Range bags are designed to enable safe, secure transport of your sidearm to and from the gun range. They have dedicated pockets for your firearm, magazines, and various peripheral items and they are built to withstand the weight and wear and tear that comes with the territory.
Range bags are not a luxury, they are a necessity. In our increasingly dangerous world it is imperative that you have a safe, secure way to transport your weapon(s), ammo and other related items from point A to point B. The range bag provides that.
The quality of available range bags can vary considerably and it is not always possible to tell from a couple of photos whether a particular range bag is worth the investment. So we’ve done the time-consuming research for you and determined that the following are the 10 best range bags for 2021.
1. Smith & Wesson Tactical Range Bag
The Smith & Wesson Tactical Range Bag is a handsome, compact bag that’s impeccably organized, easy to carry even when fully loaded, and built like a brick house. The 1000D water-resistant shell is tough and tear resistant. Inside there are 7 magazine slots, 2 zippered pockets for pistols, and a large central storage area for things like goggles and ear protection.
The zippers and all clips are metal, not plastic, the shoulder strap is wide and well-padded, the zippers can be locked and you will find access to any part of the bag quick and easy. Just make sure you buy from the S&W Amazon store and not some 3rd party store to ensure you get the real thing.
2. Orca Tactical Gun Range Bag
The Orca Tactical Gun Range Bag is one good-looking range bag. And best of all, it lives up to the promise that handsome profile makes. The bag is a compact gem that’s beautifully considered, efficient, safe and durable. It can accommodate 3 handguns, 8 magazines, goggles, ear cups, multitool, gun mat and whatever else you need to facilitate your day at the range.
All exterior zippers lock up tight (locks not included), there is a dual-pull cord for the two main zippers so you don’t waste time or forget to zip one up. The exterior shell is fashioned from rugged 600D polyester and it’s available in stylish black or coyote brown. The money back satisfaction guarantee is just icing on the cake.
3. Explorer Range Bag
The Explorer Range Bag is swathed in water-resistant 600D polyester that will stand up to years of punishment. It has 4 large zippered external pockets that can be locked, slots for up to 11 magazines, 2 zippered handgun pockets, metal zippers and a well-padded shoulder strap that’s comfortable even under a full load.
The bag is compact, well-considered, and has a removable inner partition that enables you to instill order on the main compartment chaos. The bag comes in 5 different color schemes, including 2 camo color schemes, and it can double as a carry on bag for more mundane items when you travel.
4. Glock Perfection Nylon Range Bag
You would expect a range bag from Glock to feature clean lines, discreet storage and high-end construction and the Perfection Nylon Range Bag does not disappoint. Everything is well thought out. All the pockets, magazine sleeves and large storage areas are logically organized to enable maximum carriage with minimum wasted space.
The Perfection will accommodate 4 pistols, 12 magazines, plenty of ammo, goggles, ear cups, and peripherals and give you the option of carrying it at your side or over your shoulder. The outer shell is fashioned from water-resistant 600D polyester. And as you might expect from Glock it’s available only in very manly black.
5. Nexpak 15″ Tactical Range Bag
The Nexpak 15” Tactical Range Bag can be as discreet as you want, or as in-your-face as you want. That is thanks to the 8 different color schemes including several camo and several different plain colors. There is a lot of storage capacity here, including a half-dozen zippered outside pockets, large sleeves at each end of the bag, a large zippered pocket on the top, and plenty of molle webbing all around.
The main interior compartment is large enough for all your peripherals, including your ear protection, goggles, towel, first aid kit and more. If there is a downside here it’s that the shoulder strap clips are made of plastic. But at this price it’s hard to complain.
6. Bulldog Cases Extra Large Range Bag
The Extra Large Range Bag from Bulldog is a lightweight but tough bag fashioned from water and scratch-resistant 600D nylon. Overall it’s 15 x 10 x 8 inches, and gives you the option of side or over the shoulder carry with the removable shoulder strap.
The oversized main compartment will accommodate your eye and ear protection, and there are three inner and three outer pockets for your firearms. It’s one of the few bags to include a pistol rug so you can work on your firearm without worrying about losing parts. This is an attractive, no-nonsense range bag that is both discreet and durable. And the price will bring a smile to value-minded gun enthusiasts.
7. G.P.S. Tactical Rolling Range Bag
The G.P.S. Tactical Rolling Range Bag can accommodate 6 handguns in the pistol cradle and 4 additional, zippered pockets for large handguns. That’s 10 firearms in all, which explains why this is a rolling range bag and not an over the shoulder bag. The bag uses semi-rigid construction and there are plenty of internal and external pockets for gear.
There is a pair of ammo dump clips, 8 magazine pockets, and various sleeves that will accommodate your knife, flashlight, range finder and more. The telescoping handle and (relatively) large ATV wheels will make short work of the gnarliest parking lot. This is a great bag for the dedicated firearm enthusiast or working professional.
8. Maxpedition Compact Range Bag
The Maxpedition Compact Range Bag is a clean-cut, modest-sized bag that’s perfect for carrying your sidearm to and from the range. Though not large the bag carries quite a bit of gear including a 5-inch 1911, a generous amount of ammo, flashlight, and other tools. There are two large exterior pockets, a removable ammo tote and a half dozen magazine holders.
As we said the bag is compact at just 13 x 10 x 8 ½ inches. The exterior is sheathed in 1000D water-resistant fabric that’s been treated with a Teflon spray to make it ultra dirt-resistant and easy to clean. It is a great choice for transporting a single sidearm to and from the range, and the quality construction ensures years of faithful service.
9. GunMate Range Bag
If you like your range bag to be neat and discreet you would have a hard time beating the GunMate Range Bag. The GunMate does not have the panache of the Smith & Wesson Range Bag but you can carry it around without raising eyebrows or attracting unwanted attention from weasels. The bag features solid construction with a 600D shell that’s both durable and water resistant.
While it seems the bag might give way to sagging right out of the gate it actually holds its shape remarkably well. There are 2 large exterior pockets and a central compartment that’s large enough for 2 handguns and peripherals. There are not a lot of bells and whistles here, but the bag is well-made and will keep your pistols dry and secure.
10. Osage River Tactical Range Bag
The Osage River Tactical Range Bag is something of a scaled down version of the Explorer Range Bag we looked at above. The Osage River Bag is lighter and less expensive. But they have not cut any significant corners.
The layout is logical, affording easy access to your firearms and peripherals. It is designed to carry 2 pistols, half a dozen magazines, goggles, ear protection and much more. Because the structure of the bag is a bit looser than some other range bags it does not immediately scream ‘firearms’ to other people. Which is a type of security feature in and of itself. Available in 6 different colors.
What Is a Range Bag?
A range bag is a carrying case designed to accommodate handguns, ammunition, magazines, scopes, eye and ear protection and other things you will need at the shooting range. Range bags come in a variety of styles, colors, and configurations, and are durable, practical and waterproof (or at least water-resistant).
Range bags typically have a variety of pockets and compartments to accommodate gun-related paraphernalia and feature heavy-duty zippers, robust stitching, molle webbing, and rugged 600D (or stronger) fabric (1) shells. Many also have locking zippers that add an extra level of security.
The job of the range bag is straightforward: to enable safe, secure transport of your firearm.
What do You Carry in a Range Bag?
You don’t want to be left wanting for something when you get to the range so consider taking the following items. We will start with what we consider essentials and, as we get toward the bottom of the list, we’ll transition to discretionary items.
Ammunition/Magazines – You should always make sure that you have more ammo with you than you think you will use. Sure, you can always buy some at the range. But that will cost you a pretty penny and there is no guarantee they will even have what you need. It is also a good idea to fill plenty of clips and take them with you, instead of wasting time at the range on tasks that should be done at home.
Eye and Ear Protection – You are not going to find a legit range that does not require eye and ear protection. So your range bag should be large enough to accommodate both. Most range bags do not have dedicated pockets for these items. Instead they expect you to use the large center compartment. If you forget your protection, the range will probably have something you can use. But quality may be an issue.
A First Aid Kit – While range operators stress safety and proper handling of firearms at every turn, stuff happens anyway (2). Because of that you should alway have a first aid kit in your range bag, just in case. The first aid kit can also come in handy if you are in an accident driving to or from the range.
A Multitool – A multitool, in case you are not aware, is like a Swiss Army Knife only much more heavy-duty. They are the perfect 21st century all-purpose tool with a thousand applications. The typical multitool will include pliers, cutting blades, a saw blade, screwdrivers, a wirecutter, a bottle opener, a can opener and a lot more. By having a good multitool in your range bag you are ready for any eventuality.
A Good Tactical Knife – A tactical knife is a knife that can be used for practical purposes or self-defense. They are typically light and tough and most (not all) have a full tang blade. You may only use it sporadically at the range. But, like your sidearm, it’s a good friend to have with you as you navigate an increasingly dangerous world.
Paper Plates – Paper plates? We’re not suggesting you picnic at the range. Instead, we like to bring along paper plates because they make affordable targets. Extra targets at the range may run you a buck apiece. Whereas paper plates cost less than a penny each. Don’t forget to bring some double-sided tape or a stapler to hang your paper plates or other targets.
A Gun Mat – You may need to strip your weapon while at the gun range. If you do you will be very glad to have a good gun mat with you. It will keep everything in one place and prevent parts from falling through cracks or onto the floor. They’re cheap and they will save you a lot of potential hassle.
A Spotting Scope – Spotting scopes (3) are often used by birdwatchers but they come in mighty handy at the gun range as well. With a good spotting scope there is no need to guess if you hit the target, regardless of how far away the target is. You get near instant feedback on how well you’re doing so you can make adjustments and not waste time.
A Tactical Flashlight – Few things have changed as radically in recent years as the flashlight. Today’s tactical flashlight is a sleek, compact, waterproof device with an LED bulb that produces clear, brilliant light and lasts for decades. Tactical flashlights also have scalloped bezels that can be introduced to the face of would be attackers to convince them of the error of their ways (4). Or you can use them at the range to peer down your barrel.
A Rangefinder – This is mostly of interest to long-range shooters who need an easy way to determine the distance to the target. A range finder (5) is a luxury item to be sure. But if you are into hitting the range with your rifle you will probably be happy to have it in your bag.
A Wind Gauge – The wind gauge also falls into the category of ‘luxury items’. Any long-range shooter understands how the wind can affect their shot. Some well-trained types can gauge wind speed by watching the trees, bushes, ground debris or smoke. Most of us, however, are not so crafty and could use a bit of technological help.
Batteries – If you are using electronic protection for your ears (6) you don’t want to be caught with dead batteries. Make sure you always have plenty of batteries with you.
A Towel – Things can get pretty hot and sticky at the rifle range in the summer. It pays to have a towel with you to wipe away the sweat from your face and hands.
A Log Book – Logging the number of shots you take with a particular firearm can be useful for maintenance purposes. It can also be handy to have a record of your performance on hand so you can tell if you’re making progress. And don’t forget the pen or you will have no way to make entries into your log book.
Handy Wipes – Once you finish up it can pay to have some pre-moistened towelettes at the ready to wipe residue off your hands and do a cursory wipe down of your sidearm (except for any wooden handles).
Water – On those hot, sweaty days you’re going to need to have some water on hand so you don’t become dehydrated.
Are All Range Bags the Same Size?
No, range bags come in all sizes and configurations. Some are little more than duffle bags with a little extra structure to them, others are quite rigid and have numerous pockets, sleeves and compartments to keep your gear in perfect order. Some range bags are about the size of a shoe box, while others can be a foot and a half long or more. Which one is right for you will depend on how much of what type of gear you have.
Is There a ‘Best Way’ to Organizing a Range Bag?
Not really. The best way is whatever way you are most comfortable with. Some folks like the idea of a big central compartment they can just dump everything into. Others want to keep things orderly so they can find what they’re looking for quickly when they need it.
What Should I Look for in a Range Bag?
Appearance – The gun range is not the fashion runway. But at the same time who wants to show up with their beautiful sidearm in a paper bag? Your gun bag should suggest that you know what the hell you’re doing. A great looking, high-quality bag not only shines a favorable light on you, it also sends a message to others at the range that you’re not a loose cannon.
Durability – A range bag needs to be able to stand up to years of wear and tear. In all likelihood you will be toting around a fair amount of gear, so the seams can’t come apart, the zippers need to stay intact, and the shoulder strap should stand the test of time. Bar tacking (7) on high-stress areas is also a good thing to have. And the bag should be water-resistant or completely waterproof.
Organization – Different range bags offer different ways to arrange your gear. Some just have a big central compartment and a couple of side pockets. While others are much more involved and have dedicated pockets and sleeves for magazines, a knife, a first aid kit, a flashlight and more. Which type of bag you choose will depend on A) how much gear you have and B) whether you crave organization or are more of a ‘dump it in and sort it out later’ type of person.
Storage Capacity – How much capacity you will need depends on what type and how many firearms you are carrying. If you plan on taking your revolver or AR-15 and a couple of pistols you will need a lot of storage capacity for the guns and all the different ammo. If, on the other hand, you just take your Glock 19 out for some practice a few times a year your storage requirements will be relatively modest.
Comfort – If you put everything on the above list in your range bag it’s going to get heavy. So it’s important that the bag be well-balanced and comfortable, even when full. A padded shoulder strap is a nice thing to have. But not all range bags offer them. If you want one, make sure the bag you have your eye on offers one.
Security – Remember, these are firearms you’re carrying in this bag. Not school books. Not a laptop. The range bag needs to be secure with high-quality zippers that won’t fail. Many range bags also offer locking zippers. If you think this is necessary to secure your gun(s) then by all means, look for a bag with locking zippers.
The Bottom Line
A range bag is a must if you are determined to spend time at the range perfecting your shooting skills. Every time you leave the house without your gun and associated paraphernalia being properly secured you run the risk of an accident.
The best range bags feature robust construction, durable fabrics, high-quality zippers, and multiple storage compartments. They provide a dry, secure place to store your firearm while in transit.
Use the above information to determine exactly which range bag is right for your particular needs.