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Travis’ Tip: Packing List for a Practical Pistol Match

Whether you’re headed to a national championship or a local club match, carrying the proper equipment is absolutely critical. For first-timers and veteran competitors alike, dialing in essential gear is an important part of any pre-match preparation. It’s helpful to have a checklist of the indispensable items, as well as additional equipment any self-sufficient shooter may need.

First, let’s discuss the topic of ammo quantity. You need to bring more than the minimum required round count. That may sound obvious in order to cover any make-up shots you may take, but there are other reasons that aren’t within your control. For example, range equipment failure that necessitates a reshoot. If you find yourself faced with reshooting a 32-round course of fire, you’ll be more than grateful you decided to lug along that extra ammo.

My complete loadout is pretty comprehensive, so I’ve broken down the checklist into both “essentials” and “additional.” How much of this you want to carry is ultimately up to you. I find myself quite often fixing competitors’ guns, so I like to be prepared to assist my fellow shooters.

Now, let’s get to the checklist….


  • Pistol (and a backup)
  • Magazines
  • Ammo
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Holster rig with mag pouches
  • Hat with a bill (to assist in blocking glare from a low setting sun)
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Rags or brush to clean mags
  • Water/hydration
  • Nutrition
  • Grip enhancer
  • Spare batteries for your optic and/or ear pro
  • Basic tools to support your pistol. For a 1911 double stack, for example, I’ll pack a take-down pin (paper clip), a small flathead screwdriver, and appropriate Allen wrenches


  • Spare parts kit: extractor, ejector, grip screws, springs, pins, etc.
  • Lubricant
  • Spare fiber optic filament for fiber optic sights (razor blade and lighter to replace rod)
  • Small gunsmith hammer
  • Any tools needed to service your optic
  • Set of small punches
  • Boresnake
  • Shower cap (to seal holstered pistol in sandy conditions)
  • Tools to tighten the fasteners on your holster rig
  • Small microfiber towel to wipe down eye pro and optic lens
  • Wet weather gear
  • Cold weather gear
  • Spare glasses or contacts
  • Gloves (cold weather)
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Sun protection
  • Spare earplugs
  • Sharpie
  • Notepad
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medicines/ibuprofen
  • Band-aids
  • Tourniquet

I hope my go-to checklist will help you as you prep to pack for your next pistol match.