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The constant battle between packing everything including the kitchen sink and never having what you need after driving an hour or more to the range is one that many of us know all too well. Some of us go way too far and pack spare batteries for our spare electronic muffs, and others will often forget crucial items such as ammunition. While I am not certain whether this internal battle of carrying only the bare minimum, or bringing every tool short of a lathe to the range will ever be resolved, I do believe I have found a good compromise.
With so many new gun owners and an overwhelming plethora of gadgets and doodads being constantly peddled everywhere you turn, the chance of a person new to the market being overwhelmed are exponential. Some “tools'' are nothing more than overhyped garbage that will leave you stranded. Buying from reputable brands, while usually holding a higher price tag, is a must. Too many times, I have learned the hard lesson of “buy once, cry once”, while trying to save a few dollars. If you are like me and have to drive a minimum of an hour to go and shoot, the added piece of mind that your tools are going to work every time you need them is well worth the extra coin.
Below I have compiled a list of what I bring to the range at a minimum. For some of the premium options, I have also listed a budget friendly option that won’t break the bank.
A quality kit should include at a minimum:
Nothing in life is absolute, including this list above. This is what I have found works for me, and hopefully helps new and seasoned shooters alike. I encourage you to do your own research and find what works for your situation and budget. If you are out at the range or at a competition and see someone using something that piques your interest, ask them about it. More times than not, most people will have zero issues letting you look at, and even try out the products they have. If you’re the new shooter, introducing yourself to these fellow shooters is how you make connections in this amazing and growing community. If you’re a seasoned vet and you see a new person, welcome them. Lend them your rear bag to shoot a stage with to see if they like it. Nothing is more intimidating than being a new person, in an unfamiliar environment, and feeling unwelcome.
Bio: Justin grew up just outside of Prince George, British Columbia, and developed a love for firearms at a young age. He attributes his passion for firearms to his father, Robin, who had Justin shoot his first .22LR at the age of four. Justin was lucky enough to have started hunting even before that, often tagging along on the back of Robin in the Western slopes of Canada. Robin would go on to teach him everything he knew about hunting, fishing, and reloading.
After graduating high school, Justin joined the Calgary Fire Department and made the move to Calgary, Alberta. Once in Alberta, he developed a passion for photography and began documenting his trips to the range.
Justin started shooting ELR recreationally in 2019, which eventually led him to his newfound passion in 2020: F-Class. Justin is an avid F-Class competitive shooter and shoots in the F-TR division. He hopes to only build upon the success he had his freshman year.
When Justin is not at the fire hall or the range honing his skills, he’s spending time with his wife and dog or out taking pictures.
His work can be found on his Instagram channel at: https://www.instagram.com/lead.rain/