Range bags, a different discussion

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Hokie_PhD, Feb 22, 2019.

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  1. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

    Jan 29, 2017
    Central Virginia
    Most of the discussions I see on gun bags are on which to get.

    I have a different need here.

    I have a beautiful G.P.S. Large bag that my son got me. I love it as all of my stuff is in in. Everything has a place and it’s easy to see what is there and what isn’t. The only drawback is the bag is very heavy when fully loaded. So this is my main storage area and bag when I want to take everything.

    I also received a Propper medium sized bag that I received as a gift. It’s not as fancy as the G.P.S. But it’s well made and nice. So, I’m thinking this is going to become my bag to grab and take to the indoor range. More of a bag for my pistol gear.

    So it has me thinking how to set up the second bag. On one side I want everything I’d need at the range, on the other, I don’t want to buy a lot of duplicate items. But will get a few so I’m sure I have what I need.

    With this in mind, what should I have in this smaller bag?

    Right now I figure:

    The guns I’ll be shooting (not what I’m conceal carrying)
    Spare magazines
    Ear protection
    Eye protection

    I’m thinking also a small clean8ng kit in case of a jam

    Is there anything else that I should have in this bag and keep in it?
  2. Charlie Horse

    Charlie Horse Member

    May 27, 2012
    Mobile, AL
    Funny you should bring this up today, while I'm cleaning out my "work" range bag. On of the things I added is a small "dent and ding kit." Its a small waterproof box with various size bandaids, spray neosporin, rolled gauze, some 3x3s, and tape all for taking care of small things that seem to come up at the range. I also keep a roll of electrical tape, mainly for posting targets. (I had it, and its cheap from walmart.) A staple gun and staples can be useful depending on the range you use. I also find an old Gerber multi-tool rides along more often than not. I keep threatening to get one of the gun specific ones, but it never seems to happen. My cleaning kit is based around a bore snake and one of those $5-15 ones you get at walmart plus a small bag of patches and a can of breakfree, all in a zipper bag. I keep a Glock disassembly tool for emergencies. Not only will this work out for a pistol based bag, I can add a few things for the days we do rifle and shotgun stuff too, and have the bases pretty much covered.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  3. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

    Jan 29, 2017
    Central Virginia
    I excluded any first aid stuff as I’m thinking a first aid kit and trauma kit will be on the Molle strapping.
    Buzznrose likes this.
  4. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

    Jun 6, 2016
    SE Idaho
    I carry a spare battery for my chronograph, even though I don't always carry my chronograph when I go shooting.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  5. denton

    denton Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    I ended up with 3 bags.

    The big bag has a few tools, some Rem Oil, small binos, thin leather gloves for cold days, a little cash, some paper towels, earmuffs and plugs, small notebook and pen and pencil, a tiny first aid kit, plus my RO hat, and range keys and a spare AR15 mag. There is room in it for handguns and ammo. That one is almost always in the trunk of my car.

    The medium bag has a spotting scope and chronograph.

    Then there is a small two handgun bag that will hold two handguns and some ammo.

    I grab whatever I need for the day.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  6. fstfrd00

    fstfrd00 Member

    Nov 8, 2017
    I carry targets, usually the range has or sales them. I print a few out, the ranges I go to never had a problem with them. A penny saved...
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  7. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    I used to use a Planno box. Too big.

    Now I use a Cabelas backpack I was given. It's actually a frame pack, and I wouldn't recommend it, but it was free. I'll probably switch it out at some point. In that bag I can fit 1000 rounds of ammo, and a few plastic containers to eject revolver brass into and collect ejected brass.

    It contains at all times:
    A pair of safety glasses.
    A pair of electronic muffs.
    A bottle of gun oil, incase something seizes up and some penetrating oil will help. Or incase it's a really long range session.
    A set of Wheeler screwdrivers.
    A few different targets.
    An Uplula, and personally I think any range bag, big, small, primary, or redundant, should have one of these. I used to forget mine here and there. Why do that?
    There are also some old Porth Pie tins in there for picking up my brass and having an easy place to deposit it.
    There is also a small flash light.
    A clear plastic box also houses a small folding knife.
    A set of tweezers, with a built in LED light.
    A set of jeweler's screwdrivers which are very handy for adjusting sights, and a wide array of small Allan wrenches.
    Spare battery pack for my chronograph
    A few Band-Aids. I've shot enough to get a blister on my trigger finger before. The woven cloth ones are very durable and worth the money in my opinion.
    I also have probably 5 or 6 sets of earplugs.
    Cleaning rod and a few patches.

    Sorry I know that's an exhaustive list, and you are trying to just go for the essentials but I thought it might spark and "Oh yeah" moment.
    .308 Norma and Hokie_PhD like this.
  8. AZAndy
    • Contributing Member

    AZAndy Contributing Member

    May 20, 2007
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    If you have anything that uses fiber-optic sights, a spare length of optic rod and a disposable lighter might come in handy one day.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  9. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

    Jan 29, 2017
    Central Virginia
    Yes you may have a long list but it offers ideas. Yes I want this bag to be minimal. But that doesn’t mean lacking. If I want everything I’ll grab my big bag. For this one I want one I can grab and go for pistol practice or clean out and add extra stuff if necessary.

    In my big bag I have my Uplula and Maglula loaders. So a second Maglula might be in order.

    The goal is not to pull things from the big bag when I just want to get some shooting in.
  10. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    SE Pennsylvania
    Besides guns, mags, and ammo, the things I every really need/use are:
    - stapler and targets
    - small screwdriver
    - spotting scope
    - ears and eyes
    - bandaids
    - spare batts.
    - take-down cleaning rod.
    Everything else is "just in case" and only packed 'cuz I have the space.
  11. jaysouth

    jaysouth Member

    Sep 1, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    I started off with an old army AWOL bag. then got a nice Waller range bag. Then a Stanley multi layer tool box on wheels.

    Then, I got an old Honda CRV that is dedicated to range trips. What's in all these bags? almost everything. lead sled, various rifle rests and bags, tipton vice, ammo for the 8 or 10 guns that I normally take to the range, a magneto speed, a chrony Bravo, etc, etc. Sometimes I think it's a disease.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    I have a medium size range bag, big enough to hold 4 guns, hearing protection, SAK, cleaning gear, small screwdriver, a flashlight, 8 to 10 spare magazines, shooting glasses and gloves, and a couple rolls of tape (to use to stick the targets on the cardboard backer).

    Everything else: ammo, targets, some Wet Wipes, Kleenex, and some silicone cleaning cloths, go in the ammo bag.
  13. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

    Mar 6, 2018
    No cleaning gear in my range bag. Cleaning is done at home. But I do carry a laser rangefinder. The target trolleys at my ranges are notoriously inaccurate distance-wise. I use the rangefinder to put my targets precisely where I want them. And I do carry some light tools for retightening a loose red dot, my Victory 22 barrel, etc.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  14. Labguy47

    Labguy47 Member

    May 13, 2018
    Gerber multi tool or leatherman for minor fixes like adjustable sights. Brass rod and hammer for squibs. Spare spring and extractor in case of breakages.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  15. kmw1954

    kmw1954 Member

    Jun 24, 2018
    SE Wisconsin
    Medium bag and it depends on where I'm going, indoor range or outdoor range. Ammo is always carried in a separate bag. Besides mag loader, hearing protection, wipes and brass rod there is always a Sharpie and ball point pen along with my log book.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  16. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

    May 5, 2016
    A coffee can for spent brass(if you shoot a revolver you can actually prevent your brass from landing on the range floor and becoming "theirs").

    Target pasters.

    An old tooth brush if you shoot a revolver( crud under the ejection star will put the ka-bosh on shooting, and range/bulk ammo these days are often notoriously cruddy)

    Ear plugs (I like to double down with plugs on indoor ranges)

    For outdoor ranges there are other considerations, of course.
  17. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    So much of this really comes down to each person's preferences as to how/what to carry to a given range session.

    I've never carried the arms I was shooting in the bags of "stuff"--that's just a personal habit. (Which is likely a hold over of always taking a long arm out to the range for all those years before indoor ranges became a thing.)

    So, the bags were for "stuff." Ammo, magazines, hearing & vision pro, IFAK, tools, etc. Eventually that split into a pistol-specific bag and a rifle-specific bag (mostly to have at least one of every magazine). I'm perfectly willing to buy two of pro gear, so I always have extras of muffs, and I only ever buy foam plugs in bulk, so I have multiple sets. Eyepro is a ditto, especially as it's easy to get to the range and somebody doesn't have any.

    I usually distribute various gimme "gun tools" in all the bags so as to have a screwdriver or two at hand; the rifle bag has a promotional gimme set of Gerber multipliers in them 'cause, what do you do with a second set for free?)

    Only non-obvious itme in my pistol bag is a hardwood dowel the length of the bag which has done a number of things over its life. Being an instructional pointer among those.

    I've been considering a bag just for indoor range use, since the joint down the road sems to look askance at my bringing pistols in rugs (or, they are just jealous of a proper moustache--hard to say); but this may just be an excuse to buy more stuff.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  18. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    I've got a medium sized bag I bought years ago for the ammo and equipment. I carry the pistols in a small foam lined case by themselves. This is everything I need for handgun shooting.

    In the bag is:
    shooting glasses,
    hearing protection, and spare ear plugs
    Small variety of tools
    a stapler to hang targets
    A large pouch for fired brass
    a couple of towels

    Now, if we are going rifle shooting, there is a giant tote that goes in the truck with the spotting scope, scope stand, shooting mat, shooting jacket, sandbags and targets.
    Hokie_PhD likes this.
  19. Tilos

    Tilos Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    I have both size bags but either becomes heavy when holding all the range gear I need.
    After getting to the range and not finding what I needed was in the "other bag" I bought and use a folding luggage dolly and haven't used the smaller bag since, just strap the big bag, with everything in it to dolly and go.
    I put the ammo in a small tool bag and stack it on top of the range bag on the dolly.
    Find/get a dolly with the biggest wheels for easier rolling, something like this:
    Not a fan of all the plastic in that one though:thumbdown:
    I have one of these with the fold out wings, that I bought at a local thrift store for way less:
    Here's a bunch more:
    Edit: I've gotten gifts of something I didn't need and like you, have tried to find a use for it.
    I resolved this by asking others not to gift me tools or shooting/hobby stuff, or at the least asking me 1st, before purchase.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  20. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    I have several range bags (none as nice as your GP.S. mostly repurposed backpacks and duffles). I have my Lead Sled in one duffle with its paraphernalia.

    My main medium backpack is mostly empty but I did purchase 8 soft pistol cases to mimic the Midway arrangement. I have a small duffle with ear muffs, cleaning kit any various shooting tools, punches, etc. That can go in the backpack with the pistol cases. The outer pockets contain first aid kit (including quickclot and Israeli bandages), other tools and crud that accumulates. I don't need to carry eye protection as my normal eyewear is mil-std and ballistically rated as well.

    I have several other small duffles for ammo and I have a couple of large soft-sided rifle cases that carry rifles and magazines. If I go bolt action I have an SKB case for that.

    I got the small duffles on sale at Cabelas many years ago. They are about 6" in diameter and 12" long. I can easily fit 600 rds. in one. These are carried one in each hand if not carrying a rifle case. I can also put the two ammo duffles in the pack instead of the pistols if going rifle-only.

    Here is one of the soft pistol cases I got. I got a couple in different colors so I can tell what's in it at a glance (camo for hunting, brown for tactical, blue for EDC, etc). I can put four in my smallish backpack range bag with the cleaning/tools duffle. If I needed to I could use a large camping backpack to carry more.

    Theoretically, I could carry 2 rifles with 8 magazines each and 4-8 pistols with 7 magazines each or substitute 600 rds for one of the rifles. I generally carry half that. Generall 4 pistols and about 1000 rds or a rifle or two and 1600 rds.


    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  21. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Contributing Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Norra Texas
    In addition to guns / ammo / spare mags / eye pro / ear pro, my range bag usually has mag loaders, spare foam ear pro, sight adjustment tools, multi-tool, brass rod (squib rod), stapler,. staples, ziplock baggies for used brass, and a few small rags. I have tried to keep small oil bottles in the bag, but they always seem to leak somehow and make a mess, so I don't carry oil any more.
  22. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Fl panhandle
    I tried range bags. None of them hold enough of everything I need. I carry a tough box I just toss in the jeep with everything- targets of all types, staple gun & staples, hammer/nails, spray glue, bean bags, cleaning gear, gun tools, pasters, spray paint, extra ear/eye protection, batteries, spotting scope, and so on.
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    In my main range bag there is a Competition Electronics chrono, a couple of small screwdriver, allen wrenches, torx wrenches, thermometer/humidity meter, brass rod, extra 2032 batteries for sites, extra 9V for chrono (It's in the chrono), earmuffs, foam ear plugs, oil, staples, staple gun,

    If I am taking a lot of ammo, I will carry it in a separate bag, one of those open mouth type tool bags.

    If I take more than three or four pistols, I'll take another range bag to carry them in.

    Rifles go in their own case. If I am bringing rests or bags they generally just go as is.
  24. George P

    George P Member

    Jan 10, 2018
    What about targets? Do you keep a log of your shooting or loads? Might want a small notebook and pen/pencil; possibly something to clear a squib; maybe a multi-tool as well?
  25. Cemetery21

    Cemetery21 Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Good discussion and good ideas. My range box is always in the truck - stapler, targets, chrono, bags, tools, etc. Anywhere I shoot I'm less than 15-20 yards from the truck. So, my pistol bag is just an old canvas surplus tool bag with ammo, coffee cans for brass, sight screwdrivers, an old copper hammer, brass punch and squib rod, shop rags, toothbrush, and oil. I've never had a squib, but a guy I shoot with had a bad batch so I started carrying the rod. It can happen.
    If I'm ever anywhere and don't have something I need, it will be in the truck next time. It's a chore to trade trucks.
    LUCKYDAWG13 likes this.
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