What goes in your range bag

A reader of this blog and Sebastian’s blog emailed us asking what goes in our range bags, as he just bought a pimping range bag from MidwayUSA.  Sebastian has his range bag stuff posted, so I’ll do the same here.  Before I continue though, there is one abiding rule that I try to have for my range bag – 2 is 1 and 1 is none.  That means if there’s something I’m likely to need, I try to have two of them.  Just in case.  Also remember that I’m a 1911 shooter, so some of the tools I have are specific to that platform.

  • The Wilson Combat 1911 Versa-Tool – Seriously, if you’re a 1911 shooter, don’t leave home without this thing.
  • My Leatherman multi-tool
  • A set of Allan wrenches
  • a small screwdriver set
  • gun lube in a sealed container (ziploc baggies are great for this)
  • ammo
  • ears, eyes, etc
  • a few key spare parts (mostly springs)
  • A few pens
  • A sharpie (for blackening the rear sights)
  • All my magazines
  • magazine holders
  • spare magazine holders (2 is 1)
  • holster
  • spare holster
  • a knife (rule 9)
  • spare ears and eyes
  • A silver sharpie (this is for marking the basepads of magazines that may need to be cleaned or discarded)
  • Snacks, in a separate ziploc baggie.  If you’re shooting from 0900 to 1500, you’re going to get hungry.  There’s nothing worse than trying to shoot with a splitting headache because you’re starving.
  • Water – see above.

Now, unlike Sebastian and Sean, I don’t have a bitchin’ range bag.  My bag is an old gym back from this place I used to work out when I was in college.  It’s given me yeoman’s service as a range bag for 6 or 7 years, and I’m not about to toss it out now.  The thing reeks of brass, powder, and Hoppes #9 – and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.


  1. The really great thing about that Midway bag is it has a little mini tote that goes into the main compartment. You can arrange it with the Velcro to compartmentalize for ammunition, or you can make it a vertical support for holding the barrel of a gun. I use that tote to move my pistol from position to position when I shoot IHMSA. It’s a really versatile bag.

    The only downside, so far, is the Velcro is coming off the carrying handle.

  2. Wilson Versa-Tools are getting a little tough to find. Factory doesn’t even have them…

  3. What do people do for targets? FBI Q papers are what I tend to shoot indoors and I haven’t found a good way to carry them yet.

    Those competition Midway bags are HUGE. I bought both the competition and the compact when they were on sale and I needed a new bag. The big one will get service during weekend grade shooting trips, but the compact model would be the first one I’d buy if I had to pick. Nice bags, especially for the prices.

    The silver sharpie is a good tip. Black sharpie ink on a black mag is pretty hard to see… 😀

    Snap caps.

    Small first aid kit.

    You can have my MagLula loader from my cold dead hands.

    I also carry an M16 cleaning kit with the steel cleaning rod, some CLP and a rag. I’ve had some really nasty failure-to-extract malfs that required disassembly and having something stout to pound the brass back out of the barrel. Yeah, that ammo doesn’t get used anymore.

  4. “Seriously, if you’re a 1911 shooter, don’t leave home without this thing. ”

    You cruel, cruel bastard. You describe it as an indespensible tool, and link us to a page that says “Out of Stock”.

  5. Heh. You can try MidwayUSA, they might have some. They are getting hard to find though. The one I have was a gift from a friend.

    If you can’t find one, get a bushing wrench, a Leatherman, and a set of allan wrenches. I keep all that stuff as well. Oh, and some screwdrivers.

  6. I recently revised my range “bag” and bought the smallest one I could find. (Narrower is better in my opinion.) I missed out on other blogs with this topic, so here is my revised, slimmed down range bag:

    * biker’s seat bag to carry sharp tools like screwdriver set
    * staple gun
    * staples
    * mini hex wrench set
    * specialty tool, depending on gun
    * eye protection inside case
    * compact ear muffs
    * disposable ear plugs
    * gun rug of appropriate size
    * ammo boxes
    * magazines or speedloaders
    * stack of targets–large targets always stay in the trunk
    * nitrile gloves for lead scrounging

    I’m giving less-is-more a go for now. Or I will, when I have some time to go to the range. Rifles, smoke poles, scatterguns or hand cannons require the full kit with all the do-dads, whatsits and bric-a-brac.

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