Never head to the range without these items in your kit
Everyone knows what they need in their range bag, right?
I’ve spent a half-century going to the range, long enough to learn that there are some things that are really needed on the range but that are often left out of range bags.
Here’s a look at five items I keep in my range bag but that most range bags won’t have in them.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is probably the most overlooked range bag accessory. Keep in mind you’re dealing with firearms and mistakes happen. And you might not be the one who makes the mistake.
Beyond mistakes, on rare occasions guns can have serious malfunctions that can lead to injury and poorly maintained steel targets can kick bullets back at you.
But firearms also have sharp edges that can cut or tear skin. It’s OK to be a macho man if you get a little booboo, but bleeding all over your guns is not a good thing.
As a minimum, make sure your range bag contains a tourniquet, several bandages, some headache medicine, antihistamine for allergies and bee stings.
Bees, hornets, and wasps, seem to love shooting ranges.
Staple Gun & Staples
If there is one thing that you’ll find at the range that never works, it’s the staple guns.
If they do work, they are always out of staples. You probably have a staple gun at home that you use for chores around the house, but will you remember to take it with you to the range?
Probably not. You can pick up a staple gun and a box of stales for just a few bucks. Leave both in your range bag.
You can even spray paint the stapler pink or some other bright color, so you do not leave it at the range or to keep someone from picking it up.
Who would want a pink stapler?
Whether we buy them at the store or make them ourselves, we all have favorite range targets we like to shoot.
Arriving at the range only to find you left your targets at home means you’ll be down range with a magic marker trying to make the best of a bad situation.
Many years ago, I discovered the Stick-Um-Up targets from Thompson Targets.
These are adhesive targets that measure 2.25 inches in diameter and come 50 to a pack, and the pack is a little plastic flip lid container about the size of a snuff can.
They’re available in a wide range of colors and patterns and at six bucks per pack they only cost about 12 cents each.
Throw a container in your range bag and you will never be without targets. At least keep a large magic marker in your range bag to either mark shots or make targets.
I joined a local gun club for access to their 500-yard range. I was told they had target banks at 200, 300, 400, and 500 yards.
On my first trip there I was trying to establish the DOPE for a new handload, and nothing was matching the data from by ballistics program.
Frustrated, I went to the truck and got my rangefinder. The 300-yard berm was at 265, the 400-yard target bank was a 380 and the 500-yard target stand was at 488.
No wonder I was having so much trouble. Never trust the distances at shooting ranges. If you keep a rangefinder in your range bag you’ll quickly understand why.
They are also good if you need to shoot at a specific distance at something other than 100-yard increments.
Water & Food
No, a trip to the range is not a picnic. But a lot of shooting ranges are remote and do not have vending machines.
Range trips can sometimes last longer than expected and you might have been in such a hurry to get to the range you passed up breakfast or lunch.
It’s also hard to shoot your best when you are hangry or becoming dehydrated. Always make sure you have a couple bottles of water and a few power bars in your range bag to get you through in a pinch.
Short of packing a cooler and a lunch basket, it’s the next best thing.