What is in your Gear Bag?

Some may have it all worked out, others might want to see for ideas, others might want to be "more" prepared for the Range. Over the years, it has been a refinement exercise as well as having to upgrade my bag so that it is all organised. The last thing you want is to need something that won’t let you shoot, or distract you when it comes to your concentration. Preparation is key, and you will find that not only you will benefit, but your friends will also as well if they need an assist.

The bag - Maxpedition Falcon II

The bag is crucial when it comes to holding all your gear. However, how big, how many pockets, how sturdy, and how should it be styled? Starting with the construction, you want something that will handle the abuse and the weight of what will be put inside. Also, having material that is water-resistant is a big plus on wet days. This 23L backpack offers molle all over it, the stitching is top-notch, and it is built mainly with Cordura 1050D - it is a lifetime bag. You can get larger, or smaller, I have found that for the needs of the various items below, this is the perfect size. The only reason you would consider larger is if you were to use bag rests that are larger.

The pouches - what kind and for what purpose?

With all the Molle webbing, your options are endless. Identifying what you will need to carry and access outside of the main pack is what helps define your needs. Here are a few examples:

  • SmartPhone (comms, camera, light, ballistic calculator for your Kestrel and portable PC)
  • Practical tools (knife, pliers, spanner, small flashlight, multi tool)
  • Dump-pouch for brass (especially if you reload)
  • Main Flashlight
  • Medical Pouch
  • Spare batteries and Notepad Pouch
  • Shooting glove strap
  • Bottle strap

The above is indicative of what will be carried, and some items may seem redundant. You will be amazed how the same item does not work well in some circumstances and that’s why you carry 3 to 5 variants of the same, like flashlights.

Main pockets of the Falcon II

There are 4 main pockets, all go from large to small. The main pocket is equivalent to the 3 other pockets combined. The second largest is half the the size of the large pocket with the same width and height where the last 2 pockets are a 1/3 and 2/3 split of that 2nd largest pocket. While it may seem simple in design, it allows you to organise large to small items in logical areas. There is a bonus pocket, the hydration pack pocket that can hold up to 3L of fluid if you are trecking - mostly a flat pocket.

Gear time - what’s in the various areas?

Starting in the above logical order.

SmartPhone Pouch - contains a large size iPhone 7 Plus, credit card, club credentials, and has a lockable clasp - keeping items more secured yet accessible.

Practical Tools pouch - a small light, SwissChamp Army Knife, Folding blade, Multitool pliers, Pocketbook, spanner/small pliers. A spanner is important for tightening any bolt-nut like on scope rails, or holding things in place while you tighten within marring the metal finish with pliers.

Dump pouch - Maxpedition makes a Mini-Rollie, folds up nice and cute, straps onto your molle, and when you need to collect a pile of brass, it is there and ready - just unclip it, roll it out, and open it up.

Main flashlight - You never know how bright, and how long you will need it, but a good flashlight is needed. From finding your brass, to any part you might have dropped. For search and rescue or to be rescued. A flashlight that’s weather proof and shock proof that can use high-powered batteries, regular sized ones (AA or AAA) for ease of maintenance.

Medical Pouch - here you can go small to large, the option to go small was made based that at the range, any larger medical need would be available. However things like eye drops, small cuts bandages, antibacterial ointment, and anything to cover a scrape would do it. The strap also serves as a holder to my ambient light from BioLite - a rechargeable light that is great for a desk/table/bench that’s in the dark, where you need to see what you are handling - doubling as a USB battery charger (powers a Labradar too!!)

Spare batteries and notepad pouch - This spot is for misc supplies, including a way to start a fire, or need a graphite pencil.

Shooting glove strap - There has been several occasions when shooting gloves were needed. Wind chill, snow conditions or just sunny winter days, you want to have your fingers warm enough to feel the trigger. The company called PIG makes a set of gloves called FDT (Full Dexterity Tactical) - a blend of Suede, synthetic Suede, different thickness Suede material that caters to shooting. A great fit, and when needed, you still get protection with minimal loss of dexterity and sensation.

Bottle Strap - 32oz bottle for the range, keeps you hydrated, and being stainless and thermally resistant, it keeps you focused on the task at hand.

In the main pocket, it holds range tools (various bits and hex wrenches), a torque screw driver in in-lb, a dual-bubble-level, and a laser bore finder - most of which is used to tighten various screws and bolts to spec and get a scope adjusted and mounted in the field. The second pocket contains an ammunition wallet, target spots, and a stapler. Other pockets hold a plasma lighter, various USB/Lightning cables to connect or charge, and cleaning cloths. Spare earplugs always come in handy, so I have spare.

The Range bag is like a big Swiss Army Knife at the range - some items you will use regularly, some you would be very glad you had it with you when something does not go as planned. All items are aimed to ensure reliable and the safe operation of a rifle all the while having the ability to do some maintenance if required at the range. In most cases, it is not your rifle that would need the tools and the gear, but your fellow club member that needs a hand. Keep in mind, that shooting requires a clear head with a reliable apparatus that achieves good results. Frustration, loose screws/bolts and not being comfortable will lead to bad shooting and can make you have a mistake in the safety department.

For more pictures - see the Guns and Gear page above. Stay safe and have a fun shoot.