An Easier Way to Carry Your Range Gear

5.11 Tactical's Master Range Backpack Set gets you ready for the range.

            When it comes to innovative ideas, 5.11 Tactical seems to be at the leading edge. 5.11 has been a leader in clothing and now they are making major inroads in the “range bag” market. New this year is Ranger Master Backpack Set.

As the name implies the Range Master Backpack Set is a system designed around a backpack. For the past several years I have been using a backpack for USPSA matches and found it to be much better than traditional shoulder carried duffle bag style bags. At first glance I knew 5.11’s new bag would be an improvement over my well traveled one, because from the start it is built to be a range bag.

            We will look at the exterior first. There are two pockets on the front of the pack. You will find the small top pocket a good place to carry your phone, camera, keys, and etc. At the bottom of the main body is a semi-rigid lower pocket has magazine loops and four slash pockets for lubricant, small tools, etc and two slots for pens. This pocket is lockable and has a loop strip to attach a hook backed name tag.

The backpack of the Rang Master Backpack Set has plenty of MOLLE straps to attach gear including 5.11’s Sidewinder Straps.

            On the main flap and sides you will find numerous MOLLE strips to attach other pouches to meet your needs. There are also cinch two cinch straps for large items. You will notice I added a pair of large Sidewinder Straps MSRP $14.99) to keep my rain jacket easily accessible. On the side I mounted my IFAK in case of an injury.

As you can see Sidewinder Straps have plenty of length for bulkier items than my lightweight raincoat.

            When I did a detailed look at the RMBS, I found many features that set it apart from others. First it has a semi-rigid frame which helps distribute the load for long treks. The close cell foam ventilation ribs are covered with a soft touch mesh to give better airflow. This helps to keep you from perspiring which will wear you out and will eventually degrade the pack’s material.

            Next, the adjustable backpack straps use the same closed cell foam and mesh. I have not seen this on other packs. I am sure when hiking between stages this will be a welcome feature. 5.11 added a chest strap in case you are carrying an uneven load. This strap will keep it in place. Above the straps is another pocket that can accommodate a 100 ounce hydration bladder.  If you need to grab the backpack just above this zipper is a padded carry handle.

The soft touch mesh and close cell foam help make the Rangemaster backpack more comfortable for longer treks. The sternum strap will stabilize a heavy load.

            The interior of the main flap has a dual access mesh zipper pocket. I liked the large “U” zipper of the main pouch with lockable pulls. This style zipper allows the front flap to completely open the body of the pack. It might not seem like a big deal, but this makes it easier to get your ammunition out of the system’s ammunition pouches.

Top of the ammunition pouches has loop material to attach an ammunition ID tag. The sides will also stand up giving you a place to empty magazines without having rounds roll away.

            Like the backpack, the ammunition pouches have “U” zippers. When the pouch is completely open it is easy to put 150 rounds of factory packaged 9mm in the small pouch. The medium pouch will easily hold 200 hundred rounds of .45 ACP. There is a loop patch on top of the ammunition pouch for an ID strip so you know what kind of ammunition you have without opening it.

            The last part of the Range Master Backpack Set is the padded single pistol case. 5.11 again uses dual lockable zippers making access to the five magazines stored in the retainer and zipper pocket for the pistol easier. It should be noted the single pistol case will not fit an Open Class pistol. I found Glock 34s, 1911s, Sig P320 X5s all fit easily.

As you can see the pistol pouch keeps your pistol separated from magazines so they will not scratch your pistol.

            Overall I found the Range Master Backpack Set to be well made. All of seam ends are have sewn wraps. This keeps the ends from fraying, helping to ensure you get longer life out of the pack. You will find the zippers are all double sewn, again for durability. When you look at all of the small details of this system, it is worth the MSRP of $169.99. When compared to other quality range bags, The Range master Backpack Set, is more than competitive; it surpasses the competition. This range set makes it easy to get out to the range to practice shooting fast, accurately and have fun doing it.