When you’re primary focus as a shooter is self-defense, its important to train at the range in ways that maximize your preparedness. Here’s what handgun instructor Tom McHale brings to the firing line when he’s training with his CCW firearm and running concealed-carry drills. For More Range Bag Load Outs, Go Here
When I plan to practice some basic concealed carry skills, I pack my shooting bag with some extra gear specific to that endeavor. Here’s what’s in my bag.
1: Boo-Boo Supplies
It’s always good to have some bandages in your range bag for those unexpected cuts and scrapes. photo from amazon.com
Band-Aids are handy to keep in the bag, either for blisters or to prevent the occasional minor cut causing you to bleed over over your range gear. I also like to keep athletic cloth tape because it’s great for finger blisters you might get from longer range outings.
2: Cleaning and Maintenance
Hoppe’s Gun Medic cleaning products. mfg photo
Hoppe’s Gun Medic is part cleaner, part lubricant. It’s designed for temporary and expedient cleaning when a gun get’s too fouled to operate reliably. Just add some to the dirty areas, and you should be good to go until you can do a proper cleaning.
The Otis professional pistol cleaning kit. mfg photo
I also bring along a compact OTIS cleaning kit for pistol calibers with all the right brushes for common handgun calibers.
3: Maglula Uplula Magazine Loader
The Maglula Uplula Magazine Loader saves you time and your thumbs. mfg photo
Loading magazines, especially when shooting a lot of rounds for training, is a bummer. This tool is the best I’ve yet used for pistol calibers. It makes loading tough magazines with powerful springs near effortless.
4: Competition Target Systems Steel Plates
Competition Target Systems Steel Plates come in a variety of sizes. mfg photo
Steel targets are great for concealed carry practice. With a variety of mount types, you can easily set up multiple targets at varying distances. The best part is that you know when you hit and miss without needing to see the target. Besides, it makes practice fun.
5: ESS Crossbow Shooting Glasses
A pair of ESS Crossbow Polar One shooting glasses. mfg photo
Always, always, always wear eye protection when shooting anything – especially when shooting steel targets as fragments can easily fly right back at you. These ESS Crossbows are rated for major impact protection. Better yet, they look kind of cool.
6: Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Hearing Protection
Howard Leight Impact Sport Ear Muffs are a great over-the-ear hearing protection choice. photo from amazon.com
For indoor range use, I like to use heavy duty electronic over the ear muffs like the Howard Leight Impact Sport model. If it’s really loud, I’ll put foam plugs in my ears and cover that with the electronic muffs.
7: Etymotic GunSport Pro Electronic Earplugs
A pair of [=Etymotic GunSport Pro Electronic Earplugs are minimalist and effective. mfg photo
The sound quality on these electronics is fantastic. It’s natural and clear so you can hear other shooters talking and range commands or instruction. The electronic part automatically filters dangerous noise levels while allowing normal conversation. They’re well worth the money.
8: SIG Sauer P229 Legion
A SIG Sauer P229 Legion pistol. mfg photo
I’ve been carrying this SIG Sauer P229 Legion for a while now and love the combination of all metal construction, upgraded trigger, double/single-action operation, and upgraded sights. It’s a near perfect carry gun yet has a full-size capacity of 15+1 when chambered in 9mm.
9: Clinger Holsters No Print Wonder and Blue Force Gear Double Magazine Pouch
The Clinger Holsters No Print Wonder IWB holster. mfg photo
The Clinger Holsters No Print Wonder is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster that uses a leather hinge flap to draw the gun’s grip in tight to the body. Concealment is excellent, and the Kydex shell allows safe, one-handed reholstering for training time at the range.
The Blue Force Gear Double Pistol Belt Pouch is a great way to keep your spare magazines on your belt. mfg photo
The Blue Force Gear Double Pistol Belt Pouch is made from a durable, yet flexible, material. It stretches to fit nearly any magazine size.
10: Newbold OptiDrill Dummy Rounds
Most snap caps are made of plastic or light aluminum and suffer from short lifespans. Repeated chambering and ejection tends to tear them up pretty quickly. The OptiDrill dummy rounds have real brass cases paired with bright polymer “projectiles.” They’re great for training. Just have a buddy load your magazine, inserting one or two of these in a random place. It’s a great way to practice dealing with malfunctions.
11: Stapler and spare staples
Always bring a stapler for targets, and definitely include spare staples. mfg photo
Always bring a stapler for target hanging. For bonus points, keep lots of spare staples in your range bag too.
12: Competition Edge Dynamics 7000 Shot Timer
The Competition Edge Dynamics 7000 Shot Timer will help you make the most of your range time. mfg photo
I like this little timer from CED. It’s rechargeable and small and light enough you can hang it around your neck. That makes it easy to use even if your practicing by yourself. It does all the expected shot timer things like par time drills, the total time to last shot, and tracking split times between shots. Timing your motions like drawing to first shot on target is a great way to improve your core skills.
13: Tactical Medical Solutions SOF Tactical Tourniquet and Flat Pack Carrier
The Tactical Medical Solutions SOF Tactical Tourniquet. mfg photo
Fortunately, I’ve never had to use either of these pieces of gear, but I’m sure I’ll be glad to have them if there is ever an accident of any kind where serious bleeding is involved.
The Flat Pack Carrier is perfect for carrying a tourniquet. mfg photo
The tourniquet folds onto the Flat Pack Carrier which can attach to your belt or a pack. It’s attached to that with elastic cords so you can just rip the tourniquet out if needed.
14: Blue Force Gear Micro Trauma Kit
While the Snake Eater Tactical medical pouch pictured at the top doesn’t appear to be available anymore, there are plenty of similar options. Check Blue Force Gear for a micro trauma kit. This one has a Quick-Clot bandage, compressed gauze, a compression bandage, and even latex gloves.