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A man at a shooting range trying out his shooting gear.

Beginners Guide to Shooting Range Gear

Stepping into the world of shooting sports can be exciting and overwhelming due to the variety of gear available. To help, this guide lays out the must-have items that form the foundation of any successful range day to keep your visits to the range safe and rewarding. 

Must-Have Shooting Range Gear

To create a safe and productive experience at the shooting range, it’s important to equip yourself with the right gear to build your shooting range kit. 

Ammunition and Magazines

A sufficient supply of ammunition and multiple magazines (if applicable) ensures you can maximize your time at the range without frequent reloading breaks. 

Just note that some shooting ranges restrict the type of ammo you’re allowed to bring. For instance, some ranges don’t allow steel ammo or ammo that could damage the range or start fires. So always check with the range beforehand.

  • Consider bringing more ammo than you think you’ll need, as it’s better to have too much than too little. 
  • Use high-quality, reliable ammunition to reduce the risk of misfires and jams.

Cleaning Kit

A well-maintained firearm is essential for safety, accuracy, and longevity. Regular cleaning after range sessions prevents the build-up of residues and keeps your firearm operating smoothly and reliably.

  • A comprehensive cleaning kit should include brushes, a cleaning rod, solvent, lubricant, and specific caliber or gauge patches. 

Check out Essential Tools and Tricks for Cleaning Firearms for a deeper dive into gun cleaning.

Ear Protection

The sound of gunfire can cause immediate and permanent hearing damage without proper ear protection. High-quality ear protection safeguards your hearing and enhances your focus and performance by minimizing distractions.

  • Look for adjustable earmuffs or soft foam earplugs designed for shooting sports that can dampen the loud noise of gunfire while allowing you to hear conversations and range commands. 

Eye Protection

Safety glasses are a non-negotiable item at the range. They protect your eyes from hazards such as ricocheting fragments, flying debris, and direct impacts. 

  • When selecting eye protection, ensure it meets the standards for ballistic resistance. 
  • Opt for lenses that offer clarity and don’t distort your vision. 
  • Also consider anti-fog coatings to maintain visibility under various conditions.

IFAK

Also, bring an individual first aid kit (IFAK) tailored to address gunshot wounds and other emergencies. Familiarize yourself with the use of each item and consider taking a first aid course focused on gunshot injuries. 

Safety is paramount, and being prepared for the worst-case scenario is a responsibility every shooter should take seriously.

  • Your kit should include tourniquets, pressure bandages, antiseptic wipes, and medical gloves. 

Read Battle Belt Essentials: IFAK for a detailed shooting range first aid kit breakdown.

Maintenance Kit

Beyond cleaning, routine maintenance is crucial to keep your firearms in top condition. Keeping these tools on hand helps you address any issues during your range visit, preventing malfunctions and ensuring consistent performance.

  • A maintenance kit might include tools for adjusting sights, tightening screws, and applying lubricant to moving parts. 

Targets

While many ranges provide targets, bringing your own allows you to choose designs that match your training objectives, whether precision shooting, speed drills, or scenario-based practice. 

But always check with your shooting range to verify what type of targets they allow. Some have restrictions on metal targets or particular target outlines.

  • Paper targets are the most common, but reactive targets that move or make a sound when hit can provide instant feedback.

Nice-to-Have Shooting Range Gear

While the essentials cover what you need to ensure safety and basic functionality at the shooting range, there are several items that, while not strictly necessary, can enhance your shooting experience.

Battle Belt

A Blue Alpha battle belt for a beginner's shooting range gear

A well-designed battle belt provides a convenient way to carry additional tactical gear and accessories such as magazines, holsters, and tools on your person. It’s particularly useful during dynamic shooting drills or competitions where mobility and quick access to equipment are crucial. 

  • Look for a sturdy belt that resists wear and tear for long-term reliability.
  • Modular attachment points like MOLLE or hook-and-loop panels allow for customizing gear placement based on your shooting activities. 
  • Ensure the belt fits comfortably, especially when loaded with equipment, to avoid hindrance during movement. 

For example, Blue Alpha’s Battle Belt Lite is specifically crafted to support shooters in dynamic drills and competitions, offering sturdy construction, modular attachment points for customization, and a comfortable fit even when fully loaded with gear. Its design ensures long-term reliability and ease of movement, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to enhance their range experience. 

Brass Catcher

A brass catcher is a convenient accessory that attaches to your firearm to collect ejected casings as you shoot. 

  • It saves time on cleanup and prevents the loss of reusable brass, especially if you reload your own ammunition. 
  • A brass catcher is an excellent solution for those who shoot in areas where leaving spent casings is considered poor range etiquette.

Magazine Loader

A magazine loader is a simple yet incredibly effective tool that can save your thumbs from fatigue and soreness (especially during long shooting sessions). It allows for quick and easy loading of magazines by reducing the time spent on this task.

  • A good quality magazine loader is compatible with various calibers and magazine styles, making it a versatile addition to your range gear.

Range Bag

A well-organized range bag is indispensable for storing all your gear and accessories neatly and easily accessible. A durable, spacious, and comfortable-to-carry range bag ensures you have everything within reach for a productive day at the range.

  • Look for a range bag with multiple compartments and pockets designed to hold everything from ear and eye protection to spare magazines and personal items. 

Rifle Case

Transporting your rifle safely and securely is crucial, making a high-quality rifle case an important piece of gear. 

  • Whether you prefer a hard case for maximum protection or a soft case for easier carrying, ensure it has adequate padding to protect your firearm from bumps and scratches. 
  • Features like lockable zippers and additional storage pockets for accessories can also be beneficial.

Shooting Mat

A shooting mat can significantly increase comfort for shooters who practice prone or long-distance shooting. 

  • Look for a mat that offers sufficient padding to cushion hard surfaces and water-resistant materials to keep you dry in damp conditions. 
  • Some mats even fold up into compact sizes for easy transport.
  • Additional features like built-in storage pockets can keep small items within reach while shooting.

The Key to a Rewarding Range Experience

A man at the shooting range wearing his shooting gear.

As you grow in your shooting journey, you’ll find which gear suits your specific needs, helping you refine your kit and skills.

Remember, being well-prepared enhances your shooting experience and contributes to the safety and enjoyment of those around you.

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