By Kyle Jillson | October 12 2013 14:15

Follow Gunsite Academy instructor Walt Wilkinson to see his shooting range essentials

Gunsite Academy's Walt Wilkinson in NRA's Shooting Sports USA

In this month's issue of Shooting Sports USA, Barb Baird of Women's Outdoor News sits down with Walt Wilkinson, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major who is one of the top instructors at Gunsite Academy. As always, Barb only had one question for Walt: What's in your range bag?

Gunsite Academy (founded by Jeff Cooper) employs some of the finest instructors on the planet, which means Army SGM (Ret.) Walt Wilkinson easily fits into that category. Wilkinson spent 30 years in the Army in the combat arms, including sniper school and service pistol competitions where he won two post championships. During his off-duty time, Wilkinson competed in PPC, SWAT matches, IDPA, USPSA, FCSA and various local rifle, shotgun and carbine matches. In 2012, he earned the title of 1000-yard Hunter class as a 50BMG World Champion.

Wilkinson teaches a wide range of courses at Gunsite, and while there, he usually camps. “Yes, I camp the whole time I’m there, in a tent. I find it acclimatizes me to being on the range all day, every day, more than being in one of the instructor houses. And I can sleep the hours I want to as well. I like to shoot every morning I’m there and have the range set and ready for the students by 0630,” explained Wilkinson.

Wilkinson listed the items he carries in his Gunsite instructor range bag. “As a firearms instructor, I carry more things for students than I do for myself. I have training devices, extra items and tools above-and-beyond what I normally would carry otherwise.”

  • Peltor Tactical 7 Classic hearing protection, – “For me, the Peltor Tactical 7s are the best ‘pistol’ hearing protection out there. Big, comfortable and work well.”
  • Howard Leight Impact Sport hearing protection and a bag of soft ear plugs
  • Competitive Edge Dynamics CED8000 and CED7000 shot timers with charger and extra batteries
  • Sharpie, SureFire batteries
  • Blue training guns/magazines and dummy rounds – “The dummy rounds I reload myself, using popped primers and they are filled with sand. Nothing spots those ‘trigger jerks’ better than these, mixed in with live rounds in the magazines.”
  • Two sets of portable radios
  • Tools, Leatherman “CORE” and Gerber multi-tools
  • 1911 mag pouches (Blade-Tech and BlackHawk)
  • NSR Tactical mag pouches for the FN FNX .45 tactical
  • Training aids like SureFire weapons lights
  • Two small, red-light, night- fire line-marking lights
  • 10 rounds of .45 Auto “snake-shot” for real world requirements
  • Kneepads, bottle of Breakfree CLP and extra safety glasses

If you’d like to take a course from Wilkinson this fall, check out Gunsite’s class schedule. He’ll be there until November. And after that? He’ll be back home in New Mexico, probably predator hunting. Or he might be found on a snowboard somewhere in the mountains. And then, he’ll pack up that range bag and head on back to Arizona, to a tent and Gunsite’s ranges.

See the SSUSA article on Walt and the rest of the issue at:


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