In 1992, The FBI Training Academy adopted 5.11 Tactical’s original pants as its training pant. Since that time, 5.11 has endeared itself to law enforcement, operators, and prepared individuals with its line of clothing and gear developed with purpose. One such item is the Range Ready bag, built with input from instructors and professional shooters. Complete with removable ammo tote and brass storage, the bag is built to last with 600 denier polyester construction and YKK zippers all around. Segregated, padded storage for multiple pistols as well as a drop-down front flap that stores eight mags and a slew of custom-tailored pockets ensures that there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place—all for $100.
You only have one set of eyes, so you would be well-served to protect them. Having said that, this isn’t a place to pinch pennies. Luckily, a good set of eye protection will last a long time if properly cared for. A complete system, like the Tombstone from Oakley Standard Issue, has you covered day or night with interchangeable lenses that swap out as easily as the magazine on your favorite handgun. Oakley worked with top marksmen to identify the problems they encountered with conventional eyewear, with responses focusing around field of view and contrast. Using eye-tracking technology, Oakley’s engineers identified the key zones in shooters’ field of view and created a lens that allows for 120 degrees of vision. They also incorporated PRIZM technology for enhanced contrast, and decrease eye fatigue and strain. While you can’t put a price tag on your sight, Oakley can put one on these: $303.
There are a few different ways to go with hearing protection: in-ear or muffs. I’ve always been a fan of the in-ear style as they don’t get in the way when forming a cheek weld and take up little space in your range bag. The Surefire EP3 Sonic Defenders are a great choice, retailing for $14 a pair. Removable filter caps add additional noise reduction when needed, and a removable lanyard keeps them handy if you decide to pull them out.
If you prefer a muff style, the Walker’s Game Ear Razor Patriot Series Ultralow-profile muffs represent a good way to get into the world of electronic hearing protection without breaking the bank. Omni-directional microphones pick up and amplify sounds when needed, but cut out in fractions of a second to provide noise reduction. Complete with an American Flag on the strap, these versatile muffs retail for $80.
When it’s time to go long we often find ourselves going prone. Of course, we don’t mind a little mud, and frozen ground has never deterred you from enjoying time at the range. But that doesn’t mean you have to endure such things when there are mats available to increase your comfort without taking up too much space when not in use. The Voodoo Tactical Roll Up Padded Shooting Mat is long on comfort but short on cost. As the name implies, it rolls up into a compact bundle, secured by quick-release buckles. Fold-out wings offer protection for your elbows, and a built-in pocket holds your data book or DOPE card. $72.
Sand bags should be considered standard equipment for the range. Not much had changed for years, until Armageddon Gear came out with their aptly-named Game Changer bag. The Game Changer provides stability not only at the table, but from barricades, fenceposts, and window openings.
Many ranges are marked so that the targets are all at known distances. This is great if you only use such ranges. Also, sometimes the 1,000-yard line isn’t actually at 1,000 yards. For those instances, a rangefinder is invaluable. Models such as the Sig Sauer KILO2200MR can provide you with accurate distances out to two miles. The KILO2200MR has tighter laser beam collimation and an upgraded milling reticle with smaller aiming circle for more precise ranging performance at extreme distances. All KILO’s feature the Lightwave DSP ranging engine with HyperScan with 4x per second range updates in scan mode. For further accuracy, choose from line of sight or angle-modified range detection, displayed with angle of incline/decline. $509.
If you’re going to reach out and touch, you’ve got to learn to play the wind. The first step in that process is getting an accurate read on the prevailing environmental conditions. The Kestrel 5700 Elite Shooter’s Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics Technology measures up to 15 environmental parameters and allows users to select from either G1 or G7 ballistic coefficients (BC) when calculating a trajectory at the range. The handy, portable meter also offers the “Litz” measured BC library of over 225 bullets, which is considered to be the most extensive source of measured data for modern small arms bullets. Users can also train the Kestrel Shooters Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics software to match a specific rifle based on observed impacts at long range with the ballistics calibration feature, which offers even more accurate data points for users to rely on. With easy access to more accurate BC data, shooters have everything they need to make a much more precise trajectory calculation in a compact and durable Kestrel meter design. Units range from $609 to $709.
Seeing hits—and misses—is crucial to improving your shooting. While you may not need any help on the pistol firing line, identifying impacts out past 50 yards is exceptionally difficult with the naked eye. This is why a spotting scope should be considered a must-have for the range; simply set up the tripod and easily verify each shot. A high-end spotter, without the high-end price tag, the new-for-2018 Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope series stands poised to dominate as a best-in-class-optic. Packed with features and incredible optical performance hunters and shooters are sure to appreciate, these scopes bring far off subjects in for a closer look— and do so with impressive clarity, resolution and color fidelity. The ultra-smooth, fluid, and sleek helical-style focus dials in your image for ultra-sharp viewing, as well as keeps the scope’s profile trim for ultimate packability. Take to the range with a Viper HD, starting at $849.
The utility of a portable gun cleaning kit is obvious and indispensable. While full-length rigid cleaning rods are great, they really don’t travel well. And you would likely need a full-size duffle bag to tote all of the cleaning stuff on your work bench. Inspired by a fall into knee-deep mud with her Grandfather’s rifle, 16-year-old Doreen Garrett vowed to create a cleaning kit that could go afield without weighing her down. She launched OTIS Technology in 1985, using a flexible coated cable to keep the kit pocket-sized and clean firearms from breech to muzzle, keeping fouling away from moving parts. Members of our nation’s military units have appreciated the unique design, taking them downrange often enough that many implements carry a GSA catalog number. Kits start around $50 and go up from there.
Packed with 37 precision-made, mission-specific tools for all hunters and shooters, the Gun Tool Max from Real Avid repairs, customizes, and makes disassembly and reassembly fast and easy. Included are needle-nose pliers with carbide cutters, a universal choke tube wrench, locking driver, and a heavy-duty stainless steel knife. The MOLLE-compatible ballistic nylon sheath carries 12 additional bits for added functionality. It’s everything you need to maximize your gun’s potential, all for $60.
If your mother taught you anything, it’s that you should always pick up after yourself. Proper range etiquette dictates that you should police your brass. And if you reload, you don’t want to lose valuable brass or cases being deformed when they fall to the ground. It’s simple enough with bolt actions—just grab the empty as you jack the next round in. But things are more difficult with semiautos, with some ARs tossing empties farther than a Bill’s fan three hours into a tailgate. Models such as this one from Caldwell mount easily with a hook and loop fastener, and empty quickly thanks to zippered bottom. With a suggested retail price of only $16, it’s easy on the wallet as well.
We all love time at the range—there is just something about the smell of gunpowder and ringing of steel. Unfortunately for most of us, these trips always seem to be too short with the time constraints of the daily grind always finding a way to ruin our fun. A few key pieces of range gear can help maximize the limited time we do have to enjoy throwing lead downrange.
The following pieces of range gear are favorites of ours, and we think they will benefit new and experienced shooters alike. Many of these items are must-haves—like eye and ear protection—while others serve to enhance your accuracy, increase your enjoyment, and possibly eliminate down time. Happy shooting!
For more information about the range gear featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
5.11 Tactical Range Ready Bag
Oakley SI Tombstone Spoil Prizm 3 Lens Array
SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders
Walker’s Game Ear Razor Patriot Series
Voodoo Tactical Roll Up Padded Shooting Mat
Armageddon Gear Game Changer
Sig Sauer KILO2200MR
Kestrel 5700 Elite Meter with Applied Ballistics
Vortex Viper HD Spotting Scope
Otis 5.56mm/9mm Cleaning System
Real Avid Gun Tool Max
Caldwell AR-15 Brass Catcher
The Army's M17 Modular Handgun System got put to the test in an Air Force...
by Tactical-Life / Dec 27, 2017