After a number of years our old Blackhawk Range Bag (effectively a gym bag with dividers and seemingly discontinued as soon as it was available) was ready for retirement. At the same time we had an opportunity to try out the Specialist Range Bag from Savior Equipment.
This gave us a chance to reorganize, declutter, and reprioritize what we take with us to the range. As I'm sure you can imagine, our hobby of videos and articles requires near part-time job time and effort commitments, so the range bag lives in the car.
What Is It? The Specialist from Savior Equipment is meant to serve as a dedicated pistol range bag. Included with it are a removable, hook & loop-backed, pistol magazine pouch and three padded pistol pouches.
Specs & Features:
External Size: 18.5"x 9"x12"
Lockable Main Compartment (13"x 8.5"x9")
Lightweight Compressed EVA Frame (meaning the bag has structure whether empty of full)
Adjustable Center Divider
3 Cushioned Pistol Sleeves (12” x 8”)
Writable ID Patches (4.75” x 1.5”)
Lockable Front Pocket (11” x 7.5” x 2”)
Removable Mag Slot Panel (Holds magazines a maximum of 7.5" x 1.75")
Zippered Mesh Pocket
Side Admin Pocket (8” x 7.5” x 2.5”)
Side Dump Pocket (8” x 7.5” x 2.5”)
Rubber corner feet both protect the bottom of the bag and reduce sliding.
Oversized Shoulder Strap
Pricing: $99.99 direct from Savior Equipment
As a Pistol Bag there's easily room for three pistols in the included pouches, several boxes of ammunition, spare magazines, and any accessories or tools that you might need. For us it's taking on a different role as our tools and accessories kit where we keep all the things that are needed for the types of range trips we make. Some of it might make for a smart addition to your own range kit. As you go through this list we'd love to hear what you use for the range; bag and any tips/equipment you've found to be handy.
The Main Event: The main compartment offers plenty of depth and features a removable divider running the width of the bag. This divider can be repositioned +/- a few inches. Having a bag that isn't completely full after adding only the essentials is a win. Since we're not using this bag as a pistol range bag this space contains the following:
Spare eye protection: Because we shoot year-round, and never know what the lighting conditions will be like bringing both tinted and clear lenses with us simply makes sense. Over the years we've tried most of the major brands, but for the last couple of years Gatorz aluminum-framed glasses have been our favorites. You don't have to have the fancy stuff, just make sure they are actual impact-rated safety lenses.
Specialty Ammunition: Of course you're familiar with our What's For Dinner™ test. Sometimes we get in a special load that we specifically want to try that day. This photo doesn't do it justice, but there are 50-round boxes standing on end and still plenty of depth in the bag.
Bit Driver Kit: This was a $9.99 special from CDNN and is nothing fancy except for the fact that it has every bit size we've ever needed for pistol and rifle adjustment, optics, etc. I'm sure you can find something like this at your local harbor freight for about the same price. It's not the highest quality, (you can see the rust from use in the rain) and can't handle any serious torque, but for mounting a red dot, etc it's perfect.
Target Pasters: We don't use them as much as expected, but they can be quicker and cleaner than using tape.
Laser Thermometer: These inexpensive (ours was maybe $14) tools can help you save your rifle barrel or suppressor. We use ours when we shoot rifle groups. To make sure each load gets a fair test we make sure the barrel's starting temperature is the same before each group. It can also be a smart way of knowing if your suppressor is safe to touch yet.
Basic Target Tools: For us this means a 1/2" wrench and a large screwdriver.
Admin Pocket: This side of the bag includes sleeves for organizing pens and other small accessories as well as the depth needed for thicker items. For us the list is:
A micro-fiber cloth: Simple touch up for things that need to be kept clean.
Lucus Gun Oil: I LOVE this stuff. It works great and doesn't make too much of a mess. The needle applicator helps get only the amount of oil you want only where you want it. We've linked to the 3-pack because when sold as individual bottle the price is ridiculous. Get a three pack and put one with your cleaning supplies, one in your range back, and have the third as a backup.
Real Avid Pistol Tool: This thing is handy! We're on our second (or third) because the tools aren't quite strong enough for the abuse I've given them. Pretty much all the allen keys and bits you need for handguns as well as some other tools all in a package that can comfortably fit in a pocket.
Real Avid AR15 Micro Tool: Another handy product from Real Avid, this one of course oriented towards ARs.
Warne RT-1: Much of the same bits and tools already covered by the other things we bring with us, but sometimes the grip and sturdiness of a tool doesn't quite work, hence we have duplicates.
Up Front: in the wide, but shallow pocket is where the removable pistol magazine organizer would live. We removed it and kept things simple. This is where we go when it's time hang paper targets.
Staplegun: Over the years we've been through a few different models. There's no magical right choice, just make sure it's one that uses commonly-sized staples.
Target Tape: Either for attaching a target or patching holes. We've tried a few different brands and to quote Clint Smith, "they all suck". It doesn't seem to matter what you do, eventually temperature or age will ruin the tape. You can also use regular masking tape, just find what works best for your climate.
General Pocket: The pocket on this side is the same size as the other, but without the admin/organizer slots can hold a bit more.
Spare staplegun: It seems silly, until your primary bargain (or premium) staplegun decides to quit.
Staples: Oddly we somehow have three sizes of staples now (for different stapleguns). Plenty on hand in this pocket for not only our needs, but to also help a fellow shooter in distress should they run out. A perk to the Savior Equipment bag is that thanks to its structure we expect the staple boxes to last longer.
Jar of Thumb Tacks: When it's too wet for tape, or staples don't seem appropriate sometimes a thumb tack solves our target-hanging needs.
Spare batteries. If you use a device that uses a specific battery type bring some spares with you.
Check your kit! This is something all-to-easily forgotten, but about once a month (considering we typically shoot every week) we try to take inventory of our expendables. In composing this article I noticed that we've either run out of CR2032s or someone in the house who knew there'd be some in the range bag took them.
Is it necessary to have a fancy range bag? That's up to you. Of course grocery bags would probably work for a single trip. For as frequently as we hit the range, in addition to traveling to courses and events it's nice to have everything in a dedicated bag that we know we either need to bring with, or pull from.