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Range Bag Essentials: The Complete Guide

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Chances are good that at some point in the past you’ve asked yourself this question:


A well-equipped and consistent loadout in your range bag can go a long way to making every trip to the gun range as smooth and fun as possible while maximizing the benefits of your time. But the specific contents of anyone’s range bag are also something very personal. No two set-ups will be quite the same. Here at Primary Arms we have a team full of shooting sports and firearms enthusiasts who are all a little different in the way they prepare for a day at the range. We’re going to break down six different range bag setups from some of the men and women who work here at PA and love to shoot. These guys and gals vary in the style of shooting they like to do, the firearms they use when they hit the range, and the specifics of the gear in their range bags, but their advice might just help you determine what you need, or what you might be missing, in your range bag.

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Before we dive into our Primary Arms staff’s individual range bag set-ups, let’s cover some of the things that are widely considered to be the essentials — or “everything you need to go to the range, be safe, and shoot your firearm.”


First Aid

  • Emergency Personal Injury Kit (EPIK) or Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) (Be 100% prepared)
  • Quick Application Tourniquet (It could save a life)

Personal Protection and Safety

  • Quality ear protection (Ear plugs or over-the-ear muffs)
  • Quality eye protection (Impact-resistant lenses)
  • Empty chamber indicator or flag (Even if your shooting range doesn’t require them)

The Hardware

  • Your Firearm (Cleared, with chamber flag inserted)
  • Ammunition (Lots of it!)
  • Extra Magazines (To make the most of your time, load ‘em up beforehand)
  • Targets (No sense in going shooting with nothing to shoot at)

That’s really all you need to go to the range and squeeze off some rounds.

Some other “experts” on the internet might give you a whole laundry list of items that you simply cannot go to the range without. Most of that is just opinion. Instead of doing that, we’re going to let you hear from our everyday folks here at PA who love to shoot and are probably a lot like you. We’re going to break down their gear, hear some rationale for why they pack what they do, and learn a little bit about the type of shooting they do the most so you can find someone who shoots what you like to shoot and use their loadout as a starting point for building your own range bag set-up. As we said, each person’s bag is a personal thing – none of the set-ups below are going to be 100% perfectly suited to meet all of your specific needs. But we think showing — rather than just telling — is a lot more useful to you, the reader. Let’s check out some range bags.

Chris' Range bag essentials include two of everything - because you can never have too many first aid kits.


Chris leaves nothing behind. No potential problem is unaccounted for. When he hits the range, he is ready for anything, and his range bag bears that out. Let’s take a look and hear some of Chris’ rationale for the gear he carries.“If Two Is One, One Is None”

In my past, I used to work as Director of Marketing for a company that trains primarily military units and law enforcement in advanced tactics and firearms. This company also trains protective security personnel and civilians. I had the fortunate experience of working with instructors that I consider some of the best in the industry. With this company I also had the opportunity to go through hundreds of hours of tactical firearms training. Many of the lessons that I learned have forever shaped my outlook on shooting and preparedness. In addition, I have supplemented this knowledge with additional safety and first-response medical training. My range bag reflects this experience.


Typically, preparing to go to the range is not a quick “grab and go” experience for me. I have an extensive and diverse collection of firearms and I like to shoot them all (well most of them, that Tec-9 I bought in my much younger days pretty much sits alone on the wall). I own a wide variety pistols, rifles and shotguns ranging from older historical pieces to military surplus rifles to modern sporting guns. While I always finish a range day shooting my Every Day Carry (EDC), I could start with a newly built AR-15, a suppressed short barrel rifle, an old 1934 Beretta, or even a more exotic SVD. I do not want to repack my range bag for every shooting expedition, matching tools and gear to the guns of the day, so I have set up my bag with the most common supplies to handle most issues — and the amount of supplies that I am able to fit in my moderately sized range bag is staggering. The pictures simply do not do it justice as the photographers eliminated most of the duplicated items to make the photo composition look better (“Chris, why do you need 15 sets of ear plugs, 12 batteries and all these tools”). But a wise man once told me “if two is one, one is none,” meaning if you don’t have a backup, you are not really prepared. I want to be prepared for anything and I carry a variety of medical gear, tools and cleaning supplies in my bag to fix most minor to moderate issues. I also show up to the range frequently with new shooters, so I carry multiple sets of hearing and eye protection. So, lets breakdown what I keep in the bag.

Safety is always at the forefront of my mind. I have multiple sets of hearing protection in or on my bag to match different situations. In-the-ear plugs, a custom molded set, and 3 different electronic options from Walkers to allow me to hear others talk and listen to music. After ears, I take care of my eyes. I typically have multiple sets of eye protection in different tints from my clear Smith Optics to my new Magpul safety sunglass which cover most indoor and outdoor settings. It’s also important to have multiple chamber flags so you and others can quickly see the status of your firearm. With these I feel relatively protected against minor mishaps, however, you may be the safest shooter on the range, but that is just you, what about the person shooting in the lane or bay next to you? If something catastrophic happens on the range, seconds count. I carry a customized individual first aid kit (IFAK) and multiple tourniquets. A word of caution and advice on tourniquets and med kits – get training to use the supplies you carry. If you ever need to use them, you will not have time to read the instructions before use. Get training and practice.

Now that I am in my safe space at the range, I stock my bag with maintenance items. I have a customized cleaning kit with different cleaners, lubricants, bore snakes, patches and swabs. I have 2 screwdriver sets which will let me tighten and adjust any US or European hex, torx, and traditional screw I might encounter on a gun. I supplement these items with my multi-tool, folding knife and flashlight. If I can’t fix it at the range, it pretty much needs to go to the work bench for some serious gunsmithing.

shop at Primary Arms for the best AR-15 tools, cleaning supplies, shooting gear, and more.

Wait there’s more! I don’t want to have to pack up and leave because the battery in my red dot failed and I don’t have a spare, or my blue tooth cuts off in the middle of a Geddy Lee bass riff. Bring spare batteries for your optics, hearing protection, flashlight and even your phone – because if it doesn’t get posted on Instagram it never happened. Don’t forget the other stuff like a small notebook, pens, wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen and OTC pain medication. But most importantly, don’t go to the range without ammo! I hate dealing with boxes so I empty my rounds into marked containers to cut down on bulk. And – Maglula is life! Save your thumbs and get a speed loader.

Have fun, be safe and be prepared – never go home because you forgot something!

Chris, Digital Marketing and CRM Manager

Hector -- the medic -- has a long history of military and EMT service to help him put the best in his Range Bag.


Hector is ready for the worst-case-scenario. Hector’s penchant for preparedness comes from his experience in the field. If he’s got it in his bag, it’s tried-and-true, battle-tested gear. Guaranteed to perform when it counts.

“Safety First. Safety Second.”

For my range bag, I want to be the guy on the range who is prepared for absolutely anything. My time in the Military and as an EMT have each greatly influenced my range bag set up, and my focus is on being prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you’re not the person who is prepared for the worst, then you’re counting on someone else to be that person. I don’t ever want that to be the case. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, being ready for the worst with my loadout — for both my range bag and my go-bag — put me in a position to offer help to people who might otherwise not have lived through the aftermath of Harvey. I was prepared to the point where I had the confidence to go out and do what needed to be done to help people. After meeting up with many other veterans, as well as the US Coast Guard, we were able to keep ourselves in supply of medical and first aid essentials and ultimately save lives. If I hadn’t taken it upon myself to be prepared, and have these items stocked up, I wouldn’t have even been able to consider going out and helping people.

Hector's Bag includes a multitude of first aid and medical gear, including field trauma kit, IFAK/EPIK, and Israeli Bandage.

So, when it comes to safety and first aid on the range, I’ve pack just about everything you could imagine. In my bag I carry a field trauma kit because the top priorities when dealing with a wound in the field are stopping the bleeding, keeping the wound clean, and dressing the wound. The field trauma kit includes QuikClot, triple antibiotic ointment, bandages, gauze, and much more to help deal with everything from burns, to bug bites, to splinters. I carry some less-common items too, like a G.I. casualty blanket which is useful in survival situations as well as to drape around someone to help ward off shock. Another thing I often carry that’s not common on most gun ranges is a survival stove. Just in case.

As you can see, I have plenty of spare gauze, QuikClot, bandages, wound and chest seal kits, an emergency tourniquet, an Israeli bandage kit, and another field dressing kit as well. In the way of preparedness, I keep a zippo lighter in my bag, as well as a backup USB power pack, a surefire weapon light with spare batteries, and a folding set of medical shears. On my chest rig, I also prominently display my blood type. All these things are a part of my range bag loadout for the specific purpose of being prepared for the worst, and I personally would never go to the range without any of it.


Now, on to the fun stuff! I love to shoot Tavors. I especially love to shoot suppressed Tavors. For my sidearm, I have a compensated Glock 19. So, when I hit the range, I bring along spare stock Glock magazines, loaded up and ready to shoot, as well as 5.56 NATO Lancer Systems clear magazines with the original Magpul magazine pulls, all contained within my chest rig. For troubleshooting weapons malfunctions or adjusting equipment on the range, I keep a full set of screwdriver bits. I have a staple gun and a box of staples for hanging targets, and a notebook with some pens to keep account of my shooting performance.

Eye protection is important, so of course I have two sets of glasses, one clear pair and a pair of safety-rated sunglasses. For ear protection I have a pair of electronic in-ear plugs from Walker’s as well as Walker’s electronic over-the-ear muffs. Rounding out my kit is a pair of gloves and, of course, empty-chamber flags to ensure easy safety checks.

With nearly 10 years in the military and 2 more years as an EMT, I have seen firsthand the value of being the most prepared guy on the range. I once had a ricocheted piece of a 9mm bullet strike me in the stomach while on the range, and while most people have a tourniquet or a basic first aid kit to deal with the extreme potential injuries on the range, this was something minor that could have easily become extreme if I hadn’t been prepared with the right stuff. I was able to sterilize the wound – which is vital – stop the bleeding and dress it, and not have to worry about the situation becoming far worse. The most important thing about being prepared with all this gear, however, is being prepared to have to use it. It does no good to anyone for you to have all this essential equipment when something goes wrong and you aren’t 100% confident in your ability to use it. Properly. Don’t be a hero and try to handle a situation you aren’t equipped or prepared for. Do the best you can and call for help.

– Hector, NFA Buyer



Emily likes a challenge. She’s a long-range shooter who lives for the thrill of victory on the shooting range. Shooting high-power precision competition presents a unique set of challenges that must be accounted for when packing a range bag, and there’s a lot to make sure you bring along. If you’re looking to dive into the world of competition high-power shooting, buckle up and take some notes.


“Shoot Like a Girl”

I have shot precision rifle competitions my whole life. So, I have amassed quite the collection of shooting gear over the years. I started out with small-bore 3-postion .22 then graduated to high power across the course with AR-15s. I don’t have a huge selection of rifles I would need to switch between throughout the shooting match I am shooting that day. It’s against the rules to switch out, so why bring more stuff than I already have. The only time we can switch out is a bad malfunction that has to be taken care of in a shop. Or if it is a different match.

My main rifle is my scoped AR. It is a custom-built Colt lower with a Douglas barrel. Barrels tend to last 5,000 rounds, or about 6 months in high power shooting. Less if you shoot Rattle Battle. On my rifle I have a Leupold 1-4X Fire-Dot. It’s not the most expensive scope out there but I got my Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge with it. I do have a backup rifle which is also a custom-built AR, but instead of a scope it has the original iron sights. I just got into shooting a scope 3 years ago, so for the past 18 years I have shot iron sights. I also have a Celestron spotting scope for watching the mirage and calling wind. Comes in real handy at 600 yards. The last thing you want to do is miss a wind call.

Now we get into the technical part of the gear — High-power requires a lot of gear. So much that I have a shooting cart to carry all my gear around. You have to remember this is precision shooting, we aren’t running around. We have time to set up for the shot and call wind. 20 minutes to shoot 20 rounds standing at 200 yards, and you bet we take all 20 minutes. So the key word to remember here is ‘precision shooting’.

Here we go… Range carts. Mine is kind of a build based off of the Creedmoor Sports range cart. It’s lighter but misses some of the perks. I was in high school and college when I was buying gear, so I got the designs in my head from what many companies were selling and made my own. The main thing is that it’s lightweight and can handle the weather. Then I have my shooting coat. When you put the shooting coat on and have it buckled up it feels like you are leaning on a post for standing. The goal with the coat is to have rigid and stiff support. The coat also helps to take the recoil from the fun wood guns like the M1A and M1 Garands. The Creedmoor Hardback Shooting Coat is kind of the standard in High-power. If you find a coat cheaper, it will most likely fall apart and not do the job.

After the coat is the mat. The mat needs to have good non-slip padding so you are not sliding around in prone. A centimeter of movement on one elbow at 600 yards can knock you out of the 10 ring and lose you the match. Once again Creedmoor has some of the best, but you can get the mat anywhere.


On to Ammo. I would say ammo is going to be specific to the shooter. High power shooters handload everything — It’s just too expensive to go and buy ammo every time you go to a match. I personally shoot Nosler bullets with Varget or RL-15 powder, whichever I can get cheaper at the time. You will also have short range and long-range ammo. Short range is for 200 and 300 yards and long range is for 600 yards. When you are reloading you require brass, which you get from shooting, so a brass bag is really helpful. You can use anything for this — I’ve seen people use Crown royal bags and mesh bags –the main goal of this is to keep all your brass together so that you can reload it later when you get home.

Another thing I have is a shot book. The goal of this is to plot all your shots for the string so that you can see where your problems lie. It also helps to call the wind and to make minor adjustments to your sights.

A mitt or shooting glove is also very helpful. It dampens your pulse – yes, even your pulse can affect a precision shot at 600 yards – and it also adds a layer of protection between your hand and the rifle. I have a Champions choice mitt because I can’t stand to have my fingers covered in a glove. The majority of shooting gloves/mitts will have padding in the palm and a texturized rubber on the palm and fingers to help keep the rifle from slipping. This is more of a preference thing – find what works for you.

A mitt or shooting glove is also very helpful. It dampens your pulse – yes, even your pulse can affect a precision shot at 600 yards – and it also adds a layer of protection between your hand and the rifle. I have a Champions choice mitt because I can’t stand to have my fingers covered in a glove. The majority of shooting gloves/mitts will have padding in the palm and a texturized rubber on the palm and fingers to help keep the rifle from slipping. This is more of a preference thing – find what works for you.

So, the next thing is what you are actually going to use to get the rounds down range: the magazines. The general rule is 20 round mags for across the course and 30 rounds for rattle battle. You will use your mags for rapid fire and 200 and 300 yards. You can use them at slow fire too but like all things they do wear out, so to combat the magazine wear on slow fire shooting good ol’ Creedmoor Sports designed a B.O.B Sled. It’s basically a copy of a magazine that, instead of a having a follower, is solid inside. Think basically a big chunk of metal. It has a ramp to feed the round into the chamber and will feed into the same spot every time. For rapid fire you must load 2 rounds in one magazine and 8 rounds in the other for a total of 10 rounds, and there must be a mag change in rapid fire.

The next few items are things you pick up along the way as you go through high-power precision competition. Things like a rain cover for your gear. Yes, the gear is designed to take a beating, but you also spend a lot of money on this gear, so you want to take care of it. The weather at Camp Perry can change in a heartbeat. You are literally shooting into Lake Erie, so you get the wind and rain off the lake. My rain cover is simply a giant canvas weatherproof poncho that fits over everything to keep it dry. Nothing worse than shooting in a soaking wet shooting coat.

The last thing I’ll mention is Sight Black. This is becoming more obsolete due to the fact that everyone is moving to scopes, but for the shooters that like old school shooting, or even the vintage shooting, this is a must. What it is, simply, is Calcium Carbide rocks that you put into a small device, again designed by Creedmoor Sports. The device has 3 parts to it. The bottom part is where you put water. When you twist the bottom, the sprayer sprays water into the next compartment, where the carbide rocks are. The rocks react with the water and create acetylene gas. The gas is then forced into the top compartment of the rock section where the striker is. Once you strike the flint it sets the gas on fire and it becomes heavy soot. You then hold the flame over your sight post and it darkens the post for you so that it stands out from the target when you are looking down the sights. There is also an aerosol version in a spray can but where is the fun in that?

This is the general basics of a range bag for high-power shooting. The great thing about high power precision shooting is that when you decide to get into this type of shooting, all you have to do is find a range. Literally, anyone on that range will see a new shooter and do everything in their power to help you out and get you started. Don’t have a rifle or ammo? Don’t worry. Everyone there has at least two if not three. Oh, and a general rule of thumb on ammo… bring enough for a small army.

– Emily, Distinguished Rifleman, Firearms Product Specialist



David’s got the need for speed. As a defensive pistol competitor, his range bag is tailored to getting the most out of his practice time and being prepared for competition day. If pistol competition sounds like it’s up your alley, take note of what’s in David’s bag.

“Practice Makes Perfect, But Only If It’s Perfect Practice”

I shoot the monthly IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) matches at the outdoor gun club I’m a member of. I’ll also occasionally take part in other local matches if I can spare the time. So, my current range bag set-up is geared toward IDPA practice sessions. Southeast Texas is warm & humid most of the year, and I take that into account as well.


Along with eyes, ears, pistol, and magazines (Glock 17 gen3); I bring along several items specifically geared toward practicing for IDPA. Most IDPA stages start with a holstered gun that must be drawn from concealment and include one to two mag changes, so an outside-the-waistband holster and outside-the-waistband dual mag carrier are a must. I also bring along my concealment vest to practice the cover garment sweep for draw and reloads. My shot timer, a notebook, and a pen are what I use to record and track my progress, and to jot down quick notes for later review.

One of the MOST INDESPENSIBLE items in my range bag is my Uplula magazine loader. Yeah, they might be a bit on the pricey side, but your thumbs will thank you – especially after shooting (and loading) a couple hundred rounds.


And don’t forget the targets! I vary the drills and practice routines, so sometimes I’ll take full-size paper IDPA targets. But a lot of the time, I’ll use drills that I find online and bring targets that I print at home. The range I belong to doesn’t supply any equipment – it’s pretty much you bring everything you’ll need, or you’ll go without. So, I pack in a stapler, staples, and masking tape (to tape up targets). Practicing in the great Texas outdoors requires some additional precautions – sunscreen, bug spray, and a bottle of water are things that you’ll quickly wish you had if you don’t bring them

For quick repairs, I keep some small parts & screws with a couple of tools in my bag. A wobbly sight, broken fiber-optic filament, a lost screw, or a broken spring are minor inconveniences that can either end the day early or at the very least turn a productive practice session into a frustrating exercise. I’ve often been able to quickly fix a minor issue and get back to business.

I also keep a plastic bag on hand to keep everything from getting water-logged during one of our famous South Texas pop-up showers. And when the shooting’s done, Grime Boss wipes are great for getting all that unburned powder and brass residue off your hands before you head home.

– David, Data Analyst at Primary Arms




Every team has an expert. Jimmy’s got tons of experience with firearms both on the range and in the field, and knowledge to boot. His bag allows him to maximize his time on the range and be prepared for any issue that might arise. A decade of experience as an Army Range Safety Officer means Jimmy’s had to deal with just about anything you can imagine on the gun range, and he’s prepared.


“Train How You Fight.”

My range bag reflects a mix of military, civilian tactical training, and military and civilian emergency medical training. I spent 13 years in the U.S. Army, with 3 combat deployments – 2 to Iraq and 1 to Afghanistan. For a decade of my service, I held NCOIC and OIC Range Safety Officer certifications, so I have practically seen it all on the gun range.

My normal range day will always include an AR-15, AK rifle, my everyday carry, and one or two other pistols, so I pack plenty of 7.62×39 PMAGS, Lancer Systems 5.56 magazines, and Glock pistol magazines. I include tools and supplies that, through my years of range and battlefield experience, I have found to be necessary to correct many issues on the fly. When I am at the range, I like to keep it simple but still make sure I’ve covered all my bases when it comes to safety, and I want to be able to deal with any issue that might otherwise end my range day.

When I go to the range, I want to be ready to deal with whatever issues I may run into with my own weapon as well as others that go with me. In my experience, if it can’t be fixed with a set of screwdriver bits or a Gerber Multitool, it’s going to need some significant time on the workbench. Anything I run into on the range can almost always be fixed with just those tools. I also pack in a staple gun, with a box of Stanley staple for hanging targets, as well as some adhesive targets. I make sure to bring a lot of ammo too — whatever is going to allow to me put a lot of rounds downrange and make the most of my time


Safety is very important any time you’re on the gun range, so I try to be prepared for the worst in addition to the basics. I pack high-quality eye and hearing protection, as well as first aid items. For my ears, I have reusable silicon plugs as well as electronic over-the-ear muffs. For first aid items, I include tourniquets, QuikCLot combat gauze, and compression bandages which all help to address trauma-related accidents that can happen at a gun range. Spare batteries for your optics are a requirement, as well as some spare lube. For me, a silver Sharpie is also a requirement to mark any magazines that are having issues, so I can make sure they are rotated out and replaced. And, of course, I never hit the range without some Chapstick.

– Jimmy, Primary Arms Customer Service Supervisor



Susan’s the new shooter on the block. She’s got the essentials for getting the most out of a range day without carrying a ton of extra gear. If you’re just starting out as a shooter, or you’re looking to head to the range for the first time with your new firearm, take a look at what Susan’s kit looks like and you’ll have a good place to start.

“Life Never Stops Teaching, So Never Stop Learning Something New.”

As the rookie in the group, I still have many things to learn when it comes to what I really want and need in my range bag. So, I approached packing my range bag like I do a suitcase — I would rather have too much than run out of clean clothes (I may need a larger range bag).


I do have my bare basics down. The simple items that can ensure my range day ends free of sunburns, bug bites, and dehydration. Eye and ear pro, water, sunscreen, bug repellent, hat, basic tools, at least one knife, and lipstick. Yes, I said lipstick, it has sunscreen in it, so don’t judge me. (have you ever tried to eat spicy food with sunburned lips, yeah that’s not fun at all.) As I spend more time at the range, I will develop a range bag that is more suitable to my needs, but for now, this is a great place to start.

– Susan, Primary Arms Brand Marketing Manager



These shooters, competitors, and enthusiasts have put hours of time and in many cases a lifetime of experience into making decisions about their range bags. Hopefully, we have been able to distill down all of their wisdom, spanning multiple firearms applications, and give you an idea of what you need to put into your own range bag to match the way you want to shoot and practice at the range. Again, this is something very personal to you, so if you want to include something not listed or shown here, absolutely do it. Whatever you feel you need to be as prepared as you want to be is what you should include. Just don’t skimp on the necessities.

If you’ve ever got questions about products, like range bags or what to put in them, our products specialists, firearms specialists, and customer service team is standing by here at the PA Offices in Houston, Texas, to answer your questions. Just email us at or give us a call at 713-344-9600. Safe shooting, and we’ll see you – and your bag of gear – out on the range.