Just exactly how to carry small tools and parts in my shooting bag has challenged me for quite a while – especially since I started using a general purpose backpack, rather than a shooting specific bag. When my original solution broke, I had to dig up a new one. Here’s what I ended up with…
When I carried a shooting specific bag, I normally carried a couple of Dillon utility boxes in the side pouches. In one of those two boxes, I carried small tools (allen wrenches, punches, things like that) and the like. In the other, I carried spare parts for the gun I was shooting. That solution worked pretty well, but I always had issues digging through the box to find what I needed.
When I switched to a backpack, I decided to try to find a way to organize things a little bit better, and to not have to carry multiple boxes around. I settled on a Plano tackle box. After a couple of years, though, the box had a hole get punched in it after a flight home from a match. I went out to try to find a better option. I searched through a bunch of different utility boxes, tackle boxes, and a variety of other solutions. Most of them are cheap and flimsy and wouldn’t have survived for long under hard use.
What I finally settled on was another tackle box – the Plano 3740 Waterproof Tackle Box. It’s a medium-large-ish size box, measuring 14″ x 9 1/8″ x 1 7/8″, so it may or may not fit in your bag, depending on size.
This series of waterproof boxes seems to be made thicker/tougher than the other tackle boxes available on the market. That was one of the key features I was looking for – for whatever reason, I seem to be able to shake out the weak points in gear, so I tend to go after the toughest stuff I can find for a given purpose. It’s nice to be able to just throw this box in checked luggage and not have to worry about whether my tools will arrive on the other end, or what shape they’ll be in when I get there.
The second feature I wanted was a large enough compartment to store a spare C-More scope. My first tackle box had this ability, and it was nice to not have to carry a second hard sided container solely for a spare scope. In the picture above, you can see where the bubble wrap and spare dot modules are? That space will hold a C-More without a problem – in fact, the bubble wrap is to put around the scope to protect it a bit.
This box also has a pretty good set of dividers, and (in the lid) ribs that seal off each compartment from the other. After some vigorous shaking, it seems to be pretty good at keeping the wrenches and punches in their appropriate places.
I also carry some JP Trigger Prep (an old school, moly based trigger job compound, similar to Brownell’s Action Lube Plus. Should this container leak, the waterproof nature of the box will help keep it isolated within the toolbox, and not let it get out all over my bag.
A simple addition of a desiccant pack would also help keep the humidity in the box down, which should help protect all the tools from rust.
Here’s a rundown of what I’ve got in the new box, now (you can see everything but the scope and a couple of new additions in the picture):
- Top Row
- Spare Recoil Master and springs, spare recoil spring plug, takedown tools, small screwdriver (for mag release), spare firing pin spring, sight drifting punch
- Four CR1/3N C-More scope batteries, four AAA batteries
- JP trigger prep, blue locktite, Aimpoint micro tools
- Second Row
- A variety of punches
- Dillon .38 Super Case Gauge, several spare followers, spare ball arm for the Race Master holster
- allen and torx wrenches of various sizes
- Third Row
- Larger tools, like a miniature file set, a bushing wrench, and a pair of channel locks that have been modified to bend magazine lips
- currently holds a small collection of parts, but eventually this compartment may be freed up for another purpose
- Bottom Row
- Spare parts, such as a firing pin and spring, C-More screws and virgin wrenches, scope mount screws, mag button and screws, frame screws, and a spare hammer and sear pin set
- C-More, spare dot modules for the C-More, and a stereo audio cable to hook my iPod to my hearing protection
The only downside with this box is that the latches are quite loud – they really have some snap to them when you close them up. That’s not a huge issue, though. We’ll see how the box wears over time and how it lasts.