Gunmate vs Blackhawk vs Explorer – Top 3 Range Bags

There are many range bags available on the market today. Gun owners who are interested in organizing their equipment and accessories properly have a lot to choose from. It can get pretty confusing, sometimes. Some bags are meant for everyday civilian carry, while others are geared more towards professional use by law enforcement or military.

A range bag, by definition, is a bag meant to be used by the average shooter when going to the firing range. It can be used for more than that, of course. Many range bags can double as hunting bags, on-the-go bags, and even diaper bags! But, essentially, a range bag is made for that specific purpose. They usually comes with one or two pouches and pistol rugs, for safekeeping a weapon while in transit.

There are several range bags which were very popular from the very beginning, and which have become best-sellers over time. They have proven themselves time and time again, and they manage to stand out thanks to their construction, their storage abilities, and their overall value. We are going to discuss them, and their pros and cons.

Best in Show: Gunmate vs Blackhawk vs Explorer

The three range bags which we consider to be the best out there, for the average shooter, are ones manufactured by Gunmate, Blackhawk, and Explorer. These companies are well-known, in and out of the United States, and they are respected by those who have had the chance to use their products. The specific models in question are:

Gunmate Range Bag

Gunmate Range Bag

Gunmate Range Bag

Blackhawk Sportster

Explorer Rangemaster

These are the top three range bags being sold today. They come highly recommended, are fit for a shooter on a budget, and – most importantly – they do what they are meant to do, and they do it well. With any one of these bags, you get an item which is worth the money, and is a great investment.

We will be examining the following features: dimensions, materials, compartments (and pistol rugs), price, and warranty as they relate to Gunmate vs Blackhawk vs Explorer.

Dimensions

  • Gunmate Range Bag
    • Width: 16 inches
    • Height: 8 inches
    • Depth: 7 inches
  • Blackhawk Sportster
    • Width: 16 inches
    • Height: 8 inches
    • Depth: 9 inches
  • Explorer Rangemaster
    • Width: 18 inches
    • Height: 14 inches
    • Depth: 10 inches

All three bags come with a removable shoulder strap, and two carry handles. The Explorer’s strap and handles are padded, but the others are not. The Gunmate shoulder strap does come with a small shoulder piece, made of tough plastic.

Blackhawk! Sportster

Blackhawk! Sportster

Materials

Gunmate Range Bag: Nylon

Blackhawk Sportster: 600 D Polyester

Explorer Rangemaster: 600 D Polyester

Compartments

A range bag should ideally have at least one pistol rug, as well as a place for magazines. An option to lock the compartments is also a necessity, and in some places (looking right at you, California) it is even the law.

  • Gunmate Range Bag
    • Main compartment with adjustable Velcro partitions
    • Two lockable side compartments with a pistol rug in each
  • Blackhawk Sportster
    • Main compartment with adjustable Velcro partitions
    • Two lockable side compartments with a pistol rug in each
  • Explorer Rangemaster
    • Main compartment with adjustable Velcro partitions
    • Front and rear compartments with magazine pouches and two pistol rugs
    • Two zippered side compartments for additional weapons and accessories

Price

Explorer Rangemaster

Explorer Rangemaster

These prices are only an average price. You could find them for more and you could find them for less, but these are the going rates for the top 3 range bags.

Gunmate Range Bag: $25

Blackhawk Sportster: $30

Explorer Rangemaster: $50

The Explorer’s price is the highest, and rightly so. It has more compartments and pockets, which make a difference. The carrying handles and strap are padded, which also brings the price up a little. All things considered, these bags are priced in accordance with their features and abilities.

Warranty

Gunmate Range Bag: 12 months

Blackhawk Sportster: Lifetime

Explorer Rangemaster: Lifetime

All three bags are practical, useful, and durable. These represent the best of the best for the average shooter. If you arrange your bag properly, you could probably fit between 3 – 5 pistols in these bags, and still have room for all the necessary accessories.

Conclusion

The idea behind the range bag is simple: have everything you need by your side, so you spend more effort on shooting, and less on locating what you need. This saves time, money, and energy all at once. Some people may wonder why it would be necessary to purchase a range bag to begin with. Technically, any ordinary bag or pack can become a potential range bag. While that statement is not untrue, let’s face it: some bags are better than others. Stuffing your guns, ammo, targets, eye and ear protection, and cleaning accessories into a backpack (or other less-appropriate storage apparatus) will most likely result in a mess of loose boxes, bullets, bottles, and brushes. Not exactly fun. A firearm is a deadly weapon, and it needs to be treated with respect. If you’re going to train – do it right.

With a range bag, you know exactly where your stuff is. These bags are built to last, made of sturdy nylon and high-strength polyester, and the partitions make it even easier to arrange your gear. They are the perfect bag to take along for a day at the range, be it outdoor or indoor. These bags are made with strong enough material, so even though they are not defined as waterproof by their manufacturer, they are somewhat water resistant. Your mileage will definitely vary, but this has been my impression.

The ability to lock your bag, and its designated gun-holding compartments in particular, is another major plus. The zippers on these bags are high quality, and they provide the necessary space needed to insert a small lock. This is a feature which you will not necessarily find with a different bag.

Now, look. I am certainly not trying to push something on those who do not need it. If all you ever do for practice is take a single gun to the range, along with maybe one box of ammo – these bags may not be for you. If that is your thing, then I agree that these bags are unnecessary. Their multiple compartments, slash pockets, and magazine pouches become quite useless. These bags are primarily meant for shooters who have some equipment to carry, and who want to do so in a secure, fast, and easy manner.

Furthermore, once the sun has set on your day at the range, you can use this bag for so many other activities. Its ease of access and durability make it ideal for hunting, hiking, camping, survival, and any other outdoors-y kind of thing. I have even heard of those who use a range bag as a diaper bag, taking advantage of all of the compartments and pockets.

One thing is clear: these bags deliver.

Sam M

Sam is an avid firearms enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow gunivores.Let us know what you think in the comments section!For suggestions, collaborations, or requests, contact sam@gunivore.com.

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