When you’re out on the range, usually your needs are pretty simple.
You need a way to carry all of your gear and that’s about it. But there are some things that can make life easier for you and everyone else if they’re in your bag as well. Here, I made a list of items that should be inside every shooter’s range bag.
Range Bag Essentials: What to Put in Your Range Bag?
You might be surprised! But most people don’t think about their range bag until they’ve already arrived at the event, but it’s always a good idea to have everything you need before you get there. Here are 20 range bag essentials for your next trip:
- Gun cleaning kit
- Extra magazines and ammunition
- Ear plugs
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Bore snake (or other gun cleaners)
- Cleaning rod and brush/pad combo
- Q-tips with cotton swabs on the end
- A small bottle of silicone lubricant and/or graphite powder
- Towel or cloth
- Green gun grease or other high temp lubricants
- Hex drivers and maybe a pair of pliers (like for adjusting sights)
- Pen and paper for log keeping
- A regular flashlight
- Spare batteries for your light
- Tweezers, spring pin tools or other small tools
- Some type of ID marker
- A muzzle guard (put it up after each shot)
- A first aid kit with bandages
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Some spare cash
1. Gun cleaning kit:
This includes a combination gun cleaning rod, some pins to remove the grips and an assortment of brushes. You should bring solvent or lubricant for your firearm as well.
Make sure that you’re not bringing something that will cause damage when used in places other than inside the barrel.
2. Extra magazines and ammunition:
It is always a good idea to bring extras in case you run out of ammo or if some are lost.
A 5-gallon bucket with holes cut for magazines should work well to keep them all in one place. You can also use a magazine pouch that you wear on your belt.
Keep the speedloader separate when bringing extra ammunition, as they can easily get lost in a bucket if not.
You may also want to include a small box of ammo so that you don’t have to look for the ones you like to use when it comes time to refill your magazines.
Note: If you’re looking for more detailed information about how to pack your range bag with all the necessary items check out our blog post.
3. Ear Plugs:
The best way to make sure you don’t lose your hearing!
If someone yells “Squirrel!” or there’s a surprise explosion they are perfect for stopping those loud noises which can cause damage without some kind of protection (not just for shooting).
4. Safety Glasses or Goggles:
You wouldn’t want any of the above gettings in your eye so why not protect yourself? When I went to my first IDPA match, there were people with clear glasses who got splattered with birdshot without realizing it until after they got home.
Since then I’ve always worn some form of eye protection while on the range (and don’t leave home without them either) even if all that is available is a pair of sunglasses which at least offer up some level of protection.
5. Bore Snake:
These are the easiest way to clean your barrel and most come with a “bore brush” attachment that fits at the end of the snakes which means you would never need to use a standard rod again.
Some even feature brass beads on them to help get out those hard-to-reach deposits.
6. Q-tips, swabs w/cotton tips:
There are many things that a swab can do. It can clean the dirt on your gun.
It can also be used to take care of other things, like cleaning the insides of your gun or cleaning around safety devices and when you have been hurt at an event where there are not any medical personnel available.
7. A small bottle of silicone lubricant and/or graphite powder:
This is for free-floating handguards or if you’re using some kind of tight cover over your barrel.
If there’s an issue with keeping things moving smoothly, a little dab of this can make sure that you have everything running as smoothly as possible.
8. Towel or cloth:
I keep a microfiber towel in my range bag to dry off the gun and wipe down the magazines after shooting (as well as my face).
After all, there’s no point in letting the dirt from the last person who used it get on your new gun or accessories as soon as you pick them up to use them.
9. Green gun grease or other high temp lubricants:
There are lots of great choices out there but green gun grease is one of my favorites.
I use it on everything from slides to bolts and the best part is that it never dries out so you never have to worry about using something else. It’ll also keep your firearm running when others fail.
10. Hex drivers and maybe a pair of pliers:
If you have steel inserts for your sights like I do, they can sometimes be a pain to work with.
Just make sure that it’s not vice grips (which could damage your hex screws). But if you prepare yourself in advance, you don’t need to rush when adjusting the sight or changing the sight altogether if it starts looking worn out on top of needless eyestrain.
11. Pen and paper for log keeping:
Far too often, we see people at matches who take the time to write down scores after their stage, but when I ask them if they remember what it was, they’re all “Uh…I’m not sure.
Let me check my score sheet.” Like a firearm, you should always know where your log is and find it quickly so that you can keep track of your rounds fired and times from each string.
12. A regular flashlight:
It’s dark out there sometimes and it can be a pain trying to get to your gun so why not prepare in advance?
Plus, if you’re at an indoor range or even in your house, having a light is also helpful for getting around in darker areas without needing a second person to watch over things while you go grab what was dropped on the floor or whatever else needs to be done.
13. Spare batteries for your light:
I’m sure that at the moment you didn’t think to bring any or maybe they ran out of power and now your light is useless.
You may not think that it’s an important thing but every little bit helps while shooting on the range, so why not have a couple of spares with you?
14. Tweezers, spring pin tools or other small tools:
If you have to use some kind of stacking technique for your magazines or just want to be able to get into the super hard-to-reach spots around your gun, having a small tool on hand is almost a must.
15. Extra rounds of ammunition (just in case you run out):
This is the most obvious, but I wanted to remind everyone that you always have extra rounds in your magazine when you’re practicing.
Because if you find yourself needing to reload faster than you thought or you just can’t remember how much ammo you had left (like with carrying guns), then at least having a full reload on hand wouldn’t be a problem.
16. Some type of ID marker:
This could be anything from your name to a unique color tape and even some spray paint so that if something happens to one of your items, it’s easier for someone else to figure out who owns it.
If nothing goes wrong and no one asks about it then there’s no point in keeping them around but if bad things happen, this will save you a lot of hassle and wasted time.
If your budget allows, labeling everything with barcodes or RFID tags will always work the best but for those who don’t think that’s an option then color coding is an okay alternative.
17. A muzzle guard (put it up after each shot):
This is pretty important if you’re a shooter who likes to keep a muzzle down at your feet or just doesn’t want it pointing at someone.
Also, having the guard can help keep other things like dirt and water from flying up into your mouth when shooting some of those wet-n-dirty matches that everyone loves so much.
18. First Aid Kit:
If there’s no medic on site, then this might just save someone’s life! Keep one in your car or range bag so that you’re always prepared for an emergency, especially one far away from medical help.
They don’t have to be huge, but some extremely compact kits don’t take up much room but will cover you in a pinch.
19. Sunscreen and bug spray:
If you’re going to be out under the sun or by a bunch of water then it’s a good idea to have some on hand just in case your skin starts getting burned.
I’ve seen enough people get hurt or sick because they didn’t bring these on their trip and since it’s just something that you can buy almost anywhere, bringing some along shouldn’t be a problem.
20. Some spare cash:
It really sucks when all of a sudden someone needs to run over to the gas station real quick, or everyone starts getting low on ammo and has to reload for each string that they shoot continuously.
If you can spare a few bucks then having it available for those kinds of things when needed is always nice and can help your team out by not making them wait around while you go get money from an ATM.
Last Few Words…
Everyone has their own preferences and things they don’t like to bring because of weight or size but I’m pretty sure that at least one thing on this list will be something you find useful.
Now, if money is an issue then don’t feel bad about building your kit from a good few of the smaller items on here! It’s all up to your own needs and budget so just make sure you are ready for any situation that might come along. Just remember that there’s no such thing as being over-prepared!
Also, I’d like to thank everyone for checking out this article and if you have any other suggestions or items that you always bring to the range then let me know and I’ll be glad to add them to the list. Is there anything on here that everyone doesn’t already bring?
If so, then what is your favorite item to take with you and why? None of us like wasting time or being unprepared for anything (unless you’re a sadist) so make sure you are always ready for whatever might come your way.
See you at the range!
I am John, an outdoor gear staff expertise with tons of practical knowledge. My favorite hobby is moving around the world and adventurous in all the parts of the earth. I have been a worldwide traveler for over 10 years now with no sign of slowing down. I’m happily espoused and residing with my kids in California.