A look at things you are gonna need! Okay Dolls and Guys, here is a list of some things you are going to add to your stuff eventually, so hopefully this will save you some time and money.
First, eye and ear protection, trust me, once your hearing is gone it doesn’t come back. I have lost a good deal of hearing in my left ear from when I worked as a guard in a prison having to shoot without ear protection. If you are worried about your costume get the foam plugs at least, or behind the head protectors. I am partial now to the electronic noise cancelling muffs, as this allows me to still hear range commands clearly but still protects my ears. These can be found now for anywhere from $25 on up, depending on how fancy you want to go. Pick up several of the foam plugs and keep them in your range bag. Eye protection, polycarbonate lenses are the way to go! The nice thing is that with prescription glasses today, this material is common, so you can get your everyday glasses in this [I do!]. Forget vintage here, get modern glasses to protect your baby blues.
A good belt is a requirement for a holstered gun. Forget the gopher skin designer thing from the boutique, go to a farm supply store and get a 1 ½” or 1 ¾” heavy duty work belt. If you want to spring for a nicer one from Bianchi or Galco, etc, go for it, they build holsters and know what you need in a belt to hold one up.
Next a cleaning kit. Get started with a beginner’s kit from Hoppe’s, Remington or Birchwood Casey, etc. Combo kits for pistol, rifle and shotgun are fine. Get the brass bore brushes and a big bag of patches. I know, I know, there will be gun store commandos who tell you that you have to have the latest cleaner and miracle scrubber out there. After 30+ years of cleaning guns I still use Hoppe’s Number 9, Rem Oil, and Mil Tec grease for my guns. These products have stood the test of time and will do everything you need them to. Do not get ammonia based cleaners unless you have a garage with good ventilation and DO NOT use them in the house, unless you want a riot on your hands. Rescue an old bath towel to lay everything on and get some latex gloves for your cleaning purposes, it will help keep peace in the house.
Next a range bag. There are some really nice ones out there, I have one from the Bob Allen company that has served me well for many years. A sturdy flat bottom bag of any type that you can open the whole top on is a good basic starting point. An old tool box can do the job too. Pick up a staple gun and staples, keep some extra targets in there and a small first aid kit.
Watch for sales of gunsmith screwdrivers. You do not want to bugger up an expensive gun by using cheap screwdrivers that do not fit. You need hollow ground screwdrivers. I have a bunch of Craftsman tools in the garage and love them, but I don’t use them on my guns. Protect your investment and spend $25-40 on the right tools.
Set a budget for your hobby. This is a sport/game and is not worth causing problems in your marriage over spending too much. You want your spouse to support you, not getting resentful because you put your family in debt. Save up, use lay a way, whatever.
And here’s a couple of tips I have learned the hard way over the years. Keep your collar buttoned on the range. Hot brass down the back of your collar is just that: HOT! You will demonstrate some really neat dance moves when this happens. Also, a brimmed hat is great on the range for the same reason. Double check to make sure you have your guns, ammo and bag with you before leaving for the range, then check again. Take a bottle of cold water with you too. Clean up your brass when you are done shooting, some places don’t allow you to pick up spent brass, so go by their rules.