing released their “Tactleisure” line of rangewear, and it might be the perfect gift for ladies who like to shoot. The Carbine Pants provide a comfortable polyester/spandex blend fabric that features four-way stretch that is also water repellent. With the adjustable snap inseam, the pants are perfect to accommodate different leg length, or heel size. There is a built-in concealed carry holster on the inside of the waistband and plenty of pockets for magazines, your cell phone, or whatever else you need to carry.
The Guardian Vest features similar four-way stretch material with a polyester fleece lining. It is cut perfectly for the female form and provides a good windproof layering piece for outdoor shooting in cooler weather. There is an interior right-hand concealed carry holster as well as zippered sides to easily access a waist holster. Like the pants there’s also plenty of zippered pockets for carrying valuables. Both pieces of the GWG rangewear line provide attractive, comfortable clothes for the range that can also be worn around the town when running errands. If the woman on your list likes to spend time at the range, the Girls With Guns tactleisure line is a useful addition to the gift list! MSRP: Carbine Pants – $69.99; Guardian Vest – $79.99. —Jodi Stemler
You’d like to wear a more “tactical” pair of pants, comfortable ones that let you move freely and carry needed gear—yet good-looking enough for date night with your girlfriend. And, you definitely don’t want to look like the star of the latest Spec Ops Wannabe Youtube. What you want are the Extreme Pursuit Pant from Blackhawk!
With their 4-way mechanical stretch ripstop fabric, you can take the stairs, go to one knee, and get in and out of a vehicle while concealed carrying and not get the pinch and pull you get with jeans. The pants have seven exterior pockets, including two cargo-type pockets on the thighs, which have two retention straps inside; one that holds an AR magazine in place (or your wallet), and the others sized for a pistol mag. I’ve carried my spare mag for my Smith & Wesson Shield in the smaller strap and it stayed in place just fine. The pants are available in Black, Dark Stone and Fatigue, and in sizes from 28×30 to 52×37, and are water, oil, and stain repellent. MSRP: $74.99 —Brian McCombie
Caldwell Shooting Supplies’ Mag Plus Recoil Shield
Caldwell Shooting Supplies’ Mag Plus Recoil Shield • $25–$28 Caldwell
I love to shoot firearms, particularly muzzleloaders, slug-guns, and turkey pieces from the bench; thus, I’m no stranger to recoil. An effective, comfortable, and convenient solution is the PAST Recoild Protection pad. The theory behind the PAST pad is simple. Eliminate the Old School heavy coat and/or towel, and replace it with a lightweight wearable cushion that helps reduce felt recoil without hindering the shooting process. And that’s precisely what the PAST Recoil Protection pad does. And does well.
The pad’s half-inch thick kidney-shaped recoil absorption area measures 6 inches by 10 inches, crafted from what appears to be thin leather, which helps hold buttplates in place securely. The pad itself is sewn onto a tan canvas shoulder strap and an ambidextrous model is available. Once positioned, the pad stays put. And you know what? It works. Twelve bores with heavy slugs. Turkey guns filled with 3.5-inch shotshells. And muzzleloaders charged with 150 grains of synthetics. All day long, as much as I want to shoot. MSRP: $25-$28 —M.D. Johnson
Dene Adams Body Shaping Holster Shorts are not your average shapeware, these shorts have a built-in holster pocket in the inner thigh which accommodates most micro-compact single-stack pistols and smaller revolvers, providing an on-body concealed carry option that works no matter what you’re wearing. The holster pocket is available for right- or left-handed draw and includes an integrated trigger guard. The opposite outer thigh has a pocket that’s perfect for a spare magazine. MSRP: $69.99 —Annette Doerr
5.11 Tactical has long made solid footwear, whether it be tactical boots or lightweight range shoes. If you’re like me, you want your range gear to be as multipurpose as possible. The Cable Hiker boots. As the name implies, they are lightweight hiking boots that can handle pretty much any terrain. The soles feature self-cleaning forefoot lugs and a multi-terrain tread patter, but they look good enough to be perfectly in place at any range, indoor or out, and offer plenty of protection—short of a steel toe—against whatever you may run into. Plus, you can totally get away with wearing them with shorts in the warmer months, since they don’t look like combat boots. They come in Dark Coyote with a black reinforced toe or the grey and black “Storm” color scheme with red accents shown here. MSRP: $139.99 —David Maccar
Magpul Summit Sunglasses • $149 Magpul
It’s undeniable that Magpul makes quality gear that many trust their lives to. Now, they’re introducing products for every day use that are tough enough to stand up harsh conditions at the range and in the field. This includes their new line of sunglasses. The line includes three models. I have been wearing the Summit model for about a month and they’ve become my favorite sunglasses on and off the range. They are constructed of TR90NZZ and combine lightweight and ballistic protection plus Z87+ and MIL-PRF 32432 lenses. Both frames and lenses meet high velocity impact and safety ratings. All models are available with polarized or non-polarized lenses and the padded low profile temples easily slide under over-the-ear hearing protection. They comes in a bunch of lens and frame colors, so there’s something to fit pretty much everyone. MSRP: Summit – $149; Explorer – $139; Terrain – $149. —David Maccar
Thirty years ago military veteran Myles Freeman, Sr., founded Wiley X to further a profound concept: “to protect the eyes of those who protect America.” Well, what works for America’s military also works for American hunters and shooters. As a military contractor Wiley X, now run by sons Dan and Miles, Jr., knows how to build robust glasses. All of its adult premium eyewear products meet the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard for high velocity/high mass impact, and many other models also meet various mil-spec ballistic military standards.
The company offers full- and half-frame glasses. Which for you? It’s all a matter of individual preference. My big issue was the need for prescription lenses. Given the complexity of the prescription (I needed trifocals), not all manufacturers I contacted were able to work with me. When the Wiley X customer service rep saw my script, and understood I wanted to be able to shoot clay targets and bird hunt with the same pair, he recommended the full-frame Romer 3.
I’ve been wearing a pair of these glasses for the past three months while shooting sporting clays. They perform so well they will go with me this fall on my upland bird and big-game hunts. I’ve experienced no lens-distortion issues (even at the edges), and the lenses are locked in (unlike my old shooting glasses, in which the left lens tended to pop out unexpectedly).
The frames also look cool (always a factor), and the lenses are constructed of shatterproof selenite polycarbonate that meet the MIL-PRF-32432(GL) ballistic standards. The T-Shell lens coating resists scratching, and the Foil lens coating provides anti-fog protection. MSRP: starts at $84. —Slaton L. White
Some might say these hats are a solution without a problem, but if you spend hours upon hours at the range with a hat on your head, glasses on your face, and over-the-ear hearing protection over all of that, you know that every millimeter matters when it comes to comfort.
Notch hats are a simple concept: they’re baseball caps of variou styes with a signature notch cut in either side of the bill that lets you bring the sun blocker as far down as you want, while not interfering with the corners and arms of your sunglasses.
They even have two styles, one with the notches farther forward, for larger framed glasses like, say, classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers, Oakley Holbrooks, or most of Costa’s glasses—and another with the notch cut closer to the face for wraparound glasses. The latter cut work great with the severe wraparound of Gatorz glasses, for instance.
The hats themselves are available in myriad colors and styles, including tactical models with hook-and-loop panels in the center and in various camo patterns, as well as more everyday styles, they even offer visors and a blaze orange model—so there really is something for everyone in their catalog.
Once I started wearing Notch hats, I really started noticing how much the brims of my regular hats were battling with my sunglasses and shooting glasses both—especially since I like to wear my hats pulled down a bit. Now, I have trouble wearing a hat and glasses unless its with a Notch hat—I mean, I can do it, but I certainly notice the discomfort. MSRP: $25-$30 —Dave Maccar