There are a lot of reasons people choose to go to a shooting range. For some professionals, such as police and military personnel, it’s vital to stay sharp and keep their shooting skills honed. There are also competitive shooters who’ve devoted themselves to the art of precision shooting.
Next, there are hunting enthusiasts looking to sight in their rifles for hunting season. Finally, you have pleasure shooters who just like to go out and fire a few rounds downrange for fun.
Regardless of why you’re going to the range, you need to make sure you have everything you need for your outing. The last thing you want to do is get to the shooting range and realize you’re missing essential items.
We’re here to help you make sure that doesn’t happen. Keep reading for the complete and only shooting range checklist you’ll ever need.
1. Gear Bag and Gun Cases
First, you need a convenient and comprehensive way to lug everything you need to shooting ranges and back. For your safety and the well-being of your firearms, make sure you use a gun case to transport each gun.
Some gun cases have extra storage pouches for things like targets, magazines, and ammo. However, this is hardly enough room to pack everything you need.
We also recommend investing in a quality gear bag designed specifically for shooting ranges and shooting accessories. You can find these at most sporting good stores, firearm websites, or on marketplaces like Amazon. Just make sure you get one big enough to carry all of your essentials.
2. The Firearms You Wish to Shoot
Next, and perhaps most importantly, you need to make sure you bring the firearms you intend to shoot at the range. Test firing a gun is impossible if you forget to bring it with you.
Even if your primary goal of going to the range is to sight in your hunting rifle, you may choose to bring a pistol and/or a shotgun for some recreational target shooting while you’re there.
3. Spare Magazines, Ammo, and Ammo Bags
One of the most tedious things about firing a gun at the range is taking breaks in between to reload your magazines. This is especially tedious if you have a happy trigger finger and like blowing through rounds for fun.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but if that’s you’re shooting style, you’re going to want to bring extra magazines. Load up three to four magazines at a time so you don’t have to take a break between each round of firing.
Obviously, you also need to bring all of the ammo you want to shoot. At some gun ranges, you’re responsible for cleaning up your spent rounds. If so, you’re going to want to bring an ammo bag to collect empty casings.
Personal protective equipment is some of the most important items you can bring to the gun range. This includes hearing protection and eye protection.
Hearing protection, such as foam earplugs or noise-canceling ear muffs are necessary to prevent damaging your hearing. However, you’ll also want to wear safety glasses or sunglasses to ensure you’re not getting gun powder residue in your eyes while shooting. Safety glasses can also prevent an ejected casing from hitting you in the eye.
5. Appropriate Clothing
Depending on what type of shooting range you’re going to, your dress attire will vary.
If you’re going to an outdoor shooting range, you’re going to want to dress for the weather. If it’s cold outside, dress in layers. If you start to get too warm, you can simply strip off the top layer.
If you’re shooting inside, you can be a little more relaxed about your dress code. However, we highly recommend wearing a high-collared top to prevent hot cases ejected from the firearm from finding their way into your shirt. Many shooters have been burned or scalded in this type of scenario.
Next, outdoor shooting ranges can be unpredictable. If it starts raining, you may choose to stick around. In this case, you’re going to want to bring rain gear to stay dry.
6. Lead Sled
If you’re not familiar with the term, a lead sled is a firearm mount used to help shooters sight-in long-range rifles. This weighted mount allows you to strap in your rifle and weigh down the base of the sled. This is essential for hunters and other long-range shooters looking to perfectly zero in their rifles.
7. Targets and Target Necessities
One of the biggest mistakes new shooters make is failing to bring enough targets. Once you start firing rounds downrange, you’ll see how quickly your targets get beat up. Then, it becomes difficult to see where your shots are landing.
Aside from plenty of targets, however, there are several other target necessities you need to bring. This includes:
- Duct tape
- Staple gun
- Colorful sharpies (to mark previous shots)
- Target stickers (to cover up previous shots)
Finally, some outdoor ranges don’t have target stands. Do some research to find out if you need to bring your own stand.
8. Gun Cleaning Kit
One of the most important things to know about firing a gun is that it’s messy. The interior of the firearm will be coated in gun powder residue. If you go too long without cleaning your weapon, it can lead to poor performance and malfunctions.
For some people, it’s best to clean their gun at the range immediately after firing. However, your gun cleaning kit may be necessary for other issues, such as barrel blockages, dirt, and other debris.
A multi-tool complete with pliers, multiple screwdriver heads, and a knife blade is necessary to make sure you have everything you need at the gun range. Gun blockages may require the assistance of pliers. Taking down targets may require a knife blade.
Additionally, many gun accessories like scopes, forend grips, laser, and flashlights require a flathead screwdriver for securing or removal.
10. First-Aid Kit
Next, you’ll want to bring an outdoor first-aid kit to handle any accidents or injuries. For example, as noted above, it’s not uncommon for a hot casing to burn unexpecting shooters. Having ointment on hand will be beneficial.
You may also cut yourself, trip over rocks at an outdoor range, or pinch your hand in the slide of your pistol. Though painful, none of these events are likely to make you stop shooting. However, you also can’t be bleeding all over your firearms.
Finally, we also recommend carrying a snake-bit kit in your first-aid gear. If you’re at an outdoor shooting range in a place where rattlesnakes or other poisons snakes are, you can’t be too careful.
11. Gun Holsters and Magazine Pouches
Depending on what types of guns you’re shooting, you may need to bring extra gear. For example, if you’re shooting your pistol and don’t want to have to set your gun down every time you’re adjusting targets or reloading magazines, you’ll want a holster.
If you’re practicing tactical shooting drills, such as reloading, you’ll also want to bring magazine pouches. Some holsters come with a magazine pouch attached.
However, those are impractical for speed reloads since the spare magazine is on your shooting arm side. Therefore, we recommend getting a double or triple magazine pouch that can be mounted on your non-firing side.
12. Food and Water
Some people can spend all day at the gun range. If you fall into this category, you’re going to want to bring plenty of food and water with you to stay hydrated and energized. Water is especially important at outdoor shooting ranges prone to hot temperatures.
Being dehydrated or low on energy can make you shaky, which will inhibit your accuracy. Some people even start to feel sick or lightheaded if they have low blood sugar.
13. Binoculars, Spotting Scope, and Range Finder
If you’re sighting in a rifle or planning on doing some long-range target shooting, you need to bring binoculars or a spotting scope. You need to see where your shots are falling without walking hundreds of yards to the target between shots.
For serious shooters, you may also want to bring a range finder to unmarked shooting ranges. A range finder will tell you how far away your target is which will dictate how you adjust your scope.
Finally, when going to the shooting range, there will be a variety of random miscellaneous items you need to bring. For example, if you’re shooting outdoors, bring sunscreen to prevent getting burned. It may also be a good idea to bring bug spray.
If you’re going to be taking shots from the prone position (lying on your stomach), it is wise to bring a mat, especially if you’re outside. Finally, keep in mind that outdoor shooting can be dirty. Bring a few rags in case you need to clean mud, dirt, or dust off one of your guns.
This list can be difficult to keep track of. We recommend writing it down or keeping int logged away on a notepad or tablet. If you need an affordable tablet, check out these Black Friday door-busters now.
Heading Out to the Shooting Range?
If you’re planning on spending a day or afternoon at the shooting range, make sure you bring everything you need. Some people drive multiple hours to get to their favorite ranges. It would be terrible to leave something behind.
We hope our all-inclusive shooting range checklist helped. And if you’re looking for more tips and advice, check out some of our other articles before you go. Our blog is dedicated to helping people streamline their lives for greater productivity, convenience, and success.