The yearly “What’s in your range bag?” post

The summer “shooting season” is upon us, so it’s time for a perennial topic: What’s in your range bag?

My range bag is actually just an old bag for a compact LCD Projector. No joke. It’s got a solid base and it’s just wide enough to hold 2 columns of ammo boxes. I haven’t gone for a purpose-built bag yet, but after reading that post’s comments I’m starting to evaluate my need for three separate bags: One that I carry to stages, one that I carry to pistol range sessions, and one that will stay in the Jeep when I go to all-day range events like New Shooter Day or training classes.

Right now, I’d say my bag does duty as a stage and pistol range bag. So if I go with a three bag setup, this list will change. Here’s what I have in my bag today:

Earpro


I bought the Peltor Tactical 6S electronic muffs when they were on a one-day sale SayUncle alerted us to. My one complaint is that getting to the batteries is a serious PITA, and being lazy about removing the batteries after every session has already almost been bad. I had a battery leak a little bit of acid between range sessions. Luckily, it didn’t destroy anything, but it could have been a disaster. Oddball has these from Howard Leight, I believe, and the batteries are much easier to get to. Which leads me to…

Extra batteries


Last weekend, the batteries in my left side earpro died about an hour into the match. It’s disorienting to have just one side on, and since everyone has electronic earpro, I can’t hear anyone talking unless I have them turned on. So I just put the Sanyo AAA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries I bought earlier this year into the bag. They are low self-discharge, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Extra earpro


You never know when some jerk is gonna show up to the range with an 8″ Saiga, forcing you to shoot it. 😀 In that case, you might want to double up on the hearing protection. The other reason I keep extra earplugs in my bag is because there have been many times where I have gone to the uncontrolled range and someone is there sighting in his deer rifle with no earpro. What happens is the guy drives 30-45 minutes out there, realizes he left his earpro at home, and decides 15 rounds isn’t going to do that much damage.

Ammo

Duh. Gotta have it. If I’m at IDPA, I’ll take 300 rounds of whatever I’m shooting. If I’m just going to the range, it’s usually 200 rounds for each pistol.

Magazines

I have several extra magazines for my Glock 23 and my M&P9. They live in the range bag as a rule, so that I don’t have to unload my carry magazines.

Mag loader

Right now I only have the standard Glock Magazine Loader. Honestly I don’t even use it that much, as I rarely load full magazines. It’s not hard to put 10 rounds into a 13 round G23 mag, a 15 round G22 mag, or a 17 round M&P9 mag. What I really would like, though, is a LULA:

Bob Owens had one at the LuckyGunner Blog Shoot and I was pretty impressed. Maybe someone will buy it for my birthday :D.

Stapler

Not even a real staple gun. Just a standard Swingline Stapler. It works for stapling targets to cardboard, which is my use-case. I should probably lose it in favor of a real staple gun and put that in my “stays in the Jeep” bag. I don’t think I’ve used it in a couple of years.

Targets

I take two kinds of targets with me. The first is print-outs from Pistol-Training.com. I like the Dot Torture and the FAST, but may branch out this year.

The other kind are Shoot – N – C Self – Adhesive Targets. I like these for new shooters because of the instant feedback. I can see where my rounds go in a paper target pretty easily, but that wasn’t the case when I started. New shooters love reactive targets.

Gerber multitool


I got this Gerber MP400 Compact Sport Multi-function Tool as a groomsman’s gift several years ago. It’s proven useful several times. You never know when you’re suddenly going to need a screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers. (I also keep a full toolkit similar to this one in the Jeep which has been used several times when shooting with Oleg.)

Cleaning kit


I bought this DAC Technologies 8-Piece Handgun Cleaning Kit a few years ago specifically to go in my range bag. It’s very compact, and I’ve never had to use it, but the purpose I have in mind is to use the cleaning rod for squibs if it ever comes up.

Baby Wipes

I learned in my brief time in the Army that Travel baby wipes can be your best friend. My recommendation is get the unscented ones in a hard case.

Sunscreen

This is a recent addition. Like Mr. NoPants, I didn’t start getting sunburns until well into my adult life. I resisted it, but after back-to-back 8+ hour days with no shade a few weeks ago, sunscreen lives in my bag now. I just need to learn to use it.

Bug Spray


Another recent addition. After the last match, I pulled a tick out of the back of my skull. It apparently had ignored the weak-sauce bug spray I had borrowed. Now, it’s Deep Woods Off that goes with me.

Israeli bandage


As I mentioned in my basic gunshot wound kit post, one of the vendors sent me an extra Israeli Battle Dressing. That lives in my range bag. The full kit stays in the Jeep at all times, but I do take it inside with me when I go to a range.

Final Thoughts

So that’s what I have now. I’m completely open to suggestions on things to add (or drop). I’ve only done IDPA 3 times so I’m still in the “I don’t know what I don’t know” stage. What interesting things do you have in your bag that I haven’t thought of?

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