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The Gear For the Love of Competition Gear & Accessories Gun Culture

How to Build the Ultimate Shooting Range Bag

by James Tarr   |  June 11th, 2013 9

This year I’m celebrating my 20th year of competitive shooting. I learned quickly that going to a shooting match was different than just heading to the local range to practice—many matches were out of town—if not out of state—and if you didn’t have it with you, you shouldn’t count on one of the other competitors to loan you something. Heck, they want to beat you, so even if they do have a full set of Allen wrenches in their bag, they might not admit it.  Heading to a nearby range, you can throw whatever you might need into the back of your truck. Competitive shooters, however, live and die, win and lose, based on the contents of their bags.

The first range bag I ever bought was the biggest on the market at the time, because I figured if I got anything smaller, I’d end up regretting it. It was sold by Wilson Combat, and veteran competitive shooter Bill Wilson knew a few things about range bags. Wilson doesn’t sell that bag anymore, but it was large enough to hold four handguns, 1,000 rounds of ammo, a cleaning kit, spare gun parts, whatever other assorted gun tools you could think of, 20 magazines and it still had room left over for your empty cases. You know what else it was when I loaded it up? HEAVY.

I lugged that bag around for years, even to local matches, before I stopped and asked myself, “Why am I lugging all this stuff around?” At that point, I started paring down the contents of my range bag to the items I really needed, and the stuff I couldn’t do without. Now my range bag is a much more minimalist affair, but I still have everything I need.  Here’s a short list of stuff you absolutely need to have in your bag to make sure your range time puts a smile on your face.

  • Biff Sarin

    Good article. However, if anyone can find a Leatherman MUT for the $49.99 price listed in this article, let me know. Last I looked, they were almost $100 more than that.

    • DustyG223

      Thanks for letting us know. The Leatherman MUT price is correct now.

  • Mark

    I found this comment surprising:

    “if you didn’t have it with you, you shouldn’t count on one of the other competitors to loan you something. Heck, they want to beat you, so even if they do have a full set of Allen wrenches in their bag, they might not admit it. ”

    That was not the case with High Power Rifle in the late ’80s and early ’90s! The gentlemen of the Peconic River Sportsman’s Club on Long Island turned me into a life-long shooter with their kindness and willingness to loan me equipment when I was first starting out.

    • BigBore

      Mark –

      Yeah, I found that odd, too. The people I shot with, and this was a few years back as well, wanted to beat you, not because you had an equipment malfunction, but because of the skill involved. I never had a problem – if I found I had forgotten something and had to attempt to borrow a replacement most times it was offered before I had to ask. I guess, like everything else, change happens. New times, new attitudes ( just please don’t call it ‘progress’!).

    • BJC

      I have to agree with you Mark, this statement is way wrong. I have never met a competitive or non competitive shooter who wasn’t willing to help or lend a tool needed. Don’t ask to borrow their gun but I’ve seen spare parts offered if you need them.

  • james black

    You should checkout the new RangePack Pro from DAA/CED and its medium sibling called RangePack. See here: http://www.doublealpha.biz/range-bags/range-bags/rangepack-pro-ipsc-backpack

    • Robert

      I just received the RangePack Pro from DAA/CED, and I’m sending it back with a letter. It’s excellent quality, that’s for sure, but the design is terrible IMO. Besides ammo, ear muffs and ammo, I also carry a bunch of small stuff for various reasons, that need to be in their own “pocket”. The CDP bag has no interior or exterior pockets with “designed width”, or velcroed flaps. By “designed width”, I mean a pocket designed with a rectangular bottom to hold your spare batteries, oil cleaning stuff, etc.
      All their pockets are stitched at the bottom, which is a cheap way of making a small storage area. I’m using an old Uncle Mikes now, but it’s extremely well designed to not only hold your main gear and mags, but it has 5 interior pockets with velcroed flaps, and three exterior ones. Everything gets “compartmentalized” efficiently.
      I wish Uncle Mike would increase the overall quality and durability a little though.

  • Otto Glenewinkel

    Ultimate Range bag but no trauma pack. I carry a IPOK kit from North American Rescue, comes in a vacuum pack.

  • Connor Stephens

    I think the items you listed are important inclusions. While not every item will be used at every shooting range outing, you just can never be too careful. I happened to list 10 essential range bag items as well, and they compare very well. http://www.bestrangebag.com/10-range-bag-contents-and-essentials/

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