That’s What She Said: Just a Range Bag?

| March 20, 2015 | 9 Comments

The snow and ice have finally melted here on Hoth signalling a return to outdoor training season. We train all year, but winter season consists of more scenario based force-on-force and trauma medicine classes.

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Since my range bag still held winter training gear, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by sharing how I pack for the outdoor defensive firearms training season.

I went downstairs to grab my bag for photos, and as I was unpacked each tool and item, I remembered the first season I started training with the Shepherd. As a new student, my training actually began with understanding the contents of, and helping care for the the gear in his range bag. I never understood the value of the batteries he kept in the baggie (or that the baggie itself was genius after driving rain soaked my stuff) until my hearing protection died mid-class. Or why it’s important to keep things like baby wipes, Sharpies and more than one flashlight on hand. I learned a lot that season.

When the next season came around he handed me a box from Amazon that held my own bag.

Sometimes the best lessons you learn aren’t in the formal curriculum. I forgot stuff. But I learned even more because the responsibility was all on me. It’s amazing what taking ownership over your own gear does. I was always serious about training, for some reason that bag and the gear chose to include made me feel like I belonged. The first time I was able to produce an item that helped another student – I think it was just a hair elastic – was kind of awesome.

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Overview

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My modified eye protection and double hearing protection.

Extra hat, flashlight, knee and elbow pads and current gloves. I’m waiting for new Strongsuit gloves to arrive any day now. They should be a much better fit than those child sized mechanics gloves from the hardware store.

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Extra M&P Shield mag and pouch, Glock 19 mag pouch, Blade Tech Nano Holster, speed loaders for rifle and handgun mags.

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Magpul MS3 sling

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Training blaster and blade for force on force scenarios

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Over the years, the Shepherd and I have added bags just for mags, a proper med kit for serious injuries, and something we call “the comfort bag” which holds stuff like sunscreen, bug spray, baby wipes, and candy. Organizing things into item specific bags makes finding our gear when we need it fast and efficient.

I still like to carry a few special items in my own bag. These IKEA pouches are cheap, well made and come in my favorite color.

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Knuckle and fingertip bandages, tweezers, Bonine (I have occasional bouts of vertigo. I don’t go anywhere without Bonine), mucinex, benedryl, burn gel, alcohol swabs, medical tape, antibacterial ointment, baggie of tums, baggie of tylenol.

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Hand cream, Monistat anti-chafe gel – I know it’s a little weird, but how many times have you been stuck wearing shoes that rubbed your heel raw all day, or had your holster hit the same spot until it’s red and hurts? Put this stuff on those areas to fix it. Tissues, gold bond medicated powder, headband, extra hair elastics, batteries, lighter, binder rings.IMG_20150313_183136~2

I am The She-Shepherd…

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It all fits together nicely.

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There are lots of options out there for range bags. This BlackHawk bag is perfect for me. The dividers are well placed, and the bag itself is easy to carry for someone with my frame.

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Swag

Over the course of the season the contents usually change a little. I realized as I wrote this that I need a good multi-tool and a roll of duct tape, but this is the core of what I like to bring to classes. Stuff like benedryl and anti-chafe gel seem like odd additions until you get Glock hand from your first full course of the season while your face is trying to melt off thanks to ragweed.

If you have family or friends who are new students, encourage ownership of their training. Let them make mistakes, but be standing by to teach them rule #1

Redundancy

Then hand them some extra batteries.

About the Author:

The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd is a defensive firearms student, mother and advocate for pushing the boundaries of how we train. She believes that defensive training must balance context, mindset, and skill to be most effective. Her specialty has become testing alternative modes of firearms carry and best practices of less than lethal force options through rigorous force-on-force scenario based training.
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9 Comments on "That’s What She Said: Just a Range Bag?"

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  1. Kyliewyotie says:

    Thank you for the post. Having some of those small items, makes the day much more pleasant. If I am thinking about the blister on my foot, I am missing something I should be learning.

    • The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd says:

      Thank you for the comment!

      I know exactly what you mean. I try to apply the Farnam-ism “No one cares about your problems!” to my class time, but it is very true that if you’re distracted by something you can fix, you should just fix it. Divided attention can be dangerous as well as interfering with whatever you’re trying to learn.

  2. Jon says:

    I love the comfort kit, I call mine my “convenience kit” because it’s not really a first/self aid kit because anything it can handle you *could* tough out, but it’s much more convenient to put a bandaid on, pop a Tylenol and get back to work. Great article!

    • The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd says:

      It took exactly one class of trying to work through a headache before I tossed a handful of Tylenol into my bag. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Janine@BWSS says:

    Thank you. You’ve inspired me to tweak the recommended packing list that my shooting school publishes.

  4. Alisa says:

    My range bag has been pretty rudimentary, but I’m totally using this guide to step it up. Interestingly, I *do* keep many of these in my work backpack, but I’ll replicate it instead of swapping them back and forth, so I don’t transfer gunpowder-y items back into a work bag that might travel.

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