16 Things Every Range Bag Should Include

Image via Birchwood Casey and @MisterAvery

When at last you find the time to hit the range again, it’s good to have everything you need to make the most of it. There’s nothing worse that getting there, then realizing you’re missing something important.

For you beginners out there who are assembling their range bags for the first time, this list should be particularly helpful.

1. Eye protection (no explanation needed)

2. Hearing protection (like many, we’re fans of the classic, affordable Howard Leight electronic muffs).

3. Shoot-N-C sticky targets (reactive targets make life easier)

4. Maglula (our favorite pistol mag loader…by far)

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

6. A tourniquet. Know how to use it, but 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.

7. QuikClot clotting gauze

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

9. Small Allen wrenches – (because stuff like scope rings, free-floating handguards and Pic rails can work themselves loose)

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

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

12. Cheap extra set of eyes (we’ve loaned our extra set to other shooters dozens of times)

13. Cheap extra foam earplugs (someone always seems to need a pair)

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

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

16. Hoppes boresnake cleaning kit 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?

comments

  1. avatar Thomas says:

    I would add a cleaning rod, as a way to check for, and perhaps be able to solve, bore occlusion.

    I usually have a short one-piece for pistols and a multi-section screw-together for rifles.

    I’ll throw a slightly oiled patch on a caliber-sized jag and give one push through.

    – Thomas

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      A couple years ago I bought a Ru ger No.1 in .303 British and when I took it out for the first time I tried some Wolf ‘bi-metal’ rounds and the 5th or 6th round simply would not extract. I’m guessing the extractors on those are probably robust enough I could have jacked the lever hard enough, but I erred on the side of caution. Took it home, stuck a cleaning rod down the pipe and it tapped right out. Now I know to carry a cleaning rod to the ra nge. BTW, If anyone wants a box and a half of ‘bi-metal’ am mo in .303…

      1. avatar Bearpaw says:

        Lots of new stuff uses Torx fasteners. Need a bit kit and driver to handle all metric and standard hex sizes, Torx from T10-T40, and standard and philips drivers from tiny to prybar.

        And plenty of extra batteries for your ears. They get left on easily in the range bag.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          I second the Torx drivers.

          Along the same lines, I recommend an inexpensive gun-smith type driver bit set which should include a range of small to “normal” size phillips and slotted screwdriver bits. I recently purchased one at WalMart for $8 that also included several torx bit drivers.

      2. avatar KBonLI says:

        Two weeks ago at an outdoor range someone firing a 22 had a similar mishap. I normally don’t bring my cleaning kits to the range but that day had a 22 rod in my gear which saved his day. Will now keep that as part of my range gear.

    2. avatar Kenneth says:

      And a borelight, and some extra staples. It really sucks when, unbeknownst to you, the rangebag staplegun has only one staple in it.

    3. avatar GeorgiaBob says:

      Since there will likely be at least one muzzleloader among the weapons I take to the range, a large package of cloth patches (either homemade from old t-shirts or store bought) will always be in the bag. In one of the rifle bags there will also be a one piece extra long cleaning rod.

  2. avatar Carl says:

    My range bag carries a ten inch or so long brass rod. Don’t recall the exact diameter, but it’s to knock out stud cases, squib loads, and so on, to keep my day from getting ruined in various ways. It’s paid for itself twice over, and when not in use, it hides itself away very well in the bottom of the bag.

    Walmart also sells in office supply various colors of zippered money pouches for a decent price. The various colors allow me to carry various collections of stuff, including ammo, collected brass, first aid supplies, tools, and so on.

  3. avatar Bloving says:

    Small cooler with cold (non-alcoholic) beverages and a hat.
    🤠

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘(non-alcoholic) beverages’

      Oh sure, ‘hold my O’Douls and watch this!’ Said by nobody who ever made a viral You Tube video.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        LOL

    2. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      +5000 on a hat.

      If you’ve achieve elder dignity (Read: Hair is taking a vacation), or you keep short or no hair, you need a hat for outdoor ranges.. Unless you like sunburn on your pate and increase risk of skin cancer. 🙂

      I keep a ‘gardening’ hat (some call them construction hats as well). Basically has a cloth attached that shields the ears and back of the neck as well.

  4. avatar Pete says:

    If you use anything that takes batteries, carry spare batteries.
    I can’t count the number of times that a shooting buddy had a dead battery because they left the scope on after the last trip.

  5. avatar Ahil925 says:

    A terry-cloth or microfiber rag: for wiping down stuff when things get dusty.

    A pair of binoculars: to make it easier to see targets further out and to scout out an area when shooting in the desert.

    A few golf balls: small cheap reactive targets.

    A trash bag: sometimes ranges don’t have trash cans.

    1. avatar Jeff in CO says:

      I also carry my shot timer for running drills and a roll of masking tape. I’m actually quite surprised that masking tape wasn’t on the list of 16.

      1. avatar Jeff O. says:

        Yes! Plain old masking tape!

        Super helpful.

        1. avatar LazrBeam says:

          Make mine duct tape, please. And maybe take some loctite.

      2. avatar Shwiggie says:

        Securing targets, masking while cleaning, labeling mags, pasters…masking tape is quite useful on the range.

    2. avatar bontai joe says:

      I’m glad that someone mentioned trash bags. Always good to haul out what ever you hauled in. I recommend carrying at least a couple, because they can make a pretty decent rain poncho if needed.

    3. avatar Clark Kent says:

      A box of chalk in multiple colors for marking targets (especially handgun silhouette targets). A bag of charcoal briquettes and animal crackers (they make great reactive targets for 22’s and require no clean up after being shot). Circular black/orange stickers for repairing targets. Goop and paper towels to clean hands after shooting. Quarter/nickel for scope windage/elevation adjustments. I also always wear a blaze orange t-shirt or sweatshirt when shooting at an outdoor range because for some reason a certain percentage of shooters can’t or won’t follow range rules regarding shooters downrange.

  6. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    1) If shooting steel targets, bring spray paint.
    2) Shot timer for defensive drills and friendly wagers
    3) Dollar bills for the aforementioned friendly wagers
    4) Binoculars or spotting scope
    5) Bags for brass
    6) Insect repellent and sunscreen, depending on the weather

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      “Just HAD to go there, didn’t you Ralph?”
      🤠

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Well, without ammo, you probably wouldn’t need the rest of that stuff in the bag.

        1. avatar A O says:

          Good observation. Notice they never said to bring your firearm either.

  7. avatar Bob Ross says:

    Stick on dot labels to use as target pasters. They’re cheap and come in different colors in the same pack for different guns or loads.
    A mesh bag meant for washing delicates to hold fired brass, shaking it will separate most of the dirt from the brass.
    A hand towel or bandanna, it can be used to wipe off sweat or to cover the back of your neck. If shooting a match in the sun, south Mississippi, you can cover your holstered gun to keep the grip from getting to hot. Use one that isn’t sweaty to lay your gun on if there are concrete range tables.
    Sun screen, seasonal
    Bug repellant

  8. avatar Nanashi says:

    2: No, keep it in your pocket or at least the cabin. Keeping it in your bag requires digging through it before you get to the range (though I do keep some backup plugs in the bag but that’s covered in 12/13)
    5: No, Keep it on your belt
    6/7/14: No, keep it in your IFAK and keep that on your person

  9. avatar Southern Cross says:

    I learned a lesson on the weekend to double check the contents of my range kit before heading out.

    I didn’t check my ammo can thinking I had the correct boxes inside. I had a rude shock when I opened the can to find the remnants of an old reload. I had almost enough for the match, having to add one extra different round that missed the 4′ target at 300m, provided I kept my sighter shots as scoring shots. Luckily the sighter shots were bullseyes.

  10. avatar JasonM says:

    I have a tourniquet question.

    I recently took the Hunter’s Ed safety class and they said to apply direct pressure but never use a tourniquet. On TTAG, I’ve seen multiple articles saying to use a tourniquet in addition to direct pressure. I would think that if one of those positions was obviously superior in every way, there would be universal acceptance of that position (e.g. get the MMR vaccine, don’t drink antifreeze). Does anyone know why there isn’t agreement about the use of tourniquets (beyond “the other guys are wrong”)?

    1. avatar RNBK says:

      American College of Surgeons have a stop the bleed education. In short use the tourniquet to stop bleeding in limbs where you can and wound packing with direct pressure where you can’t use tourniquet

    2. avatar Zach says:

      The old thought was the lack of profusion from application of TQ would cause limb amputation. This has been proven false and most research suggests a TQ can be applied for hours without significant damage to distal tissue. Currently, there is no contra indication for TQ use for severe bleeding of arms and legs. What I can tell you from being a paramedic in a busy system for 25 year is direct pressure, elevation, pressure points are not effective for significant arterial bleeds. My experience is in line with the research. Bottom line, use a TQ for significant bleeding from the Extremities. Use knee pressure for severe junctional bleeds. The data from your hunter Ed class is grossly obsolete.

      1. avatar Tile Floor says:

        Yup. The last CLS course I took said that you’ve got about six hours before you start damaging tissue from the TQ. And I’d rather have it on there for ten hours and have some permanent tissue damage than bleed to death…

    3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      IANA medic, but I don’t think there’s any controversy on using a TQ for an “oh my god I’ve never seen so much blood” situation. Use the TQ if you think you need to; after the blood stops write the application time on it, and get the victim to qualified care ASAP. My range has that as part of the safety lecture before classes.

    4. avatar jwtaylor says:

      JasonM,
      You’ve gotten some very old, very bad information. There is no real dissention in the qualified medical community in regards to the emergency use of a tourniquet.

      Anytime you have a large amount of blood coming out of a limb, tourniquet it as fast a possible. Squeeze squeeze squeeze until the blood stops. Then get to a higher level of care. That simple.

    5. avatar Matthew says:

      Vermont EMS teaches pressure first, if that doesn’t work, then tourniquet. And it’s many hours before damage can occur, one commenter already said six, I thought I remembered twelve. Either way, plenty of time to get the patient to a hospital.

  11. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I always carry a roll of 3/4 inch masking tape.

    You can quickly and easily tear small pieces to cover holes in targets (which allows you to use a target for several iterations). It can also be handy to tape up targets in some instances.

    Masking tape could also be handy for some first aid applications such as taping gauze to a limb.

  12. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Some of the ranges where I visit have large pieces of 1-inch thick rigid foam insulation board to hold up paper targets. In those instances, toothpicks are ideal for stabbing through your target and pinning it to the foam. For that reason, I carry about 50 toothpicks in a snack-size ziplock bag inside my range bag.

    Pro tip: break your toothpicks in half to pin up your targets. Half a toothpick is still plenty long to pin a target to rigid foam. Of course that doubles how many targets you can pin up for a given amount of toothpicks. (And if you are really on the ball, you can actually cut your toothpicks in half ahead of time with wire cutters.)

  13. avatar Steve says:

    Unless you’re doing a barrel break-in and the manufacturer calls for cleaning between the first few rounds, leave out 14-15 and clean your guns at home – no-one likes a crowded range.

    Add in:

    Bore-clearing rod. Especially if you hand-load.

    At least a full box of staples, plus the open box. You WILL run out of staples if you don’t consider the spare box just as critical as the staple gun itself.

    A tool to measure groups to adjust your zero accurately and not waste ammo – caliper or small tape measure.

    Rather than a full allen wrench set, I recommend keeping a small zipper-bag with tools required to zero ALL firearms you own. Got an AR with a standard sight post? Keep an AR tool in the bag. AK with the standard windage adjuster? Keep a cheap drum pusher in the bag. One allen key for each sized bolt that you’ll touch at the range (including bolt action screws, just in case something loosens). A nickel or penny for EoTech style sights… you get the idea. The first time I buy a gun and take it to the range, the required tool gets tossed in the bag and never leaves. One side effect to this is you’ll make some really quick friends at the range as you’ll be better prepared than just about everyone else!

    A 3/4 filled sandbag – one minimum as a squeeze bag. Most ranges have these but you never know if they’ll be in good condition the next time you go… there’s also the one guy that can’t stabilize his rifle without all 40 of the bags available.

    Magazines. It’s very easy to walk out the door with 10 lbs of ammo and realize the magazines are still at home.

    A bipod if you shoot bench, and preferably one set up to quick attach to everything you own. I use a Harris with an ARMS mount and it locks up tight to everything in one 90 degree throw of the lever.

    If you hand-load for precision, a set of 3-10 Sharpies of different colors. You can mark the ogive of the bullet and save yourself a few dozen trips downrange for things like ladder testing of charge weights.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Agree with everything in this, particularly the first paragraph.

  14. avatar Thirsty says:

    Beer

  15. avatar arc says:

    List needs a bore rod just incase you get an obstruction.

  16. avatar Phil LA says:

    I frequent a members-only 24/7 range. Flashlights for long distance target illumination and…
    AMMO! Dirp!

  17. avatar Meanoldmike says:

    Brown paper bags – one each for .38, .45, 9mm, .380. and .45LC brass….you guys all rich men who don’t reload ?

    1. avatar Widdler says:

      I just throw all mine in a 5 gal bucket, then seperate into individual strainers after washing. Found thoughs wire baskets for kids bikes at wally world work perfect. Even got hooks on the back to hang it and let the brass dry out

  18. avatar One Old Desert Rat says:

    OK, This might sound a bit strange but bear with me please for I speak from experience. A couple of Tampons, A couple of Heavy duty sanitary napkins and a roll of duct tape. The Tampons do a good job of plugging bullet holes in a person and the sanitary napkins can help to absorb blood from a bad cut to help stop it from bleeding, and the duct tape to hold either one in place. It is a bit rudimentary, but they work.

    1. avatar Alan D Kerby says:

      Tampons are the worst thing to use for GSW. Not one legit trauma org recommends. Get your info up to date and drop the urban myths.

    2. avatar Matthew says:

      Yes, please do not use tampons in a bullet wound. Direct pressure with absorbent material, or tourniquet if that doesn’t work. Never stick something in a trauma patient. Use the tampon as intended or to stop a nosebleed, if you’re into that, nothing else. -Your friendly neighborhood EMT.

  19. avatar Matt says:

    Tape! Also, if shooting outside I throw a case of water in the trunk

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Good call on the water. I finally got tired of buying the stuff and got a $10 collapsible camp water jug. (As a very sweaty FWG I drink a LOT of water).

  20. avatar COstew says:

    This “list” appears once per quarter it seems. Also seems to be more of a Sponsored Content post to me. I’ve tried and tried and this new TTAG just isn’t working for me. So long “new and improved”.

  21. avatar el Possum Guapo Standartenfuher " they think we're making pizza's Oberst von Burn says:

    I shoot guns designed in Russia. Range bag has boolits,a hamner, and sickle. Gun not work hit with hammer works not still, head off is cut person sold gun

  22. avatar TommyJay says:

    Gun cleaning gear at the range? No.
    Bore clearing rod, yes.

    1) Make sure you’ve got all needed keys in your pocket. Legally, I need to have the firearms locked up for transport, & yeah I have arrived at the range without a key.

    2) Yes, ammo & mags.

    3) I like the Surefire silicon rubber ear plugs. Strip off the silly outer parts, and just use the plugs. They have two levels of sound suppression.

    4) Cheapo ear muffs for guests, or some other screw up.

    5) I like a 10X monocular (Vortex) for spotting my pistol shots.
    Or a real spotting scope for the rifle range.

    6) Small terry towel for my hands or grips if it is sprinkling rain.

    7) Yes to a box of staples

    8) Small spiral notepad & pen for the rifle range, with range dope on the inside covers.

    9) Black and Silver felt tip markers. I like silver to mark bullet holes on black bullseyes.

    10) Half a small bottle of water.

    11) A small tool bag with just the tools your hardware needs. Plus chamber flags

    12) A stopwatch for timed fire. Does a shot timer work at a public range? Serious question.

    13) Small B-16 bullseye targets. These are slow-fire 25 yard regulation pistol targets. No range I’ve used stocks them, and they are only 1 ft. square.

    14) Custom prescription eyeglasses. Can’t shoot those open iron sights well if you can’t focus on the front sight.

  23. avatar Gralnok says:

    Kind of surprised nobody has thought about this.

    Day-glow, florescent, orange spray paint.

    It can turn any can, bottle, box, anything really, into a shooting target. Very useful, if like myself, you have lots of garbage in your car. Also, when it runs out, it becomes a target itself. Just remember to clean up after your fun.

  24. avatar Rswartze says:

    I like to take two or three ‘dog towels’ with me. Keeps my elbow from hurting sitting on the bench, and even better keeps it from freezing if I’m on one of the metal bench.

    Paper plates to go with Sharpe.

    Notebook and pen if you’re a handloader.

  25. avatar SoBe says:

    Don’t forget a good flash light and a sharp knife.

  26. avatar james says:

    I keep a roll of masking tape in case I forget the stapler, I always do.
    One box of ammo because I always forget to bring the ammo to the range 65 miles away.

  27. avatar Glock Glutton says:

    If my wife fits in the bag she can come.

  28. avatar Sledog says:

    For targets with long use……i bring a DESK CALENDER…..12 pages ..31 squares….cheap or free..(last years left over at office)….31 bulls(date number)….in square is close…..easy to determine misses and adjustments……

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