If you’re just enjoying a have-a-go experience, then casual clothes and sturdy shoes are enough, but if you are a regular shooter, you might want to start thinking about your attire that will not hinder your performance. There’s no official dress code or etiquette when clay pigeon shooting (despite images of tweed jackets and ties coming to mind!) – instead, practicality is key.
You want comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely and of course, the weather will dictate your outfit as shooting in the rain when you’re soaked within a few minutes is no fun! We all know the weather in the UK can be unpredictable so it’s always worth taking emergency clothing just in case there’s a downpour!
On the top, a t-shirt, jumper shirt or polo that allows you to move (i.e. not too tight/overly baggy/bulky) is adequate. With the warmer weather around the corner, you’ll not need much more than this but on chillier days a jacket is also needed. This item of clothing is essential to get right, as a tight or bulky fit will mean your range is restricted and it will affect all aspects of your shooting. You want to be able to stretch your arms out fully to the sides and out in front of you, at the same time as being able to rotate your upper body without being restricted.
Specific skeet jackets and shooting vests often have padded shoulders, so they are designed to support your gun when mounted, reduce felt recoil and improve gun mount. The shoulders are often made from leather or suede which prevents the gun slipping when shooting. A shooting vest can also be handy as they feature large pockets at the front for storing cartridges and other essential items.
Footwear is another area that you’ll want to get right – like many outdoor sports, open-toe shoes are a no-no and again, the weather may dictate your choice. A sturdy pair of trainers or boots (even Wellington boots if necessary) will protect you from wet weather, mud or uneven ground.
For the winter months, ensure you wrap up warm as you’ll be outside for the majority of the time. Thin gloves (that still allow you to grip the gun) and scarves (that don’t get in the way of you mounting the gun on your shoulder) can both be worn.
And the extras…
A hat may be useful in both winter and summer, either to keep your head warm or the sun out of your eyes, but more importantly to give you head protection, although every precaution is taken by course setters, there is always the potential for falling clay, so a hat may prevent you being hurt by a falling clay or fragment.
Eye protection is essential for your safety and so should be worn at all times. If you wear seeing glasses, these will be fine, but you can also buy tinted lens glasses for changeable conditions, which are also available on prescription .
Ear protection is also necessary to protect your ears and can either be simple earplugs or technical defenders, which only block out harmful decibels of noise if you prefer.
Sun cream, whilst not technically a piece of clothing, might be something you’d otherwise forget to wear, but spend a few hours outside shooting and you’ll wish you slapped it on before you left!
All of these items and more can be found at Southdown Gun Room and Shooting Supplies, one of the only on-range gun shops in Sussex. As well as shooting apparel, we also sell new and used shotguns and rifles, clay cartridges, rifle ammo, gun bags and more. We also offer the unique opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ on many of the guns, thanks to the on-range location at Southdown Gun Club.
Our top tips:
* Dress for the weather
* Safety wear (eye/ear/head protection) is essential
* Wear comfortable, sturdy footwear