by Glen Stilson, Independence Training Head Instructor
We’ve all seen it at the range, a training class, or a shooting competition – either a range bag that nearly makes its owner topple over when they pick it up, or the range bag that is so empty that its owner has to borrow what they need from somebody else. Let’s take a look at how we can avoid both of these scenarios, and find a happy medium with some essential items.
For safety, you need to have quality eye and ear protection, and if you primarily use muff s, you should also keep foam plugs or molded plugs in case the muff s become uncomfortable or get in the way. You may also need to double up hearing protection, especially when shooting at indoor ranges. If you use electronic muff s, or other electronics such as optics, lights, or lasers, then you should also carry extra batteries. Next, be sure that you have a trauma kit and first aid supplies appropriate to your training and skill level, and be sure that they are easily accessible and clearly marked. A scarf or bandanna can come in handy for wiping away sweat, protection from the sun, or warmth. On that note, be sure to have sunscreen, chap stick, and even bug spray – a nasty sun burn or biting bugs can sure ruin a shootingevent.
For your firearms, be sure you have sufficient ammo and magazines or speed loaders, and be sure that you have a basic field maintenance kit. That should consist of lubricant, cleaner, a bore-snake, a toothbrush, a rag, and any firearm specific tools. I also like to carry a dump pouch, which is an expandable bag that allows me to carry things easily around the range.
For downrange work, make sure you have some basic targets or even sheets of blank paper, markers in a few different colors, white and brown tape, a staple gun, extra staples, and a pair of gloves. A few Clif bars or other snacks can really help, and lastly, don’t forget some wet wipes (preferably lead removing) and some toilet paper – you never know when you’ll need it!