We all share the same issues getting our gear—guns, targets, tape and staplers, ammunition, spare magazines, spotting scopes, hearing protection and tools—back and forth to the range. Like you, I’ve seen a wide variety of transport methods used by folks over the years, from the plastic shopping bag they bought the ammo in to some pretty high end custom leather cases.
Given the choice, I think we all want something that will protect and organize our gear while offering a reasonable balance between quality and affordability, and if you’re like me, Plano Outdoor Products might have just what you need.
The Plano Range Bags
Recently, I received two X2 Range Bags from Plano Outdoor Products to test, one for their smaller .30 caliber sized ammo can and one for their .50 caliber sized ammo can.
The Range Bag is a sturdy nylon bag that fits around the ammo can and provides a number of pouches and storage options for you to add additional tools, spare mags, or even a pistol. The bags attach securely over the hinge and latch portions of the ammo can so that you can still carry the whole rig by the ammo cans handle. They also come with a detachable padded nylon shoulder strap that’s handy when you’re trying to juggle multiple cans or a rifle case as well.
Plano’s ammo cans are a nice alternative to GI steel ammo cans. They’re made of a sturdy plastic much lighter than steel, and are fitted with a brass latch and rubber o-ring seal that make them very weather resistant and rust proof. They’re also designed to be stackable if you plan on using them for storage rather than in conjunction with the Range Bag.
They come in sizes that approximate the GI .30 and .50 caliber cans. I was able to fit 20 boxes of 9mm ammo in the larger can without issue. The can was heavy, but the handle and shoulder strap supported the weight with no problems.
The larger can also features a compartment on the lid with a handy place to store pens, screwdrivers or other small tools or parts. The smaller can worked similarly to a typical .30 caliber can for storage space.
Adding the X2 Range Bag to either can increases storage space and versatility. The larger can’s bag features an oversized pocket with a hard-sided plastic pistol case that’s plenty big to hold my full sized Beretta M9A1 with laser/light combo attached with room to spare.
The outer portion of the bag has MOLLE webbing as well so that you can attach magazine pouches, a multi-tool pouch or other accessories. There is also a large end pocket on one side of the bag that accommodated my gunsmithing screwdriver set, and a set of magazine pouches or small tool pouches on the other end. A mesh pocket is opposite of the pistol case pouch on the other side of the can.
Plano makes two versions of the smaller X2 bag for the .30 caliber cans. One has a padded pistol pouch built in with magazine pouches on the side, and the other, which I tested, has a padded pouch. Both models feature additional magazine pouches on one end of the bag and a larger utility pouch on the other end.
The Plano Field Locker
Plano also has a new line of heavy-duty gun cases they call Field Lockers, and they’re impressive. They make a variety of models for both rifles and handguns, and they sent me one of the mil-spec double-rifle cases to check out. It’s impressive.
My dad was an aircraft mechanic, so we travelled quite a bit. Later I worked in air transportation in the Air Force Reserve, and did four years working at an International Airport as a police officer where I often had to inspect firearms being shipped in checked baggage. I’ve seen a lot of gun travel cases come and go over the years, and the Field Locker is one of the most impressive. It’s built like a tank!
It’s constructed of a very heavy-duty polymer with large sturdy hinges, a set of four wide latches and four metal-reinforced padlock gates, as well as a watertight o-ring seal. The handles on the case are also comfortable and overbuilt for durability, and a set of wheels has been added to help make trips through the airport easier.
The interior is fitted with cut-to-fit foam and will accommodate two rifles with optics. There’s even a release valve on the case to relieve any pressure caused by altitude or extreme temperatures. They’re also TSA-approved for transporting firearms.
While the case is obviously designed to accommodate airline travel, it would work equally well protecting your rifles or shotguns for more routine local hunting excursion and trips to the range.
Both the Range Bag and Field Locker from Plano Outdoor Products show attention to detail and a good understanding of what the shooter needs. They’re also priced very reasonably in my opinion. The Range Bags, which include the ammo cans, run in the $30 to $50 range, and the Field lockers are priced from around $80 to $200, depending on the model you choose.
If you’re in the market for new ways to transport your gear to your favorite hunting or shooting location, whether it’s over land or through the air, then I’d definitely recommend checking out what Plano has to offer.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2016 print issue of Gun World Magazine.