The first time you head to the gun range, you might realize that you are missing a lot of the items necessary to make the experience complete. If you have an experienced person with you, you might notice that their gun range bag is well-equipped and filled with lots of items you never even thought about.
It can be embarrassing to show up unprepared. Not to mention that you can wind up wasting valuable time. That’s why we wrote this article, so you can know exactly what to pack for your first gun range visit.
Let’s get started.
1. Eye and Ear Protection
Protective gear of all kinds is going to be the first thing to pack into your gun range bag. Yes, you could probably rent it from the gun range in case you forget. But that cost could add up over time, so why not just bring your own gear that you have curated and purchased with care?
It will also fit you better, and you won’t have to worry about someone else’s germs or cooties getting anywhere near you. This is even more crucial as flu season arrives and pandemics become more frequent.
High-quality shooting glasses shield your eyes from debris, gunpowder residue, and potential ricochets. Additionally, ear protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs, safeguards your hearing from the loud noises generated by gunfire. Always prioritize safety by ensuring you have reliable eye and ear protection in your range bag.
It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget to pack enough ammunition for your range session. Check the caliber of your firearm and bring an adequate supply of ammunition. Store your ammunition in a secure and labeled container within your range bag.
It’s advisable to bring more than you think you’ll need, as running out of ammo can disrupt your practice session. As with your protective gear, sometimes it’s possible to purchase ammunition at the gun range (depending on your firearm). But this cost will also add up quite a bit over time if you aren’t careful.
It’s important to make your gun range visit as affordable as possible, so you can go often and improve. It would be terrible if you had to stop going to the gun range because you overestimated your expenses and didn’t have the budget to support your training any longer.
While many shooting ranges provide targets, having your own ensures you can practice with consistency. You might be gun training for a particular goal and having that specific target with you would help improve faster.
Consider bringing a variety of targets, such as paper targets for precision shooting and reactive targets for a more dynamic experience. Portable steel targets or self-healing targets are excellent choices that add an interactive element to your practice sessions.
Changing things up when it comes to the target you choose is a great way to become proficient at shooting in a wide range of circumstances. This will emulate real-world circumstances much better than always using one type of target.
4. Cleaning Kit
If you are a diligent kind of firearm owner, then you will make sure to clean your firearms and maintain them regularly at home, regardless of how often you use a particular weapon.
Even if you do your due diligence at home, however, it’s important to carry firearm cleaning equipment when you go to a gun range. Pack a compact cleaning kit that includes bore brushes, cleaning rods, patches, lubricants, and a cleaning mat.
Regular cleaning not only extends the life of your firearm but also helps maintain accuracy and reliability. It also proves that you are not just a random amateur firearm owner, but one who cares about their equipment and behaves professionally about it.
The Swiss Army Knife is the most well-known multi-tool in the world, but there are many other kinds out there, all of which are useful to carry around with you.
A multi-tool is a versatile and handy item to have in your range bag. It can assist with quick adjustments, tightening screws, or addressing minor issues that may arise during your shooting session. Look for a compact multi-tool with features like pliers, screwdrivers, and a knife for maximum utility.
6. First Aid Kit
Gun safety should always be a priority at the shooting range. A basic first aid kit in your range bag can come in handy for addressing minor injuries or wounds. Include items such as:
- Adhesive bandages
- Antiseptic wipes
- Pain relievers
- Any necessary personal medications
Being prepared for unexpected situations contributes to a safer shooting environment.
7. Shooting Gloves
Gloves provide comfort and protection for your hands during extended shooting sessions. They help reduce the impact of recoil, prevent blisters, and offer a better grip on your firearm.
Choose gloves that allow for dexterity and tactile sensitivity to maintain optimal control while shooting. Over time, your gloves will fit you perfectly as they mold into your hands and become like a second skin.
It’s important to take care of a good pair of shooting gloves, lest you have to keep paying for replacements.
8. Magazine Loader
Reloading magazines manually can be time-consuming and tiring, especially during a lengthy practice session. A magazine loader can significantly speed up the reloading process.
Look for a loader compatible with your firearm magazine type to streamline the reloading experience.
Remember, whatever you can do to reduce the amount of time you spend standing around and not shooting is important. You have a limited amount of time at the shooting range and you don’t want to spend it reloading magazines or doing other useless tasks like that.
9. Gun Holster
Even if you’re not carrying your firearm outside of the range, having a holster in your bag can be practical. It provides a secure and easily accessible place to store your firearm between shooting sessions. Choose a holster that fits your specific firearm model and allows for a smooth draw.
You should also be practicing shooting by drawing from your holster, not just typical target practice. After all, you’ll need to be comfortable drawing your weapon should you ever have to use it out in the real world.
10. Notebook and Pen
Keeping a shooting log or notes about your performance can be beneficial for tracking progress and identifying areas for improvement. Use a dedicated notebook and pen to record details such as:
- Shot groupings
- Adjustments made to your sights
- Any issues encountered during your session
This information can inform your training regimen and help you refine your skills over time.
Just like anyone training for the Olympics or for any other sporting event would keep a journal for their times, improvements, and injuries, you need to have the same kind of professional attitude towards your time at the shooting range.
11. Hydration and Snacks
Staying hydrated and maintaining energy levels is crucial for peak performance at the shooting range. Pack a water bottle to stay hydrated during your session, especially if you’re shooting in hot or humid conditions.
Additionally, bring snacks like energy bars or nuts to keep your energy levels up. Maintaining physical well-being contributes to better focus and overall enjoyment of your time at the range. Also, if you are the kind of person who can’t focus when your blood sugar is low, then you will want to carry some protein bars with you.
12. Additional Gear and Accessories
Depending on the weather, you will want to bring some extra clothing with you as well. If you get cold easily, then having a sweater or sweatshirt in your gun range bag would be helpful.
On the other hand, if you are practicing outdoors without cover, then a baseball cap or a hat will protect you from the harsh sun or the elements. Additionally, if you have a hard time standing for long periods, then ensure your shoes are comfortable (not just flip flops) and you have orthotics or some other cushioning in place.
Finally, sunscreen and sunglasses are crucial to carry around, especially if your gun range isn’t appropriately covered. This way you can protect yourself from skin cancer or sunburns. Once you start shooting, you get so focused you won’t be able to think about anything else.
Things like sunscreen, hats, and walking shoes might seem like low priorities. However, neglecting the little things can lead to injuries that hamper your progress. Prime physical condition is crucial to maintain and that means taking care of yourself from your head to your toes.
Now Your Gun Range Bag Is Ready for Action
Anyone looking at your gun range bag packed to the brim with all the essentials mentioned above will know that you are a veritable professional who knows what they are doing. If you are in Houston, TX, then the Texas Gun Club is the only shooting range you need to visit.
We offer gun safety courses, help you get your license to carry, and have gun classes to suit all levels. Our highest-rated gun range is waiting for you to practice your shooting. Visit us today and experience the difference.