Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five Pieces of Gear for an Individual First Aid Kit
- Top Five Outside-the-Waistband Holsters
- And Top Five Magazine Holsters
- Top Five Night Sights for Handguns
- Top Five .38 Special Self-Defense Rounds
Going to the range is nothing if it’s not getting to that one crucial point where you’ve followed all the gun safety rules and you’ve got sights on target and trigger finger moving to trigger. And then, squeeze… But going to the range has those other crucial elements of going — which means not only having all your gear in one place but also getting all your gear from where you are to wherever your range is.
We all know about the gear that needs to be hauled to the range: Of course, there’s a gun. Or two. Or five! And then there’s ammo. And don’t forget eye and ear protection. If you’re outdoors, you might want a baseball cap too. What else? Spare magazines, a few tools, a small flashlight, a cleaning kit (which can include a lot of stuff in and of itself,) and a rag or towel. How about a notebook and pen to take notes on how you shoot, the types of ammo used, details about stoppages, etc.? A cleaning solution for your hands might be smart too. And a water bottle. And maybe an extra one or two of some of these things for the friend who seems to forget his or hers…
Range bags run the gamut from duffle bags to shoulder bags to complex bags designed to handle all this gear. Sure, you can get along without a range bag, but even a simple range bag can make a trip to the range all the more productive, organized, efficient and fun. With that, here are my top five range bags.
1. Galls Bail Out Range Bag, $24.99
At the lower end of the price spectrum, Galls Bail Out Range Bag offers a simple but helpful solution for a trip to the range. It’s a great solution for a one-gun outing and it offers a great assortment of pockets. The main compartment measures 9.5 inches by 14 inches by 4 inches, which is plenty large for a gun rug, several boxes of ammo, a small cleaning kit and your eye and ear protection.
For maximum organization, store the smallish stuff in one of the four front pockets, back pockets or side pockets. The front pockets have the loop fabric so you can attach patches or other ID. All in all, you get 532 cubic inches of storage space with grab handles and a padded shoulder strap.
For more information visit Galls.com.
2. Plano X2 Tactical, $45
Here’s an interesting concept: A range bag that not only includes a pistol case and ammo can but also carries both of them (and more) in a single system. Don’t want to carry the ammo can or the pistol case? Then just take one or both out and use the remaining space and pockets for your gun and gear.
But the beauty of the system is how it accommodates the cases. Extra accessories can go in the two magazine pockets or the large side pocket or the back mesh pocket. Like the Galls bag, the Plano offers grab handles as well as a shoulder strap. You’ll recognize the size and shape of the ammo can, which is molded after the original .50-caliber ammo can (complete with brass-bailed latch and O-ring seal). The pistol case features a molded-in handle, heavy-duty latches and high-density interlocking foam inside.
For more information visit Planomolding.com.
3. Cabela’s Range Bag, $49.99
I have an early model Cabela’s range bag. Actually, I found it in the neighbor’s trash. At the time, I was in the market for a cheap range bag and, after I spotted it sitting at the curb next to a trash can, it took about half a second for me to decide to grab it. It served as my primary range bag for years, offering a padded sleeve for a pistol, a large main compartment for gear and ammo, side pockets for cleaning equipment and front pockets for other smallish gear.
I’ve hauled gear weighing far more than the bag was made for, but as a testament to its quality, it has held together very well. I still have it, in fact. If I could replace it, I’d get a new Cabela’s Range Bag, which looks just as durable and 10 times as functional. Constructed with 600-denier high-density polyester, it will hold up to just about anything. Besides myriad pockets, this range bag offers a fold-out spent-brass compartment with supports and a detachable rangefinder pouch with tool loops. Very handy! Measuring 15 inches long by 13 inches high by 10 inches deep, it’s the right size for toting a lot of gear but will fit nicely in your trunk.
For more information visit Cabelas.com.
4. Rothco Range and Go Specialist, $97.99
Rothco’s 16-inch by 9-inch by 11-inch range bag is a well-appointed carrying system with multiple gear organizer pockets perfect for magazines, tools and whatever else. The front pouch includes an ID holder sleeve and gear stored inside the bag can be held in place using the integrated elastic loops.
Getting to the gear inside is easy too, thanks to the double zipper U-mouth. And securing the gear inside is possible because the zippers and pull handle can be locked. Grab handles and a shoulder strap round out this unique and functional range bag.
For more information visit Rothco.com.
5. GunCruzer Universal 5-Pack Quick Draw Handgun Case, $289
Here’s the solution for when you need five pistols to go to the range with you — securely. Protecting against theft and the environment, this hard case sports individual slots for the five guns you’re transporting. The slots will fit virtually all sizes of handgun. I’ve had small revolvers up to Government 1911s in there, along with extra magazines and ammo and other useful gear. Shuffle the foam a bit and you can fit even more.
This is a good-sized case: 20.25 inches long by 16.93 inches wide by 8.78 inches high with a weight of 11.2 pounds. It’s lockable and comes with a lifetime warranty. This is the way to transport multiple handguns, especially as checked luggage (and be sure to check each airline’s requirements before you travel). But even if you’re just going to a local range, it’s very handy to be able to deal with one case and be able to lock them all up at once.
For more information visit: Guncruzer.com.
Let us know how you haul your gear to and from the range — and any helpful tips for getting it done better!
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.