When people get into shooting, a range bag is often not at the top of the list to get before heading to the range. After all, you do not need more than a gun, ammo, range, target, eye protection, and hearing protection, right?
But if you add a range bag to that list, your range trips will be much more convenient.
Instead of hunting down several boxes of ammunition and trying to find where your safety glasses ran off to this time, you can just toss your pistol into the gun bag and head to the range!
But there are a lot of different pistol range bags out there. Some are cheap and some are expensive. Typically you get what you pay for, but some of the best range bags are surprisingly inexpensive.
Regardless of your budget, here are the best range bags available today.
The 9 Best Pistol Range Bags of 2019: Outdoor Empire Reviews
- Best cheap: Bulldog Cases Economy
- Best cheap #2: Gunmate Range Bag
- Best cheap #3: MTM .50 Caliber Ammo Storage Can
- Best for the money: Osage River Tactical
- Best for the money #2: NcSTAR Competition Range Bag
- Best for the money #3: Blackhawk! Sportster Deluxe
- Best overall: G.P.S. Handgunner Backpack
- Best overall #2: Orca Tactical Shooting Range Gun Bag
- Best overall #3: Explorer Tactical Range Ready 18″ Bag
|Category||Best Cheap||Best for the Money||Best Overall|
|Material||Ballistic nylon||600D ballistic nylon||600D nylon|
|Exterior Dimensions||13″ wide x 7″ wide x 7″ high||18″ long x 13″ wide x 10″ high||10″ long x 16″ wide x 19″ high|
|Accessories||- carrying handles|
- shoulder strap
|- carrying handles|
- shoulder strap
- 2 removable pistol pouches
- padded internal dividers
|- pocket labels|
- reinforced carrying handle
- waterproof pull-out cover
- foam cradle for 4 handguns
|Available Colors||- black||- black |
- coyote tan
- gunmetal grey
- olive drab green
|- black |
- digital camo
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best Cheap Range Bag – Bulldog Cases Economy Range Bag
Material: Ballistic nylon
External Pockets: Four
Accessories: Carrying handles and shoulder strap
Exterior Dimensions: 13″ wide x 7″ wide x 7″ high
Largest Interior Compartment Dimensions: 12″ long x 6″ wide x 6″ high
Bulldog Cases makes lots of gun bags and a few different range bags. The Economy model is a nearly-perfect cheap range bag.
It is made from water-resistant ballistic nylon and has four external pockets. Two are on one side and the other two are on either end. The pockets on the side are oddly small vertically but extend away from the bag far enough to carry a large amount of smaller items.
There are two straps that wrap together into a carrying handle. There is also a shoulder strap. The straps are strongly reinforced.
A single zipper opens to reveal the interior compartment, which is a foot long and half a foot wide and tall. There is ample space for several pistols and ammunition. However, unless the pistol is very small, a hard case likely will not fit.
There are no dividers or magazine holders in the interior pocket, though it does have a plastic section to add rigidity to the bottom.
- Very durable for the price
- Small and discrete
- Lacks dedicated pistol or magazine storage
- Oddly sized side pockets
- Not easily lockable
If you do not want to spend a lot of money but want a good range bag, the Bulldog Cases Economy Range Bag is the best choice.
2. Second Best Cheap Range Bag – Gunmate Range Bag
External Pockets: Two
Accessories: Carrying handles, shoulder straps, two padded pistol rugs, and Velcro dividers
Exterior Dimensions: 16″ long x 7″ wide x 8″ high
The Gunmate 191687 Range Bag is a sleek bag without many frills.
Instead of external pockets, the two side compartments are flush with the bag. Each one has a pistol rug, so the bag is designed to handle two or more handguns. They also have dual zipper pulls so you can lock all of the pockets.
You access the internal compartment by pulling the double zippers. Inside are two Velcro dividers that can be positioned wherever you want.
There are two carrying handles and a shoulder strap, though the handles do not attach together. The straps all wrap under the bag, so even if the stitching on one fails, the bag will not fall.
The range bag is made from nylon. Though it is thicker than some cheaper bags, it is not as thick as the more expensive range bags. This means that the bottom is susceptible to sagging when loaded with heavy ammunition.
The logo is bright red, on top of the bag, and has “gun” in it, so this is not a stealthy range bag.
- All compartments are easily locked
- Comes with two padded pistol rugs
- The logo ruins stealth
- Bottom lacks rigidity
For just a little bit more storage, the Gunmate Range Bag gets you more internal storage at the expense of external storage and stealth.
3. Third Best Cheap Range Bag – MTM .50 Caliber Ammo Storage Can
Material: Polypropylene plastic
External Pockets: None
Accessories: Carrying handle
Exterior Dimensions: 7″ long x 13.5″ wide x 8.5″ high
Largest Interior Compartment Dimensions: 5.8″ long x 11″ wide x 7.2″ high
Available colors: Black, forest green, purple, zombie
Though not technically a range bag, .50 caliber ammo cans are often used for just that purpose.
MTM makes a .50 cal ammo storage can from polypropylene plastic that is inexpensive and as durable as steel cans, while being lighter and not susceptible to rust.
Plus they have molded stacking ridges so you can store multiple cans on top of each other.
The top has an O-ring so the whole thing is waterproof. There are two latches so the ammo can will not open accidentally. There are also two holes for padlocks.
You can fit a surprising amount of gear inside a .50 cal ammo can. Pistols inside soft cases will often fit. You can also fit AR-15 magazines, vertically.
The folding carrying handle is large and easy to hold. You can buy two ammo cans for less than a cheap range bag and be able to carry all of your gear to the range without worry.
- Very tough and rigid
- Lacks external storage
- Obviously firearm related
If you need something cheap and durable that doubles as storage, a .50 caliber ammo storage can will get your gear to the range safely.
MTM .50 Caliber Ammo Storage Can is also available at:
4. Best Range Bag for the Money – Osage River Tactical Range Bag
Material: 600D ballistic nylon
External Pockets: Six
Accessories: Carrying handles, shoulder strap, two removable pistol pouches, and padded internal dividers
Available colors: Black, coyote tan, gunmetal grey, and olive drab green
Exterior Dimensions: 18″ long x 13″ wide x 10″ high (Standard) or 13.5″ long x 10.5″ wide x 7.5″ high (Light Duty)
Osage River’s Tactical Range Bag is an excellent choice when you want a good blend of quality and price.
It comes in two sizes, Standard and Light Duty. The shape is the same between the two and size is the only difference.
There are six pockets total, though two are small pockets on the outside of the larger pockets on either end. The two compartments along the long side both unfold to reveal a removable pistol pouch and seven pistol magazine holders.
The internal compartment comes with two padded dividers that only fit lengthwise. They are not connected to the bottom, which can sag, so sometimes equipment can pass underneath the dividers.
The Standard size is good for two or more full-sized pistols. The Light Duty size cannot carry as much and is mostly aimed at people who are practicing with compact weapons.
- Available in two sizes
- Plenty of storage
- 14 pistol magazine holders
- The pistol pouches lack closures
- Occasional quality control issues
- Saggy bottom
The Osage River Tactical Range Bag has plenty of storage, even if it is a bit saggy.
5. Second Best Range Bag for the Money – NcSTAR Competition Range Bag
External Pockets: Four
Accessories: Carrying handles, shoulder strap, ID pocket, and Velcro patch
Available colors: Brown/tan, digital camo, urban gray
Exterior Dimensions: 20″ long x 13″ wide x 10″ high
Largest Interior Compartment Dimensions: 15″ long x 7″ wide x 10″ high
The NcSTAR Competition Range Bag is good for competitors who want to save money so they can buy more practice ammunition. It is spacious and durable enough to last on the firing line.
There are two accessories aimed at competitors: an ID card window pocket and a patch of Velcro so you can easily add a unique identifier.
The interior pocket is so large that it could probably fit some of the cheaper range bags on this list. It also has side pockets all the way around the inside.
The outside pockets have elastic loops inside to hold magazines, both rifle and pistol. One of the side compartments folds down and has a padded interior pocket for a pistol. Another outside pocket has a drawstring top and a mesh bottom.
There are even MOLLE straps so you can add on more pouches or magazine holders!
- Has many pockets
- MOLLE and Velcro attachment points
- Quite large
- Can be too large for some people
- No reinforcement for the soft bottom
- Potentially weak shoulders strap clasp
The NcSTAR Competition Range Bag is great for anyone who needs to carry a lot of gear to the shooting range.
6. Third Best Range Bag for the Money – Blackhawk! Sportster Deluxe
Material: 600D Nylon
External Pockets: Three
Accessories: Carrying handles, shoulder strap, removable pistol pouch, and Velcro path
Exterior Dimensions: 15″ long x 11″ wide x 10″ high
Blackhawk! makes a lot of inexpensive yet good firearm accessories, and their Sportster Deluxe does not break the mold.
On first glance, it looks to be on the small side. However, the Sportster Deluxe makes efficient use of its space. Though it only comes with one pistol pouch, you can fit two full-size pistols in each external compartment.
The whole thing has a surprisingly rigid construction with plenty of padding to protect your firearms. There are also a large number of internal pockets to keep your gear from crashing around.
One of the side pockets has a small slash pocket for small equipment, such as a notepad or folding targets.
Though the zippers are oversized and the nylon is rugged and reinforced, the shoulder strap hardware is a potential failure point. Thankfully, it is easily replaced.
- Efficient use of space
- Plastic protectors for the bottom of the bag
- Rigid and rugged
- Lacks dedicated magazine holders
- Weak plastic shoulder strap hardware
The Blackhawk! Sportster Deluxe range bag is not exciting, but it is rugged and can carry multiple handguns.
The Blackhawk! Sportster Deluxe is also available at:
7. Best Overall Range Bag – G.P.S. Handgunner Backpack
Material: 600D Nylon
Accessories: Pocket labels, reinforced carrying handle, waterproof pull-out cover, and a foam cradle for four handguns
Available Colors: Black and digital camo
Exterior Dimensions: 10″ long x 16″ wide x 19″ high
The G.P.S. Handgunner Backpack is a range bag in backpack form. This makes it extremely easy to bring to the range, even when fully loaded.
This backpack can hold a lot. There is a high-density foam storage cradle for four handguns. It’s adjustable, but large revolvers can be too large to fit without permanent modification. Or you can just remove the cradle and use your own gun case.
Instead of a single large compartment with a collection of exterior pockets, there is a myriad of specialized pockets. Each one has a visual label so you can quickly identify which pocket contains what item. There is even a pocket for your keys and one for a waterproof rain cover!
The construction is rigid and every compartment is padded to keep your gear safe. Even the logo is customizable, as it is attached using Velcro.
- Foam cradle for four pistols
- Backpack instead of a duffle bag
- Labeled pockets
- Fitting large revolvers in the cradle may require modification to the cradle
The G.P.S. Handgunner Backpack is such a good range bag that it can carry enough range gear for four people in one go.
G.P.S. Handgunner Backpack is also available at:
8. Second Best Overall Range Bag – Orca Tactical Shooting Range Gun Bag
Material: 600D Polyester
External Pockets: Six
Accessories: Carrying handles, internal compartment divider, and a padded shoulder strap
Available Colors: Black, coyote brown, and olive drab green
Exterior Dimensions: 16″ long x 1″ wide x 9″ high
Largest Interior Compartment Dimensions: 15″ long x 7″ wide x 9″ high
The Orca Tactical Shooting Range Gun Bag is loaded with pockets, each one padded enough that you could break down a door with the bag without harming the contents. There are a total of 13 compartments inside and out.
Two of the outer pockets (the ones on the ends) are sized to hold beverage cans for refreshment after the range trip. Two of the side pockets also have a Velcro face so you can slap on morale patches willy nilly.
There are elastic loops all around the inside compartments for shot shells, pistol magazines, and other gear.
The carrying handles wrap around each other for secure carrying and the dual zipper handle is reinforced. The shoulder strap has adjustable padding and high-quality metal hardware.
There are polymer scruff pads to protect the bottom from rough or dirty surfaces. Every seam is double-stitched for durability as well.
- Extremely padded to protect all of your gear
- Has many compartments
- Not quite as much storage as the size would suggest
If you want a very durable and protective range bag in the traditional style, the Orca Tactical Shooting Range Bag is your best choice.
9. Third Best Overall Range Bag – Explorer Tactical Range Ready 18″ Bag
Material: 600D nylon
External Pockets: Six
Accessories: Carrying handles, shoulder strap, internal dividers, and two removable zippered handgun pouches
Available Colors: ACU camo, black, black camo, brown, Navy digital, olive drab green, and woodland digital camo
Exterior Dimensions: 18″ long x 14″ wide x 10″ high
Largest Interior Compartment Dimensions: 12″ long x 12″ wide x 9″ high
If you need more storage space instead of more padding, the Explorer Tactical Range Ready Bag can carry everything you need to the range.
There are four enclosed outer pockets and two small open-top pockets on the ends. The internal compartment has Velcro dividers and Velcro all the way around the inside for maximum customization.
All of the zippers have loops that overlap when closed so you can lock each and every pocket.
The large side compartments each have a pistol pouch. Unlike the pouches on most other range bags, these have a zippered top and Velcro on the bottom to secure them inside the bag. There are also a total of 14 pistol magazine holders.
The carrying handles wrap closed around each other. The shoulder strap has padding and metal hardware but is a little shorter than average.
- 14 pistol magazine holders
- Large storage capacity
- Large variety of colors
- Two removable and securable zippered handgun pouches
- Short shoulder strap
When you need a lot of carrying capacity, the Explorer Tactical Range Ready Bag can hold everything you want it to.
The Importance of Choosing a Good Range Bag
Why buy a range bag anyway?
When I first started going to the range on my own, I used plastic sacks from the store to carry my equipment.
The pistols lived in their holsters and the ammunition boxes did not leave the disposable bags I bought them in. When it came time to run to the range, I tossed my hearing and eye protection on top of the ammo and threw everything into my car.
It worked. Mostly.
I had to replace my shooting glasses frequently because they kept getting scratched up. My hearing protection also got dirty because I would put my empty shells into the same bag.
And several spills happened. There’s nothing like walking up to a busy firing line when your plastic sack rips, spilling your gear all over the concrete floor!
In short, range trips without a bag were awkward and not as pleasant as they should have been.
That all changed when I bought a $20 range bag.
It lived on top of my gun safe. My glasses had a specific pocket and so did the earplugs. I also kept a second pair of glasses in the bag along with earmuffs so I could outfit a guest without having to stop by the store.
All of the other range gear, from ammo to targets, sat in the bag as well. All I had to do was open my safe, move several pistols from the safe to the bag, then grab the bag and head to the range.
In the vehicle, all of my stuff stayed safe and stealthy in a single unsuspicious black bag, even if I decided to stop and eat.
A good range bag keeps your gear secure and, perhaps more importantly, convenient and easy to transport.
How to Choose a Range Bag?
You can spend under $20 or more than $100 on a range bag. How do you know what to look for and what makes a range bag a good deal or not?
Perhaps the number one criteria for choosing a range bag is the size. Pay attention to the dimensions. If you cannot close the bag around your gun, ammo, and other gear, what good is it?
On the other hand, if you only bring a small amount of gear to the range, you do not need to spend the money on an oversized bag.
Guns and ammo are mostly metal, and heavy metal at that. This means that range bags can get very heavy!
Ensure the range bag is strong enough to handle a large amount of weight. Look for reinforced seams and a solid material such as nylon.
Single pistol bags do not need anything more than carrying handles. Weight rapidly adds up with multi-pistol range bags, however. Rather than tiring out your arms before you even start pulling the trigger, look for shoulder straps if you think your range bag will be even moderately heavy.
The more pockets the better—to an extent!
Range bags often have a large central pocket and several around the outside. Think about what you want to hold in the bag, then buy one that has as many pockets as you need.
For example, I like to put my hearing and eye protection into their own pockets to protect them. Another pocket is dedicated to spent brass, so they don’t get any other equipment dirty.
Having too many pockets is not as annoying as having too few pockets.
Some range bags have some pretty funny accessories, but they can make-or-break a bag for you.
I have even seen a range bag with a beverage holder. Now, I would not drink much at the range because of the potential for lead exposure, but I am sure that it makes someone happy.
A good accessory to look for is an ID pocket. If you will be shooting at a competition, you will have to leave your gear around other people. An ID pocket allows you to identify what bag is yours even if several people have the same model.
Top Range Bag Brands
Explorer Tactical focuses on gun bags, rifle cases, tactical backpacks, and basically anything bag-like in which you can stick a gun.
This narrow focus is beneficial because they do one thing, and they do it well. In fact, they have been doing this for over 20 years and have their own factory. They also aim to keep the production of their bags simple so the price does not inflate above the value of their products.
They research how people use their bags to design improved models. If you have your own idea for a range bag, Explorer Tactical can work with you to produce a new, improved range bag!
G.P.S. is the first part of the name of several product lines by G-Outdoors; the name comes from the Global Positioning System. Patrick Gee founded G-Outdoors while inspired by how GPS allows people to quickly and accurately find their position.
That’s why the G.P.S. Handgunner Backpack has symbols to visually identify the intended contents of each pocket. The idea is to spend less time fumbling around with your storage and to spend more time enjoying shooting.
G.P.S. products do not end at backpacks. There are more conventional range bags as well as shell pouches and rapid deployment packs, which are sort of like tactical messenger bags combined with small range bags.
NcSTAR does not always have the best reputation in the firearms community. They started by rebranding no-name Chinese products such as optics; then they added a level of quality control, but their products were cheap and not always worth the money.
They have improved in the years since then. Now, NcSTAR innovates and designs products in a style not seen by other companies, especially the VISM division. They are still in the budget category of firearm accessories but they have put out a number of winning products in recent years.
Their range bags and other softs definitely punch above their old reputation and are worth the price, and then some.
NcSTAR still has some quality control issues, primarily with their optics, but if you are unsatisfied with their product they do have a good warranty.
Osage River is not specifically a firearm accessory company. They are primarily an outdoor equipment company. In addition to shooters, their customers are campers, fisherman, hikers, hunters, and other outdoor adventurers.
In fact, they are their own customers. Osage River’s employees use the gear they sell.
The knowledge gained from making good outdoor equipment, however, does crossover into range bags. If you can trust their tent to weather a storm, you can trust their range bag to survive getting tossed around a concrete shooting area.
Osage River also sells other firearm-related gear, such as a tactical backpack covered in Velcro and MOLLE webbing.
They even make a waist fanny pack, tougher than their range bag, which is a great choice for hunters who need someplace secure for their ammo and other hunting accouterments.
Osage River has a limited lifetime warranty. No matter how long since you purchased their product, if the workmanship was defective, they will make things right.
Why should I use a range bag instead of a backpack, laptop bag, or tool bag?
Range bags offer advantages which cannot be matched by a backpack, laptop bag, or tool bag.
Backpacks are rarely rigid and their compartments are often too large, so ammo boxes and other gear tends to slide around and bang into each other. Also, guns can get dirty, and you may not want to get carbon fouling all over your good backpack. Some good range bags are backpacks, though!
Laptop bags are designed to cushion a large, flat object. This can protect your pistol but, again, laptop bags lack compartmentalization. Also, they are often not strong enough. You do not want a laptop bag shoulder strap to break under the weight of multiple pistols and hundreds of rounds of ammunition!
Tool bags are the closest to a range bag and can be used in a pinch (or the other way around!). But they are designed to carry tools such as hammers, not firearms, and so tend to have a different design. They are also often as expensive (if not more so) than a gun bag. Why not use the proper tool for the job and get a pistol range bag?
What should I put in my range bag?
Ideally, you would put everything you need for a range trip into a single pistol bag, except for any rifles or large accessories such as spotting scopes.
To get you started, here is a list of items I keep in my range bag:
- Several boxes of ammunition
- Spare magazines
- Two safety glasses
- Shooting gloves
- Folded paper targets
- Bouncing target
- Staple gun (for the paper targets)
- Firearm cleaning and maintenance kit
- Notepad and pencil
- First aid kit
Feel free to remove or add anything you think you may need. Remember to cover whatever you think you may need for any type of shooting range situation, even emergencies!
Should I keep my pistol in the range bag?
Generally, you should not keep your pistol in your range bag. Put the gun in the bag when you head to the range.
You can attach a lock to some range bags, but they are small enough to be easily carried away by a thief. It is safer to store your pistol in a gun safe or, if you use it for home defense, where you can easily access it during an emergency.