Go Get Your Gear! – Top 10 Range Bag Essentials
Recently I had the opportunity to review 5.11 Tactical’s Range Ready Bag 43L. While reviewing it I put everything in it I always put in my range bags and it made me think this would be a fun article to ponder. What are range bag essentials? Are there ten basic ones to cover? Let’s jump right into (in no particular order) my top ten picks for Range Bag Essentials!
Range Bag Essentials: Eye Protection/Safety Glasses
Safety first as they say. It is always smart to at least have two pairs of safety glasses in your range bag. This covers you and a potential associate or stranger in need. This also helps out if you happen to have a mishap where one pair gets busted and you have a convenient spare. Sure some people may think that being cognizant of safety is boring, but eye protection does not have to be! There are all sorts of eye protection out there made for the too cool for school types of folks out there also. Stuff like tinted safety glasses or sunglasses made with shatterproof/shockproof materials. I personally have two pairs of regular clear shooting glasses and one pair of tinted ones.
There are technically three standards in terms of safety glasses: US Military, OSHA, and ANSI. OSHA is more generic in terms of the requirements. The US Military requires eye protection to pass a certain 22 caliber ballistics test. Lastly and most commonly for shooting glasses is ANSI which has a focus on high velocity, high impact, and their eyewear denotations are Z87.1 and Z87.1+. The plus version is made to be even more impact-resistant.
Range Bag Essentials: Hearing Protection/ Ear Muffs or Plugs
I personally am pretty hard of hearing and other than out-of-the-ordinary life events shooting has to be a reason for some of my hearing loss. As a kid, I grew up running around a farm shooting at pop cans and such without any sort of hearing protection. Some of that is on my folks, but they also were raised like that and it was only a 22 and I would probably admit that I did not need any ear protection so I do not hold it too much against them.
But hearing protection is essential if you do not have the luxury of owning a suppressor (I highly recommend looking into getting one; Silencer Saturday over at our sister site TFB is an excellent source of information). Hearing protection is very available and can be super cheap. Options range from foam earplugs to high-end electronic muffs or plugs. I personally always pack a bag of foam plugs if anyone else needs them and my Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic muffs. They collapse to be stored, block out gunshots, and are comfortable. They usually retail for around $70.
Range Bag Essentials: Medical Kit/First Aid Kit
First aid in a range bag usually is a forgotten item, but it’s super important! Obviously, you are working with firearms and freak accidents are just as likely as small “boo-boos.” Always be prepared! A standard first aid kit is fine and dandy, but I would recommend something a little more heavily equipped. A tourniquet at the very least is the major one and of course, two is better than just one. Things to control bleeding and disinfect. I personally have a medical kit in one pocket which has a medical cross patch on the pocket. Mine has a lot of basic stuff, but most important to me is it has a tourniquet and heavy bandages/gauze.
Range Bag Essentials: Gloves (Two Types)
A less intense essential item for sure, but it’s still something I frequently have used. Two pairs of gloves should be a go-to range bag grab. One light pair for general use to keep your hands off hot guns/suppressors and just overall clean. The other pair a little more heavy-duty and built to be in harsher weather or conditions. I live in Minnesota so it can get fairly cold up here and with my job I still have to go to the range so gloves have been a must.
Range Bag Essentials: Tools (Multi-Tool Works)
Tools are a handy “just in case thing” just like a first aid kit or medical bag is. I personally have a cheap multitool with different screwdriver bits and then a couple of actual Phillips screwdrivers I got for free at one point. My recommendation would be a multitool of some kind and also a small hex bit set. Shoot AR15s a lot? There are all kinds of companies that make portable AR tools like this Gerber one that fits in a pistol grip.
Range Bag Essentials: Extra Targets
Extra targets are always nice since they usually are an item that gets forgotten at home. The rifle club I am a member of gives us free targets, but I always have some cheap spare ones and some nice splatter ones just in case. Just make sure you do not forget a way to set up a target!
Range Bag Essentials: Tape or Staple Gun
As I just mentioned it’s smart to have spare targets in case you forget, but I would bet that the most common thing forgotten on a range trip is a way to secure a target to something. Tape is the easiest; otherwise, a small staple gun would not be awful. I usually have some small nails in my bag aside from tape just in case I need to hammer a target up.
Range Bag Essentials: Lube/Gun Maintenance Supplies
A small cleaning kit or lube at the bare minimum is essential. Some guns need to be lubricated constantly while others don’t need it much, but it’s nice to have them available. CLP is always a safe bet, but my personal favorite is G96. A bore snake for the calibers you are bringing to the range would be nice, but that involves some prior planning.
Range Bag Essentials: Flashlight
Flashlights are an obvious just in case sort of thing. It does not need to be a high-cost, high-lumen torch. This is for checking bore obstructions, help seeing malfunctions, inspecting jams, or just finding your way in dark areas if it comes to that. I personally own a Nebo Redline Flex that is rechargeable, uses AA batteries, and is 450 lumens. It’s plenty for everything I’ve used it for and it’s affordable for a decent flashlight.
Range Bag Essentials: Speedloader
This one is borderline of being an honorable mention. I personally own a few different speed loaders or handy loaders so rapid reloading does not have to hurt my thumbs. In my range bag, I have a Uplula, and two types of Ruger MK4 speed loaders. One being an old-school HKS speedloader and a McFadden speedloader.
Honorable Mentions: Range Bag Essentials
Blaze Orange Hat: If it’s an outdoor range or a private property gun range it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some sort of Blaze Orange around just in case you need to trek out into the nothing to take a leak or you want to be sure you are extra visible to other people at the range.
Brass Bag: If you are a reloaded or a thrifty recycler a bag to clean up brass is always handy. I personally have a small neon green bag with a patch spot that is my brass bag. Some range bags like the 5.11 Tactical Range Ready Bag pictured have a built-in brass bag!
Toilet Paper: When you gotta go, you gotta go and you may not be near a bathroom. Be prepared when duty calls!
Round Tray: I do not personally use a round tray since I am kind of frugal with my ammo, but I know some people use them. I understand and admire the convenience of pouring out a box of ammo into a tray if I intended on expending the whole lot of ammo.
Other Minor Honorable Mentions: Rope, Rags, Firestarter, Raincoat.
Well, that’s all folks! In closing, I want to say thank you to 5.11 Tactical for allowing AllOutdoor and myself the opportunity to try out their Range Ready Bag 43L. That is greatly appreciated. Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback. What do you all think are range bag essentials?