Going to the range or shooting range is more than just picking up a gun and getting some practice in. What else do you need? While it’s clearly impossible to shoot a gun without these two key ingredients, a good day at the range also involves a lot more in preparation and gear. Range etiquette and safety dictate that the weapon should be stored until the shooter is in the firing line and ready to fire. So you’ll need to carry your weapon and all consumables in a bag big enough to hold everything you need. What should your assortment contain?
Here are 16 essential items to include in your bag for an enjoyable, safe, and productive day at the range.
Eye protection – protect your eyes from flying spent casings and accidental bullet fragments. Eye protection must be ballistic. If you want to make friends quickly, bring extra glasses in case someone else forgot them. Remember, safety is important for everyone!
Hearing Protection – Whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, gunshots can damage your hearing. Protect your ears with a good pair of headphones, preferably active with noise cancellation, or good ear muffs. Even ordinary foam bream are better than nothing. And just like with eye protection, carry an extra set just in case. If you use electronic protection, remember to have extra batteries.
Spare shops – time spent on equipping shops instead of additional equipped ones is wasted. Carry extra stores with you so you don’t waste valuable time restocking your single store over and over again. In addition, sometimes shops are damaged. Springs fail, feeders crack, etc.
Have a spare just in case.
Ammunition – remember to bring more than you think you will use. A box of 50 will be fired faster before you know it. What now? Don’t be that guy who didn’t take enough ammo and has to borrow or pick it up while your time at the range is running out.
A first aid kit with a harness – accidents happen. Even if you follow safety rules religiously, not everyone else does, or perhaps a force majeure has occurred despite your precautions. In any case, a good rule of thumb is, “If you shoot a gun, carry a trauma kit.” Include this molle system kit in your bag.
Headwear – yes, even if you take it off indoors. Have you ever gotten a hot socket between your eye and forehead that leaves a nice little burn mark? Be prepared next time with a hat that covers that part of your face.
Gloves – for two reasons: to protect your hands when handling hot weapons, and then to practice shooting with gloves. Not all shooting days take place in July. Get ready for it, in the middle of cold and snowy January.
Packed Rain Jacket – Obviously you won’t need this if you’re indoors, but always keep one in your bag for those unexpected weather situations. Keep it inside you all the time and you will never forget it.
Spare Targets – The more you shoot, the more holes you put in each target. Take extra targets with you.
Staple gun – for the above purposes: they won’t hold, especially if you’re out in the open with makeshift target stands. A staple gun is one of those things you’ll be damned if you forget.
Makrek – A universal tool for marking targets will come in handy if you work using the same target repeatedly.
Masking tape or target stickers – Another option if you are repeating holes on the same target is to cover the old holes each time with a sticker or piece of tape so you can keep track of where you shot each time.
Multi-tool – You never know when something might break or need a quick fix. A handy multitool or multitool provides a wide range of tools for almost any task you may need in your inventory.
A notebook or field notebook with a pen – recording your progress will help you focus on the best way to use your time range while honing your skills. Keeping a record of what you’ve done or achieved will allow you to look back and see how far you’ve come.
A small flashlight with extra batteries – most shooting ranges are not well lit. Plus, most weapons are black, which makes it difficult to identify the right one in dark rooms. Even if you include a flashlight as part of your EDC, it’s a good idea to keep one in your range inventory as well.
Cleaning supplies – While you likely won’t be cleaning your gun while shooting, keeping a cleaning kit with you can encourage a little cleaning right after shooting. Having the tools, lubricant and solvent in your bag means you won’t be scrambling for them when you get home.
Pack these 16 items in your bag before you head out the door to get the most out of your time at the range and make it a productive, safe, and enjoyable outing. Keep everything in your bag so you never forget what you need.