Spring is around the corner and that means it’s time to be outside.
Springtime; that glorious time of year where the snow has finally melted and the birds are returning to sing their songs. Trees start to bud and the flowers start to bloom. It’s also that time of year when a young shooter’s fancy turns to shooting outside. Most of the country this year was under piles and piles of snow and after being cooped up all winter, many shooters have the itch to send some rounds down range in the great outdoors.
Even though the ability to go to an indoor range is nice, it can be loud, hot, full of smells that can turn your nose and cramped quarters. Granted, inside you don’t have to deal with the rain, wind, or sun, but being able to stand outside and inhale the fresh air can be very invigorating and relaxing.
Shooting outside requires some different gear then shooting inside. When shooting inside all you need is your range bag with its goodies and your guns and ammo. But when heading to an outdoor range, you need to make sure to pack some extra things that will make your day in the sun slinging lead more enjoyable.
Gathering Your Gear
When preparing for a day in the great outdoors, there are some extra things you should grab to make your day more enjoyable. When I go to an outdoor shoot, I actually take two bags with me. Usually I have my main range bag with all my gun stuff in it and then a second duffle bag with extra things for the outdoors. Here are some things you should take with you to the outdoor range.
- Sunscreen: Spending the day outside is nice, but when you get sunburnt, that can make a fun day go bad quickly. Take some sunscreen with you and slather it on at appropriate intervals to protect your skin.
- Hand Towel: These are great for wiping sweat from your eyes and face or drying your hands before you shoot. This can eliminate the possibility of dropping your gun or mags.
- Rain Gear: You never know when a sudden rain storm can blow up, especially during severe weather season. Take some rain gear to keep yourself and equipment dry. I have a poncho folded up in my extra bag just in case.
- Garbage Bags: Shooting at an outdoor range, both at a private or public range, is a privilege and one that shouldn’t be abused. Take some garbage bags and clean up after yourself. There are many public outdoor ranges that have closed because it cost too much to clean up after people. Be kind to your fellow shooters and maintenance staff and clean up. Extra garbage bags are good to cover your bags and stray equipment in the rain too.
- Extra hat: Grab an extra hat. The one you are wearing may get soaked with sweat and get uncomfortable. You can change hats and let your first one dry out.
- Bug Spray: Getting bit up by the local insect population is not only very annoying, but can be dangerous with diseases. Take some good bug spray and spray down to keep the little blood suckers away.
- Water: Staying hydrated is important and you need to make sure to take plenty of water with you to avoid heat related complications.
- Tarp: Laying a tarp down to catch the brass makes it so much easier to clean up when you are done shooting. And if you reload, keeping your brass is almost an obsession.
Carrying all that extra stuff around can be a pain, literally, so having something to cart it all around in helps. Get yourself a good folding wagon or a shooting cart that will make hauling all that gear around much easier on your shoulders.
This may seem like a lot of extra gear, but these things can make a day shooting outside even better and more enjoyable.