Whether you’re a seasoned marksman or a novice at the shooting range, having a well-prepared range bag is critical for a successful and enjoyable experience. Use our handy guide to range bag essentials to make sure you arrive prepared, and learn a few tips on choosing the right range bag for you.
Invest in high-quality earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing. Electric earmuffs are ideal, since they protect your hearing while still allowing you to hear range commands from safety officers. Keep extra earplugs or another set of earmuffs in your bag in case your regular pair breaks or you forget to pack it.
You’ll also need a pair of safety glasses that meet the American National Standards Institute criteria. In most cases, prescription glasses are not safety rated. You will need a set of ANSI Z87.1 safety goggles to wear over your glasses.
This may seem obvious; but if you own more than one firearm, you will want to double check that you have packed the one you want to use along with the magazines and ammunition for that specific weapon. Make sure to also pack enough ammunition. If you are in a competition, you will want to pack at least double the ammunition and possibly a backup gun that fits your holster in case of a malfunction. If you are using a revolver, be sure to include spare speedloaders (if you use them) or moon clips.
On the subject of ammunition, you may be wondering if you should carry it in a range bag or a separate ammo case. This is largely based on preference and your shooting style. If you intend to fire a lot of rounds, for example, it may be convenient to carry it in a separate case. Many competitions will use 100 rounds or more, which can make your range bag quite heavy.
If you are shooting a rifle or shotgun, however, you may not need a separate ammunition case. You’ll likely be carrying this type of weapon in a separate, padded case, so you’ll have plenty of room in your range bag for ammunition.
Even if you prefer to clean your gun at home on a gun mat, it’s never a bad idea to include a few basics in your range bag. Stash a compact kit with brushes, rags, solvent, and high quality gun oil. If you are using a rifle, you may also want to include a cleaning rod.
The Marksman Indoor Range requires guests to use our targets, which are mounted for you and ready to go. If the range you are visiting allows or requires outside targets, however, be sure to pack them in your range bag. Include a stapler or a roll of tape to hang targets. (Ask if you are allowed to use a stapler.)
Minor burns and scrapes are not uncommon during shooting practice, and they are even more likely during fast-paced competition. And, while rare, more serious injuries can occur due to safety violations, inexperience, or equipment malfunctions. Pack a basic first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, burn ointment, finger splints, and a tourniquet. It is also not a bad idea to brush up on first aid with a course in case of a range mishap.
If you are shooting in a competition, remember to include your belt, which should also have a holster and magazine pouches. If you’ve had your belt for a while, consider purchasing a spare to pack in your range bag in case the other one breaks during competition.
A small tool kit will be a lifesaver if something comes loose while shooting. If your weapon needs very specific parts to function, like specialized screws, include those in your tool kit. Otherwise, a basic kit with a set of hex keys, screwdrivers, a mini hammer, and a multitool will usually be sufficient to make quick repairs.
If you’ll be at the range for a while, pack a few snack bars or trail mix in your range bag. Always include water and regularly sip it, especially during the warmer months. Remember to always wash your hands after firing and before eating or drinking anything. Pack hand wipes or baby wipes if you prefer.
You may be wondering if you even need a range bag in the first place. Could you not use a duffel bag, backpack, or other regular bag? While you definitely could do that, it is not recommended. Range bags are designed for frequent handling and made of sturdy materials to withstand inclement weather. They are also made to accommodate heavier loads, which means they will last a lot longer than any other bag you might “adapt” into a range bag.
Furthermore, most range bags are not terribly expensive and well worth the cost to properly protect and store your weapons and gear.
When selecting a range bag, consider the following factors:
Choose a bag that comfortably accommodates all your essentials without being too bulky. Ideally, there should be separate, padded compartments for your magazines and handguns to prevent scratching. Additional storage areas for various tools and accessories allows you to access what you need quickly and safely. Look for range bags with plenty of pockets and zippers so you can stay organized.
Opt for a range bag made from sturdy materials to withstand regular use and the elements. Look for fabrics like leather, nylon, or canvas. These bags can last a decade or more and are essential in prolonging the life of your weapon and accessories.
The best range bag for you needs to be comfortable and easy to carry. Choose a style that suits your preferences, whether it is a shoulder strap, handles, or a back-pack variation.
Some range bags come with lockable zippers or additional security features to protect your firearms and safely store magazines and ammunition. Added safety is never a bad idea when transporting your gun to the range.
The Marksman Indoor Shooting Range is your go-to for practice and competition in Omaha! We offer classes for shooters of all levels, along with regular competitions to test out your skills. Go online to our events page to see what fun we’re planning next, or visit our courses page to register for your next class.