For More Range Bag Load Outs, Go Here Sometimes you don’t need a list of extremely specific gear, especially if you’re just heading out for some casual target practice with a few different firearms, or plinking some reactives with .22LR pistols and rifles. Here’s what firearms instructor Stacy Bright packs when she heads to the range for some fun shooting.
My all-time favorite gun bag is this 5.11 Ready Range Bag. This thing is huge! I have smaller bags that I’ll grab when I’m headed out for a quick practice session, but when it comes to spending the day at the range, this one can’t be beat.
The 5.11 Tactical Ready Range Bag. mfg photo
It has pockets galore, padded storage for several handguns, a removable ammo and brass storage container, and padded shoulder strap to carry it. It easily holds everything I could possibly want to pack with me, including all the items listed below.
I say ‘baseball cap’, but honestly it can be any hat. Just wear one. If it’s one with a brim all the way around, that’s even better.
I recommend wearing a hat for two reasons. One, it keeps the sun out of my eyes, and two, it helps prevent hot brass casings from landing between my eye protection and my face. Anyone who’s been shooting for a while knows how painful that can be! It can also help deflect the casings so they won’t end up down your shirt, also. One of my favorites is the Patriot Hat from Girls With Guns.
The Frogg Toggs original Chilly Pad is great on a hot, sunny day. mfg photo
Hot sun, high humidity, they both add up to being uncomfortable and makes it difficult to cool off.
I love my Frogg Toggs Cooling Towel. To activate the towel, first rinse it in warm water (first time only). Throw the towel around your neck and it allows the moisture to evaporate and cool your skin. If it starts to dry out, simply rewet. This cooling towel not only keeps you cool, it absorbs sweat also.
Zip ties of various sizes are great to keep in your range bag for various uses. You can also make quick and easy chamber flags from them, so choose bright colored ones. They’re easier to find in a dark range bag too. photo from amazon.com
Zip ties, also known as cable ties, are a type of nylon fastener for holding items together such as electrical cables and wires.
For me, they are a great way to show that the chamber of my gun is empty (like a chamber flag). I thread a zip tie through the barrel and out the ejection port to show it’s clear. I’ve also done this with my students’ guns when I’m teaching a class to make sure they’re unloaded and unusable.
Balloons or Spent Shotgun Shells
Grab a package of cheap latex balloons or a handful of spent shotgun shells and keep them in your gun bag. They make great targets!
I often get bored with shooting bullseye or silhouette targets and want to have a little fun. This is especially true when I’m at the range with my husband or a friend. Blow up a few balloons and make a game of it. Who can shoot and pop the balloons the fastest? Similarly, shotgun shells are a challenging target. I pre-cut two slits about ¾” into the open end so it’s able to slide over the edge of a cardboard target. When you hit it, it’ll go flying!
Sunscreen / Lip Balm
Sunscreen and lip balm are a must for protecting your skin in the elements. photo from amazon.com
As we’re moving into summer, it’s important to wear sunscreen. Damage from the sun’s UV rays can do more than just cause a sunburn. It’s recommended that you protect yourself by using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to help prevent skin cancer. Don’t forget to protect your lips with a SPF lip balm, too.
I prefer any brand that is waterproof/sweat proof, especially for my face. I sure don’t want sunscreen running into my eyes! Most of the time I opt for the generic brand, which is comparable to name brand at half the price, such as this Equate Sport sunscreen.
You’ve heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” Spring seems to be the time for pop-up storms around my area, and even if the skies are completely clear one minute, it could be raining the next.
As long as there’s not lightning nearby, I don’t mind shooting in the rain. It’s just another way to train the way an event could happen. Bad guys don’t take a break for weather, so why should I? A lightweight rain poncho keeps my clothing dry, yet still allows me to test my abilities in wet conditions.
The thing about being at an outdoor range is, you have to deal with the pests that reside outside. Unfortunately, where I’m from we especially have a problem with mosquitos, ticks, and chiggers. Keeping them at bay helps me focus on shooting, not shooing!
I currently have Repel Natural in my bag, as it’s deet-free. I like the thought of not covering myself in extra chemicals, although I sometimes use other brands that are more effective against ticks in the summer. Some of my friends swear by essential oils that repel insects, but I haven’t tried that option yet.
Eye protection comes in a variety of colors and styles, but you’ll want to look for a pair that meet ANSI Z87+ high-velocity rating. Regular sunglasses might block the sun, but aren’t ballistic-rated. Regular glasses can shatter, if impacted.
One of my favorite pairs of safety sunglasses are Champion’s Bella Ballistica Women’s Shooting Glasses. They’re comfortable under my earmuffs, dark enough to reduce glare in bright sunshine, and are designed for shooting, with ballistic rating. I also keep several tinted glasses handy like yellow or copper which can help on cloudy days.
I’ve often arrived at the range to find that the benches or tables are wet, dirty, or a combination of both. Dirt is bad for the inside of a gun, and can also scratch the finish as well.
Attached to my range bag is a small towel. Not only can it be used to wipe off the table, but it gives my gun a soft place to rest when it’s not in use. A towel can also come in handy on a hot day when my hands get sweaty.
Staple Gun/Extra Staples
Depending on the range you visit, you may or may not need a staple gun. Some ranges provide target stands and fasteners. Even if the range does supply one, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to find it.
I usually shoot at a private range. I’m required to bring my own targets, target backers, and my Stanley staple gun. I also pack plenty of extra staples in case the gun runs out. Another option would be push pins, although they don’t seem to be as secure, especially on a windy day.