What Essentials Should I Pack for the Shooting Range?
Every activity has its own set of gear that you need—whether your repairing a car, going to work an office job, playing a sport, or going to the beach, you’ll need a toolkit, briefcase, duffel bag, or other way to bring all the equipment you might need. Going to the shooting range is no different. But what exactly do you need to bring in your range bag when you go shooting?
It can be helpful to make a checklist before you go so that you don’t forget anything and are sure you have everything you need. Here are the essentials that every range bag should include, as well as some helpful suggestions for other things you may want to bring.
The first and probably the most important thing to consider when thinking about any aspect of firearms is safety. It should be at the front of your mind when you’re cleaning your gun, when you’re modifying your gun, when you’re showing your gun off to someone, and of course when you’re shooting a gun. So when you’re at a shooting range, what should you pack in your range bag for the sake of safety?
Perhaps most obvious is hearing and eyesight protection. Most ranges have rules against shooting without the use of proper eye and ear protection. This is because unprotected exposure to gunfire can cause tinnitus or other severe hearing damage, and a stray casing or blowback from a malfunction, whether from your firearm or one in the lane next to you, can cost you an eye. So be sure not to forget earplugs and safety glasses for yourself and anyone you bring, and be sure that you’re using actual safety glasses rather than just a pair of cheap plastic sunglasses that won’t stop anything.
You also need to be prepared in case of injury. A trauma kit that includes a tourniquet, bandage, and chest seal might save a life if there’s a misfire for example. Ideally you should also have a bit of basic first aid training so you know what to do in an emergency. As for minor injuries though which can be incurred from something as simple as a slide cutting your hand because you gripped a firearm wrong, you may want to pack a small kit that includes an antiseptic, de-lead wipes, burn cream, and band-aids.
Gear for Shooting and Maintenance
Then comes the gear that you actually need for the act itself of shooting.
Obviously, you need to bring your firearms. They all should be placed in their own pistol pouches, holsters, or cases, and all guns should be unloaded. No bullet in the chamber of course, but whether you want to keep an empty magazine inserted or entirely remove the magazine is up to you.
You’ll also need ammunition of course. You should take note though of the differences between ammo intended for practice, hunting, or self defense. Choose the right ammo for use at the shooting range and try to practice with the same load often so you can work on your shooting without the inconsistency of changing ammo types.
The third and final component of shooting is of course the target. While you can buy targets at the shooting range, you may be able to save a bit of money or find a target that better suits what you want out of it by shopping around and bringing your own. You also might want to bring a role of tape, so you can patch holes and prolong the life of the target, as well as a sharpie so you can make markings on the target for your own reference.
There’s a variety of other gun-related gear that you might want to bring along with you to ensure you have a good time at the shooting range.
Magazine loaders like those supplied by Maglula will vastly reduce the amount of time you spend thumbing ammo into magazines one at a time. A shooting rests or bipod will give you improved comfort and also keep dirt off your rifle if you’re at an outdoor range. Gun oil will keep your firearm from running dry—this is useful because a gun drying out can prematurely put an end to your day at the shooting range. And there are other pieces of equipment that are also good to have on hand to prevent your day being cut short as well.
A squib rod will help you remove a bullet lodged in the barrel, and a multi tool is essential for any on-the-fly repairs or adjustments that need to be made to your gun or accessories, especially in the event of a malfunction. A cleaning kit can also be useful to get rid of certain malfunctions. The last thing you want is to haul yourself over and pay for a set number of hours at the shooting range only to have to call it quits because you didn’t plan ahead enough to bring any tools.
Miscellaneous Shooting Range Essentials
Other items might be optional depending on the length of the range and how serious you are about your practice—binoculars or a spotting scope, for example. If you’re really committed to improving your shooting, then we recommend you bring along a notebook to document your shooting range visits and take notes. You might even want to bring some electronic calipers to measure your groups.
Of course, not every item that you bring along to the shooting range necessarily revolves around shooting.
Let’s say you’re at an outdoor range. What will the weather be like? If it’s cold, you might want to bring gloves or extra clothing to keep warm. If it’s hot, you might want a hat, water bottle, mosquito spray, and even allergy medication. It can be hard to focus on your aim when you have sweat in your eyes and can’t stop sneezing.
So, are you prepared for your trip to the shooting range? If you don’t have all of these things, don’t sweat it—many of them are available right here at Second Amendment Sports. Give us a call at (815) 385-5522 and we’ll let you know what we’ve got. Or, you can simply stop in on the way to use our state-of-the-art indoor shooting range. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
Second Amendment Sports
3705 W Elm St
McHenry, IL 60050