April 30th, 2010

Gear Review: MidwayUSA Compact Competition Range Bag

MidwayUSA recently sent us its new Compact Competition Range Bag for review. Overall, we were very impressed. The bag is made from a strong, heavy-duty PVC-coated polyester, with high-quality, large-toothed zippers. A comfortable, curved carry strap is secured by sturdy, all-metal clips. The “build quality” is visibly much better than most range bags on the market. I wish my airline carry-on bags were built as well as this. The bag is offered in black for $26.99 or olive-drab for $39.99. We tested the handsome olive-drab version which is a good match for our khaki AIM 60 Tactical Drag Bag.

Measuring 16″L x 12″W x 10″H, this Compact Range Bag is definitely smaller than MidwayUSA’s popular Large Range Bag (22″L x 15″W x 10″H). However, the “Compact” version will hold plenty of gear — pretty much all a pistol shooter will need at the range. For a rifle shooter, it will haul ammo boxes, earmuffs, magazines, and other miscellaneous gear. You CAN get a rear sandbag in the MidwayUSA range bag, but it’s probably best to use the bag for ammo boxes and the like. Overall, we really like this bag, as do most buyers. Among 43 MidwayUSA customer reviews, the average rating is 4.9 out of 5 stars. Here are two typical buyer reports:

“This bag is great. It easily holds both my S&W MP9s, hearing and eye protection, 6 magazines, magazine loader, targets and enough ammo (200-300 rds) for a good session at the range. The quality is comparable to bags costing twice as much.” — Richard B, Virginia

“I have used many different range bags over the years, but I have to say that this is by far the best…. Plenty of room for ammo, hearing and eye protection, documentation and other materials. This bag is a great buy.” — Mark C, Oklahoma

MidwayUSA Compact Competition Range Bag

Quality Revealed in the Details
The details of this bag reveal smart design and quality construction. On the bottom, two plastic foot pads with ¼” high ribs are stitched to the fabric for grip and moisture standoff. On the inside of the bag a removable, waterproof sole further protects the contents. On both ends of the bag are full-width zippered pockets, with a handy clear identification window on one side. Metal D-rings above the end pockets provide solid attachment points for the heavy-duty shoulder strap. The shoulder strap pad has a rubberized underside that keeps the strap from sliding off your shoulder.

The main compartment is conveniently accessed through a Velcro end closure plus two long, parallel zippers whose pull-tabs are connected with a cord. The main compartment is big enough to hold two large MTM Caseguard R-100 series rifle ammo boxes, with plenty of room left over. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to lock any compartment on the bag. That’s too bad, since some jurisdictions require handgun cases to be locked during transport.

Deceptively Large Capacity for a ‘Compact’ Bag
To test the carrying capacity of the MidwayUSA bag, we loaded it up with 100 rounds of rifle ammo, 600 rounds of centerfire pistol ammo, 500 rounds rimfire, earmuffs and FOUR pistols tucked in the padded side sleeves. All that gear fit nicely with room to spare. (We recommend putting handguns in protective sleeves if you load two per side). The padded, full-width, zippered main pocket keeps seven spare magazines organized and protected. On the reverse side of the bag, a similar, full-length padded pocket provides undivided storage space. That large outside pocket also has a zippered compartment with dividers for pens and a small notepad. The bag’s many pockets make it easy to organize miscellaneous gear such as staple gun, target stickers, small binoculars, timers, and radios.

The durable fabric, thick padding, heavy-duty zippers, and quality stitching should deliver many years of hard duty. This is a bag that holds its shape more like a luggage piece, not a thin bag that will squash flat and lay on the shelf out of the way when not in use. The black Compact Range Bag is available now. The olive drab version we tested should be in in stock on 5/28/2010.

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April 30th, 2010

New Edition of NRA Training Counselor Guide Released

NRA Training Counselor GuideThe NRA Training Counselor Guide (TC Guide) is the “textbook” used for training new NRA instructors. It includes lesson plans and course outlines for Basic Instructor Training, plus NRA Instructor qualifications and assessment exercises. The new THIRD Edition of the TC Guide (complete with PowerPoint CD) has just been released. Shooting organizations involved in training NRA Instructors should replace older TC Guides with the new Third Edition.

The new TC Guide incorporates several policy changes and formatting has been standardized. The new edition also allows revisions to be posted as addenda, making it easier to update. The print version of the new TC Guide (3rd Ed.) is available from the NRA program materials center for $45.00. Later this year the NRA hopes to release a digital version of the TC Guide at a reduced cost.

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