If you want to improve your shot, whether that’s to be a better hunter, a competition shooter, or to be prepared for a self-defense situation, then you need to practice on a regular basis. The more often you shoot, the more consistent you’ll become. And when it comes to shooting, consistency is king.
The easiest way to practice is by heading to a gun range. Gun ranges are safe places for new and experienced shooters to practice and learn.
But to make the most of your time, you need to come prepared with some basic gun range essentials. Otherwise, your target practice won’t be as productive as it should be.
Check out our gun range checklist below to ensure you have everything you need before driving over to your local range.
Of course, you’ll want to bring the plan you plan to shoot with. If you don’t yet own one, or if you’d like to try a new firearm, most gun ranges offer rentals on various types of handguns and rifles. Renting a gun before you buy a new one is a great opportunity to see if you like how it feels and shoots.
Aside from the gun itself, here are the shooting essentials to bring along.
Ammunition is not usually included in your range rental. You’ll need to either bring along your own or purchase some once you arrive at the range.
If you plan to purchase ammo at the range, you should call ahead to ensure they have the caliber you are looking for.
Having extra magazines on hand makes it easy to stay focused. Just fill a few up ahead of time so you can practice firing fast.
If you are planning to zero in a rifle, bring your own rifle rest. These will help you stabilize the barrel and the stock of your gun to ensure consistent shots, so you can adjust your scope as necessary.
Keep a few tools on hand should you need to make any adjustments to your gun or your scope. Range time is the perfect time to make adjustments to your gun to improve accuracy and performance.
While you probably won’t use your limited range time to give your gun a full, detailed cleaning, having a few supplies on hand is a good idea. If a casing gets stuck, or excess debris is building up in your gun, a handy cleaning kit can make short work of the mess.
Most ranges provide paper targets either for free or for purchase. But if there’s a specific type of target you like to use, feel free to bring those along.
Gun Safety Equipment
Other than the gun itself, the most important thing to bring to a shooting range is your gun range safety equipment. Here’s what you’ll need in order to use a shooting lane.
Eye and Ear Protection
Eye and ear protection are mandatory at shooting ranges. This is especially true when shooting indoors, as the sound can easily damage ears if earplugs aren’t worn.
While you can get away with wearing small, foam earplugs, they aren’t going to block much sound. Instead, invest in quality, over-earmuffs that are going to provide the most sound protection.
Wear goggles to prevent any debris from getting into your eyes. If you wear glasses, bring a pair of goggles that fit comfortably over your glasses.
If you forget to bring either eye or ear protection, you can buy or rent them from the range.
In order to bring a gun into a shooting range, it needs to be cased. The only time you can uncase your firearm is when you are at your assigned shooting stall.
Never walk around the range with an uncased gun.
Case and Cable Locks
While locks aren’t mandatory, they are a great idea. Case locks prevent inexperienced shooters, either at home or at the range, from accessing your firearms.
Just in case they do, cable locks run through the action of your gun and prevent ammunition from being loaded and the action from firing.
Range Bag to Carry Gun Range Essentials
That’s a lot of stuff you need to bring to the range with you for a productive shooting session. In order to stay organized, you should have a dedicated range bag.
That way, you can keep all of your range essentials in one place so that you don’t accidentally forget your earmuffs again. Plus, having everything in a bag, ready to go, means it’s more likely you’ll visit the range on a regular basis, which is important for staying consistent and improving marksmanship skills.
The best range bag for you is any bag you can dedicate to this purpose. Backpacks will work okay. But most people prefer an actual range bag, which has a flat bottom to prevent it from falling over and spilling the contents everywhere.
Bags that are specifically designed for use on the range will be able to fit at least one handgun, along with everything else mentioned on this list. Strong materials will ensure there are no rips, even when carrying a ton of weight.
The last thing you’ll need for productive shooting sessions is a membership at your local range. While not required, having a monthly membership, or even an annual membership, will save you money if you plan to shoot at least two or three times per month.
If you don’t plan to shoot that often, you can simply pay for individual sessions as you go. But having a membership allows you to shoot as often as you want.
It may also provide additional benefits. For example, here at Texas Gun Club in the Houston area, when you purchase a monthly range membership, you’ll also get discounts on gun rentals and training programs. We also provide members with free paper targets and ear protection.
You can choose a monthly or annual membership for individuals or for the entire family. And you can also choose one of our higher-tiered memberships, which can get you exclusive access to our premium 25-yard range, our long-distance 50-yard range, complimentary rentals, discounted firearm training courses, and much more.
Visit the Range Today
When visiting a shooting range for the first time, it’s likely you’ll forget something. Luckily, most ranges will have what you need, either for sale or for rent, to help you practice shooting.
But if you want to improve your skills, visiting the range frequently is the best method. By organizing your gun range essentials into an easy-to-carry bag, you’ll never forget your gear, and you’ll end up at the range more often as a result.
If you live in the Houston area, make sure to visit our state-of-the-art gun range today.