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When at last you find the time to hit the range again, make sure you have everything you need to make the most of it. There’s nothing worse that getting there and realizing you’re missing something important (besides your gun and ammo).

For you beginners out there who are assembling their range bags for the first time, we hope this list of range bag essentials is particularly helpful.

  1. Eye protection (no explanation needed…don’t shoot without them)

  1. Hearing protection (we see a lot of people wearing these classic, affordable Howard Leight electronic muffs).

  1. Shoot-N-C sticky targets (reactive targets are more fun and make life easier). If you’ll be using regular paper targets, bring a roll of masking tape.

  1. Maglula Uplula (save your thumbs…this is the world’s best magazine loader…by far)

  1. Leatherman Skeletool (A multi-tool is always a good idea, no matter where your are or what you’re doing.)

  1. A tourniquet. Know how to use it (it’s not complicated). As JWT — a former Army medic — says, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze until the red blood stopsHere is a 1-page illustrated guide to using a tourniquet, provided by the makers of the leading combat tourniquet. Here is a TTAG article about the statistics surrounding tourniquets and their lifesaving potential.

  1. QuikClot clotting gauze

  1. Choke tube wrench (if you’re shooting a scattergun, Real Avid’s universal model is mighty handy)

  1. Small tool kit – (because stuff like scope rings, free-floating handguards and Pic rails can and do work themselves loose.)

  1. Marker (good for noting distance and ammo on your targets)

  1. Staple gun (best way to put up those paper targets on wood target stands)

  1. Cheap extra foam earplugs (Someone at the range always seems to need a pair.)

  1. Band-aids, liquid bandages, and the like (Because boo-boos — slide bite, hammer bite, scope bite, etc. — happen.)

  1. Rem oil wipes – (The classic is still the best…easy to keep on hand.)

  1. BoreSnake and/or small Otis cleaning kit

Non-beginners, is there something you’re always sure to bring to the range that didn’t make it onto the list?

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  1. A tourniquet. Stage it for actual use. Don’t keep the windlass Velcroed into the windlass clip. That’s how you keep it closed after application

    • Yes. I use softt-w’s and I cannot even count the number of EDC pics I have seen with them wrapped in ranger bands or some ridiculous kit that you’d never get to quick enough or with one hand. Carry a TQ like you carry your gun: easily accessible and ready to rock (That means one in the chamber).

      • I like the softt-w’s for putting on others or self administering to my own leg but they spin around when i try to put on my own arm one handed. I usually carry a couple of both.

      • I don’t have a rapid deploy but that’s a good design and I have seen it before. I have a kydex “sheath”. I see a lot of people putting them in loose hanging nylon things and every time I ask them to pull them out seated on the ground one handed they cannot do so without making tons of maneuvers and compromises. Good point on the rapid deploy stuff, and carry position is key. Usually weak side is best, and I personally carry mine at about the 4’oclock on my “war belt” and another strong hand side at the 1-2o’clock just before my side sapi’s. I like the idea of having multiple TQ’s.

        • I have a couple of the sheathes too. Even though I don’t use them on my belt they’re great for keeping TQs neat in my bags.

  2. I keep a range diary and good pen in my bag.

    Lets me keep track of when I shot, what the weather conditions were like, how long I was shooting, round counts through certain firearms, loads I used, any maintenance that needs to be done, where I zeroed in certain firearms at, etc. When I was a competitive shooter I even went so far as to track what I ate on days I shot particularly well.

  3. Looks about right…I would up the trauma kit with more supplies. Israeli bandages, gauze, self adhering wrap, chest seals etc. I would also take some training courses of which there are many good ones online. I have taken a couple so far. One used QuikClot gauze for penetrating wounds. The other said it wasn’t necessary as long as you had plenty of gauze and used it correctly Both were given by trauma doctors. The range I use the most is 20 minutes from nearest ambulance/hospital. It doesn’t have a RSO because it is owned by the County Conservation Board so you’re on your own unless someone else happens to be there. The DNR manages the entire Conservation area, But I’ve only seen the officer at the range a dozen times in 15 years. YMMV Be Safe Out There and Keep Your Powder Dry.

  4. Not a beginner. Old gun guy. Instructor and RSO.
    Definitely a worthwhile subject, especially with all the brand new gun owners out there. I get asked about this often by new shooters. Sometimes I’ll take my bag down in front of them as a rough example. I explain that theirs will evolve over time of course.
    The list above is very good. Just a couple of things I’d add:
    *Something soft like an old towel to put your valuable gun(s) down on. The bare bench could be rough.
    * Gun rags and hand wipes.
    * Extra batteries for muffs and extra staples.
    * Extra keys for locked gun cases (some states require locked transport).
    * A compact spotting scope or binoculars to see down range.
    * A couple of feet of brightly colored trimmer line for chamber flagging.
    If you’re like most people, you’ll think of things you wish you had in there from range trips and you’ll fill it up. Think twice, though before you get a larger bag. The guns and ammo weigh enough as it is.

    • Yes to the towel and chamber flags. I don’t mind setting my handguns down on the (rather old and beaten) wood benches, but I don’t like the idea of marring one of my classic wooden-furnitured against an errant screwhead sticking up or somesuch. An old towel or extra gun mat is good.

      I stick large neon green zip ties in my guns, with the “head” sticking out of the closed action, and the “tail” sticking out of the barrel if within a handgun. I’ll always have a couple of neon orange ones to give to others if necessary, so they can practice visual safety as well. A brightly colored chamber flag works wonders to calm the nerves around newbie shooters.

  5. Extra set reading glasses. Flashlight, batteries for scopes, red dots and active hearing protectors. A full cleaning kit with brass & nylon drifts, sight tools (AR & AK). Allen and star (Torx) wrenches. Nothing like driving 40 to 60 miles and you forgot something.

  6. I bring a can of spray adhesive. Staple the first one or two targets, then use spray adhesive for the targets that go on top. One tug and they all come off at one time. Staples are great, but they sometimes don’t hold as well as you’d like. Spray adhesive makes everything better. Oh, and a really big marker, in case I feel like putting additional shooting targets on unused target spaces.

  7. A full, or section of a, dollar store yoga mat for setting stuff on for a non-slip, non-marking surface.

  8. Admittedly, I haven’t been to that many outdoor ranges. But a stapler seems like it’s more for clutter. I’ll use spring loaded clamps with a cardboard backer for wind. No issues.

    Medical supplies are a very good idea. You might be the only one there with a tourniquet. Band aides for sure because things do happen. Wipes for your hands as this can be a dirty activity too.

    Markers, tools, and cleaning supplies make things flow better and can make your time there more efficient and enjoyable.

  9. I like my Emuffs but I have a problem. Maybe me or maybe just that set. I’m an old fart. I wear glasses. The Emuffs, during extended use, tend to put too much pressure on my glass stems and pinch them into my head behind my ears. It starts to hurt after a while.

    Mostly I use plugs.

  10. Pretty good list.

    I’d add, a bottle of water. Useful for keeping yourself hydrated (our local outdoor range has minimal shade); also useful – albeit not ideal – for irrigating a small cut or wound, or if something gets in your eye.

    • I’d recommend not eating or drinking at the range because of lead contamination. You should wash your hands and face (preferable with deleading soap or wipes) before eating, drinking, smoking, or using the bathroom. Take fluids and food along, but don’t take them into the range or to the line.

  11. How have I ever lived for 60 years w/o a mag loader and a TQ. Ive seen 3 AD’s that resulted in flesh wounds and a call to 911. A TQ is good idea but one that I have not gotten around to yet and I am not sure I know how to properly use on just like I dont know if I know how properly use a defibrillator. Not something I practice everyday.

  12. rem oil + newbies + glocks don’t mix…they gravitate to that hole the firing pin sits in and dump oil in like they are filling their car full of gas…dumbasses…

    • I always just used my bore cleaning rod if I needed that, though the one in the pictured kit doesn’t look long enough for a rifle (but maybe there are more segments which aren’t visible?).

  13. We all missed the meaning of he word essential, I think most of these are helpful accessories. I bring a separate gun box. I know sounds funny, but my gear bag gets pretty heavy and its easier to haul in 2 moderate sizes cases than one super heavy one. For rifle ranges, I often bring a foldable wagon to manage everything and keep it from spreading out. I almost always bring multiple guns, when I run through my allotment of center fire I switch to .22 which is cheaper. I also carry multiple sets of cheap foam plugs in case the guy next to me be decides to open up with a hand cannon or a muzzle compensated gun, so I can double up ear pro. Sun glasses, brimmed had and a bottle of water are also desirable outside.

  14. My bag is a bit more simple:

    1. Eye pro
    2. Ear pro
    3. Ammo
    4. Lube (gun type, not personal)
    5. Wiping rag
    6. Gun and extra mags

    I have a multi-tool in my pocket if I need it, though we aren’t allowed to ‘work on’ guns at the firing line. I buy targets at the range and they don’t fit in the bag. The guns don’t get cleaned at the range so that stuff stays in the fun cabinet at home.

    • Every pro range I go to, indoors and out, provides a staple gun, so I don’t bother. For $15-20 an hour, they better. I’ve only had to ask for staple reloads a few times.

  15. Spotting scope.
    Cr2303 batteries for scopes.
    Waterless hand soap for cleaning up after handling ammo.

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