We have all heard various quotes about preparation through out our lives. From Alexander Graham Bell “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” to Roosevelt who believed that if you make plans for trouble then you won’t have any trouble. Packing a range bag with a few key items will help ensure you have a successful day at the range.
You may not use all of these items every trip but all of them have proven to be useful to me on occasion, if not absolutely necessary. My well stocked bag grew out of aggravation of arriving at the range and finding out I had forgotten something. This wide variety of items guarantees that if I need it - it’s in the Bag!
Ears and Back up Ear Protection. My wife often accompanies me to the range. It only took one trip without her electronic ear protection for me to make sure I have foam plugs in my bag. One of the best options is made by 3M corporation. Their E-A-R Combat Arms allow a switch between impulse and continuous noise protection. These corded foam earplugs are screw shaped and fit easily into the ear. A cheap, affordable backup item I even keep in the glove box of my car.
I use a CED7000 Shot Timer to train for all my shooting sport events. It has a clip for my belt which allows me to train on the move even when I am alone. For Steel, IDPA and USPSA it is essential to track my times and performance, so don't forget a small notebook and a pen. If I ever forget to place my timer in the bag, I can use SureFire’s ShotTimer on my iPhone. This app displays the elapsed time and the split time for every shot fired. There is even a start delay option if you are training alone.
Eye Protection is as important as your gun and ammo! My favorite glasses are from Rudy Project. I use their quick change technology to switch out the lenses to manage any light conditions.
Gunsmithing tools on the go find a place in my bag. A good multi tool is a must as well as a punch for my Glock and a good quality small screwdriver. You never want to use a cheap screwdriver and strip a screw in the field. If you have room in the bag include a small gunsmith screw driver set. B-Square makes a great little kit. A gunsmith screw driver set is made from metal that will help prevent damage to screws. Some bits will even break before they damage a fastener.
A Squid Rod with the hopes you will never have to use it while shooting.
I can’t leave home without a bore snake. It allows quick cleaning of the barrel before I load my carry Glock with a self defense load for the ride home.
A cleaner/lubricant. There are many options to choose from and everyone may have a personal preference. In upcoming articles I am going to review different products and post my results. One of my favorite brands is Pro-Shot 1Step cleaner/lube.
Depending on the time of the year , you will either find sunscreen and bug repellent or hand warmers. With the tough Georgia summers I need a top of the line sunscreen and bug spray. My wife makes sure I am well stocked with Ultrathon 12 Hour sweat resistant bug repellent as well as Neutrogena sunscreen. In the winter I can’t be without Grabber Hand Warmers. I put a couple in my pockets to keep my hands warm between shooting and pasting targets.
To be prepared for any situation I keep a small first aid kit with quick clot. This is an item you hope to never have to use at the gun club.
Hand wipes. I’ve used baby wipes, antibacterial wipes as well as the lead cleaning wipes. Wipes are a better option for me than hand sanitizer gel.
Water and Food. I’ve been known to loose track of time out on the range practicing for an upcoming match. Peanuts or some other snack food keep me going until I can grab a meal. Water is always vital. A great product I discovered is made by Vapur. Vapur makes a foldable, reusable water bottle. It stands upright when full and can be rolled, folded or flattened when empty. It fits easily in my pack and it comes with a carabiner which allows me to clip it to the outside of my bag if I would like. In the summer I can freeze the bottle to keep my water cold.
Range bags and the items they hold are personal for every shooter and every occasion. These are items I use on a consistent basis and never leave home without! I adjust my bag to the occasion including items necessary for 3 gun matches and long range shooting or even hunting.
Now that you have discovered what’s in my bag, check back soon for my review of the best range bags. I am going to review different types as well as manufacturers plus the latest equipment made I would love to see your comments and the answer to What’s in your bag?