Gun Care

New Shooter Necessities: It’s More Than Just Guns and Ammo

Impact Sports electronic hearing muffs and shooting glasses

All too often at the range, I see new shooters going from excited to instantly overwhelmed. They have decided to take up shooting, purchased their first firearm and a box of ammunition, and made it to shooting range. However, they quickly realize how underprepared they are due to a lack of range gear. Before they know it, they are spending money on items such as earmuffs, safety glasses and targets before they even get to step foot on the range. But wait! There’s more.

On their way out, they see an entire section dedicated to gun care and cleaning supplies and find themselves right back at the register. While there are a ton of accessories and products that simply aren’t necessary, there are a few — as a new gun owner — you shouldn’t be without.

Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 pistol with indoor shooting range background
Indoor ranges make for a great shooting location year-round.

Eye and Ear Protection

Arguably (but it shouldn’t be in my opinion), the two most important items you’ll need are eye and ear protection. Whether you’re shooting at an indoor or outdoor range, you should always take special care to protect your eyes and ears.

When starting your search, you’ll want to look for glasses that meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1 standards (American National Standards Institute) and hearing protection that has a NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) rating of 33 or higher — preferably above 31 if indoor shooting. Both should be comfortable, secure, and able to be cleaned after each use. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but these items are not ones that you want to skimp on either.

Targets

After ensuring that you can shoot safely, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals and practice. After all, getting to the actual shooting is the fun part! Targets come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. More often than not, you’ll find paper and cardboard targets at your local range. While you can purchase them there, they may not have a wide selection and will likely be more expensive, so it’s wise to bring your own.

Most ranges will provide cardboard backing and tape, to assist with securing your target but tape is never a bad idea to throw into your bag. Targets will help you improve your accuracy, understand what you need to work on, and help zero in the sights on your new gun.

Glock themed gun cleaning mat with Hoppe's 9 gun oil and bore snake
Gun cleaning mats can be very helpful in catching and soaking up cleaning solutions and lubricants. Some even have diagrams to help understand the various parts of your firearm!

Cleaning and Maintenance

Every gun owner should know how to clean their gun and do it regularly. After a shooting session, it’s not uncommon to find lead or copper fouling, and residue left behind that can collect quickly. It’s a great practice to set time aside after the range for cleaning to ensure all firearms are in perfect shape for their next use.

There are many great products available to clean, lubricate, and preserve your gun. You can either piece them together into a nice cleaning kit or buy a pre-assembled cleaning kit that includes everything you’ll need. A clean gun is a happy gun!

paper target hanging in an indoor shooting range for new shooter
Cardboard and paper targets are easy to take home with you to study. Learn from your shooting and find areas to improve upon.

Range Bags

Now that you have all of your gear, you don’t want to carry it to the range in a plastic bag, do you? Investing in a quality range bag can save you time and hassle, not to mention keep your things secure when transiting from your home to your vehicle and into the range. I suggest finding a bag that doesn’t just fit your essentials, but also offers various compartments and pockets to keep things organized. Knowing where your gear is when you need it will save you a headache in the long run.

If you have any suggestions for gear that you’ve found helpful in your shooting journey, drop it in the comment section.

  • Impact Sports electronic hearing muffs and shooting glasses
  • range bag for guns and ammo
  • Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 pistol with indoor shooting range background
  • Glock themed gun cleaning mat with Hoppe's 9 gun oil and bore snake
  • paper target hanging in an indoor shooting range
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. Good article and a good topic. Fortunately, most ranges will rent eye and ear protection as well as selling targets, so new shooters will quickly know at least part of what they need after the first trip. The need for a cleaning kit will become apparent relatively quickly, but they should also get a trauma kit with a tourniquet as well as the training needed to use it.

  2. Thank you for a good article. One item I that is incorrect is your recommendation of Noise Reduction Rating 31 or lower on an indoor ranges. As another commentor points out, the higher the NRR, the higher the noise reduction provided by the device. I trust your comment that an NRR lower than NRR31 is preferable is an honest error and that you will correct it to read NRR31 or higher. Thanks again for an informative article. Best wishes.

  3. Thanks for the informative article. I would only add investing in a fully equipped FIRST AID kit. When the impossible happens, it buys time & saves lives.

  4. Good article, and one thing I have learned lately is the importance of a CHAMBER BRUSH (usually not included in cleaning kits), when cleaning a firearm. While the bore brush may do a good job on the barrel, it is usually too small in diameter to clean the actual chamber, where the chamber meets the bore is the largest buildup of carbon and crud deposits. For example just a simple .22 LR a .270 bore brush makes an excellent chamber brush, and chamber brushes should be used with a NON-ROTATING cleaning rod, so you can twist the rod for maximum cleaning. An FYI: While CHAMBER BRUSHES for cleaning an AR usually include the larger diameter brush for cleaning the star, and the larger diameter of the chamber, it DOES NOT include a brush for cleaning the small part of the chamber where the cartridge neck, and bullet seat, HOWEVER once again a .270 bore brush does the job here too, and again use a NON-ROTATING cleaning rod for this function. Why is it worth the effort? I have learned it tends to reduce future leading, seems to improve accuracy as an added plus, and improve dependability.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.