Going to the gun range and practicing is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for a self-defense encounter. In all honesty, chances are good that you’re not training enough with your gun if you’re only shooting it a couple times per year.
If you want to step up your training game, but don’t really know what to bring to the range with you, we’ve got you covered with this range bag checklist.
- Ammo: Ammunition is an obvious essential that you should bring. You can’t train if you don’t bring it. You should bring ammo for each gun you’re bringing with you, and make sure you’re bringing enough that it counts towards your training goals.
- Targets: If you’re going to a range where targets aren’t provided, steel or otherwise, you will need to provide your own. Unless you’re using adhesive targets, you’ll need to be able to stick your targets to something, and a stapler is usually what is used.
- Staples, stapler, tacks: Some ranges provide a means to get your targets to stay, but some don’t. I always recommend a stapler with tacks as a backup in case the stapler breaks or you run out of staples.
- First Aid Kit: It’s definitely a good idea to keep a small medical kit in your range bag, just in case you or someone else needs some sort of medical attention.
- Eye and ear protection: This is hopefully an obvious entry, but sometimes we forget things. I have forgotten my good ear protection at home one time and had to use my spare. My ears were damaged because the spare was too small. Having a set of high quality eye and ear protection is a good idea. Don’t skimp out on something that might break or may be inadequate. You only get one set of eyes and ears. Protect them.
- Tools and cleaning kit: Your gun may break down while you’re shooting it. Or, you may realize that it’s been six years since you’ve last cleaned it. Either way, it can’t hurt to have some gear, whether a multi tool, or something else, along with a cleaning kit and some oil.
- Other training gear: What else might you need for your training? Things like a magazine pouch and a holster are a couple of things that come to mind so you can practice your reloads and drawing (if your gun range allows, some don’t).
- Snacks, water: Nothing can wreak havoc on a shooting session quite like being hungry. I always try to keep a few granola bars or something similar in my range bag just in case I get hungry. I try to bring bottled water, too, in case I start to get thirsty. Even if my range has a vending machine or water fountain, the last thing I want to do is leave my guns unattended or pack everything up just to get a sip of water.
Making sure you’re prepared from the get go for your range outing is all important to ensure you can focus on your proper training, and not having to worry about anything else.