first ever trip to the shooting range - what should be in my bag?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by AlBaron, Feb 11, 2016.

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  1. fouled bore

    fouled bore Member

    Jun 30, 2015
    Southern Indiana
    Indoor range should have hangers for your targets so this will not apply. I shoot at an outdoor range and hang targets on wood. I don't have problems with jam in my gun but my stapler is a different story. Must be a batch of bad staples. Have means to clear staple gun jams. I hate to have to borrow a staple gun or finding thum tacks other people have dropped. Bring more staples too.
  2. pblanc

    pblanc Member

    Dec 30, 2014
    This has been my experience as well. But one indoor range I go to does like you to have chamber flags in your pistols when you bring them in. But they don't kick you out if you do not.
  3. pblanc

    pblanc Member

    Dec 30, 2014
    If you are bringing your own paper targets, the target hanger clips might be space too far apart to hang some targets. Even if they are, I prefer to staple my paper targets to a cardboard backing to give them a bit more substance.

    One range I go to has scrap cardboard in the form of used cardboard targets available free of charge for this purpose. Another does not, but will be happy to sell you a piece of cardboard for a dollar.

    So you might want to take a piece of cardboard along.
  4. Bobson

    Bobson Member

    Aug 9, 2011
    Kendall County, TX
    There is not a fine line between going to the range for a few hours of enjoyable plinking, and preparing for the end of the world on the drive over.

    The "unacceptable answer" in Post #1 was a lot closer to home than you might want to believe, but I guess you can always throw a sleeping bag, waterproof matches, camp stove, five day supply of potable water, and freeze-dried goods in the trunk just in case. :rolleyes:

    Here's what I bring:

    1. Gun
    2. Ammo
    3. Eye & ear pro
    4. Nalgene with water so I don't pay $3.50 for a 20oz one at the range
    5. Cleaning kit in a large tackle box, with lube/grease, clean rags, etc
    6. Small notepad and pen stays in range bag
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    A friend who is familiar with guns and gun ranges?
  6. stchman

    stchman Member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Saint Louis, MO
    I usually bring besides guns and ammo:

    loaded mags
    stapler with staples
    a mag loader (LULA or UPLULA)
    hearing protection
    eye protection(prescription glasses are not eye protection people)
    a jeweler's screwdriver set
    gun oil
  7. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

    Apr 20, 2011
    West of the Big Muddy, East of the Rockies and Nor
    For indoor range shooting the range bag I posted is ideal for your needs. Generally indoor ranges will sell targets and there is no need for staple gun, staples, backers and clips for hanging targets.

    Ear plugs and muffs.

    Eye protection.

    Baseball style hat. Prevents hot brass in the face.

    Magazines. Don’t laugh. There are probably a lot of embarrassed THR members that have forgotten this important item.

    Sharpie. Useful for marking bullet holes.

    Peel and stick on bullseye targets are not necessary but provide instant easy to see feedback on how well you placing your shots and size of your groups.

    Small hand towel.

    Small bottle of gun oil and grease. I like Tetra Lube on the rails of my semi-autos as it stays put better.

    Some cleaning patches and cleaning rod with brass tip. Handy for wiping the interior of the gun and running a couple of patches down the barrel when done shooting.

    Optional; Baby wipes. Indoor shooting range should have a bathroom to wash your hands.
  8. wolf695

    wolf695 Member

    Nov 21, 2011
    Everyone about covered it, so go and have fun!
  9. kitsapshooter

    kitsapshooter Member

    Oct 12, 2013
    Washington - the wet side
    Always carry a good turret adjusting tool for your scopes. I forgot and messed up my red dot turret bad.
  10. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

    Jul 9, 2012
    SC (Home), VA (Work)
    And why is this not an acceptable answer? Seems pretty pointless to make a trip to the range without these...


    Seriously, though, it would help to know more about what you're taking so we can tailor an answer better.

    Along with the requisite gun and some ammo, I'd recommend the following, as best suits your needs/wants:

    - Bring more than one brand/type of ammunition for your gun. Shooting a variety of ammunition through your gun for the first time will tell you something about what it likes or dislikes. This way you know what to buy and what to stay away from in the future.

    - Targets and (if outdoors), a means of posting them. Like a stapler/tape, some kind of backing that you can post upright and affix your target to.

    - A decent bag to carry your stuff in. Doesn't have to be special or expensive. A canvas tote bag will do. So will a backpack. The goal is to fit the majority of your gear in so that you can make a single convenient trip from your vehicle to the range lane and back.

    - A cleaning rod or a hardwood dowel sized to fit into your barrel. In the even you have failure to ejects, it's nice to have something handy to gently tap the case out of the barrel, if necessary.

    - A screwdriver sized to fit the grip screws. As general purpose tool, this is nice. It'll probably serve for most screw needs, and maybe a few other uses.

    - Something to put your spent brass in, if you intend to keep it. Ziploc freezer baggies work great and don't take up much room at all.

    - A ball cap for sun shade and to help keep the odd brass case from bounding down into your face.

    - Water to drink.

    - General safety equipment, including as a minimum, hearing protection and eye protection.

    - Trash bag, in case the range you're using doesn't have trash disposal or all the trash cans are full. (Sportsmanship interjection here: be a good steward at the range and leave it as clean, or cleaner, as it was when you arrived.)

    You can add or subtract quite a bit to this as you see fit. But remember that the goal is to have fun while your shooting and learning skills. Too much, not enough, or the wrong things hamper this, so don't get needlessly carried away.

    For additional consideration, think about the following:

    - Get extra magazines, if you have a magazine fed gun. And load them up before you go to the range. This does two things: first it means you get to start shooting as soon as you set up your target. Second, it means you get to spend more time shooting before you have to stop to reload. My personal rule of thumb is to have enough magazines to load up about a full 50 round box of ammo. For my 1991A1 with 7 round magazines, this means I bring 7 with me. For my Beretta 92FS with 15 round magazines, I bring 3. For my wife's bolt action .22LR, I bring 4 10-round and 2 5-round magazines.

    - If you have access to a range that allows you to shoot cans and such, bring a few with you to shoot. Paper targets are fun, but variety (if allowed) keeps it alive. Maybe bring some full soda cans to shoot, too, to see what happens. A few clays, maybe.

    - If you're shooting a handgun, a holster would be nice. This way it's being carried on your person instead of your shooting bag with the rest of your supplies.

    - Leave a box of ammo, or a loaded magazine, in your car. Why? Because if you don't, you may find yourself driving back home without any ammunition left at all. :D A sad state to be in, should you need it later.

    BUT MOST OF ALL: Be safe and take the attitude with you that you will have fun and learn some good shooting skills. If it starts becoming NOT fun (or boring or frustrating or unsafe etc) then that's a clue to pack up and come back another day. Don't let this turn into something that is no longer fun for you or you will lose interest in shooting.
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