Your Essentials Organized: Best Range Bag Reviews
If you are a casual shooter as most of us are and not an IPSC or IDPA competition shooter, then you may very well have never heard of a shooting range bag. However, even casual shooters can benefit from owning a purpose-specific range bag. How you might ask? Well, the answer to that question is transportation and organization. Because a range bag serves to organize and contain all of your firearms and shooting gear in a single, easy to transport, duffle bag, it makes a day at the shooting range a lot more convenient and thus, more enjoyable. Plus, it’s an excuse to purchase a new accessory for your firearms!
Shooting Range Bags: What Is a Range Bag & Why Should You Purchase
It’s important to acknowledge the functions of a range bag and whether purchasing one is a smart idea, all based on your day to day functions. Let’s look.
Transportation and Organization
Well, unlike a duffle bag or other general purpose bag, a shooting range bag is a purpose specific, heavy-duty, duffle bag designed to contain one or more handguns or rifles along with your shooting accessories. But, “won’t any duffle bag do” you might ask? Well, I suppose you could get by with a simple duffle bag or a similar, general purpose, bag but, a shooting range bag will serve the purpose far better because shooting range bags are specifically designed to organize a person’s firearms, ammunition, hearing protection, shooting glasses, spotting scope, ect. via external and interior pockets and padded, interior, dividers.
A range bag serves to contain and store all of the gear you need for a day at the shooting range; thus making it much easier to transport your firearms, ammunition, and shooting gear to and from the range. Plus, if you have all of your gear stored in a range bag, then, when you arrive at your shooting station, all of your gear will be readily at hand and easy to locate as opposed to digging through the disorganized pile you get when using a standard duffle bag.
Top Range Bag Brands
Consequently, my suggestion is that you purchase a quality range bag from a reputable manufacture such as GunMate, Smith and Wesson, Explorer, Blackhawk, or 5.11. They all make high quality and affordable bags meaning there is no reason to take a chance on an off-brand. The number of choices makes a shooter’s decision difficult, thus we’re helped organize the top range bags in reviews to help you make an informed decision.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 recommended range bags and backpacks:
GunMate Range Bag with Removable Hook and Loop Dividers
GunMate is always going to compete on price and that’s the biggest plus this bag has going for it. For less than $20, you can possess a 16″ W by 8″ H by 7″ D range bag, weighing under 2.5 lbs, with movable dividers and well padded throughout. It’s made to carry two pistols in zippered side compartments and it isn’t tight on space. The main and side compartments feature zippers with large eyelets on the tabs to make them lockable and keep your range gear secure.
There is quite a bit of space leftover for your eye and ear protection, ammo, and other necessities. The bag is made out of solid durable material and the zippers don’t feel like they are going to bust off as many zippers do after heavy usage. For the price it absolutely can’t be beat and would be a great starter bag for someone new to the range and definitely one on a budget. For more details on the GunMate Range Bag, check out our full and complete review.
Smith and Wesson M&P Pro Series Tactical Range Bag
When you think of this Smith & Wesson range bag, think of pockets, because you’re going to get plenty. If you’re into pockets and usually travel heavy and need the separate compartments, this is an ideal range bag for under $50. The tactical bag contains 10 internal magazine holders, 6 accessory pockets, and 2 interior handgun compartments. It’s not small on space either, measuring a cool 13″ W by 10″ H by 9″ D.
If you need to carry 2 or more handguns, this shooting range bag will do the trick because many owners have reported being able to store 5 and 6 handguns in here. It may limit your accessories a little, but it definitely can be done. The material used to construct the bag is 1200D Endura, well known as high quality. This bag is as versatile as they come and the range bag reviews say the same. To get a more in-depth review of this Smith & Wesson bag, read our full overview here.
BlackHawk Pistol Range Bag SPORTSTER Bag Black Nylon 74RB02BK
A pistol range bag that is not too big and not too small, but just right for a day at the range without overdoing it. Spacious enough for two pistols, this affordable range is made of durable 600 denier polyester and features MOLLE webbing. The bag is fitted with self-healing, heavy-duty, standard size coil zippers for adequate closure and safety of items.
Wraparound Tactical Web Handles ensure that the weight of the contents is safely contained, without giving away under the pressure. This ammo range bag also has enough room in exterior pockets to hold magazines, cleaning kits, or ear protection. Some owners do wish the pistol cases inside were a tad thicker and the inside contained compartments for all their gear, but all in all, Blackhawk is a brand you can trust, and the Sportster is no different. At under $25, it’s hard to turn away.
5.11 Tactical Range Ready Bag
The 5.11 company routinely reaches out to law enforcement and gun enthusiasts for feedback on how to improve their products. This Unisex Tactical Range Ready bag is no different as they compiled all the information they received to build a fully padded out, 600 denier polyester range bag. The removable tote and brass bag is a nice touch. There are a ton of pockets plus hidden padded internal side compartments to add more of your accessories.
A zippered and padded front organizer allows you to handle 8 magazines. The padded shoulder strap is more comfortable than most straps and are metal reinforced to keep from breaking. Multiple pockets keep ammo, firearms, and necessities neat and tidy. Sturdy, padded construction for longevity and protection of your expensive gear. You can read more about this tactical range bag as well as Patrol Ready range bag by 5.11 here.
Large Padded Deluxe Tactical Range Bag – Rangemaster Gear Bag Explorer
This is easily the most talked about range backpack on Amazon.com, with over 96% of owners giving this bag a four or five star rating, making it one of the best range bags money can buy. It’s universally loved, for one, due to the price. A $50 six hundred denier ballistic nylon range bag with seven compartments, 2 gun pouches, and sturdy zippers is rarely heard of, yet here it is. It’s completely adjustable to accommodate all your belongings and that in itself is a big win.
The internal dividers are soft and will keep your gear from getting mixed. The main inside pouch is plenty large to fit the wide variety of gear and guns your tactical range bag may run into. The outside pockets feature multiple internal magazine pouches big enough to hold any standard pistol magazines. A neat feature is the two outside compartments have the ability to zip all the way down, giving you an area to place your weapons or material you want to keep clean.
How Do You Choose a Range Bag?
However, if you do decide to purchase a shooting range bag, then you will discover that there are several different types of them and thus, attempting to choose one among the many brands and styles can be a little overwhelming. But, to start with, be aware that range bags are divided into different categories which are specifically designed for different purposes such as:
Each variation is purpose specific. Thus, while both pistol and rifle range bags range from the simple to the complex depending on your needs, competition range bags are specifically designed to meet the needs of the competition shooter and tactical range bags are specifically designed to meet the needs of military and police shooters.
Therefore, when choosing a range bag:
- The first step is to decide what particular type of firearm and shooting sport you need it for and then choose from amongst bags in that category. Then, once you have determined what type of range bag you need, there are a number of other factors to consider before settling on a particular one.
- Thus, the second step to purchasing a range bag is to look at both the exterior and interior design. In looking at range bags within the category you choose, you will immediately notice that they range from the very simple to the very complex and the most sophisticated models have numerous, purpose specific, exterior pockets as well as padded, interior, pockets and/or dividers. Therefore, the question to ask yourself is just how much gear do you have to carry and then choose a particular model of rang bag accordingly. For instance, at a bare minimum, you will need your firearm, appropriate ammunition, hearing protection, shooting glasses, and targets of some sort (skeet & trap clays make excellent handgun targets!).Plus, depending on the type of shooting you are engaging in, you may also need extra magazines or speedloaders, a pistol or rifle rest, a spotting scope & tripod, and push pins or a staple gun to attach paper targets.
- Third, note the materials the bag is made from. For instance, some range bags are made from nylon fabric, others are made from cotton canvas, while still others are made from leather or a combination of leather and either fabric. While leather is obviously the fanciest material, it is also the most expensive. Canvas on the other hand is very durable but, it absorbs moisture while nylon is both very durable and water resistant; plus, it is relatively inexpensive. Therefore, you will need to choose the material the range bag is made from according to your taste and budget.
- Furthermore, note the quality of the construction. For instance, are the seams even and well stitched? Are the key stress points reinforced? Is the bottom of the bag sturdy? After all, a range bag may be called upon to carry quite a bit of weight which places a lot of stress on the fabric and the stitching and thus, the quality of the bag’s construction can provide you valuable insight to its durability.
Therefore, in my opinion, any shooter traveling to the shooting range with firearm, ammunition, and even the bare minimum of shooting gear can benefit from owning a purpose specific range bag to organize, store, and transport their shooting gear. Plus, with average prices ranging from $15.00 to $150.00, you are sure to be able to find a range bag that fits both your needs and your budget.
Standard black or beige not your color? How about our list of pink range bags here.
Here is an excellent video of the important elements to include in your range bag, step by step. I have also created a post on the top 10 important range bag essentials you should have at all times.