Hey, fellow (noob) handgun owner here.. Im looking to hit the range "solo" and have a few questions.. First, is there any reason why I shouldn't carry the gun to and from the range in it's original plastic case?? (Is it considered tacky or bad etiquette or???) It's just a S&W Sigma 9VE.. Should I spend a bundle on a set of earmuffs, or are there less expensive ones that are good? Should I get regular or electronic?? How about the safety glasses?? Same question, do I need high dollar or is there good low price stuff?? Are there any plans online, for a quick-n-easy make it yourself pistol rest? (Just to test the pistols accuracy) I saw one in a video, that I've looked for, but can't find online.. Wish I still had the link to the vid, but unfortunately I dont.. It had some sort of a rubberband/strap or something, that when connected would keep the gun from recoiling.. You could shoot it w/ or w/o the band/strap.. I guess that's about it.. Have I left anything out?? (Other than ammo and targets) Any other helpful tips you can give a first timer would be very appreciated!! I've been once before, but was with a pal and he had all the gear and stuff, including the guns, ammo, etc.. I just jumped in the truck and off we went.. So I need to get setup for myself as our schedules dont line up very often.. Thanks again and Im lookin forward to seeing what ya'll recommend!! :)
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September 18, 2008, 01:52 AM
You dont need any special bag or gear at the range. Just make sure you have eye and ear protection and plenty of ammo. Be sure to follow the range rules and you shouldnt have a problem.
I carry all my pistols in their original case, everything from my glock to my kimber. It doesnt matter what case it comes in. What matters is how well you can shoot it.
September 18, 2008, 01:57 AM
First, is there any reason why I shouldn't carry the gun to and from the range in it's original plastic case?? (Is it considered tacky or bad etiquette or???)
Nope, you see that all the time.
Should I spend a bundle on a set of earmuffs, or are there less expensive ones that are good? Should I get regular or electronic??
The advantage of electronic is being able to hear things. That may or may not be important. As far as quality, a decent pair of plugs (29+ dbr) under most any set of muffs is works well for indoor ranges.
How about the safety glasses?? Same question, do I need high dollar or is there good low price stuff??
The biggest difference when you spend more money is optical quality and comfort. Most people will do fine with a $10 pair of clear safety glasses for casual shooting.
I'm not sure about the pistol rest, I never use one.
September 18, 2008, 05:54 AM
Nothing at all wrong with carrying your pistol in it's original case.
A word to the wise though, I'd look into getting some sort of range bag setup - you'd be amazed how quickly you run out of hands for all your gear. I tend to be a minimalist at the range - I bring eyes and ears, targets, ammo and my pistol(s). No cleaning kits, no rags, no Hoppes or CLP, etc. It quickly became apparent to me that a range bag was in order. Now, I ended up buying an el cheapo range bag from my local shop for around $30, and it's given me plenty of room for all my usual gear plus extra for when I have new shooters with me.
In short, a range bag in some shape or form is your friend. :)
As far as ears/eyes go - I have a few pairs of relatively cheap over-the-ear style muffs, and I find that they work just fine. I keep extra for the times when I have friends or new shooters along, because you'll always run into a shortage somewhere. Also, in-ear plug types are super cheap, and no problem to keep with you at the range. Electronic muffs are cool, but I've never found a pressing need for them, especially if you're just plinking or target shooting. The folks who play gun games (Three Gun, IDPA, IPSC, ICORE, etc) might find them more useful due to the need to hear range commands and timers.
Eyes - well, I shoot in my regular glasses. They're polycarbonate plastic, and have withstood some decent impacts over the years. Sure, I might catch some hot brass on the eyebrow every now and then, but they do a great job of protecting my eyes otherwise. A baseball cap helps keep the brass off, as well. If you don't usually wear glasses or don't want to use the ones you normally wear, el cheapo are fine.
Good luck, have fun, and welcome to shooting! :)
September 18, 2008, 06:01 AM
I think you've got the basics pretty well covered. I use one of those free giveaway bags that a lot of companies hand out to their employees instead of bonuses or pay raises. The nylon bags are fairly well made, have several zippered pockets on the outside, and can hold a lot of guns, gear, and ammo. I usually keep my handguns in gun rugs because the plastic cases they come in are sometimes too big and bulky to fit in the bag. I've never used a pistol rest so I can't comment on that item. If I am looking to do some accuracy testing, sometimes I'll rest the gun atop my range bag for a steadier hold.
September 18, 2008, 06:21 AM
I usually go w/ the walmart stuff, glasses for under 10, muff under 10 or 20. foam type are handy to have...however a tip. If i shoot indoor I will use the over the ear muffs AND my good rubber inner ear plugs (these cost me about $15 @ cabelas, they are skin colored & reduce alot of the high end), w/ the cheepie muffs only my ears would still ring from shooting indoors (there were also alot of other guys shooting around me...shooting big cal)
Outdoors I just use the $15 in ears, or muffs. I like to K.I.S.S. when i go to the range. I want to spend the most time shooting. I now take both my boys (9 & 6) so i want them not to get bored. There will come a time when I finally get to take my girls.
As for a rest, at the indoor pay range they have a rest you can use to rest yout pistol & arm on, they also have eye/ear potection too.
I was looking at getting a S&W sigma but I liked the feel of the FNP40 better. They were about the sale price when the FN was on sale.
September 18, 2008, 06:48 AM
Depends on you, your needs, and what works under the situation.
My local range is well-quieted, so I get away well with the dollar-a-dozen foam earplugs. It sounds quieter than my tools in the garage on my end.
I often go without extra eyes over my glasses, but if I'm worried about it I have a $15 pair of safety glasses that go over them.
As for your carrying cases, they're perfect for what you're doing with them. The only reason i could think of not to use the original Sigma case is because it tells other people you have a Sigma. :D
September 18, 2008, 11:13 AM
You definately don't need to drop serious cash on these types of things. I got a giant plastic dry storage box at Academy for about 10 bucks. I can fit a bunch of mags, boxes of ammo, and my plastic pistol case into it. You can padlock it too which is nice. Dont worry about the case being tacky, nobody cares what you bring your guns in. As far as eye & ear protection, I personally am fine with the cheap foam earplugs. You can usually get a dozen or so for a couple dollars. I dont even bother with muffs. I have a pair of Remington safety glasses which were $8 or $9 and they work fine. So do any pair of cheap sunglasses. As long as it keeps brass and whatever else from hitting you in the eye, you should be fine.
September 18, 2008, 11:24 AM
You can make a cheap pistol/rifle rest by filling a sock with rice. DO NOT cook it first! ; )
September 18, 2008, 11:27 AM
You'll find that most people on the range will be more helpfull than judgemental.
When I first started off I went to my local wallymart and picked up a pair of $4 S&W earbuds as well as a pair of $5 saftey glasses, which I never use. I tend to stick to wearing eye glasses as opposed to my contacts when I go to the range.
My personal recomendation is go get you self a $10-15 small bag so you can put all your stuff in.
Remember if you are just starting off all you need to do is start small. You can always work your way up to the $1000 range rigs you see out there.
September 18, 2008, 12:04 PM
As a man with tinnitus, from work noise and medication I can tell you that you really want the best eye and ear protection you can afford. When I buy my glasses I specify safety glass hardness, ear plugs with the cheap sets is a must, the gel filled cups are better for getting a seal unless you are a hairy dude with long hair and a beard, then its a little harder sometimes depending on your face. You don't have to buy muffs very often and you really want the most DB protection you can get so get the best you can get. Listening to loud booms and toughing it out is the wrong time to show how much hair you have on your chest. I have a simple range bag with 6 pockets where I store my shooting glasses, markers, screwdrivers, staples and allen wrenches, folding knife, target patches, spare ear plugs and tape. These goodies never leave the bag. I'm real popular with some people when they see me coming and they need to adjust their sights. In my bag is my muffs, stapler and gun or guns in gun rugs and ammo. If I am going to be shooting a variety of guns I bring my gun box and have the guns and ammo stowed inside that the rest of the stuff stays in the bag always packed and makes it less likely I leave home without something I needed. Worst that can happen is I run out of staples. Used to bring a ton of stuff too and I was always leaving something behind. Now if it doesn't fit in the range bag or my gun box I don't need it. I don't want to fool around with a lot of junk, I just want to shoot. Your original box is good because it gives your gun the best protection you can give it and you already own it but I would definitely spring for a bag. Even a small gym bag, it has the advantage of not looking like gun gear. Advantage of the range bag is all the side pockets where I can quickly find anything I am looking for without having to search through all the junk that accumulates inside the bag.
September 18, 2008, 12:07 PM
sears special in the hardware dept for craftsman tool bags--lots of pockets inside and out. large & small for $20 . even after you get a gunny 'range bag' you can use them for stuff that will accumulate and needs to be taken to the range. and they are useful as a make do pistol or rifle rest--zip 'em up and hang your forearms over them for pistol or to rest the rifles forstock on. carry you pistol however you like but it will probably fit in the large bag. in the car these bags do not look 'gunny' either. helpful if you have a visually open vehicle.
check out bagmaster.com also
e-muffs cause as they amplify sounds, this goes to awarness-- you can hear what others are saying and doing.
September 18, 2008, 12:27 PM
The Craftsman tool bag is a steal when they are on sale for $7.99 every other weekend it seems.
I have used an old gym bag and a TWA carry-on flight bag they used to give away, for going on 40 years.
But the beauty of a gym bag is, no scumbag is too interested in stealing a gym bag that might be full of dirty socks & jock straps.
A nice blue S&W plastic gun box, or Craftsman tool bag on the other hand? :evil:
I use zipper bank money bags for empty brass, and a small tool/cleaning kit.
Foam ear plugs and hardware store safety glasses will get you by until you gain more experiance and see what works well for others at the range.
September 18, 2008, 12:29 PM
Good point, I forgot the tool bags and as a tool pouch wearing, tool bag carrying maintenance man it should have been my first suggestion. On the negative side I had two of them stolen, one at work and one out of my car in a smash and grab because they looked like something that had tools in them and were desirable. Insurance didn't cover my tool loss either just the window but that would be less of a problem on a range where everybody is armed. Probably stronger than my range bag too, its beginning to show its age, imagine that.
September 18, 2008, 01:37 PM
First, is there any reason why I shouldn't carry the gun to and from the range in it's original plastic case?
No reason at all though I discovered over time that I really like having my pistols in a small soft case and the pistol and all the other stuff thrown into a tool bag like this one (http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=121133-1492-1LB-103-16-1&lpage=none).
Should I spend a bundle on a set of earmuffs, or are there less expensive ones that are good? Should I get regular or electronic?? How about the safety glasses?? Same question, do I need high dollar or is there good low price stuff??
Any earmuffs that are NRR rated for 28db or higher reduction should work fine.
Try to find eye protection that meets/exceeds the ANSI Z87.1-2003 standard (should be listed on the package).
Are there any plans online, for a quick-n-easy make it yourself pistol rest? (Just to test the pistols accuracy)
Yup, google it and you'll get tons of stuff.
Have I left anything out?? (Other than ammo and targets) Any other helpful tips you can give a first timer would be very appreciated!!
Buy a decent/cheap staple gun and keep it and a box of staples in your range bag to hang targets with. The staplers at the range are ALWAYS out of staples <sigh>. Put your name on your stapler so you know it's YOURS.
Have a bag to help you recover your brass. You may not reload now but you probably will eventually and even if you don't a gift of brass to someone who reloads is always appreciated!
Keep a notepad and a few pens in your range bag. You never know when you will want to take notes.
Keep a compact screwdriver set, small flashlight, bottle of oil, and a GOOD pair of needle nose pliers (don't get cheap on the pliers) in your range bag. Can't tell you how many times I've needed those items.
I attached a luggage tag to my range bag handle. It has my name and any emergency contact information in case something happens at the range.
UpLULA speed loader (http://maglula.tripod.com/uplula.htm)...a gift from the GODS!
September 18, 2008, 02:04 PM
The only thing I'd spend much money on is ear protection. Get a good pair of muffs AND put on plugs underneath, esp. if you're doing lots of shooting. Also get some safety glasses or plastic ones to go over your regular glasses.
Other than that I try to stick with used and inexpensive surplus stuff for carrying things.
September 18, 2008, 02:13 PM
No, you don't need anything special, but it sure is handy.
I have DoskoSport cases for all my pistols. The original factory cases are stacked in the closet. Inside the factory cases are any replaced factory parts that aren't useful as range spares, stuff like grips and the factory cleaning brush. Also the receipt for the gun is in the factory case.
I have a large range bag that I have some nice things for the range. All my cleaning gear and lubricants. Targets. Tools consisting of various allen wrenches, small ball-peen hammer, assorted brass drifts, punches, phillips and flat head screw drivers. It also has any factory or spare parts that may be nice to have along. Hearing protection, eye protections, plus spare foam ear plugs. Staple gun and spare staples. Having a towel is always handy. Speedloaders. Extra magazines.
September 18, 2008, 02:32 PM
I really like the Midway #259680 bag (currently on sale at $40) and I put things into it as I see a need. After a few trips to the range it will be full.
Hearing protection: GET THE BEST! You only get one pair of ears, make them last as long as possible! The best inexpensive muffs are the Peltor Ultimate-10 (30db NRR). You can find those under various names (AO, for example, and others like Dillon, Midway, etc.) for $19 to $25. Get at least one pair and more if you can (I have several, and leave one pair in the car trunk, at all times). I also carry a set of Peltor Tac-7 ($125 to $175, depending on where you get them). The Tac-7 are great for outdoor shooting but suck for indoor (the echo gets you). You may want to go with custom molded protection from your local audiologist ($45 to $80). I use the custom molded under the Ultimate-10 for indoor ranges. Avoid like the plague, the $9.99 muffs. They normally have a NRR of around 18 to 20, which is better than no protection but is VERY poor. Specifically, an NRR of 20 lets in TEN TIMES the noise to your ear as one that has an NRR of 30.
At the range it only takes one time with some guy with his .454 Casul on one side of you and some other guy with his .300 H&H Mag on the other, and you REALLY understand why you want excellent hearing protection (even just one of them will convince you :) ).
Pistol rest: Most full operation ranges (not just a place along side the road) will have sand bags available for your use. I'd skip the extra cost of special rests.
Shoot safe, and have fun! :D
September 18, 2008, 03:15 PM
1) Stapler. Already mentioned.
2) Baseball cap. Keeps the brass from hitting you in the head or sticking between your safety glasses and face.
September 18, 2008, 05:56 PM
I use a cheap plastic stanley tool box that has a lift out tray and 3 compartments on the top. Targets,ammo, ear muffs in the bottom, ear plugs and other small supplies in the compartments. Sometimes if I am just pistol shooting the pistol[s] will fit in the bottom also.
September 18, 2008, 07:20 PM
i just got into shooting recently myself I went out and bought some range gear, I didnt spend very much either and it seems to work fine. the cheap walmart stuff is pretty decent and works fine with me and im shooting high caliber rifles and my ear muffs are fine
September 18, 2008, 07:21 PM
DONT forget some Band aids.
You never know.
September 18, 2008, 08:47 PM
I am of the opinion that a range bag or tackle box converted to a range bag or a tool bag--or anything that isn't obviously a firearm--is superior to the original box.
The last thing you need is to stop at a gas station quick for a soda and have your windows smashed.
This is especially true if you have diabetes or other medical condition (such as an enlarged prostate or bladder disorder or just plain have to pee a lot) that can cause you to stop to and from the range.
Also, a range bag is so much more organized and everything goes in one bag and comes out of one bag. This is particularly nice as you can store everything together, no need for mess.
I leave my gun boxes at home. I cover my long guns with a blanket or tarp when traveling also.
September 18, 2008, 10:29 PM
mikebnem: DONT forget some Band aids.
You never know.
Ahh, but some of us DO know....:rolleyes:... especially those of us with Ruger MK IIs.
Don't get a really small range bag - you will find yourself adding "necessities" as time goes by. I always carry a spare set of ears and glasses in case someone else forgets theirs. Some stuff you think will never get used just may come in handy - I toss in a short handgun cleaning rod, and have used it once - to punch out a bullet from a squib round that was stuck in the barrel of a Smith Model 28.
September 19, 2008, 12:02 AM
I have never shot at an indoor range but I have a couple pairs of elcheapo Winchester muffs (~$7.50) that I wear over top of foam plugs. I have a pair of cheap $5 safety glasses that I wear over my regular eye glasses. The majority of my shooting is done in my backyard so I don't have a range bag. I have been eying some of the fishing/tackle bags at Walmart as they seem to be less expensive that the range bags and are similar in layout.
September 19, 2008, 12:16 AM
Thanks for all the great info!! I cant wait to get my gear and get out to the range!! Thanks again!!
September 19, 2008, 01:13 AM
Depends on the mission. for outdoor ranges, I have yellow foam plugs, a pair of tinted Remington shooting glasses that look like sun glasses. I'll pack my ammo and some shoot-n-see stickers in an ammo can (or three) and take the handguns in their original cases, and the rifles in 2-rifle plastic cases. For indoor, I just grab a pair of muffs and clear safety glasses and wear my plugs, and bring my pistols and ammo in a small brief case sized nylon bag. I leave the individual pistol cases at home, usually carrying the pistols in their holsters.
September 19, 2008, 01:48 AM
Im glad I asked, cause I never thought about the original pistol case being a "target" for a smash and grab.. But it certainly makes sense!!
I dont think there's any indoor ranges near me, so I'll be having all my fun at an outdoor, public range..
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