Gear Review: 5.11 Tactical Range Ready Bag

IMG_3474So I recently completed another trip around the sun (translation: birthday). As is tradition, my dog bought me a gift (translation: I bought myself something and said Ms. Pepper got it for me). For some reason, she has a knack for finding that one thing that no one else knew that I wanted. I guess it’s true: no one knows you like your best friend.

So this year’s present was the Range Ready Bag from 5.11 Tactical. My old range bag was…old. It also wasn’t really meant for use as a range bag. It was for bringing sporting clay supplies to the range. It was essentially a stiff sided gym bag, when all was said and done so there was no real way to organize anything in it. As I started to bring more and more things to the range with me, trying to find what I needed in the bag became nearly impossible.

So, as it is with almost all gun bloggers, if I get a present that’s gun related you can be sure a review will follow. So is this bag great for the range or is it a huge, ungainly accessory that barely fits in my Mustang’s trunk? Read on, dear reader. Read on…

Let’s start out with features. The main compartment of this bag along is 9 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches. There’s a removable ammo tote inside that is 6x16x7 inches. It also comes with a brass pouch for keeping you reloaders out there. Then you have the pockets. I’ve spoken at length about my love of pockets and it seems that 5.11 Tactical specifically caters to pocket freaks such as myself. The Range Ready Bag has 5 outer pockets as well as a special pocket to hold your water bottle. The large outside pocket has a big inner pocket as well as 8 pockets specifically designed to hold your pistol magazines.

It’s seems to be made of the same thick fabric as their AR-15 case and the stitches are hefty. The zippers work great and don’t get hung up at all (unlike my old bag which often needed to be jiggled to get the zippers open). The shoulder strap is well balanced and, even though my bag is loaded down with supplies, tools and guns, it doesn’t dig into my shoulder.

IMG_3475Downsides? To borrow from the great Stan Lee: “with great storage comes great massivicity”. I’m not really sure that’s even a word, actually. Anyway, this thing is big. With the way it’s balanced on the straps and handles and the way it’s laid out, it doesn’t feel as big as it is. It’s kind of hard to explain that. It’s kind of like this truck that I used to drive. It was a big vehicle (Chevy Avalanche, fyi). With the way the wheels were configured and the steering set up, it didn’t feel like as big of a vehicle as it was. It turned tight and handled like a smaller truck. This bag is kind of like that.

With all the stuff that I’m able to fit into it, I’m surprised it’s not bigger actually. Considering that I was able to consolidate a lot of the gear cases I used to carry into this one bag, it really evens out in the end. I’ve ultimately wound up with more space in the trunk of The Noob Mobile™. Those of you who drive Smart cars, however, might still have some problems this thing in the trunk.

The other is the price. There are similar style range bags for cheaper, but not much cheaper. 5.11 has it listed on their site for $129 (plus shipping). I’ve seen it on amazon and in stores for around $99 and sometimes less. Similarly sized bags from other manufacturers seem to run in the $75-$100 range as well. That puts this bag at the higher end but still not way out in left field. Personally, considering the extra features (like the removable ammo bag), I think it’s well worth the money.

IMG_3476At this point I realize I’m sounding a bit like a spokesperson for 5.11 with my reviews however one thing that has impressed me with all the 5.11 gear I’ve tested thus far is the quality of the construction. Their clothes hold up. Their bags are solid. The range bag I had before was a cheap bag made of similar material however it was starting to fall apart. For example, nine out of ten times, your bag is going to be sitting on the ground. My old bag was really starting to wear on the bottom. This bag has plastic feet on the bottom to help prevent that kind of wear. It’s the little details that makes this an awesome bag. Combine that with a pretty solid warranty and you’ve got a bag that will last you a long time.

Would I recommend this to someone as their first range bag? It depends. How many guns do you have or plan to have? How much gear do you have? If you’re just starting out or only plan to have one gun, this might be a bit of overkill. If you’re in it for the long haul and/or plan on having a “collection” of guns, then by all means get this bag. I’ve been more than happy with mine so far.

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