Participation in shooting competitions can be a fun and rewarding way to use your favorite firearms. Competitions give shooters the opportunity to shoot courses and disciplines which are often not allowed at their local ranges, outside of special events. Sports such as 3 Gun, Cowboy Action and IDPA have become much more popular in the past few years, with matches popping up at local ranges all over the country.
At a shooting competition, you will run into a wide variety of shooters. Some are very casual, with minimal gear and will attempt to run stages with magazines and other accessories overflowing from their pants pockets, while others will show up in fully camouflaged plate carriers with 50 lb ruck sacks on their back. As with most things in life, the best option is likely somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
For a beginning shooter, outfitting for a competition can seem like a daunting task. We've compiled a list of gear that will help you make the most of your foray into competition shooting, along with a brief explanation of why you should include these items in your kit. With our help, you'll show up outfitted like a pro — the shooting we'll leave up to you:
Blackhawk Sportster Deluxe Range Bag
By the time you reach the end of this list, you will see that there is more gear involved in competition shooting than you expected. You're going to need a nice range bag in order to keep everything readily available in case it's needed. The Blackhawk Sportster Deluxe Range Bag is a great option and features three large dual zippered compartments for storing all the gear you cannot carry on your person.
Blackhawk SERPA Holster
One thing every competition shooter is going to need is a dependable holster. The Blackhawk SERPA Holster is just that. This holster has been on the market for a while and has been used by thousands of shooters. It is a great holster with an affordable price point for a new shooter. The SERPA holster is available for nearly every common pistol on the market today.
Blackhawk Split Front Chest Rig
A chest rig is a very useful piece of equipment. The Blackhawk Split Front Chest Rig is a great option at an affordable price point. This chest rig features three rows of S.T.R.I.K.E. webbing for attaching any accessories a stage may require. Additionally, this chest rig features internal hydration sleeves and two internal mesh pockets. The split front chest rig is built for ease of use and superior comfort, featuring front split zipper, padded shoulders and a removable waist belt. Available in 6 colors.
Blackhawk Turbine Pack
This item fulfills the need most commonly forgotten by new shooters. Shooting competitions can often entail spending several hours out in the sun in a semi-remote location, far from any concession stands or convenient stores. With all the gear you'll have to carry, it is very helpful to be able to bring your water with you on your person. The Turbine Pack from Blackhawk allows you to do just that, and holds 100 ounces of water in a system protected by Microban antimicrobial technology. This streamlined design can be easily integrated into any Blackhawk vest, pack or bag.
M-Pro 7 Tactical Universal Cleaning Kit
Most people do not think to bring a cleaning kit with them to a range or shooting competition, but many serious shooters won't leave home without one. A cleaning kit is nice to have if you run into a problem, and can literally become the difference between withdrawing because of a minor issue and staying in the competition. The M-Pro 7 Tactical Universal Cleaning kit is an all-in-one solution and even sports a rod which can be used in an emergency to clear a stuck casing.
Uncle Mike's Competition Belt
This belt from Uncle Mike's will serve all your competition needs. This belt is comprised from an inner and outer belt which secure together using a hook and loop closure. This belt contains polymer reinforcement handles to allow it to withstand the extra weight and wear which will come from carrying all the gear required for competition. Additionally, this belt is padded to make carrying all that extra weight in gear more comfortable.
Hoppe's Lubricating Oil
Hoppe's Lubricating Oil is another staple in the shooting bag of any shooting competition veteran but is another thing beginners often don't think to pack. More lubrication is often a simple fix to many small issues which can arise within competition shooting, especially when it comes to semi-automatic pistols or modern sporting rifles. Hoppe's Lubricating Oil is something which should have a place in every shooter's range bag, whether for competition shooting or general plinking.
Champion Redfield Target
Bringing targets with you to a shooting competition is something that is often overlooked by shooters. However, you should bring targets with you, and you should use them to verify your zeroes and holdovers. The Redfield Target from Champion is a good choice because its target grid allows for quick and accurate adjustments for whatever the day's conditions are.
Federal Premium Ammunition
When shooting in a competition, you should make sure that you use the exact same ammo for all your stages with the same firearm. While this may seem obvious, it is not unusual to see a new shooter show up to the range with various brands and grains of ammunition, having bought whatever was the cheapest at the time. The only way to get reliable performance from your firearm is to use decent ammo. Before you reach the point where you're handloading your own in advance, Federal Premium Ammunition is a great option, giving you the accuracy and consistency you require.
Weaver Compact Gunsmithing Kit
Most shooters wouldn't think to include a compact gunsmithing kit in their competition range bag. However, the decision to include this item can make a huge difference to you in any shooting competition. There is no feeling more helpless than having something loosen or need adjustment when you're in the middle of a field for a competition. Having a Weaver Compact Gunsmithing Kit with all the tools you need could be the difference between being able finish a competition or having to borrow someone else's rifle because your scope rings came loose.