The Range Bag- What’s yours and what do you have in it?
There are plenty of options out there for Range Bags and I am not one for reviews; I will leave that to Outdoor Empire who have compiled a list of some of the best options available to you when you’re ready to buy a new pistol range bag. So this is not a review of any particular Range Bag. As you can see, my Range Bag is a Camel Back HAWG that I painted with some Kyrlon spray paint that doubles as my hunting pack, hiking pack and anything I want it to be pack. Its primary duty is as a range bag and it is always loaded down with a very specific set of items that I have refined over the years.
So while this is not a “Review” this is an article on what I consider some “must haves” to never leave your Range Bag.
Ear/Eye Pro– Always leave some form of Ear/Eye Pro in your bag. About the only thing worse than showing up to the range without Ear/Eye Pro is showing up without bullets or your magazines… If you’ve been shooting long enough you’ll do it eventually. While I am fine shooting without Eye Pro on occasion the only time I shoot without Ear Pro is when I am hunting. Now you can wear electronic Ear Pro and actually amplify your ability to hear game and other stuff all the while protecting your hearing.
I personally always keep a set of muffs on my pack. One of the pockets is full of foamees and other kinds of Ear Pro. These are often for other shooters that forget their Ear Pro, like my brother. I have electronic Ear Pro that I just don’t use as much but will throw it in the pack when needed but is not a part of my pack 100% of the time. My glasses stay on top of my hat. My hat always on when I head to the range.
IFAK!!!– Yes, the Individual First Aid Kit. Folks often misunderstand the use of the IFAK so while at a very minimum you should keep an IFAK with in your Range Bag at all times you should also stock a larger FAK (First Aid Kit).
Are you asking yourself why I say folks misunderstand the use of the IFAK? Let me explain. The IFAK is a last ditch Gun Shot Wound (GSW) kit that is most likely going to be used on YOU if you ever really need it and should be reserved for such an instance. Other wise you should have a larger FAK for use on other people should any unfortunate event ever occur. This doesn’t mean you need a ton of stuff nor does it need to be needlessly large. Your FAK should be larger than your IFAK but still easily portable and contain stuff for minor injury as well as basic trauma supplies similar to your IFAK. Also understand that it’s ok to have items that you don’t know how to use. The reason for this is that while you may not be able to use some items, others nearby may in fact be qualified to use them.
I will write more on the IFAK/FAK separately.
Tools– More than a set of multipliers? Yes, but not too much more. At a minimum a set of:
– Small bottle of CLP/Oil of some kind and some rags
– Set of mini screwdrivers mixed with Allen keys
– Small punch
– AR15 military issue cleaning rod
– AR15 front sight tool
– Gloves (Currently SKD FDT PIG Alpha’s)
I can take care of any minor problem with these tools and if it requires more than that then it’s more than a minor problem.
Target Supplies– I carry a large folder with a multitude of different targets plus a small bag full of 3×5 cards. Always sucks to show up without anything to shoot at. Now you need a way of attaching them to your target backer right? A staple gun with extra staples never leaves its pocket. Next to that is some tape to cover bullet holes and a tape measure.
Miscellaneous Items– I always carry a small notepad, pens, markers, gum and an extra 9 volt battery for my Shot Timer. Plus I carry a small bag with bandaids stuffed in a pocket. Sucks to get cut and bleed all over the place while shooting. A simple bandaid can fix that.
Example- I was at a Shotgun class with Independence Training when my foolish self was trying a new Weapon Mounted Light (WML) for my Mossberg 590. First mistake was waiting until the class to try it out and that would have prevented me from ever using it again. Since I failed step one, mistake two came when the Picatinny rail decided to eviscerate my support hand index finger. I almost needed some Quick Clot but instead was able to make due with a bottle of water and a few bandaids…
Another miscellaneous item I carry is a dump pouch.
I use dump pouches from Maxpedition that I bought from SKD Tactical. These make it easy to pick up your spent brass and keep the separate from any steel case that needs to be trashed. As a bonus, these are also great if you are a bird or small game hunter and don’t like wearing a hunting vest. Keep them rolled up on the belt until you have some game to place in them.
After all of that you still need room to carry ammo, extra magazines and guns. The way I look at my Range Bag is that I can fit a few hours of shooting into it. Anymore than that am I am just wasting my time as I can only really focus and put in quality training for a few hours. Past that and I am just making expensive noise.
What’s in your Range Bag?