Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Range Gear

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Oleg Volk recently reminded us that "two is one, and one is none" when it comes to gear. It pays to be well equipped for your trip to the range, and that means having spares. Batteries go dead, mounts come loose, and things can and do break. Obviously you're going to have your firearms, ammunition, and spare magazines, but when it comes to stocking your range bag what other parts and equipment should you pack?

Notebook and Pen/Pencil I can't tell you how many times I've had someone ask to borrow my pen at the range. Toss one in your bag! Inevitably you'll want to mark a target or take notes on certain loads or configurations. Sharpie markers and paint pens are also very useful for marking bad magazines.

Stapler/Thumb Tacks These items are indispensable at most outdoor ranges for hanging your targets. I prefer staples, and while tacks are reusable, they can get hit and destroyed by an errant round or forgotten and left in the target holder.

Targets You're going to want something to shoot at, right? Embarrassingly enough, I have on occasion shown up at the range only to realize that I forgot and left my targets at home.

Masking Tape/Dots Useful for hanging targets as well as pasting over holes in your target.

Tools It's always a good idea to check the tightness of your scope or red dot before heading to the range. But, optics and mounts can come loose, so having a few Allen keys is very useful. Along the same lines as the Allen wrenches, a decent screwdriver set is useful for tightening down loose screws.

CLP and a Cleaning kit I keep boresnakes and cleaning rods in my range bag. In addition to being able to run a snake through a dirty bore, I've found cleaning rods are necessary should someone have a squib or a brass case jammed. A selection of brass brushes can also be used to extract brass that has suffered case head separation.

Batteries A red dot scope isn't much good without good batteries. The same goes for flashlights. I keep a spare set of AA, AAA, and CR123 batteries in my range bag.

Towel Things get wet and dirty at the range. I keep a shop towel in my bag for wiping things down.

Ruler Great for measuring group size.

Extra eyes and ears Lose an ear plug? Break a set of eye protection? No problem, as long as you've got a spare set with you.

Gloves I don't always use gloves when I shoot, but I do keep them with me in the range bag. When firearms heat up, whether it's from use or just lying in the hot sun, you'll find you're glad to have packed a decent pair of shooting gloves.

Water It gets hot out on the range during the summer, but proper hydration is important no matter what the weather. Make sure you have a bottle or two of water to stay hydrated.

First Aid Kit Along with a basic first aid kit, I also carry a blowout kit in my bag. Accidents can and do happen, so it pays to be prepared. Also, don't forget to toss in a bottle of sunscreen.

Let us know if we left anything out. What's in your range bag?

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