Range Bag Loadouts: Long Range and General Purpose
The gear you need when you want to make long-range steel sing, and just do some random target shooting too.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to shoot in what is, essentially, my backyard. Because of this luxury, my range bag loadout is probably much more minimal than most. If I forget to grab something, it’s just a quick walk back to the house to grab what I need. In no particular order, here’s what I take with me each time I head out to the home range: For More Range Bag Load Outs, Go Here
Uncle Mike’s Side Armor Range Bag
Uncle Mike’s offers a wide variety of range bags to suit your specific needs. This particular bag has been discontinued, but they still stock ones similar to it. With two side compartments and a spacious (15”x9”x7”) main compartment, I can cram just about anything I need in this bag.
The main things I look for in a range bag are compartments and durability. I like to have a bag with a variety of different compartment sizes. Big ones for guns; medium ones for ammo and eyes/earmuffs; small ones for pens, earplugs, etc. Because I like to cram as much as possible in my bag (I don’t like making multiple trips), I want to be sure that it can withstand a heavy load of shooting gear. Therefore, ensuring that the bag has a sturdy base, reinforced stitching, and high quality zippers is a must! Even though the bag I use has been discontinued, Uncle Mike’s Side-Armor Range Bag is an excellent option with even more feaures.
Why I use it: This is the same bag that my Opa (grandpa) has always used. I guess you could say it’s part family tradition, part “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” mentality.
Caldwell E-MAX Electronic Earmuffs
I used to hate wearing earmuffs, opting instead to wear plugs. That all changed when I got this pair of E-MAXX muffs as part of a trade package. Skeptical at first, I soon came to love them. It’s really nice to be able to hear what’s going on around me with perfect clarity, yet know that the instant a shot goes off, the muffs kick in and block the sound. The sweet-spot is 85 decibels – anything below gets through; anything above gets blocked. Conveniently, they run on 2 AAA batteries. I’ve had this pair for a few years, use them regularly, and have only had to change the batteries twice.
Why I use it: Electronic muffs provide the best of both worlds when it comes to hearing protection and the ability to carry on a conversation at the range without shouting. These work great and the price is right, too.
Peltor SecureFit 400 Shooting Glasses
Obviously, eye protection is right up there with ear protection in terms of importance on the range. With that in mind, don’t let the price of this pair fool you! These Peltor glasses provide the protection you need, but you also won’t look like you’re wearing science class safety goggles.
Why I use it: There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to shooting glasses, but I like these because they’re lightweight, block UV rays, are incredibly durable yet flexible, and – above all else – they’re comfortable. Most shooting glasses give me a headache if I wear them for too long. I’ve never had a problem with these.
Nano Bantam Buck Knife
Every range bag should have a knife, and this little guy is perfect for the job. The blade is 1.78″ long and the whole thing only weighs 0.6 ounces.
Why I use it: Buck makes a quality knife. This one works well for most small range applications, and its diminutive size allows me to optimize all the space in my range bag.
FoamAction Sports FoamRests
Shooting bags and sleds have their place, but they also have their drawbacks. Namely, they’re heavy and can be expensive. FoamRests are a great alternative. With multiple cutouts, they can be easily positioned to accommodate handguns, shotguns, ARs, and AKs.
Why I use it: Despite being made of foam, these rests are super durable and they fit perfectly in the main compartment of my range bag, making transport a breeze. You can buy them individually or in pairs; I’d recommend pairs.
Birchwood Casey Target Spots
Most of the time, my paper targets are homemade. These target spots provide a nice contrast to my plain paper drawings.
Why I use it: They come in a variety of sizes (1″ to 8″) to fit your needs and the colors are nice and bright, making it easy to spot them at a distance. Because they’re stickers, they also work great on cans, bottles, etc.
Since my paper targets are homemade, the Sharpie is what I use to make them and to mark off shots from previous groupings.
Why I use it: Really? Do I need to explain this to you?
I’ll be the first to admit that my binoculars are the most unusual part of my range bag loadout. Used by the British in the Falklands, circa 1982, these binos are super nice for range work. They’re exceptionally clear and rugged as hell.
Why I use it: Sure, any pair of binoculars would work, but these are the ones I have. I don’t own any others or a spotting scope.
These next two items don’t actually fit in my range bag, but they are very important parts of my outdoor range setup.
I love reactive targets, but steel is expensive. Newbold’s polymer targets are affordable and they scratch the itch of instant gratification when you hit the target. HangTuff products are lightweight and self-sealing when shot with lead roundnose or FMJ ammo. (You can shoot JHP, but the target’s lifespan is shorter.) The hanging straps are made of the same material, so they seal if you hit them, too.
When paired with the Alpha Stand brackets, all you need is a few pieces of 2”x4” lumber to complete your shooting setup. Like the targets, the brackets are also made of self-sealing polymer.
Why I use it: The combination of HangTuff targets and Alpha Stand brackets make for a super simple and fun setup to shoot at. I’ve put countless rounds through them and they’re still going strong! Pull the lumber out of the brackets and now the system breaks down for easy transport. Or, you can move it fully assembled – it doesn’t weight much at all.
When I’m just punching holes in paper, this little guy does a great job holding my targets. At 20″ high and 30″ wide, it can accommodate two 15″ targets, side by side. Once assembled, a quick stomp of the stakes into the ground and you’re ready to shoot.
Why I use it: I like the fact that it breaks down into pieces and they all snap together, allowing storage in itself. I also like that the polymer construction is sturdy enough to withstand all kinds of weather. Even though it easily comes apart for storage, I often leave it set up on the range with no worries about it being out in the elements.