Visiting your local shooting range can be a bit intimidating. If it is your first time going to the range, there’s likely a flurry of questions running through your mind. First and foremost, you’re likely wondering — what do I need to bring to the shooting range? Well I’m here to provide you a list of the essential and optional items you need to bring to the shooting range.

Before you set foot on the shooting lanes, you should have a firm knowledge of the basic firearm safety rules. If you don’t bring anything else, the firearm safety rules are the most important thing you need to bring with you to the shooting range. Not only does it ensure your safety, but the safety of those around you.


2. Ear and Eye Protection For The Range

what you need to bring to the range: ear and eye protection

The shooting range is a very noisy place and when you shoot, there will be hot brass casings ejecting from your gun or the guns of other patrons. Therefore, it is imperative that your bring ear and eye protection to the shooting range. Gunshots are incredibly loud and can damage your hearing. Most ranges offer you “eyes and ears” at no extra charge. As such, ear and eye protection is required and another important item to bring to the shooting range.


3. Bring A Firearm To The Shooting Range

glock on table at shooting range

Some shooting ranges will provide you the option to rent a firearm for a nominal fee. However, a firearm is not always provided — especially at outdoor ranges. Therefore, a firearm is another important item to bring with you to the shooting range. If you don’t own a gun, that may be alright. Just call the range ahead of time and ensure they offer gun rentals before showing up.

REQUIRED (Range Dependent)

4. Bring Ammunition To The Range

Not all shooting ranges are the same, and some will prohibit you from bringing your own ammunition and require you use ammo sold on site. However, if possible you should bring your own ammunition because it is going to be cheaper and your trip won’t be very productive without it!

Contact your local range to see what types and caliber ammo they allow you to shoot. Generally, any ammo you bring should follow these guidelines:

  • bring the caliber you plan to shoot
  • brass case ammo – avoid steel case
  • full metal jacket (FMJ) – avoid personal defense, steel core, and other specialized rounds

REQUIRED (Range Dependent)

5. Targets To Shoot

you need to bring targets - splatter targets with bullet holes

Usually, a shooting range will sell targets for your to shoot. However, like ammo, you should bring targets to the shooting range to avoid incurring additional costs. Additionally, you can’t just print out a picture of your ex-lover to staple to the cardboard. Most, if not all, ranges do not allow you to use targets in the likeness of an actual person.

REQUIRED (Range Dependent)

6. Mask Up At The Shooting Range

Another item I highly recommend bringing to the shooting range is a face mask. Although you may be required to wear a mask during the pandemic, it can also be useful to protect you from the harmful chemicals on your skin and in the air.

Indoor ranges will have ventilation to carry the bad stuff down-range and outdoors particles will naturally blow away. However, a face covering can help prevent particles from sticking to your face near your nose and mouth. After all, the gun is only arms length away when shooting.

REQUIRED (Range Dependent)

7. Bringing A Gun Case Or Your Holster

If you carry a firearm for protection, then I highly recommend bringing your holster for practicing draw and fire techniques. Although you should focus on accuracy initially, you should ultimately work in drills that you will encounter in real life.

Shooting ranges do not require you to use a holster. However, they do require that if your firearm is not holstered, it must be cased. Therefore, in lieu of a holster you will be required to bring a gun case to the shooting range. The good news is, if you purchased a handgun it came with a case that will suffice.


8. Additional Layers Of Clothing

Indoor ranges are usually temperature controlled. However, it is necessary to have adequate ventilation and as such can get a bit frigid. I highly recommend wearing layers of clothing to the shooting range, though bringing a zip-up sweatshirt will likely suffice.


9. Bring A Dedicated Range Bag

things to bring to the shooting range - range bag

A good idea when heading to the shooting range is to bring a bag to house all of your range needs. I’ve written another article about some additional items I keep in my bag. Usually, I keep spare and other useful items organized for my range trips. By no means is a range bag required, but if you plan to visit your local shooting lanes with any frequency this is a must have.


10. Have A Friend Join You At The Range

If going to the range solo intimidates you, consider bringing a friend to the shooting range. Ideally, whomever you bring will also have a full grasp of the firearm safety rules and experience visiting the range. Bringing a knowledgeable friend will provide a level of comfort and a check on your range conduct.


Parting Shots

Generally, the only things you MUST bring to the shooting range are a basic understanding of firearm safety and yourself. Oftentimes the range will provide the other essentials like guns, ammo, targets, and protection — most of these for a fee of course. However, I’ve covered some of the other items you should bring to the lanes. But, if you are interested in learning more before your trip I recommend you read my articles; “15 things to know for the shooting range” and “range bag essentials