Quality Range Gear

Range Gear

One of the biggest hurdles for those signing up for a Defensive Pistol class
is understanding the gear necessary to complete the course. In preparation for the upcoming MAG40 here at Boondocks FTA™ with Massad Ayoob, I went and checked his website for a recommended gear list. Here is what I found.

The Massad Ayoob MAG 40 Gear List

  • A good quality handgun, suitable for self-protection and/or concealed carry. Remember that you will be firing approximately 500 rounds during this class, so ultra-lightweight firearms, though suitable for concealed carry, are not a good choice for class use. It is a good idea to bring a spare gun, if you have one, just in case your primary gun breaks. (it happens more than you think)
  • A good quality holster. You need a safe, quality holster and belt. Again, if you have any questions, please contact us.
  • A minimum of 3 magazines or speed loaders for your handgun.
  • A magazine pouch/holder for at least 2 of your spare magazines or speed loaders.
  • A sturdy belt, to support the above.
  • Hearing protection.
  • Eye protection.
  • Billed cap or other brimmed headwear.
  • At least 500 rounds of decent quality, reliable ammunition. Range ammunition (FMJ, etc.) is fine. You do not need to use premium self-defense ammo for this course.
  • Firearm cleaning supplies plus any tools/lubricants that you might need.

In addition to these items, the list on his website contains additional suggestions for clothing, note-taking material, and even a flashlight. While those are great suggestions, I really wanted to focus on a few of the most critical items, particularly the guns, holsters, and belt.

The Gun

Massad states you should bring a “Good Quality Gun”, that is not “ultralight” and also to “bring a spare gun.” For first-time gun owners or first-time students this might be a little vague. Here are my suggestions. For classes where you will be firing close to 500 rounds, I would suggest a mid-size to full-size gun. Something with a magazine capacity of 12-15 rounds or larger. As far as the brand of gun, my suggestion is to stay with the major name brands such as Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig, Beretta, HK, FN, Springfield, and Ruger. If you really drill down into the guns most often used in these classes, Glock and S&W are usually the top of the list every time. There is a reason for that, there tend to be fewer issues with these brands. However, even the best guns have problems, and that is why Massad says “bring a spare”. Having an identical backup gun is nice for holster and magazine capability. For my training purposes, I use a Glock 45, and my spare is either a Glock 17 or Glock 34. Both will fit in my training holster and all the magazines are interchangeable.

The Holster

This is where students tend to have the most trouble. There are hundreds of different holsters out there and everyone claims theirs is the best. My recommendation is the holster should be a Polymer, Kydex, or another rigid material holster that is made specifically for the make and model of your gun. Hybrid holsters that incorporate a combination of Kydex and Leather may start off as great options, the leather softens over time and can be less safe. My Every Day Carry (EDC) Holster is a Vedder Light Tuck Inside The Waistband (IWB), and I use a Comp-Tac Warrior Outside the Waistband (OWB) Holster for range work. The IWB is a little more concealable for EDC, while the OWB holster is compatible with my
primary and secondary gun and a little safer and easier to draw and re-holster for training purposes. However, I use my EDC IWB holster for my driver fire routine.

The Gun Belt

The belt is often the most overlooked gear item, but the belt is the foundation on which everything else is built. A belt that is too loose or too flimsy can drastically affect your ability to get the gun out of the holster. The belt needs to be sufficiently rigid to hold the gun up while it is holstered and keep the holster down while drawing the gun. The best options for belts are both rigid and infinitely adjustable. My EDC belt is a Nexbelt EDC Gunbelt or a Crossbreed Crossover belt. Both are rigid enough to support a full-size firearm and allow me to adjust to the precise tension.

The Boondocks Benefit

The benefit of a facility like Boondocks is that it has a full-service Pro Shop and is staffed with instructors to ensure you get the most out of your training class. Not only can we get you geared up for high round count classes like DPI, DPII or Defensive Vehicle Tactics, we also offer classes such as our Defensive Shooting Fundamentals or Defensive Carry class specifically designed for smaller carry guns. Just last week, we ran a Defensive Shooting Fundamentals Class. One of the students was a woman who literally fired her first shot just a few weeks ago in our Basic Pistol Class. She arrived for her second class full of anxiety, feeling overwhelmed and that she was afraid she didn’t have the experience of the
overwhelming majority of male students. We got her geared up and assured her she would do fine. Not only did she complete the class, but she was one of the top shots in the class! Statistically, she is now one of the 1% of gun owners in the United States. She now realizes The Price of Security is Eternal Vigilance.

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