Range Shooting Essentials: What You Should Pack with You.


If you are a brand-new firearms owner, then you’re starting to realize that it’s not as easy as “all you need is a gun, a few magazines, bullets, and you’re good to go!” If you have been shooting for a while, you’ve probably gotten to the range and then realized that you forgot something that was kind of necessary.

Let’s get you ready to head out to the range with a simple checklist. I’m going to give you two sections in this checklist. The first part is going to be about what you NEED, and the second will be about what you may WANT.

Only the Essentials

Obviously, you’re going to need your firearm, magazines, and ammo, but what else do you need to make sure you have? Let’s go over the things that live in my range bag. (Note: most of the shooting I do for training is done at an outdoor range):

  • Eye Protection
  • Ear Protection
  • Sun Protection
  • Gun Oil
  • Toothbrush (very basic cleaning/scrubbing if necessary)
  • Multi-Tool (Sight adjustments, tightening grip screws, removing staples, etc.)
  • Allen Keys (Same as multitool depending on what kind of screws your firearm/accessories may have)
  • Shot Timer
  • Extra Batteries (Electronic hearing protection, optics, shot timer, flashlights)
  • Targets (cardboard or steel)
  • Target Tape or Paint
  • Target Stands w/ Sticks
  • Pen/Marker (take notes on issues, re-stocking reminders, keeping track of progress, marking holes if you run out of target tape)
  • Stapler/Staples

Those are the things that are always in my range bag. I know that if you shoot indoors then you probably won’t need some of the things like target stands and staples, but I would still suggest tape. That way you can really secure your target to whatever type of hanger there is at the range.


Now, let’s go over some of the things that are nice to have, but really aren’t needed:

  • Speed Mag Loading device (UpLula, ETS, Speed Beez)
  • Brass Catching Net
  • Lead Removing Handwipes
  • Cones
  • Printed Paper Targets

If you want to save your thumbs and grip strength, then a mag-loading device like a UpLula or Speed Beez will be a lifesaver. The ETS has a very fast and cool way to reload your magazines, but just know what over time, you probably will have some issues that arise from pushing the bullets through the feed lips the way it does… but that could be a problem for future you to deal with!

  • Brass-catching nets will make the job of someone that reloads a little easier by placing it in the area where your firearm will be ejecting the spent brass. A piece of cloth with rocks on the corners will work, or a netting material will make it a little easier to shake out small rocks and dirt.
  • Lead-removing hand wipes are very nice to have for when you’re all done at the range, and maybe want to grab some food before heading back home. Don’t get me wrong, soap and water will do a pretty good job, but if you shoot on a very regular basis then why risk even more exposure to heavy metal?
  • Cones are a great way to make your training a little more dynamic. They are easy and quick to throw up and an easy visual aid on where you need to be for your next shot. Get the heart rate up or have your friend yell the next position you need to move to in order to incorporate how to process information while engaging targets.
  • Printed paper targets are one way that I can turn a wide-open piece of cardboard into a much more difficult – or fun, target. There are plenty that you can print off the internet that has great training ideas and goals, and even some that are supposed to be for fun. Think tic-tack-toe or connect four with a friend. The possibilities are endless!

As you can see, the line between wants and needs can be a tad blurry. That’s why it’s wise for you to take a moment and separate the difference. Armscor partners with Advanced Tactical to help shooters find what gear they need for all types of shooting. Next time you plan to head out before you do, take a moment and really plan for what you need.

Want more shooting tips? Check out our section dedicated to firearm training and shooting techniques.


Beginner or advanced, you can always improve your shooting technique.