If you shoot, you need a gun range bag. Sure, you can use a tote bag or gym bag or even a backpack to store and carry your gear, but eventually, you’ll want a quality, made-specifically-for-the-range bag.
I’ve learned this the hard way by running the gamut of gun range bags. Many are too small and flimsy. The most egregious flaw in one made itself evident shortly after I bought it, when its zipper—which looked like it belonged on a toddler’s windbreaker–broke. I took the bag to the best tailor in the area, who looked at it and said she couldn’t believe they put that zipper on an expensive bag. And fixing it wasn’t possible, because her machine couldn’t reach the base of the zipper’s location.
I can recommend the following three bags:
Brownells Signature Series
I found a great bag for my particular shooting needs about five years ago. The Brownells Signature Series shooting bag ($124.99) is constructed of 1000 denier Cordura nylon with non-scratching, self-healing, nylon YKK zippers, and solid brass pulls. It has top-grain leather straps on the zipper pulls on its “high-use” compartments. This makes it easy to open the bag while wearing shooting gloves. It has a detachable shoulder strap that is padded with non-slip, suede leather. The bottom is made of 3/16-inch corrugated panels, which provide full support for heavy loads and retain the shape of the bag.
A few years ago, I noticed that shooting star Jerry Miculek carried one of these bags at the SHOT Show. He said he’d owned the bag for about 18 months, which, for someone like Miculek, is probably like a lifetime of use for most shooters. The bag had some wear, but it looked good and had aged well. Jerry revealed that his champion-shooter-wife, Kay, carries this bag, too.
The Signature Series bag comes in hunter green and dark brown. It measures 15 inches long by 13 inches wide and 9 inches high. The Brownell’s site provides a rotating view of the bag so you can see all sides.
BlackHawk! Enhanced Pro Shooter
Another great option for a sturdy range bag is BlackHawk!’s Enhanced Pro Shooter range bag ($143.45). It’s constructed of 1000-denier nylon and has .375-inch closed-cell foam padding to protect gear while it covers it. With reinforced stitching, high-quality YYK zippers (with easy grip tabs), and a two-inch BTS webbing system (in case you want to add smaller pouches), this bag offers great quality for the price.
I really like the bag’s roomy end pockets, and the side pockets that run the width of the bag. One outside pocket is made of mesh, which means you can access flat notebooks, paper targets, or match documents quickly.
I loaded down this bag and carried it—using its padded shoulder strap—over to the range. It felt good and looked good, too.
The BlackHawk! Enhanced Pro Shooter bag comes in black, and measures 7 inches long by 17 inches wide and 12.5 inches deep.
5.11 Tactical Range Ready Bag
Range instructors and professional shooters helped design the 5.11 Tactical Range Ready Bag ($100.99).
It’s designed to store everything you’d ever need for a day on the range, especially for pistol shooters. The 600-D polyester bag has a removable ammo tote and brass tote. The inner compartment also comes out, so that you can unload it quickly.
Zip down the front organizer to reveal the eight magazines that you packed, and the pocket stays down on the bench to become a handy padded place to lay your gun. Four more pockets on the outside of the bag offer storage for optics, ear protection, and other gear that needs to be accessed quickly. The difficult part is remembering where you stored what. The bag also comes with a padded strap, YKK zippers, and reinforced handles.
This is one of the only range bags I’ve seen that offers a water bottle storage device, which is on the outside of the bag. No digging around in the dark required here.
I especially liked the bag’s compartments, the way it handled, and, and its sandstone color (which looks “tacticool” to me). It’s also available in black. It measures 18 inches long by 9 inches high by 9 inches deep.