Cleaning out my range bag can be can be like cleaning out my purse. An assortment of mostly useful items, stray brass, and odd bits of crap. I have to stare at it and wonder if Ron dropped this thing into my bag when I was not looking. Unlike my purse, my range bag has a single purpose, getting my guns and shootin’ stuff to the range. Most people’s range day accessories grow organically as their interest in the sport develops, but here are some handy starter items everyone should have.
1. Speed Loader
I love this thing! My husband and I only have one between us and we are always fighting over it at the range…
Loading your mags should never take longer than shooting them, and the Maglula is like a magic once you get a rhythm down. If you have any strength issues in your hand or arthritis, this makes loading a magazine so easy. Even guys who feel that a loader is too girly for them can quickly change their tune when they realize how fast it allows you to spend your time behind the sights.
2. Pistol Tool
I may not always need this, but my husband (gadget freak that he is) swears by them. Handy for any minor fixes on the range. You may not always need one, but the first time you want to tighten a grip screw this is worth it’s weight in gold. Look for one that suits your needs the best, if you have a 1911, the bushing wrench on the Real Avid pistol tool will help keep your recoil spring and plug behind the firing line.
3. Range Bag
We need to be able to carry our guns to the range safely, and well, easily and have all our goodies at hand. This is a nice size bag, not too small and not too big. It is also sturdy and won’t tear with the weight and you can never go wrong with basic black.
4. Hearing Protection
I can’t stand the concept of renting hearing protection… who knows where they have been. ick! Hearing protection is very important on the range, but I also can’t stand not understanding a word my spouse says to me on the range. (Picture a Peanuts cartoon, whah whah, whah whah whah) Electronic earmuffs filter out the the noise from the shots being fired while still allowing you to hear your significant other. Many also allow you to plug in your phone to allow for theme music when you shoot. If you prefer solitude and wish to tune out your SO, go with a non-electronic version to muffle them out.
5. Brimmed Hat
A brimmed hat will protect your head and face from flying brass. I have a few that travel between my range bag and the backseat of the car…. because I’m otherwise not a big hat wearer. But on a bad hair day, it comes in handy!
6. Eye Protection
Every range will expect you to wear eye protection, and again… you have no idea how clean those rentals are. (Pink eye anyone?) This is a must for your range bag if you don’t already wear prescription glasses! if you are concerned about your glasses, get a pair of safety glasses to fit over them.
7. Lube Oil
Again, just one of those items you will wish you did not have to buy at the range when you need it, great for quick lubrication on a gun that may have been in the safe too long.
Always have a roll of tape handy to attach your targets if you go to a range that does not have target hangers!
9. Cleaning Kit
No, do not be a lane hog! Nobody should be doing a full out clean on a weapon at the range. But, for minor maintenance the brushes and picks come in handy, and if you have ever had brass jam in the chamber, that cleaning rod is a godsend.
Last weekend I had my first experience with “aggressive stippling”, gloves are now at the top of my list for must haves. Besides, just because i shoot does not mean i want hands like a construction worker (no offense to any building tradesmen reading this).
Ron (my husband) pointed out that I get pissed every time he steals the pen out of my range bag. Yes, even at the range you never have a pen when you need one, so I thought I would throw in a tactical pen just to keep the theme going.