I don’t really have a range time checklist per se. But there are a few things I like to do to prepare for a trip to the range to make sure I get the most out of my time there. This post covers what I like to do to get ready.
Here is a high level list of things I like to cover when getting ready:
- Set a goal and make a plan
- Ensure the gun is ready
- Pack the range bag
Let’s dive into each of those a little bit.
Setting a Goal and Making a Plan
First things first. I like to make a plan for what I will be doing at the range. This helps me not only decide what range I will go to, but also helps me refine my preparation plans. The goal I pick is usually related to some upcoming activity like a hunt or a competition or a particular skill I am trying to improve.
For example, if I have an upcoming hunt I may set a goal to confirm zero on the rifle I was going to use. My plan would include selecting a range that allows me to shoot a rifle from the positions I am most likely to shoot from and use the ammo I will be taking on the hunt. I would also add the tools I need to make zero adjustments (like the hex wrenches needed to remove and float the elevation and windage turrets on my scope).
On the other hand, if I was working on improving a specific skill related to the use of my self defense handgun, then my plan would include a couple of drills to work on that skill. In turn this would lead me to plan on packing the appropriate targets for the drill and a shot timer if needed. If the drills require drawing from a holster, then I would make sure to select a range that allows me to do that.
At the end of the day, this is perhaps the most important aspect of getting ready to go to the range. Otherwise, one may end up sling lead down range without a purpose – which may still be fun, but not necessarily as valuable as time spent with a plan and goal in mind.
Getting the Gun Ready
I like to spend my time at the range executing my plan and working on my goal. As such, I make it a point to do a quick clean and lube to the firearm(s) I will be using at the range. I have some friends that forego this and opt to deal with it at the range if issues come up. However, I’d rather not take that risk. I’ll air on the side of the old adage that says “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
I will also spend another minute ensuring attachments and mounted accessories are appropriately torqued.
Packing the Range Bag
With a plan in one hand and a gun on the other, I am ready to pack the range bag. There are some basic things that go in my bag every time and them some optional ones that depend on plan and gun. Here is a list what I typically throw in my bag:
- Hearing protection
- Eye protection
- First aid kit
- Magazines or speed loaders
- Field strip maintenance kit (rag, rod, brush, patches, CLP)
- Spare batteries for all equipment that requires batteries
- Other gun related accessories as required (shooting bags, holsters, pouches, etc)
- Additional tools based on goal and plan
- Additional targets based on goal and plan
- Sun screen & bug spray (for outdoor range time)
And that’s about it.
What do you do to get the most out of your range time?