Packing Your Gun Range Bag

Packing Your Gun Range Bag

Anyone who is serious about guns knows the importance of proper maintenance, which requires the ability to disassemble a gun, clean it properly and then reassemble it. Equally important is knowing how to handle and fire the gun. While most gun maintenance can be done at home, firing the gun typically requires a visit to the practice range. Both of these activities are made easier by the use of a good range bag and knowing how to pack it properly. Here is a list of the most common types of range bags along with some suggestions on what to pack.

The Common Types of Range Bags

Regardless of the type, a good range bag should meet certain criteria. First, it must be durable enough to stand up under harsh conditions. This goes for the inside of the bag as well as the outside. The bag needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of the firearms, ammunition and miscellaneous equipment that will be carried, and it needs to be large enough to hold everything that will be needed at the range.

A good range bag should also provide plenty of security. The right bag should make it easy for you to separate your firearms from the other contents of the bag, and the bag should contain provisions for locking away your guns so that you are the only one with access to them. Here is a list of three of the most common types of range bags:

1. Dedicated Range Bag

As its name implies, this type of bag is constructed specifically for the purpose of visiting the range. Though most of these bags will be extremely durable, the size and storage capacity will vary considerably. One of the pros of a dedicated range bag is that it will most likely have the storage compartments that you need, including a specially designed space to hold your firearms. Some bags include a pistol rug or a rollup flap.

One of the more expensive bags on the market has a pullout section that holds up to four guns. Some are built with a honeycomb frame that prevents the bag from sagging when heavily loaded. Many of these bags allow you to store several magazines in the outside compartments. Depending on your point of view, one con could be that some of these bags look the part, making them difficult to disguise.

2. Laptop Bag

Although these bags are designed to carry a laptop computer, they often make excellent range bags. They are typically quite durable and well constructed. Most laptop bags have a padded area designed to protect a laptop computer. That same padded area can be used to store and protect firearms. Unlike the dedicated range bag, this bag does not scream “gun inside!”

3. Backpack

Backpacks are generally quite a bit larger than laptop bags. However, many of them are designed to carry a laptop and have a dedicated storage compartment for that. These bags are usually quite durable, have many compartments and make excellent range bags. The extra room may be exactly what you need, and your nosy neighbors will not know what you are up to when you load your backpack into your car.

Before purchasing a bag, you should give some thought to what you will carry in the bag in order to determine the best size. For instance, will you be carrying large hand guns or only smaller ones? How many guns will you take to the range at one time? You should also make sure that the bag has plenty of room for ammo, eye and ear protection and cleaning equipment.

Another thing that is important when selecting a bag is that the bag is comfortable to carry when fully loaded. There may be a different “feel” to dedicated range bags versus laptop bags or backpacks. Finally, if you would have to modify your bag to fit your firearms, you should consider how that would affect your bag capacity.

What to Pack

Regardless of the type of bag you choose, you will need to be able to pack it effectively to make your trip to the range more enjoyable. Below is a list of suggested items to take to the range with you. As you can see, it is broken down into items that are essential, items that are advisable and other items worth considering.

Essential Items to Pack in Your Range Bag

Essential items are broken down into four categories. These include protective and safety equipment, tools, accessories and other essentials.

1. Protective Equipment

  • Eye and ear protection
  • Trauma kit
  • Sun and bug protection
  • Personal emergency information
  • Gloves

2. Tools

  • Cleaning kit
  • Screwdrivers
  • Multi-tool
  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape
  • Stapler and staples
  • Binoculars
  • Flashlight
  • Measuring device
  • Timer

3. Accessories

  • Ammunition and dummy rounds
  • Gun mat
  • Gun oil
  • Empty chamber indicators
  • Targets

4. Other Essentials

  • High-protein snacks
  • Water
  • Extra batteries for timers or electronic ear protection
  • Shooting journal
  • Sharpie
  • Empty trash bag to protect your range bag in inclement weather
  • Empty freezer bag for brass

Items That Are Advisable

Although the following items may not be considered essential, you may need these if you plan to participate in a shooting competition or a qualification course:

  • Drill books
  • Holsters
  • Blank firing adapters
  • Range finders
  • Timers

Other Items Worth Considering

Some people enjoy having a little luxury in their life. If that applies to you, you may want to include some of the following items:

  • Camera
  • Folding chair
  • Extra hat
  • Wet-weather gear
  • Lip balm
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Hand sanitizer

Although we have provided a pretty exhaustive list, keep in mind that this is only a suggestion. Ultimately, what you carry in your range bag should be those particular items that meet your needs whether you are performing simple target practice or shooting in a competitive event. However, the above checklist should prove useful as a starting point, and you can adapt it to your particular circumstances and lifestyle.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic!