When you get ready to go to the range for some shooting, it's handy to have a "range bag" prepared that has all the things you'll need for a successful outing.  Here are some favorite items that I keep in my bag:

  • Range Bag:  Obviously, you need a handy bag to put everything in.  It's nice to have a dedicated bag for this, because over time it will get oil, gun powder residue, dirt, etc. on it.  Get something sturdy, that is large enough to hold your supplies, but not overly-large and bulky.  It should have strong handles, and I find that having the space divided into a minimal number of pockets/compartments is more flexible.
  • First Aid Kit:  I don't trust my life to a kid making minimum wage to have, or know how to use, the first aid kit at an indoor range.  At an outdoor range, or in the field, there is no first aid kit.  I always bring my own.  Make sure it contains supplies to deal with serious injuries - don't waste your time with a $5.99 kit of BandAids and alcohol pads.  The TraumaPak, by Adventure Medical Kits, is a good candidate.
  • Staple Gun with Extra Staples:  Having your own staple gun means that you will always be able to get targets put up, on cardboard or wood backers.  You don't need a large, heavy duty one, because you're just trying to get paper to stay put.  A nice choice, due to it's quality, low cost, and small size, is the Arrow JT27 Manual Light Duty Stapler.
  • Masking Tape:  When staples are inappropriate, masking tape does an excellent job of sticking targets to backers.
  • Foam Ear Plugs:  Even if you normally use over-the-ear hearing protection, keep some foam ear plugs in your bag.  They take up little space, and will save the day when you, or a buddy, forgets their hearing protection.
  • Knee Pads:  Not only will a set of knee pads save you the pain of kneeling on a rock or spent shell casing, but will also keep your pants clean and dry.
  • Plastic Bags:  Keep some shopping bags, or small garbage bags around.  You can use these for picking up trash or brass, or just carrying extra gear.
  • Moving Blanket(s):  A moving blanket works as a shooting mat, place for gear or spectators to sit, or you can lay it out to catch ejected brass.  They are cheap, and basically disposable, should one get dirty or damaged.  Get the type that has a slick, woven, synthetic fabric, instead of the matted, non-woven variant, because it collects less debris, pine needles, etc.  Harbor Freight's 72" x 80" Camouflage Utility Blankets fit the bill nicely, for a good price.