Heading to the range means more than just grabbing your gun and some practice ammo. What else do you need? While it’s obviously impossible to shoot guns without those two key ingredients, a good day at the range also involves a lot more preparation and gear. Range etiquette and safety rules dictate that guns should be stowed away until the shooter is at the firing line and ready to shoot. So you’ll need to bring your gun and all your supplies in a range bag big enough to carry all you’ll need. What should your range bag contain?

QuotesHere are 16 important items to include in your range bag to have an enjoyable, safe, and productive day at the range.

Range Bag Essentials Laid Out

  1. Eye protection with a spare – Keep those peepers protected from flying spent brass and the occasional stray bullet fragment. Ideally, eye protection should be ballistic rated. If you want to make quick friends, bring an extra set in case someone else forgot theirs. Remember, safety for all.
  2. Ear protection with a spare – Whether shooting indoors or out, gunfire can cause hearing damage. Protect your ears with a good pair of shooting muffs, preferably noise-canceling, or good earplugs. Even foamies are better than nothing. And just like with eye protection, bring an extra set just in case. If you use electronic protection, remember extra batteries.
  3. Spare mags – Time spent stuffing magazines instead of shooting is time wasted. Bring extra mags so you’re not frittering away valuable range time reloading your only magazine over and over. Also, sometimes mags break. Springs fail, base plates crack, etc. Have a backup just in case.
  4. Ammo – File this under “no brainer” but remember to bring more than you think you’ll shoot. A box of 50 is gone before you know it. Now what? Don’t be that guy who didn’t bring enough ammo and has to go out to the counter to buy more while your range time clock is ticking.
  5. Trauma/first aid kit with tourniquet – Accidents happen. Even if you follow the safety rules religiously, not everyone else does, or maybe an accident happened in spite of your caution. Either way, a good rule is “If you shoot guns, carry a trauma kit.” Attach this kit to the MOLLE on the outside of your range bag for emergency access.
  6. Hat – Yes, even if you’re shooting indoors. Ever had freshly ejected hot brass land between your eye pro and your forehead, leaving a nice little scorched mark? Be prepared next time with a hat that covers that part of your face.
  7. Gloves – For two reasons: to protect your hands while handling a hot gun and then to practice shooting with gloves on. Not all gunfights take place in July. Prepare for the one that happens in the middle of cold and snowy January.
  8. Packable rain jacket – Obviously you won’t need this if you’re shooting indoors, but always keep one in your range bag for those unexpected trips to the outdoor range. Keep it tucked inside all the time and you’ll never forget it.
  9. Spare targets – The more you shoot, the more holes you poke in each target. Bring extras because it’s so satisfying to pew-pew pockmark new paper.
  10. Staple gun – About those the aforementioned targets: they won’t hold themselves up, especially if you’re at an outdoor range with improvised target stands. A staple gun is one of those things you’ll curse if you forget.
  11. Sharpie – The universal target-marking tool will come in handy if you’re working drills using the same target repeatedly.
  12. Masking tape or target stickers – Another option if you’re running repeated drills on the same target is to cover up the old holes each time with a sticker or piece of tape so you can keep track of where you shot each time.
  13. Multi-tool – You never know when something might break or need a quick adjustment. A handy multi-tool gives you a wide variety of tools for pretty much any application you might need on the range.
  14. Note pad or field notebook w/ pen – Writing down your progress will help you focus on the best way to use your range time honing your skills. A record of what you did will let you look back and see how far you’ve come.
  15. Small flashlight with extra batteries – Most indoor ranges are not very well lit. Plus, most guns are black, making it hard to see inside them if you need to fix something. Even if you include a flashlight as part of your EDC, it’s good practice to keep one in your range bag, too.
  16. Cleaning supplies – While you likely won’t clean your gun during your range session, keeping your supplies with you may encourage a bit of cleaning afterwards. Having oil, lube, and solvent in your range bag means you’re not hunting for them when you get home.

Pack these 16 items into your range bag before you head out the door to get most out of your range time and make it a productive, safe, and enjoyable outing. Keep your bag stocked so you’ll never forget what you need.