Many of us carry way too much gear in our range bags. And it’s not always the right gear. We don’t think so, but it’s true. There’s a good chance you could pare it down a bit and still have what you need. However, there are a few items that are must-have besides the obvious eyes, ears, ammo, mags, multi-tool, etc. But you can only stuff so much into a range bag before it bulges like the disk in your back when you lift it. So it’s time to take a few things out—check way at the bottom, the stuff you haven’t seen in years—to make room for some new essentials to take your range experience up more than a few notches. Here are some range gear must-haves to make your range days that much more fun and productive.
Triumph Systems Targets
Okay, in all fairness, these are just a bit too bulky to fit into a range bag, but you get the picture. They are still essential gear. Just carry them separately. You have to shoot at something, right? It might as well be fun and educational all at once.
Triumph Systems, owned by decorated Navy SEAL and National Geographic Channel reality star Jared Ogden, offers a wide variety of target options, from square pasties that will actually fit in your range bag to their signature dish: the Pivotal Trainer, an entire system designed not only for on-target accuracy but with instant decision-making at its core. The threat/no-threat pivot makes you think twice before shooting. Is that a guy with a gun or an innocent bystander with a cell phone? Do I shoot or not? The pivoting system can be programmed to be manually operated by an RSO/trainer or set to random turns to challenge the shooters.
Need something more portable? Grab some of their zombie or terrorist paper targets. Or for immediate feedback on lethal hits, shoot some holes in the Threat Down series that “bleed” with a non-toxic and biodegradable gel that runs like blood when you strike the packets in vital organs.
TactaCam Video Cameras
What good is a successful day at the range if you can’t brag about it to your buddies? Or maybe you just want to film your shooting to see what you did wrong and fix it. Not that you’d ever miss a bullseye or jerk a trigger, right? While most folks might use a GoPro or something not really designed for shooting, the folks at TactaCam have been making shooting-dedicated cameras for years.
Thanks to the latest lens and microprocessor technology, images look great in both the brightest sunshine and lowest night settings. Rugged mountings and the internal camera workings are built to withstand the shock of both running and gunning, with anti-vibration stabilization to help mitigate the effects of even the strongest recoil.
For long-range shooting, mount the Film Through Your Scope (FTS) system to your existing optic to co-witness the video without affecting your vision. And with a digital 8x zoom, you can isolate long range targets without having to walk out to check them.
ATI AR15 Armorer Tool
Things break. Or need adjustment. It usually happens at the most inconvenient times, such as at the range or in the woods, where your workbench is miles away. Your gun is down, and you’re stuck in the woods or at the farm range with no tools to get your rifle back up and running. Until now. Take along the handy ATI AR15 Armorer Tool and have a handful of the most popular rifle adjustment tools at your fingertips. Use it for everything from basic cleaning and maintenance to replacing barrels, suppressors, handguards, compensators, and extension tubes. It even includes a ½-inch square drive for use with a torque wrench. Best of all, this slimline tool slips easily into an outside or inside pocket for easy carry.
Lucas Oil Outdoors
Ignore it all you want but your guns will eventually need cleaning. Opinions vary widely as to how often—from every time you shoot to let’s see how long the gun will last without it—but whenever and wherever that day comes, you want dedicated gun cleaning supplies. Household cleaners just won’t cut it. Dawn may take grease out of your way, but it will royally mess up your gun. The chemistry is all wrong. Thankfully, the folks at Lucas Oil Outdoors have spent years perfecting the atoms and molecules that work best against the tough demands of firearms and the dirt left behind by round after round leaving the barrel and gumming up the works.
Extreme clean calls for Extreme Duty from Lucas Oil Outdoors, an industry leader in gun cleaning. From their legacy Extreme Duty CLP—their very first product—to Extreme Gun Cleaner, Extreme Gun Oil, and Extreme Gun Lube, Lucas Oil Outdoors carries a total package for every cleaning need from a company that has specialized in all things oil since the beginning.
File this one under “Duh, why didn’t I think of this one years ago?” The Barrel Buddy is such a simple cleaning solution that someone should have thought of 50 years ago. Instead, we’ve struggled to cram square cleaning patches into round barrels—something we learned not to do in kindergarten. To save us that trouble, the Barrel Buddy system consists of small, cylindrical (i.e., barrel shaped) dual-density foam pads that contain two layers of closed-cell foam cut to specific calibers.
To clean, simply jab with a jag and slide it through the barrel. To use, simply stab the back of a Barrel Buddy with a jag attached to a rod, apply your favorite solvent to the first foam layer, and shove the whole contraption down the barrel. The rear foam incorporates white polymers that reveal the dirt and grime picked up along the way. When the Barrel Buddy emerges from the muzzle, it brings all the gunk your last range session left behind. Barrel Buddies come in a variety of calibers, including rifles and shotguns.
Birchwood Casey Glock Multi-Tool
A multi-tool takes the place of a few different important tools and frees up much-needed space and weight in any range bag. The idea of having a few necessary pieces in one small gadget is something that many embrace readily. Birchwood Casey, a maker of professional gun care supplies and shooting equipment, offers a compact multi-tool specifically for Glock handguns.
The Birchwood Casey Glock Multi-Tool has four tools specially designed for the pistol’s pins, screws, and sights. These tools include a hex driver, armorer’s punch, Allen wrench, and flathead driver.
The Multi-Tool includes a magnetic 3/16″ hex driver that fits stock and aftermarket front sights, making upgrades or replacements quick and easy. The new Glock Multi-Tool also features a 3mm armorer’s pin punch that covers all Glock pin sizes. The .050″ Allen wrench is convenient for moving aftermarket rear sights with windage and elevation adjustment. Lastly, there is a flat-blade screwdriver for prying the slide lock spring, locking block, or for adjusting compatible aftermarket rear sights.
The ergonomic design of the Birchwood Casey Glock Multi-Tool provides maximum grip and leverage, and the compact size allows for convenient storage in a range bag, on-the-go toolbox, or even a back pocket.
Guns take gear. There’s no way around it. Grab what you need, and you’ll get a lot more out of your successful and fun day at the range.