Choosing a shooting range bag
Choosing a good shooting range bag is like choosing a good purse or a good wallet: it’s difficult. There are plenty of options out there for you, the hard part is making the choice. A question to make the choice a little easier for you is this: how organized am I?
If you’re the kind of person that has a place for everything and has everything in its place, then a range bag with a lot of pockets in all different sizes might work for you. An example of this type of bag is a 5.11 Tactical Range Ready bag, which I found for sale at 511Tactical.com (pictured at left). But, if you’re the kind of person that can find everything easier when it’s all spread out on the floor of your room or piled up on the bar in the kitchen, then maybe a range bag like Uncle Mike’s Deluxe Range Bag, which features a large, open center area with few pockets would work best for you. I found this bag, (pictured to the lower right) for sale at MidwayUSA.
The second question you have to ask yourself when shopping for a range bag is: what do I plan to put in it? Most people keep their hearing and eye protection in their bag. But not everyone carries their ammo or their handguns to be fired that day in the same bag as their safety, comfort and personal gear. If you do want to keep your ammo in your range bag, be sure to look for a bag with a sturdy strap that won’t come loose due to the extra weight in the bag as well as a sturdy bottom and reinforced seams throughout. If you plan on taking your handguns with you to the range by placing them inside of your range bag, decide if you need a range bag with built-in pockets for them or if you will be using the plastic cases the guns came with or purchased separately bags to keep them protected from the other items in your bag.
Do not take handguns with you to the range loose in your range bag. You can damage the firearm this way and you can end up with something down the barrel that’s not supposed to be there. If you pull the trigger on an obstructed barrel, you can blow up your gun. The choice of how you’re carrying your handguns to the range: in the range bag or separately, and in built-in pockets or in purchased separately cases is an important safety decision.
You also have to decide how much you want to spend and if you want your bag to match your gun cases and/or your hearing and eye protection. If you want your gear to match, consider purchasing everything at the same time and from a popular, long-lived manufacturer. If you have to buy another component later, you want to make sure the company you’re going with for your uniformed look is still around when you need to buy from them. If your budget forbids you a complete shopping spree now, try to stick with a reputable company and with a line in their product catalog that they’re planning on keeping around. Hopefully you will be able to secure your complete set without experiencing a discontinued line or an out-of-business manufacturer.
Beretta makes a couple of different options for you who find matching gear important. First, is their Beretta Gold Cup Package= which includes a range bag and its coordinating accessory: a long gun case. I found this set (pictured at upper left) for sale at NICA Shooting. Another option with Beretta is to buy different types of the same style of bag from them or one of their retailers. For example, I found, at NICA Shooting again, another style of range bag by them and discovered two different long gun cases which matched perfectly: the Beretta HP Small Range Bag, Beretta HP Takedown Shotgun Case and Beretta HP Shotgun Case. Mizmac has some matching rifle and pistol bags for sale in various colors and fabrics (pictured at right). You’d have to purchase a coordinating range bag separately, but it just might be worth it!
Clay shooters have matching bag options too. Cabela’s stocks a Browning Claymaster Shooting Bag, Browning Claymaster Box Shell Carrier and a Browning Claymaster Shell Pouch which are all made in the same fabric and style (not pictured).
These options can be kind of pricey. If affording a range bag is out of the question for you right now, remember that your range bag doesn’t have to be an actual range bag. For example, I am using a gear bag by Cabela’s. It works. Unofficial range bags may wear out sooner, but they’ll get the job done, at least in the short term.