Whether you’re plinking in the county, practicing at your local range or attending a shooting competition, there are 10 things that come in handy for your range bag. They are all small and easy to find, and can make your shooting experience better.
Bottle of Water: Having water at the range can make your body feel better and help your shooting. Dehydration can be a major hindrance: Some of the first things that it affects are your eyesight, your mental sharpness and your small twitch muscles. These are key components to shooting well. Bringing along a bottle of water is always a good idea, even if you’re at an event that supplies water. Your own bottle will be a constant visual reminder to help you stay hydrated all day long.
A Snack: Like water, food is a key ingredient to shooting well. I recommend keeping a snack that is in a package so you don’t have to touch it with your hands. This will keep you from ingesting the dirt, grime and lead that your hands pick up while shooting. A wet-nap or hand sanitizer is a good snack add-on, but not required. Snacks that are unaffected by temperature are best. Chocolate bars are tasty, but take it from someone who knows: It’s no fun to try to lick the chocolate off the wrapper when it melts.
Lip Balm: This is an absolute key for me personally. Lots of things can make your lips get dry: sun, wind, cold and even dehydration. Lip balm is not a key component in shooting, but I’ve found that the more comfortable my body is, the less distractions I face when it is time to pull the trigger. If I am miserable with chapped lips, my brain will inevitably start thinking of that instead of focusing on my shot.
Nail Clippers: Here’s another thing that’s not key to shooting, but has helped me more times than I can count. Whether it’s while I’m loading a shotgun or trying to put bullets in my magazines, I will inevitably split a nail. I like to have clippers around so that I can clip the broken nail down and keep from tearing it or splitting it worse. I learned to carry the nail clipper and lip balm from my grandmother. Even in her Cowboy Action gear, she has a little leather pouch that holds these two things.
For Your Firearm
Oil: In all my time shooting I would say that probably 80 percent of the malfunctions I’ve seen on the range were from guns that were dirty or dry. Having oil in your bag is an absolute must. I don’t know if it’s true, but I have heard that Rob Leatham doesn’t clean his guns, he just oils them. If it’s good enough for The Great One, it’s good enough for me.
Magazine Brush: I’ve shot in some really interesting conditions. In the West they have big, beautiful ranges that are covered in dust so fine it could pass for baby powder. In the East are some beautiful, grassy ranges that turn to swamps if it rains. In both cases having a magazine-cleaning brush has helped me to keep my magazines clean and running smoothly.
A Rag: If you are going to oil your gun or clean your mags, a rag is a great addition. It never hurts to have something to wipe off the dust and dirt. In a pinch, you can also use a rag for mopping sweat or drying your hands.
Spare Parts: I mentioned that about 80 percent of problems I see with guns have to do with dirt or dryness. The other 20 percent are usually due to small parts failures, and it’s easy to keep some replacements in your bag. My three suggestions to bring along are a firing pin spring, a recoil spring and a trigger spring. These parts have saved me a time or two, and are small enough to be a key part of my range equipment.
Business Card: I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people while I shoot, and have made some lifelong friends that I really only get to see on the range. A business card is a great way to make sure the people you meet can keep in touch after the match. It’s small and has all your info, so no one needs a pen.
Trash Bag: Like a rag, a big trash bag can serve many purposes. If it rains you can put your range bag inside of it, keeping your ammo and gear dry. It can also be a quick answer to a jacket or poncho if you’ve forgotten one. You can also use it to pick up brass if you forgot a bucket.
Stocking your range bag is always a balance between carrying too much and having the things you need. These small additions can, in many cases, make you a more relaxed and focused shooter. Have fun, be safe and get to the range!
Randi Rogers is a shooter from the top of her head down to the tips of her toes. Working as the Sales and Marketing Manager for the holster manufacturing company Comp-Tac, Randi dabbles in hunting, fishing and the great outdoors but at the end of the day she wants to have a gun in her hand. For the last 18 years as a Smith & Wesson and Compt-Tac pro competition shooter, Randi has won over 50 world and national titles in action shooting sports such as Cowboy Action Shooting, IDPA, IPSC, USPSA and 3Gun. Randi fills her days concealed carrying in a Comp-Tac Holster, spending time practicing at the range, writing for different outdoor publications and finding new ways to help other women enjoy the recreation and entertainment of target shooting. View all posts by Randi Rogers