For the sake of this article, let’s say you are prepping for a steel match. Since there are many different matches’ things you will need in your range bag will vary so we will keep this one for just a steel match.
I prep for my matches at a minimum of one day before, most times two days going over everything two & three times as I want to make sure I have what I need with me and not at home. So we will start with the basics. Eye protection; I carry both clear and sunglasses because you never know when you will be shooting so the sun may end up in your eyes. Just make sure both are safety rated. I used Bobster safety glasses as they are able to stop a 22LR directly; they should be able to handle just about anything that may spray towards your eyes.
Next thing you should have in the range bag for prepping for the match would be hearing protection. There are different types, plain “workplace” headphones, electronic headphones that amplify the normal speaking level yet when a shot is fired, they cut off all sound. Some people also wear the foam earplugs under their headphone, both electronic and non-electronic units. Price range goes from around $9.99 to over $300.
Next you should have some sort of ball cap. The protection it provides from the direct sunlight is well worth wearing one. Plus the bill of the cap will also protect and shade your eyes from the sun. And next speaking of the sun, there should be some sort of Sunblock. Let’s face it, protection from UV rays will help you and even prevent some skin cancers. So toss in a good brand with a high SPF number!
You should have an assortment of tools and spare emergency parts for your gun(s). Extra springs, strikers, ejectors anything that could break on you and keep you out of the shooting. I have a box that is labeled “Glock Parts” that I include for my prepping for my matches.
Include a range finder because if you are not shooting the actual Steel Challenge matches where they are set up the same at ever match location, you will need to do a quick look at the target layouts to see the distance for them so you know where you need to hold your point of aim. Also have some sort of multi-tool. I personally use a Leatherman Charge. As it has a nice selection of bits to use if needed.
Then make sure you have your holster, belt, gun, magazines and ammo. Make sure the gun is cleaned, oiled and ready to go because you do not want any failures during the match! Your ammo count should be over the amount needed to complete the match just in case, it never hurts to be prepped more than needed.
Make sure your mags are clean and ready to go, there have been time when I used the “other NON HODGDON” brand of powder that was a lot dirtier running, and the mags would get extra dirty. So believe it or not, I actually took the mags that caused failures and dunked them in puddles of water, sometimes a little muddy water and just twist my hand washing the mags more or less so I could complete the match, and it really worked to me surprise!
Your belt and holster should be set everything locked in place and test fitted a day or two before the match because you really need to concentrate on the match itself, all the prepping work should be done before the match day so you have no worries other than how you plan on shooting each stage!
I hope this helps and gets you to look in your range bag and have everything set and ready to go before match day!
Good luck, stay safe and I hope to see you out there!