Good Range Gear: 5.11 Range Master Duffel
If you have to haul it all and be rough about it, this is your range bag
A range bag is sort of like a briefcase, a desk drawer, or a workbench. It houses all the essentials and the tools you use all the time, but it also almost invariably includes little bits and pieces of old projects, range trips, a spare bipod because of that one time you needed one and it ruined your day.
And, like work benches and desks, some range bags are near and orderly, others are just a pile of stuff in a bag.
Regardless, more room that can be used efficiently in a bag that will not fail are welcome characteristics no matter how you keep your range bag.
5.11′s Range Master Duffel provides 47-liters of space in its large main compartment that can be broken up with the company’s smaller utility bags that are designed to fit right in the range bag and to be stackable. The RM duffel also comes with two differently sized utility pouches and a padded case for a pistol—which fits right into elastic bands on the inside of the range bag.
As with all their bags, this range bag is overbuilt, which is important considering the gear it hauls is usually heavy, whether it be loaded mags, boxes of ammunition, or firearms themselves.
I’ve been using the same range bag for years—some promotional item with a big logo on top for a line of firearms that has since gone to a decidedly Darwinian end. I liked it because it was made of good material, the straps were really thick and never even began to break down on me, and it was big.
I since have moved all of its contented to the 5.11 range bag, and everything fit really well. Actually, there’s a bit less internal space, which forced me to organize my gear a bit more.
Right now it’s holding the large 5.11 bag which I turned into a toolbag, holding a Wheeler driver and bit set and several multi-tools for shotguns and ARs as well as a compact cleaning kit and a few boxes of staples, a set of small screwdrivers, and a set of allen wrenches; a laser range finder; batteries of various sizes; in-ear hearing protection; electronic earmuffs; backup electronic earmuffs; a handful of foamies, three pairs of shooting gloves, several pairs of shooting glasses in a roll; a dozen chamber flags; a shamagh and hat; a can of Rem Oil; a bottle of Hoppe’s gun cleaner; a staple gun; and an IFAK.
Of course, I have a smaller range bag when I’m going shooting alone or with only one firearm, but this is the bag I grab if I’m shooting multiple guns in one session and with guests coming along. With new shooters, I always like to have backup ear and eye pro for them to use for whatever reason—and we all have that friend who always forgets one or the other. It’s always a good idea to have extras and the tool kit I have means I don’t have to think about what I’m shooting that day, I just grab the whole bag.
There are a couple features my old bag has that I wish the Range Master included. First, I wish there was some kind of included divider for the main compartment. Using smaller bags inside of the main compartment is a great way to keep things organized, but I would really like a way to section off a side or an end for safety equipment and more fragile items, with tools and heaving stuff on the other. The hook-and-loop dividers 5.11 uses in their large SOMS and CAMS travel bags.
But this is an easy obstacle to overcome with a piece of thick cardboard cut to the right size.
I also would like some additional pouches on the outside. The fact that there’s a MOLLE panel on the front is great and I’ll likely be putting some kind of dump pouch here and maybe something else if I can fit it, but having at least one drawstring pouch on the side or end beneath the grab handles, or a segmented zippered pouch would be great—anything that gives me a space to stash things quickly and securely without opening the main bag. Or, it would be great to have the option of choosing what accessory bags come with the range bag—instead of the pistol pouch and the small utility bag, I would likely choose one of 5.11′s MOLLE capable pouches that could be used on the exterior or on the MOLLE panel on the interior of the lid.
And that compression-molded EVA lid is awesome. It’s rigid and feels like a table-top when zipped closed. It’s a perfect spot for disassembling a handgun on the fly when a truck bed isn’t around or any other task, and the runnels give you a great spot to place small parts so they don’t roll away while you’re working on something. I love that. It also includes a strip of fuzzy stuff for name tape.
The minimalist exterior does include straps for carrying rolled up targets, if that’s your thing, or a jacket or even a thin shooting mat.
The heavy duty shoulder strap can be removed easily, which is great, because a shoulder strap is wonderful when you need it, but always gets in the way when you don’t.
Time can only tell, but this bag is built to be dragged across the hot pavement of the trap course and rifle bays, thrown in and out of trunks and truck beds, and beat to crap without giving up. Any small person drawbacks I see pale in comparison to the excellently constructed and well-designed Range Master duffel bag.
And if the Range Master isn’t quite right for you or is a bit too big, the same design is scaled down for 5.11′s 27L Range Master Qualifier bag, and there’s even the 33L Range Master Backpack for folks who hike in to their shooting spot or just prefer a backpack design.
And if you want a range bag with a lot of nooks and crannies, as well as a bunch of exterior pockets, check out 5.11′s 43L Range Ready Bag.
5.11 Range Master Duffel Bag Features
11.5″H x 21.5″L x 11.5″D
2,868 cubic inch / 47-liter total capacity
- 5.11′s signature Center Line™ design
- Padded duffel w/ top lid opening
- Compression molded EVA top lid w/internal org & external name tape
- External web MOLLE & rear slip pocket
- Target straps or compression straps
- Removable shoulder strap
- Top and side carry handles
- Internal elastic on sides to hold single pistol case
- Fits Single Pistol Case & small/medium Range Master Pouches (included)
- 500D Nylon (main body)
- 1680D Polyester (lid)
- MSRP: $164.99