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5 Essential Range Day Tips

Range day should be a bright spot for any shooter. Who doesn't love hanging out with the crew, shooting guns, making slightly inappropriate jokes, and maybe even getting some good food and beer afterwards?

But there are also those days when nothing seems to go right - flakey friends, bad weather, forgotten gear, malfunctions, broken parts, and so on. Some of these fall outside of your control, but there are a number of things you can do to be more prepared for any situation. Here are 5 essential range day tips that will help you get the most out of your training. 

1. Have A Plan

Excitement starts to run high as soon as your feet hit the dirt - the brain seems to scream, "let's go!" But resist the urge to start mag-dumping rounds (and yes, there is a time and place for that). A good warm-up routine can go a long way, followed by some clear objectives like working on reloads, building data on a gun in 50-yard increments (out to 1000 yards), or shooting support-side only. Going in with a plan will ensure you get the most out of your time and make you a better shooter.

2. Know Your Gear

Range time is a valuable commodity that we can all use more of. So don't let your gear eat up those precious minutes. Do your prep work at home by making sure everything is setup and functioning correctly before heading out. 

3. Make A Checklist

This is one of those things you've probably put off forever. You've always meant to make one but never got around to it. Adding a solid checklist to your range routine can save you from numerous audible expletives, while you feverishly search around in your range bag for that one piece of crucial gear you forgot.

4. Bring Backup Ammo

Take the top two or three calibers you shoot and stick a box or two of that ammo deep down in your range bag. If you go to the range a lot, there's probably going to be a time when you forget to grab extra rounds (if this happens a lot, re-read tip No. 4). Having spare ammo hidden away can save unnecessary back-and-forth trips when you've gone through more brass than you originally planned. Just make sure to replenish the stash if you have to break into it.

5. Add Some Stress

Yup, you heard that right: Create some stressful situations. If you're at a range where you can shoot and move, incorporate some physical elements in your training that will raise your heart rate. You can even get elaborate with crossfit-style circuit workouts or just keep it simple with a set of burpees and some push-ups. This isn't just for the tactical crowd, either. Scrambling up a steep hill to get the right shot on a hunt isn't uncommon. So be ready by practicing with an elevated heart rate.

Essential Range Gear

The range bag is an ever-evolving piece of gear. Long gone are the days of lugging everything around in a duffle bag or regular backpack. You can now choose from a wide range of purpose-built bags that will store almost everything you need. We recently dumped out one of our range bags, and here's what we found:

  • Optics GO Range Bag
  • Electronic hearing protection
  • Foam ear plugs (foamies) - just in case your friends forget theirs
  • Two sets of shooting glasses - because you still might have those forgetful friends
  • Bandana - good for so many things
  • RX-1600i Rangefinder
  • Gold Ring 12-40x60 spotting scope
  • Small Magpul Daka pouch - pens, notepad, markers, business cards
  • Large Magpul Daka pouch - various tools, adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, hex keys, multi-tool
  • Bore snakes - various sizes
  • Small Holland's Field Bag
  • Extra magazines - various kinds
  • Extra batteries - various kinds
  • Safety stock of ammo - See tip #4
  • Heavy-duty stapler
  • Staples - duh
  • Extra bi-pod
  • Socket set - 1/4 inch drive
  • Tourniquet
  • Basic medical kit with quick clot
  • Scope mounting kit - bubble levels and ring wrench
  • Fix-it-sticks tool kit - with torque wrenches
  • Fix blade knife
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