163 – Range Bag Essentials

In today’s podcast, we discuss all the essentials Varg and I have with us when we’re at the range. Our minimum equipment preferences allow us to be safe, prepared, and proactive. Although the contents and brands may vary, we’re going to highlight some of our favorite equipment and brands. Hopefully, this will help you prepare for your next training session or range day. And as always, feel free to share your preferred kit in the comments below — and definitely sound off if you think we’ve missed something!

Podcast Host: Daniel Shaw

Co-Host: Varg Freeborn

Producer and Transcriptionist: Leah Ramsden


The following timestamps showcase some, but not all, of the essential topics we cover in Range Bag Essentials: Gunfighter Cast episode 163. 

Range Bag Essentials

  • 1:40   Bag preference  
  • 3:00  5.11 Range Ready -Daniel’s everyday bag
  • 3:51   Trauma kit
  • 9:25   magazine brands
  • 11:45  Vortex impact 1000 range finder
  • 12:00  two sets of eyes and ears (eye protection and hearing protection)
  • 12:30  Outdoor range preparation
  • 14:20  high dexterity and thick gloves
  • 16:00  fix-it-sticks
  • 17:30  cleaning kit, lube & rag
  • 18:26  flashlight
  • 18:47  duct tape
  • 20:30  shot timers
  • 23:37  sharpie
  • 24:45  ear protection
  • 26:40  notebook
  • 28:57  water and protein snacks
  • 29:00  Targets
  • 29:49  backup gun
  • 32:50  D-Lead wipes
  • 35:00  staplers

3:05 For his everyday range bag, DS suggests,  

“I use the 511 Range Ready 43L. It’s got great compartments. I don’t use every compartment in it [due to] the way they’re designed, but I’ve always found it to be a very good range-bag. It’s taken a beating throughout the years and it’s held together and hasn’t fallen apart, so I’ve been really impressed with it for a very long time  

Ok so you have your favorite bag, maybe you have a more than one… next step:  


Your Range Bag: how to beef it up

If you’re going to the range and you don’t have a trauma kit and at least two tourniquets, I’m not so sure that you’re prepared to be on the range -VF

3:52 DS Says, “For a trauma kit, [I have] one on my gear, one on my body, one on my belt and one in my bag that comes out and stays near us wherever were doing training at that time. I usually have one on me, maybe two [at all times]. If I’m in my car I have a trauma kit, If I’m at home we have three kits placed in three different locations throughout the house… So, we do like our trauma kits in the Shaw family.”

In an emergency situation, seconds matter. You want to be prepared to help yourself and those around you with a fully equipped trauma kit. Here is an example of Varg’s Emergency Bleed Compact kit equipped with a CAT7 TQ that fits into the bicycle frame bag perfectly.

6:14 DS Consensus says, “The most likely people to save lives in a mass casualty event are the on-scene responders, the people who’re right there, fumbling through the medical kits and [using the lessons] they’ve done [through] a basic stop the bleeding course… Keep your skills up and practice it, [because this is what will save lives].”  


9:20 DS Says, “If I’m training with myself, I am not very picky about what magazines I use… if I’m shooting a Glock for example, I’m using Glock factory mags, BUT, if I’m going to the range, I have no problem with running some KCI, some ETS, even some SGM tactical, pro mag, some magazines we know are not the highest in quality…there are some magazines that just work better than others. Encountering a problem with your gun that you didn’t create, that you didn’t know was coming, is definitely a training opportunity.”  

Range Finder: Vortex Impact 1000

I was using for a long time – a vortex impact, under $300 bucks, great little range finder, accurate up to 1000 yards, I had good success with that. -DS 

Snivel Gear

Prepare for the Weather 

13:47 DS Says, “People shut down when they get incredibly uncomfortable because of the weather. If you gave up a lot of money to go to a class. You gave up two whole days… you have to be as comfortable as possible or your retention, your ability to apply what you’re learning, is going to be decreased dramatically.”

More items to consider while training outside for 2-3 days;

  • Hat
  • Packable rain jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • water
  • chapstick
  • bug protection
  • back-up gear 


Shooting Gear

You can’t fit everything into a typical range bag. Some of the things we think you should have with you might not easily fit into a pack or bag. 

Gloves – Have A Few 

14:24 DS  Says, “I like minimalist gloves; high dexterity gloves myself. When you go buy high dexterity gloves somewhere, don’t be disappointed if you get a hole in your glove… it comes with the game with these high dexterity minimalist gloves, they do not last forever…I also like to have a thicker glove, maybe with some insulation in it for removing a hot suppressor.”


Range bag essentials: good gloves (not necessarily shooting gloves).
If these old crusty, falling apart flight gloves could talk… I tried to put them on, but they started falling apart. I’ll never make any new memories while wearing them, but these gloves have protected my hands through some tough times in the toughest of places as well as many good and less good memories. -DS


(Non) Shooting Gear: Tools


16:37 DS “Its little minimalist tool kits that are designed for working on guns. The way they package these things and the little carriers for them, it’s pretty impressive how small they are and how well they work. I need some tools to work on guns, so having something portable that I can use to work on my house, or the range is pretty awesome.”

When it comes to tools, I can’t decide – so I bring them all. -VF  

Duct Tape 

18:48 DS Says, “Keep some duct-tape. A lot of times students need some tape on their gear  OR.. something starts getting in the way of a holster [Straps [or] something ] when a gun’s going back in the holster. When I grew up in the Marine-Corps, any kind of strap was always getting folded and taped, you never have anything dangling anywhere. That is a rule; everything is taped and [as a result] there’s duct tape all over your gear.”  

“Duct tape is probably the best thing you can have in your bag for any type of thing that needs to be fastened quickly on the fly” -VF  

Ear Pro

Invest In Safety 

24:50 DS Says, “Spending the extra money, on some good, active hearing protection that is going to allow you to get noise-canceling to protect your ears, and also to be able to hear what’s going on around you, is a learning thing, it’s a safety thing… it is an investment that we should all make if we are out there training and carrying open firearms.”  

32:49 DS Says, “You don’t want lead particle poisoning. One of the first things to happen with erectile dysfunction is potentially erectile dysfunction. To avoid this, have some D-lead wipes that you can wipe your hands down and offer to your friends around you to use. That way you can eat your lunch without [having to worry about] taking in all this lead.”  

Record Your Learning

28:00 VF Says, “All the way back to when I begin firearms training as a student, I can’t even count how many notebooks I’ve filled up. Stacks of them. And I can probably recite back, reading through then, all the key points of the class, and my thoughts about the class, and in my mind, that was me getting maximum value for everything that I had spent, time, effort, money… and here I am years later, I can still go back and look at the lessons that I learned.”  

Gunmag Training's Chief Instructor Daniel Shaw is a retired US Marine Infantry Unit Leader with multiple combat tours and instructor titles.  Since retirement from the Marine Corps, Daniel teaches Armed Citizens and Law Enforcement Officers weapons, tactics and use of force. Daniel takes his life of training and combat experience and develops as well as presents curriculum to help Law Enforcement, US Military and Responsible Armed Citizens prepare for a deadly force encounter.  When he isn't directing marketing for Gunmag Warehouse, Daniel travels the US teaching and training under Gunmag Training, and discusses all things hoplological and self-defense related on The MagLife Podcast.

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