I’ve received a few emails asking for different recommendations for gear on for my private training courses. In an effort to save time emailing everyone back and spend more time at the range, I’ve gone down the list for my basic pistol course and have given guidance where possible. The tactical gear you choose comes down to personal preference, budget, or if you’re military or LE, your department. In the end, the decisions you make could be the difference between life and death, so choose wisely. If you find something better, don’t be afraid to switch, just make sure you train using that gear before you need to use it to defend your life or of those you need to protect.
A fully functioning and practical handgun chambered in 9mm, .40 cal, or .45 ACP.
- I’m a fan of the Glock in 40S&W, but this is far too subjective a topic to give any recommendations. If you have a gun you carry most of the time, then that’s the gun you should bring to the course.
- Check out my article on selecting the right holster. Again, this comes down to personal preference and what you will normally be using.
- I use a lot of different types of magazine pouches depending on how I’m carrying and what I’m wearing. If it’s just on my gun belt, I like the solid kydex pouches. If I’m wearing body armor and using the pistol as my secondary weapon, I go with nylon pouches with Velcro flaps from Voodoo Tactical.
Cleaning kit and tools that are compatible with the weapon system.
- A basic cleaning kit is all you need. I use Frog Lube, so my kit is pretty small. Bore brush and rod, nylon cleaning brush, cloth and of course…Frog Lube. If you forget something, I’m sure we can get your gun cleaned up.
Range clothing (Build Intel Package: Check weather)
- As with any outdoor activity, layers are best. I recommend long pants and long sleeve since you’ll be on the dirt. I’m not holding any uniform inspections, so whatever you wear is fine as long as you’re comfortable. No banana hammocks before 5 p.m.!
Brimmed headgear (i.e. baseball style)
- You’ll never see any serious shooters on the range without a brimmed hat. FACT: It keeps the sun out of your eyes, your eyes can then dilate, and you can see your target and front sight post better.
Ballistic Eye pro with Clear lenses for night ranges
- These don’t need to meet ANSI Z87.1-2003 Industrial Eyewear Impact Standard, just something that will keep stray pieces of brass from taking out your sighting system. I wear a few different pairs of wrap around style of Oakley’s. You we’re doing night shooting, you’ll need a clear set of lenses.
Ear pro (electronic preferred)
- I use Noise Canceling Peltors so I can communicate on the range. These are not required and simple foam ear plugs work just fine. I’ll have some on hand.
Appropriate foot wear
- I don’t care as long as it’s not flip-flops. My favorite pair right now is the Keen Targhee II Mid boots.
A minimum of 5 working magazines
- Make sure you label your mags with an identifying mark and number. Check to make sure they work.
Note taking materials
- If you’ve got a range book, bring it. If not, why don’t you have a range book! Hopefully, you’ll learn something during the course and it’s good to have something to write it down on.
Flashlight with Spare bulbs and batteries
- I’m a Surefire fan simply because I’ve had cheaper brands break on me. Their prices are ridiculous, but they work. Check out our article on tactical lighting.
Food and Water
- We’ll break for lunch, but you probably will not have time to go anywhere. Need to feed the machine!
- If you wear gloves when you shoot, then you should wear them during the course. I wear the basic Mechanix gloves and have also been working with a pair of leather Under Amour. If you don’t wear gloves, they’re not needed. Check out this article on shooting glove reviews for guidance.
Knee and elbow pads (optional)
- I don’t like or wear these. I think you have to man-up at some point. If you can’t, then by all means, bring your pads.
- Remember, you’re coming to our course to learn. If you already know everything, then just save us both some time and send me your money and stay home. If wI tell you something different from what you’ve learned before, just try it and see if it makes you shoot better before you say, “That’s not what my granddaddy taught me “. If not, you’ve learned something that doesn’t work for you. My only goal is to make you a better shooter by the time you leave, not show you how good I can shoot or make you shoot like drones.
Remember, gear is a very personal choice. I’m sure you could talk to ten other Navy SEALs and get ten other recommendations for each piece of gear that I like to use, and that’s fine…good even. This gear is what works for me; in the places and conditions I’m currently shooting. If yours were different, I would expect some of your choices to be different. If you have any questions, just post them below and I’ll answer the best I can. See you on the range!