Have you ever trekked to the range only to discover you forgot something you wish you had brought? Yeah. Me too. Well, here’s a list of things to permanently keep in your range bag so that doesn’t happen. (Some are pretty obvious, but just think of this as a reminder.)
1. Eye and Ear Protection
Like I said, yeah obviously. But you guys, I’ve had my eye protection break—lenses fall out, or some idiot (me) accidentally steps on them. Keep a spare in your bag in case something happens. At the range, safety is paramount for both eyes and ears. But also…
2. First Aid Kit
We’re all about preparedness and safety. A basic kit is important to have for things like insect bites, splinters, and the beginners who might accidentally get slide bites. It’s a good idea to have
a first aid kit in your car at all times anyway, so another kit in your range bag isn’t a big deal.
3. Ammunition and Spare Magazines
Of course! You’re going to need ammunition, but you should take all you’re going to shoot. Trigger time is what’s going to help you in the long run, so it’s good to put as many through your pistol is possible. You should be practicing reloading, too, so having your extra magazines is paramount.
This is probably the only thing that I regularly forget when heading to the range. In my range bag, I now keep balloons because they’re cheap, compact, light, and help me with tactical drills (shooting until the “threat” is gone, the popped balloon signaling this accomplishment). But you should grab your paper targets too; even if you have to fold them.
5. Staple gun (and/or Clothes Pins), Staples, Marker, Measuring Tape
Depending on where you do your shooting, you’ll need a way to hang your targets. Some ranges have vertically mounted pieces of plywood, some have stakes and chicken wire (like the range I haunt). So, either a staple gun (don’t forget staples, y’all) or clothes pins can hold your targets up. You need the marker (particularly a black and permanent one) to circle previous shots for easy acquisition. The measuring tape doesn’t have to be big and bulky, just long enough to measure shot groups.
6. Firearm Cleaning & Maintenance Kit
This is just in case you run into a malfunction and need to get your pistol back into operational order. Otherwise you’ll be wasting valuable range time.
7. Firearms & Holsters
Well yeah, we’re not talking about archery here, so you won’t need a bow. But if you have more than one concealed carry pistol (and you should, check our post about this) then you need to practice with both. And you also need to practice unholstering and reholstering as well. Don’t bring your whole collection, just bring what you intend to practice with because holsters can take up quite a lot of space. Finally, if you’re only bringing a few pistols, and can separately and safely store them, go ahead and pack them in your bag as well.
Are there any other items I forgot to add to this list?
Hannah Staton holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith where she also is a Writing Tutor. She was issued her Concealed Carry License in 2016, but has grown up around firearms her whole life. She is a Contributing Editor and Copy Writer for Clinger Holsters. She is an artist, cigar enthusiast, poet, and an avid shooter. She resides in Van Buren, Arkansas with her dog, Sunday and spends as much of her free time either with her family or making art. You can find her on Instagram @hr.staton or reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org