Heading to the shooting range is a thrilling activity but you can't just about grabbing your favorite casual outfit. Shooting, after all, comes with its risks. Just like any sport, being properly dressed can make a huge difference in your experience. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essentials of what to wear at outdoor gun ranges, from the right shoes to the appropriate shirts. Let's get started!
What to Wear to an Outdoor Shooting Range
When you're prepping for a day at an outdoor shooting range, choosing the right attire is key. Let's break down the essentials:
1) Wear a Long Sleeve Shirt
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When heading to an outdoor shooting range, your choice of shirt matters more than you might think. Long-sleeved shirts are the way to go. They serve a dual purpose: protecting your skin from the sun's harsh rays and shielding you from hot brass that can fly your way during shooting. It's best to avoid tops with deep V-necks or low cuts. The more covered you are, the less chance there is for brass to come into contact with your skin.
In terms of material, lightweight cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics are excellent choices. They keep you cool and dry, even on warmer days. For those looking for something more specialized, consider tactical shirts. These are designed specifically for activities like shooting. They offer great ventilation and added protection for your body.
2) Wear Long Pants
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Again, avoid anything that leaves your skin exposed so shorts are a no-go. Instead, opt for long pants. Denim jeans are a great choice. They're not only thick enough to protect you from stray brass and debris, but they're also comfortable for most people. It's important to pick a pair that's not too tight; you need to be able to move freely, bend, and sit without any discomfort.
Cargo pants are another excellent option. They come with multiple pockets, which are really handy for carrying extra magazines or small items like earplugs. If you're looking for something that offers even more comfort and suitability for the range, consider tactical pants.
3) Wear Closed Toed Shoes
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Your shoes are arguably the most critical consideration, even more so than your clothing. When you're at the shooting range, hot brass casings often end up on the ground. To protect your feet, it's best to opt for closed-toe shoes. Additionally, it's a good idea to choose shoes with high ankle support since you'll be walking around quite a bit. Make sure to go for shoes with a good grip on the bottom to prevent slipping on the range's sometimes slippery surfaces. It's also a good idea to break into your shoes a couple of days before your visit. This way, they'll be more comfortable to wear for long hours.
4) Wear a Hat (Optional)
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If it's a sunny day, you'll be glad you decided to wear a cap or hat. It not only shields your eyes from the sun but also provides extra protection from any spent shells that might land in areas not covered by your eye protection. Just make sure the cap or hat fits snugly to avoid it getting blown away on windy days.
5) Consider Gloves (Optional)
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Another useful item to consider for your range day is gloves. They can improve your shooting experience by protecting your hands from blisters, especially during long shooting sessions. Additionally, they can improve your grip on your firearm and prevent slipping, which can be particularly helpful on hot and sweaty days.
When choosing gloves for shooting, it's essential to opt for specially designed tactical gloves. These gloves typically feature a nylon shell to protect your fingers. They also have textured palms for a better grip. Some even include reinforced knuckles for added protection.
6) Don't Forget About Eye Protection
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Your eyes are incredibly vulnerable when shooting. Flying debris, dust, and stray shell casings can all pose a risk. That's why you need to wear safety glasses. Look for glasses that offer a snug fit to prevent any particles from getting in. They should also be made of high-quality, impact-resistant material. If you wear prescription glasses, consider safety glasses that can fit over them, or opt for prescription safety glasses.
7) Wear Proper Ear Protection
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Guns are loud, and repeated exposure to gunshots can damage your hearing over time. To protect your ears, you have two main options: earmuffs and earplugs.
Earmuffs are great as they sit over the entire ear, giving you complete coverage. They can be adjusted for a snug fit and are easy to put on and take off.
Earplugs, on the other hand, are more compact and fit directly into the ear canal. While they might offer slightly less protection than earmuffs, they're a good option for those who find earmuffs uncomfortable or too bulky.
What Not to Wear at the Shooting Range
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Here are some key items to avoid for safety and comfort:
Avoid Loose Range Clothing: Avoid baggy or flowing range clothes. They can get caught in your firearm or might come in the way. Tight, secure clothing is safer and more practical.
Do Not Wear Open-Toed Shoes or Sandals: This type of footwear exposes your feet, leaving them vulnerable to hot brass, debris, or even injury from dropped equipment. Always opt for closed-toe supportive range shoes with good coverage.
Say No to Jewelry and Accessories: Dangling earrings, necklaces, and bracelets can be distracting and may get entangled in your equipment. It's best to leave them at home.
Avoid Synthetic Fabrics That Melt or Burn Easily: Some synthetic materials can melt when exposed to heat. Since shooting can involve exposure to hot brass, it's safer to wear natural fibers like cotton.
Avoid Headphones or Earbuds (Not Meant for Protection): While music or other audio might be tempting, it's crucial to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Only wear ear protection designed for outdoor ranges.
Avoid Bright or Reflective Clothing: Brightly colored or reflective clothing can be distracting to other shooters. It's better to wear neutral or subdued colors that don't draw attention or reflect light.
Avoid Shorts or Skirts: As mentioned earlier, avoid wearing shorts or skirts. These leave your legs exposed and vulnerable to hot brass, sunburn, or scratches from debris.
Dressing correctly for an outdoor shooting range is key to ensuring your safety and comfort. By wearing the right clothing along with the right eye and ear protection, you'll be ready for a productive day at the range. Be sure to check the specific rules of your range, as they might have additional dress code requirements beyond our suggestions.
Speaking of range readiness, don't forget to pack EasyShot shooting targets in your range bag. Ideal for both long-range and concealed carry training, EasyShot targets are designed to improve your shooting experience. Shop with us today.