Searching For The Ideal Range Bag

Jul 10, 2024

I need a range bag.

I had a range bag, a couple in fact, but a few years ago during a ‘great decluttering’ prior to a move, I got rid of a lot of stuff. This included gun cleaning supplies, ammo (like an idiot) and range bags (such an idiot).

Now I find myself looking around at various range bags for which style and brand would be a good fit for me.

Right now most of my shooting, which entails light trips to the local range, and a monthly training class with Gunsite instructor Freddie Blish, doesn’t require a massive competition style range bag. For what I currently do I only really need something lightweight, flexible and convenient, but with capacity to carry more than one pistol, a holster or two, and various mags and accessories.

My slingpack range bag (right) though ‘tactical’ is anything but a range bag. Its limited capacity means things like hearing protection, and the Alien Gear Dynamic Drop Leg rig, have to be secured to the outside…but it works, for now. Photo: P. Erhardt

I have been making do with a slingpack that I use for trade shows when I have to travel and carry stuff for covering the show, like an iPad. But, it isn’t the best choice for a range bag. It lacks adequate space for a full size pistol, holster, range belt and the rest of the gear.

I really should just limit this to traveling to trade shows and such, but that requires finding a replacement.

There are a variety of range bags, obviously, but let’s be honest, many are just variations on the same theme. There is the traditional boxy rectangular bags that most people are familiar with. These vary in size from relatively compact to the gigantic ones you find at most shooting matches.

This mid-size range bag from Savior Equipment is of the classic range bag design but with several amenities nearly all shooters will appreciate. Photo: P. Erhardt

This style of bag has been the standard with the only real changes being in size, the number of internal and external pouches…and, of course, color.

I had one of these at one point.

Then there was the transition to backpacks designed specifically as range bags. This style was particularly useful for competition shooters who wanted to move the weight of all their competition gear from one shoulder to a position centered on their body.

The backpack type bag was what I went with back in the summer of 2011 when I made a run at the World Speed Shooting title. Spoiler alert, I finished well to the rear. But, I was pretty happy with the Second Amendment Rangepack from 1776 Tactical, a company/brand which now appears to be defunct.

That’s a shame because I enjoyed that bag’s design (you can read about it here) and it would have been nice to see how that particular product would have evolved over the years.

Other companies have stepped into the void in one way or other. Mostly with tactical backpacks one can stuff with loads of gear, even if the bag isn’t specifically designed as a range bag.

The tactical backpack as range bag provides plenty of room though my be a bot short on organization. This particular model converts from a backpack to a roller bag with the straps easily secured by a read panel. Photos: P. Erhardt

While definitely an option for a new range bag, the tactical backpack doesn’t allow for a solid organization of gear. It’s more of a stuff everything in and dig it out later kind of proposition.

Though, there are a few backpacks designed from competition that hold a couple guns. One of those is the Pistolero Backpack from GPS. This type of backpack has a lower compartment for storing your handguns, and in the case of the Pistolero will hold five padded handgun storage bags.


One of the options from GPS is this Rolling Range Bag. The owner, an instructor, uses this like to carry all sorts of training paraphernalia. DeWalt’s ToughSystem modular stacking toolboxes (shown in the title image) is what Freddie Blish uses for his training gear. Photos: P. Erhardt


GPS offers a couple different size/capacity options in backpacks, including their Rolling Handgunner Range Backpack, which would probably be my choice if I found myself shooting matches. But for what I am looking for, it’s a bit too bulky.

One alternate backpack style that I have seen, but not had the chance to physically handle, is the Commuter backpack from Vertx. This 22L EDC-style bag has a main compartment lined with VELCRO brand loop to allow for a wide range of customization.

With the right accessories the Commuter should easily allow for simple, straightforward organization of one’s gear.

A smaller, more minimalist approach that I have been looking at is the use of an open top tool organizer bag. One of the shooters in Freddie’s class uses a similar type of tool bag that he has stuffed with a couple holstered guns as well as his other range training gear.

The tool bag option is the epitome of utilitarian. And that’s the goal, to find a bag that just does the work. I once found a simple gardening bag I picked up during my travels and used it as a shotshell carrier for sporting clays. That too has been given away (still an idiot).

More than likely I’ll find my way to the local Home Depot and scour their hand tool section for what might work best. The good thing about a Home Depot range bag is that at first glance it won’t present as tactical, or anything firearms related, which isn’t a bad thing when the neighbors might be wondering what you’re up to.

– Paul Erhardt, Managing Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network