Necessary Gear for Competitive Rifle Shooting
Every competitive rifle shooter needs to be prepared for each round and circumstance during their event, but some starting out might not be aware of the necessities that come with the sport. Here is a list of 10 important pieces of gear to take to the competition in order to be prepared and be your very best!
1. Eye/Ear Protection
These are absolutes! You must take every precaution to save your eyes and ears because you only get two of each, and one accident on the range, at the practice, or at the match could cost you. Over time your ears can be seriously damaged from firing a rifle regularly, so earplugs or earmuffs are both fine choices. You don’t need to drop a ton of cash on eye and ear protection, but you definitely need it!
2. Backpack/Range Bag
A backpack or range bag helps the competitive shooter keep all of his gear organized and portable. Make sure one is large enough to fit all of your necessities, and choose whichever is the most comfortable to carry from area to area during a match or other event. It is for this reason that some shooters prefer a backpack.
Having a hat can not only help keep the blazing sun off your face, but can also protect your face from flying hot brass with each shot. Some hot casings can land on the forehead or get stuck under your eye protection. A hat can help to further minimize this risk and protect your eyes and skin.
4. Gear Belt/Vest
It’s certainly important to have a gear belt and vest to carry spare magazines and ammunition while moving from section to section. You want pieces that fit snugly and comfortable enough for your to bear the extra weight of the spare ammunition and walk with it for long periods of time.
5. Main Firearm
Of course, this is your bread and butter, without which, you might as well take up knitting. Make sure your rifle is cleaned, and all parts and accessories are secure.
Don’t settle for the cheapest ammo, but make sure to test various loads and see which brand works best with your rifle. The type of ammo you use can affect your accuracy in such a way that your fire groups might not be consistent, so always use appropriate ammo, and test to see which is the most accurate with your particular rifle.
7. Backup Firearm
This might not be a “necessity,” but if you have a spare rifle, you should bring it just in case something ought to go wrong with your main firearm. It’s always better to be prepared with your own spare than go asking around embarrassed for another.
The amount of ammunition and magazines you will need to carry for each event may vary, but a good rule-of-thumb is to come prepared with 5 to 6 magazines on you and ready for each match.
9. Replacement Parts and Appropriate Tools
Should anything go wrong and a quick fix is in order, or you don’t have a spare rifle for the competition, it’s always vital to have spare parts for your firearm as well as the tools to properly repair it. A set of allen wrenches, for example, can go a long way when you least expect a problem to arise.
10. Barrel Cooler
Having a barrel cooler, such as the Original Barrel Cooler from Area 1 Sports, can be enough to put you ahead of your competition by saving your accuracy. Rifle barrels can heat up during a match after as little as 3 shots, to the point where the last couple shots of a group will deviate. Shooters will often have to wait for their barrels to cool off after 3 to 5 shots and waste time during their competition. The Original Barrel Cooler can give you the edge of reducing your wait time up to 60% and maintaining your rifle’s accuracy for the duration of the match. If you’re serious about winning, you should be serious about obtaining a barrel cooler.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and other items a shooter might like to bring include spare clothes (especially for weather conditions), a cleaning kit, a water bottle and snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and a chair.