If you’re a new shooter, you might find the world of shooting a bit intimidating. Having a gun and ammo is easy, but that’s not all you need. Today, we will set you up with the range gear you need to succeed.
New shooters don’t need a ton of fancy gear to hit the range and be efficient and effective. Although, going with nothing more than a gun and ammunition will ensure you won’t have the most productive time at the range. With that in mind, if you are a new shooter, here are a few must-haves before you hit the range.
A Good Range Bag – Orca Tactical Range Bag
It’s a great idea to have a dedicated bag when it comes time to transport your goods to and from the range. Sure, a backpack works, but a range bag works so much better. The Orca Tactical Range bag offers you numerous external and internal pockets, as well as internal organizational tools, a central pocket divider, and more.
You can easily separate your goods from each other. This includes your firearms, ammunition, protective equipment, magazines, and more. This setup ensures you can easily tote all your goodies to and from the range in an organized and safe manner.
A good range bag will take you a long way and make your life much easier. It also helps protect and organize your gear. Keeping your range bag packed ensures you won’t forget anything when you head to the range.
Gun Rug or Box
Tossing your gun in a range bag works but isn’t always the best solution. A dedicated box or ‘rug’ helps ensure your weapons remain safe and protected in the range bag. Plus, you can lock most boxes, which is a nice touch. A simple polymer box or soft gun rug will prevent your gun from being scratched, bumped, or dented.
If you attach lights or optics, the box protects those and ensures they don’t accidentally come on and waste battery life. A lot of guns come with boxes, but I often find them obnoxiously large. A small pistol case can be quite handy for range trips. These gun cases allow you to easily separate the gun from the rest of your goodies and add an extra layer of protection for your expensive firearms.
A Cleaning Kit – Sentry Armorer’s Kit
A small but capable cleaning kit allows you to address any maintenance issues you may have at the range and on the fly. Imagine heading the range, paying for your lane, and running into a simple maintenance issue that prevents you from training effectively. A simple cleaning kit ensures you can spot clean, remove rust, and lubricate the firearm.
I like the Sentry Armorer’s Kit. It’s an all-in-one cleaning kit that allows you to work on handguns, shotguns, and rifles without issue. It comes packed in a handy polymer container that’s chock full of goodies. This includes a rag, lubrication of various types, an AP brush, and so much more. Don’t let the name intimidate you. It’s a great kit for any shooter and does all the grunt work of finding the cleaning gear for you.
Hearing Protection – AXIL TRACKR BLUETOOTH EARMUFFS
No range lets shooters sling lead without the proper personal protective equipment. Shooting without hearing protection ensures you’ll be yelling “What!” one too many times later in life. Any hearing protection is better than no hearing protection, but I suggest investing in quality electronic hearing protection.
My first go-to would be the Axil TRACKR Blu muffs. They provide an electronic hearing capability, total around the ear protection, BlueTooth capability, and immense comfort. The omnidirectional microphones ensure you hear where the sounds are coming from and maintain total situational awareness at the range.
These muffs automatically shut down the noise of gunfire and allow you to hear range commands and hear your instructor drop their words of wisdom. I’ve used the Axil TRACKR Blu headphones for almost a year now, and they’ve been nothing but fantastic.
Eye Protection – Walker’s Sport Glasses with Interchangeable Lens
Eye protection is another mandatory must-have. Your eyes are precious but super fragile. A good set of eye pro ensures they stay in place in the event your handheld explosion gets out of control. You want glasses that wrap around your eyes and provide high-impact lenses built to the ANSI high impact standards.
Lens color will depend on where you are shooting. If it’s indoors, you likely want clear lenses, If it’s outdoors, you likely want something shaded during the day. I suggest Walker’s Sport Glasses. They provide excellent protection and great comfort on top of a multi lenses system that lets you quickly change things out on the fly.
Walker’s Sport glasses are versatile, comfortable, and protective. Oh, did I mention they were cheap? Seriously, they are quite affordable and tough to beat price-wise. You can go fancier with Oakley glasses or ESS options, but the Walker’s will get you where you need to be and keep your peepers safe.
Targets – Birchwood Casey IPSC Practice Target
If you are going shooting, you’ll need targets. Most ranges sell targets, but I’m not impressed by a bunch of massive 1980s bad guys or whatever zombie target they might be hawking. I’m also not a fan of the high-priced paper at ranges. I bring my paper targets.
Different weapons and ranges have different target needs. It’s tough to claim one if greater than the other, but one that’s universally useful is the Birchwood Casey IPSC target. They represent a competition target but are very versatile.
On the outside, you have roughly a man-shaped target. It’s perfect for self-defense training. You have A, B, C, and D zones inside the target. Each represents a zone within the target you should strive to hit. Regardless of the weapon or range, you can find a challenge with the target and its numerous small zones.
It’s the closest I can suggest to one target to rule them all! Plus, it’s affordable.
Advanced Range Gear
The above gear is all must-haves, but I want to leave you with a few pieces of equipment that can take you a little further in your range training.
The Mantis X10 can be used for both dry and live-fire scenarios. The Mantis X10 measures your shoot ability. It measures your trigger pull, your recoil impulse, your ability to holster and reholster, and so much more.
The Mantis X10 feeds this information to you via an app that delivers tons of objective data to help you improve. It’s like having your very own shooting coach with you at all times. Plus, you can track your training with rifles, shotguns, and pistols with the X10 model.
A Shot Timer – Competition Electronics Pocket Pro II Timer
Shot timers are a must-have tool for tactical and defensive training. They measure the speed at which you accomplish tasks. They are invaluable for running drills and a must-have for serious range work. They force you to perform to a standard of speed while targets force you to perform within an accuracy standard. Shot Timers detect shots and can measure your time to draw, the time between shots, time to complete a drill, and more.
I suggest the Pocket Pro II Timer. It’s been my go-to for well over two years now. It’s a simple, well-made tool that detects every shot I take. It’s rugged, and can take abuse, and provides simple and effective ergonomics that allows you to focus less on activating your timer and more on shooting.
Getting the most out of your range trip will involve proper planning. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Part of that planning is having a goal, and part of that training is being adequately prepared. Having the right gear ensures you’re prepared to train and will help you get the most out of your time at the range.
About the Author
My name is Brady Kirkpatrick, Founder of Gun Made, and I’ve been shooting for over fifteen years. In that time, I’ve learned the ins and outs of what you need to take to the range to be successful.