While a lot of people buy a gun bag with lots of pockets, zippers, wingdings, and doodads, it’s important to keep in mind that how you set up your rifle case will determine it’s comfort, appearance, and longevity. So it’s time to ask yourself “What do I need in my rifle case?”.
Choosing the right length rifle case is your first step. For some, a 36″ rifle case is plenty big enough but if you run a fixed stock AR15 or AR10 with a 20″ barrel you may want to have a 42″ rifle case or larger. We tend to harp on the importance of having the right size rifle case because it will make or break your experience with your case.
Let me give you a quick walkthrough on how I typically set up my rifle bag and what I need in my rifle case.
Rifle Case Application
The first step is to determine what you need, which depends on the application your case has. Some people have multiple bags for multiple types of occasions.
Range cases are one common setup for people who use our rifle cases. I often leave commonly used items (the ones that don’t need to be secured) such as hearing protection, magazines, took kits, and gloves in my rifle case and pistol bag.
One example of multiple bag use is with 3-Gun shooters. They may have a range bag and also a competition case because each bag will contain two totally different setups and items.
What I typically keep in my rifle range bag:
- 2 Rifle Systems
- 1-2 Pistols
- Ammo (Rifle & Pistol)
- Magazines (Rifle & Pistol)
- Holsters (If you plan to carry your pistol(s) as well)
- Hearing Protection
- Cleaning (CLP, Rags, etc.)
- Medic/First Aid Kit
- Small Tool Kit
Rifle Case Setup
Currently, my main range bag is a tan 42” rifle case. The main difference in the 36″ and 42″ rifle case is the overall length, which really only affects what length of rifle you can carry.
First thing’s first – I’ll put my rifles in the bag. This particular bag is soft and with soft rifle bags how you orient your gun in your rifle bag is important for a number of reasons such as:
- Keeping your muzzle pointed in a safe direction
- Fastest access to your firearm
- Comfort while backpack carrying.
I typically take the gun that is the longest in length and has the smallest charging handle (those Raptor handles sticking into your back are no fun) and put it on the backpack strap side of the bag.
I then place the pistols, along with the magazines, into either one or both of the pistol compartments on the front pocket of the case.
Number of Rifles
How many rifles you carry is also a factor. I often find myself carrying just one rifle in a two rifle case which is perfectly fine, you just have plenty of extra room and padding.
If you are carrying two, or more, rifles then making sure you have the right case for the job is important. You don’t want to spend precious range time wishing you would have brought more from your collection to enjoy shooting.
Ammo, Magazines, and Other Equipment
Depending on the amount of ammo I’m carrying to the range, I will either load it up into one of our Pistol Range bags without the inserts or place several boxes in the front middle pocket of the rifle bag. I put all of my rifle magazines into the left and right pockets and tighten them down. How many fit in each pocket, depends on which way you position your magazines.
I put my hearing protection, tool kit, cleaning gear, and medic kit in the inside pockets of the front pocket. These “dump pockets” are great for stuff that doesn’t need to be strapped down and can bounce around a bit.
It’s the one thing we don’t ever want to think about. A shooting related injury or accident but accidents do happen. It’s better to be prepared for an accident and not need the supplies than need the supplies and not have them.
Ensuring you have a plan if an accident does happen is key and something we plan to cover in another article. But for now make sure you have trauma supplies to stop bleeding.
This is especially important if you go to a public range where varying skill levels of firearms owners shoot. You may be the safest person in the history of firearms but you never know who may not be. As the old adage goes, safety first always.
Last but not least
The most important thing about setting up your range bag is making sure it works for you. If you set your bag up in a way that you hate but is “practical” then it’s not practical.
Have a better or interesting way of setting up your rifle bag? Share it in the comments below. We enjoy seeing new and interesting setups.