5 Things to Bring With You to Gunsite
Jon Stokes 09.02.17
I recently got back from a week at Gunsite Academy in Arizona courtesy of Remington, and I had a blast. We were all pretty well geared up, but there were a few items that were overlooked either by myself or others in the group. With the benefit of hindsight here are five things to bring to Gunsite that you might not have thought you needed.
1. Pocket knife
This should go without saying, but you need a knife. I loaned out my Skeletool a number of times so that people could open boxes and the like. Many of the folks on the trip had opted to fly with just a carry-on, so they were knifeless, which is why I got asked for mine so often.
2. Electronic Hearing Protection
The guys at Gunsite love to teach, and throughout the day they’re constantly barking orders and dropping knowledge. So you really want electronic ear-pro that will let you hear what and when you need to hear. These Impact Earmuffs are what many people bring and swear by, and they’re what I used. Highly recommended.
3. Long-sleeved shirt
When you’re out in the desert sun for hours on end, you’ll eventually find yourself wishing for a little more covering. I brought a long-sleeved Columbia shirt and was glad of it. I wish I had packed the white one instead of the dark blue, but regardless I was the envy of my peers with my arms covered from the sun.
Nobody wanted to be the mall ninja with the tacticool gloves, so nobody brought their gloves out to the range, myself included. This was a mistake.
The guns got really hot, not just from shooting but from the sun, as well. So by mid-day we were all wishing for a good set of gloves.
It’s also the case that some minor injuries could’ve been avoided with them. For instance, I pinched the base of my hand with a pump action shotgun (interesting story that will have to wait), and in two other range sessions I had some issues with an AR’s grip and trigger guard that caused some chafing.
But the main reason to have gloves is for the heat, because when that desert sun goes to work on the black guns they can get too hot to hold.
5. Street clothes
One of the things that makes Gunsite special is that they put regular civilians through shoot house training to reinforce lessons learned on the range. So I got to do some room clearing exercises in two different structures with both shotgun and pistol.
It occurred to me as I was doing this that if I ever cleared a room in real life, I probably would not have on my cool-guy pants, my go-fast shoes, my mall ninja belt, or any other wannabe operator gear. Nope, I’d probably be wearing jeans and ropers, or even pajamas. So in the spirit of “train like you fight,” I kinda wish I had worn said jeans and ropers on the shoot-house days.