Ram 2500 “Range Truck”: early thoughts

I have been tooling around in my new-to-me 2019 Ram 2500 range truck for a few months now and I am thrilled with the truck to this point. I’m several thousand miles in and have started to understand what I like about the truck and what I don’t. This helps me make some plans for upgrades in the very near future. 

Range Truck series Part 2.

What I like about my Ram 2500 range truck

One of my favorite things about my truck right now is gas prices! I am currently seeing mileage between 14.5 mpg and 17.5 mpg which isn’t horrible. At the same time, it isn’t great. The fact that I am regularly filling up below $1.79/ gal makes me happy. It kinda feels like college.

Of course, the main source of driving for me typically and especially today is to the range and back. I head there 3-4 times a week to work. Now with the kids home from school, I go to spend quality family time together in the outdoors. This is going to lead to a needed upgrade, but more about that in a bit.

The Upper Glove Box

I should probably call it the magazine… But really I love this small upper glove box. It is just the right size to keep some condiments, sunscreen, bug spray, some spare HST, and a few extra M&P mags just cause.

The glove box of a range struck SHOULD function like a magazine.
I guess this glove box could instead be called a magazine. It certainly functions that way for me.

This article continues from Part 1 of a series: Range Truck? The best truck for an outdoorsman.


The upgraded tech is something I really appreciate in the new Ram since I bought the truck used I didn’t get to pick the features. I am very glad it came with CarPlay. I wasn’t disappointed with the previous phone integration system in my 2017 Ram 1500, but two years make a difference. The ability to have my phones iTunes, navigation, and text messaging available for voice activation and visible on the 8-inch screen is outstanding.

I typically use Waze for nav (with the Cookie Monster voice-enabled of course), but the system works equally well with google maps. It will be interesting to see what happens in new car purchasing trends in the next decade. I anticipate that improvements in tech may become one of the main motivators for upgrades. That means a used car buyers market for those of us that don’t have to have the newest iPhone.

Music in a range truck - of course. Music choice may vary of course!
I really appreciate the CarPlay Integration in my 2019 Ram. It allows on-screen access to the most important apps and of course, music. Individual artist and song choice will vary!

Ram 2500 Truck Bed

My last truck had a 5 ft. 6 in. bed. It was kinda like a car with a big trunk. For me, the 6 ft. 4 in. bed is probably about perfect. It’s small enough that the truck is reasonably maneuverable in tight spaces like parking lots and driveways. But at the same time it’s big enough to handle a load of the stuff I need to get to haul to the range or shoot house.

Another plus: if I ever decide to pick up a truck topper I will be able to sleep in the truck in a pinch.

Truck bed capacity is always important for a working truck.
This is a pretty typical loadout for a trip to the range. The additional foot of bed length compared to my Ram Rebel 1500 is significant. You can see why a bed cover of some sort is needed.

There is a lot to like, but those are some highlights. Then there is the other side of the coin.

What I don’t like about my 2019 Ram 2500 range truck

There is a lot to like, but nothing is perfect. Especially when we are talking about a used truck.

Slider… You stink

Remember when I said I didn’t get to pick the features of the truck? Well, the rear window has no slider. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but driving home from the range yesterday on a sunny 55° day I would have loved to have had the fresh air from a rear slider.

More importantly, as I mentioned above, sleeping in a truck topper is an interesting option for the future. It could even be a way for us to make a long car trip without a night camping or grabbing a hotel. My wife and I in the bed under the topper and the kids on the fold-flat floor in the cab. But without a way to move from the bed to the cab without exiting the truck makes that too risky for my blood. A layer of glass separating me from the kids in a highway rest area seems like a bad idea.

I’ve looked at replacing the rear window with a slider. It will run about $600 so, for now, that is a nope.

Getting in and out

The Ram has the offroad package which I appreciate for the improved front and rear suspension. The truck looks, and is, aggressive when things get rough and loose. The offroad package also means that the top of the rocker panel sits slightly lower than the elevation of the Everest base camp…

Who in the world failed to make running boards or nerf bars with steps standard with the offroad package? I’ll never understand the auto industry…

This upgrade will happen fairly soon as I’m tired of putting on a climbing harness to get into the truck, and rappelling out gets tiresome when you just need to run a package into the post office.

In all seriousness, it is a riot watching the kids get in and out. My oldest is a tiny little one and her friends used to watch and laugh when I picked her up from activities. Now more often than not they actually help her in out of pity.

2019 Ram 2500 range truck
My girls are little and this truck is tall. The combination can be humorous, but it is getting old. Steps are going to be added soon.

Nanny State Features

I’m starting to get used to it, but the way this truck tries to protect me from myself is crazy. Every time I go to the range I have to go through my little gate routine. I pull up to the gate, put the truck in park and hop out to unlock and open the gate. I then have to pull through the gate, put it in Park, hop out to close and lock the gate.

No big deal, right? It is the same at gun clubs across the country. My 2019 Ram, in order to save me from CERTAIN DEATH, makes this routine slightly more difficult than it has been in the past.

After unlocking and opening the gate I simply need to roll forward 20’. In the past, I’ve jumped in, thrown the truck in Drive as I close the door, pull forward and then return to Park once through the gate.

Not any more… Thank goodness my truck protects me. If the gear shifter is moved into Drive while the door is open the truck lurches forward and then SLAMS back into Park.

Old habits die hard, so I now prophylactically wear a neck brace.

computer-controlled shifter Ram 2500
Thanks be to the nanny state: the shifter in this particular RAM2500 is computer-controlled for my safety and irritation. You would think if Fiat-Chrysler was really thinking about safety they would avoid putting the shift knob in close proximity to the volume and climate control knobs. I would hate to turn the A/C down to “P” at highway speed…

Near Term Upgrades to the Ram 2500 Range Truck

There are certain things I can’t change about the range truck and then there are those things I can. A couple of changes are on the way pronto: not dirt every day level upgrades, but definitely every day pragmatic level. 

The really tacticool stuff will be much later (if ever).

Tonneau Cover

Remember that part about heading to the range as a family. Well, I just don’t have any desire to be limited by the weather. I mean, humans used to live outside and do all the human things regardless of whether it was raining or not. When we put four of us in the truck that means that all my range gear including guns, the lab radar, and paper targets need to go into the bed. All that gear needs to be protected from the elements and the eyes of others on the road. I don’t need wet gear or folks knowing that I‘m traveling with six long guns in the truck…

It won’t be long before I have a cover for the bed.

Nerf Bars with Steps

As fun as it is to watch the kids get in and out of the truck, steps are coming soon. I’m getting tired of the climb in and out of this beast.

Floor Mats

Some real mud collecting floor mats would be a good addition. The truck has carpeting throughout. With the muddy springtime conditions at the range it only makes sense to have floor mats that are easy to clean. I actually think I will order those up right now.

2019 Ram 2500 needs better floor mats
I like to keep my RAM 2500 relatively clean and neat despite all the dirty things we do with it; some real mud collecting floor mats are needed.

What About You?

You folks are reading this blog because you are living The Mag Life right along with us. Have you optimized your vehicle for outdoor use? What are the favorite improvements you have made to your range ride?

What suggestions do you have for me as I outfit my truck for outdoor use? Sound off in the comments below and I will see you at the range!

Range Truck: Expect Updates

Let’s face it. If you read The Mag Life you are a shooter and if you are a shooter you probably go to the range from time to time. That means you need room for shooting gear. You might need to deal with rough roads and inclement weather on your way.

I’ll keep you up to date on the modifications I make to my RAM 2500 range ride and daily driver. Maybe some of the mods might be helpful for you as well.

Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA's students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.

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