This month, Law Enforcement Technology considers what each of us should have in our range bag. I knew I would get a dozen different opinions from my firearms instructor friends on this topic. The common answer: it depends on where one is training, and on what one is training for. I started out with my short list, but the list grew longer and longer the more I thought about it.
First, we need to start with the range bag itself. It has to carry all the necessary items for a good shooting session. It has to be durable enough to be dragged out of a pickup bed or across a concrete range floor and still protect its contents. It has to have carrying options like handles and a shoulder strap. It should have enough utility to keep backup ammo in the patrol car for a prolonged incident. The logical choice is Brownell’s Signature Series Shooting Bag. This is a medium sized bag as far as range bags go. It has a double zipper top which allows the entire main compartment to be displayed. This compartment has dividers for shooters who keep their cartridges in one side and throw their brass in the other. Side compartments hold cleaning equipment and training devices.
When I’m headed to my shooting bay, I am generally carrying portable target stands, a carbine case and photo equipment. I need to be able to sling my range over the back and out of the way. Sometimes, it is the only rifle rest or pistol rest available, lest I hike back to my vehicle. The Brownell’s Signature Series Range Bag works for this.
I have two training devices that generally stay with me on the range all the time. One is an ASP Red Gun, the other is a Crosman pellet gun. They sit side-by-side in the bag. The shotgun shell loops in my Brownell’s Signature Series Shooting Bag hold some slugs and several CO2 Powerlets. When I need to teach new techniques, I start with the Red Gun, then follow through with the Crosman. After that it’s live ammo.
Some of the items in my bag are simple. It’s a no-brainer to carry a Sharpie to mark targets (for target analysis) and range training items. I also put my name on the bottom of my magazines. I recommend carrying a silver Sharpie as it writes clearly on matte black items.
Other items might need a little explanation. Many of my friends carry nail polish in their bags—not the clear stuff, but something bright and fashionable. When a shooter uses any kind of optic, a drop of polish on any knob or screw will ensure it stays where it needs to stay. What’s the reason for the bright color? Any changes will crack the polish. The bright color makes the crack more obvious.
I always have a few Ziploc baggies on-hand because I keep my brass after I pick it up. These are also great for keeping small parts together when field stripping guns.
A Pact timer is a staple for anyone doing any type of skill improvement drill. For general use, I like the Pact Club Timer III. I use a timer for my shooting in the same manner I use a GPS heart rate monitor for running and cycling. It’s a simple way to monitor improvement. As you know, a Pact timer records multiple shots and can be used for a variety of timing tasks.
I used Safariland’s new 7TS holster, my Glock 22 with a Lone Wolf Distributors .357 SIG barrel. The 7TS has a locking system (The ALS) and I was shooting with shooters with simple scabbards. Could this be one of the fastest duty holsters ever? We’ll have to explore this in 2014.
Medical Kit: Chinook LEMK-PO
I talked to Mark Givens of Chinook who told me the overall medical plan is the most important component of range training preparation. This includes having someone designated to preform care and having communications support. The type of evacuation support, type of training and overall terrain conditions will often dictate the type of medical kit one carries to the range. Givens wasn’t the first person to tell me a tourniquet and tools to control major hemorrhage should be in every kit. I used to carry equipment that can be employed to make a field expedient tourniquet. Now most experts will tell you that every law enforcement officer should carry a tourniquet.