If you’re still hauling your gear around in an old gym duffel, it may be time to consider getting a proper range bag.
A dedicated range bag isn’t strictly necessary for hauling your guns and gear to go shoot, but it can make your life a lot easier. Sure, you can live without one, but after using one you’ll understand just how much better range bags are for toting around gun-related items than the generic duffel you’ve probably been using for ages.
Why is that?
Modern range bags tend to be built a little stronger than typical duffle or athletic bags. Common construction materials are 600D, 800D and 1000D (“D” stands for denier, the measurement of the linear mass of thread; a single strand of silk is 1D) nylon with heavier stitching of the bag and straps.
The extra durability results in extra longevity, a good trait to have for an item that's often abused.
Range bags are also sized around guns. Pistol and long gun bags are usually the right size rather than just being a size.
Additionally, range bags almost always have additional compartments and pockets that are uniquely useful for shooting such as mag pouches and the like. A soft-sided rifle bag can also double as a handy shooting mat. As a bonus, they often have smaller organizational pockets that help ensure that you’re never without the small tools or other items you need in the field.
Also keep in mind that if you use a regular duffel bag as both a range bag and as all-purpose portable storage, you might forget to fully unpack it. That's how guns and ammo get forgotten about, and you wouldn't want to forget it's in a bag you use as a carry-on. The TSA is getting increasingly less amused by those who forget such things.
Types Of Range Bags
Range bag styles can be broken down into a few general categories.
Duffle Range Bag
Duffel-style range bags speak for themselves. They’re typically square in design with carry handles (often with a carry strap) and several compartments for carrying extra gear. A lot of this kind of range bag will be optimized around pistols with magazine compartments.
Backpack Range Bag
Backpack-style bags, including both larger packs and sling packs, are also common. Be careful, however; some are just generic “tactical” packs that are sold as range bags but are otherwise no different than the thousands of other examples of the exact same white-label bags that internet retailers get from places like Ali Baba.
Then we have pistol bags. Many are flat zippered cases, kind of like tennis racquet covers or laptop bags. Often enough, you'll find one compartment that's made for carrying a handgun (or two) with some retention straps and an external compartment or two, possibly with some magazine sleeves as well.
Then you have soft cases for long guns. They can be made for carrying a single long gun (shotgun or rifle, though they are far more commonly designed for carbines) or perhaps two, with an internal divider.
What Should I Look For In A Gun Range Bag?
The first thing you should look for is a range bag that fits your needs. The more guns and the more elaborate your range gear, the more bag you're going to require.
Do you just take a single gun out plinking? You probably don't need anything fancy.
Practicing for single stack AND limited in USPSA? You probably need more. Putting in work to dominate 3 Gun or 2 Gun? You're going to need more bag.
It's also a good idea to consider what kind of guns you shoot the most. If you shoot way more pistol than anything else, get a range bag optimized for a pistol shooter. The best of these feature mag pouches, a generous compartment for ammunition boxes and a good carry strap for when it's fully packed.
For rifle cases, make sure it fits the rifles or shotguns that you're going to carry in it. A lot of rifle cases are made for carbines, so your bolt-action rifle or shotgun may not fit. Therefore, you want to buy a soft case for the longest gun you're going to put in it.
Your typical 16-inch AR-15 is about 35 inches in overall length fully extended and about 32 inches collapsed, while the typical bolt-action rifle with a 22-inch barrel is around 42 inches overall and the typical shotgun with a field barrel (26 inches to 28 inches) is up to 49 inches in length. Therefore, look for a long gun bag that will accommodate your long guns.
If you're going to use your rifle case as a shooting pad, also make sure to select a bag with thick padding.
If you're going to carry your range bag with any kind of weight in it or for any kind of distance, durable shoulder straps are a necessity as well.
So, consider what your needs are and choose appropriately. Pick a bag that's going to be a benefit to you…and it's a good idea to get one that isn't so flimsy that it's going to tear apart after a few uses.
So…what are some great range bags to get?
Top 10 Range Bags:
Magpul DAKA Double Pistol Case
Released in 2022, the DAKA Double Pistol Case is a smart, minimalist, discreet and durably constructed soft case for two pistols. It has two pistol pouches that can hold pistols as large as a 1911, snag-free foam padding and an accessory pouch for magazines with eight retention bands for them.
MSRP is $59.95.
Savior Double Rifle Bag
The Savior Double Rifle Bag will carry up to two long guns with an internal divider and retention straps for both guns. It's available in multiple widths, from 36 inches to 55 inches, so you can order one to fit nearly any long gun including field shotguns.
The bag includes dual shoulder straps if needed or carry handle straps if not. Along with the internal compartment, it has five external compartments including three large flap-close pockets and two slim zippered pockets on the outside, with internal pockets that can hold two pistols.
Prices start around $65, depending on the color (black, OD green, gray, FDE and multiple camo patterns) and size. It's an awful lot of utility for the money.
Allen Competitor Range Bag
The Allen Competitor Premium Molded Lockable Range Bag has an enormous name, but is a high-quality range bag with generous storage, durable construction and a lot of features.
It has a large main compartment which includes a removable tray bag with carry handles and a polymer top with a lockable zipper. It has four external compartments, two with polymer shells and two without, with magazine sleeves in the two side pouches.
It also includes a roll-up mat that you can set a long gun on. MSRP is $95.
TideWe Tactical Range Backpack
If you prefer the backpack style, the TideWe Tactical Range Backpack has a lot to offer.
The core of the bag is a divided compartment accessed through the front of the bag with five zippered pouches with internal dividers. There are seven external zippered pouches with organizers (including magazine pouches), a top compartment for ammo and even a dedicated pouch for eye pro.
You can choose khaki or black for $90.
5.11 Range Ready Trainer Bag
The 5.11 Range Trainer Bag is a large (50-liter) duffel for competition, training or longer-lasting range sessions with generous storage for ammo and other supplies. Dimensions are 21 inches long, 10 inches tall and 14.5 inches deep, so it has plenty of onboard capacity.
The bag has three side compartments, external MOLLE webbing as well as internal organization for magazines and a removable internal divider. It has both carry straps as well as a removable shoulder sling. You have your choice of kangaroo (FDE) or black. MSRP is $145.
Blackhawk Sportster Pistol Range Bag
The Sportster from Blackhawk is a small duffel-style pistol bag, perfect for minimal one-pistol range trips. It has two storage compartments, one main and an exterior compartment that can hold one pistol plus a few magazines.
Sturdy 600D nylon, a dual-zipper main compartment, and both carry handles and a removable shoulder strap. If you just need a small bag for one handgun, a few boxes of ammo, eyes and ears and some magazines, it's a great bag for less than $35.
Uncle Mike's Sportsmen's Range Bag
The conventional wisdom is that you shouldn't carry in an Uncle Mike's, and while that may be true for holsters, there’s nothing wrong with the company’s range bags. The Sportsmen's Range Bag is a good option for a cheap duffel-style bag for holding gear, ammo and perhaps a couple of pistols.
The bag has a single compartment, with a removable divider, carry handles and a removable strap. At 18 inches long, 9.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide, it's a decent small bag for either carrying your accessories like eye and ear pro, a staple gun and ammo or for pistols and magazines.
They can easily be found for about $35 online.
DSLEAF Soft Rifle Case
The DSLEAF Soft Rifle Case is made with modern carbines in mind, including those with higher-mounted optics. The main compartment has an internal divider and can carry up to two long guns and is available in 28-, 32-, and 36-inch lengths.
Besides the padded internal compartments (with retention straps) the case also includes tuckable backpack straps and a waist belt, carry handles, and three external compartments which include organization for storing nine total rifle magazines and up to five pistol magazines.
The bags start at just under $70.
Ruger Shooting Range Bag
The Allen company makes a number of Ruger-branded range bags, which actually have a lot of nice features for the price. The Shooting Range Bag is a compact duffel that is 11.5 inches by 7 inches, perfect for the pistol shooter.
It includes six magazine pockets, two 5-inch by 5-inch mesh pockets in the internal compartment, a side compartment with external MOLLE webbing (and a removable cover) along with a removable ammo caddy and pistol rug for the range.
That's a lot of kit for around $50, even if you're not a Ruger fan.
Tactical Tailor Competition Shooter's Bag
The Tactical Tailor makes high-end, pressure-tested gear for professionals and competitors, so if you demand a lot of your gear…this is the range bag for you.
The duffel-style bag has a 22x9x8-inch main compartment, with two 8x8x2.5-inch top compartments, along with a side flap pouch and internal dividers and additional storage pockets for everything. The generous storage space can fit gun, ammo and a competition rig as well as ear and eye pro easily. Carry straps and a shoulder strap are included too.
MSRP is stiff at $285.50, but they make investment-grade gear.
More Gun Cases And Range Bags:
- How To Build The Ultimate Gun Case
- Video: Nanuk Protective Cases
- MTM Case-Gard Tactical Handgun Case
- Veto Pro Pac RB-MC Range Bag
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