What to Wear for Clay Pigeon Shooting: A Guide to the Appropriate AttireWhen it comes to country pursuits, clay pigeon shooting holds a special place in the world of countryside activities.
But while clay shooting has often garnered a reputation for being exclusively for those who live and breathe country life, its growing following is a sure sign of its rising popularity among all walks of life.
Whether you want to experience the feeling of hitting the clay target for the first time, or you’re already a seasoned regular at your local club, we’ve pulled together a guide of what to wear for clay pigeon shooting. Take a look at the best clothing, accessories, and footwear to help you land the perfect shot.
What is clay pigeon shooting?Clay pigeon shooting is a shooting sport where flying clay targets are hit using shotguns and cartridges.
Unlike the name suggests, there are no actual pigeons involved in clay shooting. Clays – saucer-shaped discs – are launched high into the air by devices called ‘traps’ for the gun to aim at. These clays break when hit.
The clays can shatter into lots of tiny pieces, so they’re usually projected far away from the shooter, with some traps able to fling a clay pigeon up to 120 metres away. It means that the sport requires a great deal of open, outdoor space to ensure safety – a reason why it’s a cherished activity among country folk as it’s a great way to enjoy pleasant weather and the beautiful British landscape.
The family-friendly nature and social aspect of clay shooting mean that a day of practice can be just as rewarding and enjoyable as hitting your first target.
Who can enjoy clay pigeon shooting?Clay pigeon shooting can benefit a number of people. It’s excellent for:
Practising for game shooting – A clay pigeon range is also the perfect place for seasoned participants to practise ahead of a shoot or during the close season. The clays replicate wild quarry species and it mimics a day out in the countryside or on an estate.
In England, Scotland, and Wales it’s legal to shoot a number of gamebirds and waterfowl, but only during their open seasons. In the close season, when it’s illegal to shoot quarry, clay pigeon shooting gives people a way to continue to refine their technique out of shooting season.
At a shooting school, a lot of cartridges are fired in a short period of time as the clays are launched manually by the traps. Whereas, out in a field each shot is much more thought out and deliberate. As you’re likely to shoot less in the field, some may struggle to retain the muscle memory and technique involved. Visiting a clay pigeon range can help people to feel more confident and warm up at the start of a shooting season.
Learning how to shoot – A shooting school is a safe and secure way for juniors or novices to hold their first shotgun, hone their aiming skills, and become familiar with the sport.
An event or day out – Visiting a clay pigeon range is a great location for an experience or day out. Whether it’s for a charity fundraiser, social gathering, or something else entirely, it’s an accessible and enjoyable way of participating in the sport all year round.
Those unable to attend game shoots – Heading down to a shooting school can also be extremely convenient for those who live in towns or who have difficulty attending shoots out in the field.
What to wear for clay pigeon shootingWhile the rules for clay pigeon shooting are much more relaxed than a day shooting game, it’s still important to wear appropriate attire. After all, looking the part may even help you to perform at your best.
ShirtClay pigeon shooting is popular during the summer months as warmer temperatures and clearer skies make for the most amicable shooting conditions. As such, a light shirt in a breathable material like cotton is a must.
Select one in a loose or stretchy fit that gives you access to your full range of motion, but not so big that it could potentially catch on your gun as you mount it. A beautiful check print gives a nod to the sport’s country roots.
Shooting vestThe most essential piece of attire is a shooting vest. Practicality is incredibly important and shooting vests are made with various functions in mind. Any quality vest should always have:
Shoulder padding – Reinforced padding or suede can be found on the shoulder area of shooting vests. This is where the gun will sit when mounted and it provides extra protection to minimise recoil when it’s fired.
Pockets – Pockets are designed for storing extra cartridges for a quick and easy reload between shots.
Shooting jacketEveryone knows how tumultuous the British weather can be, so a shooting or waterproof jacket is a must for continuing on despite any unexpected showers. Waterproof jackets are made for outdoor activities, so they should offer a comfortable fit and lightweight feel while also protecting you from harsh conditions.
Specialist shooting jackets may also have built-in inner layers for insulation on cooler days. Some could have fleece-lined chest pockets for warming your hands, a detachable hood, and a detachable shoulder pad that can be worn on either shoulder.
HatA sturdy piece of headwear with a stiff peak will protect you from stray, falling clay fragments. It can also keep the sun out of your eyes if you find yourself gazing toward bright rays while watching for your clay pigeon.
Choose a traditional tweed cap for effortless country style.
FootwearUncomfortable or unsuitable footwear can put a dampener on your clay pigeon shooting experience. Hiking or wellington boots are an ideal choice as they’re designed for navigating tough, uneven, and muddy terrains. They also have thick soles and excellent grip which is essential for finding a stable stance when shooting.
While wellingtons are an obvious choice for wet weather, hiking boots made from a breathable material like GORE-tex will keep your feet at an adequate temperature when it’s warm. Always wear a pair of shoes that you’ve had a chance to wear in beforehand, as you’ll be on your feet for a long time when clay shooting.
GlovesThe barrel of the shotgun can get incredibly hot when fired repeatedly over a long period of time. A trusty pair of gloves can give you the protection you need so you don’t scald your hands
Investing in a pair of shooting gloves is an excellent option as they’re often specifically designed with an enhanced grip that can help your handling of the gun without reducing the trigger sensitivity.
When picking out a pair of gloves, take note of the material that they’re made from. Fleece will give you softness and comfort, while sheepskin can help with grip, and leather tends to mean that they’ll be water-resistant.
Eye protectionEye protection is crucial as there is guaranteed to be lots of debris falling from the sky. Some venues make this a mandatory piece of attire that you must wear when shooting; certain ranges may provide eye protection, so it’s always best to check with your venue before attending. Regular shooters may want to purchase their own and have a pair that fits them perfectly.
Along with physical protection, eye protection can also shield your eyes from weather and light conditions to help you improve your aim.
Ear protectionIf you have never been shooting before, you might not realise how loud a shotgun can be – especially when clay shooting as more shots tend to be fired compared to when shooting game. As with eye protection, some ranges may provide these for you, but check before your visit.
A premium pair of ear defenders should be lightweight, comfortable, and effective at cancelling out noise. Some are even able to only filter out the harmful sounds of firearms, without cancelling out other noises, so you can still hear your surroundings.
Try on a pair before purchasing so you can make sure they won’t get in the way of your gun when it’s mounted.
Dress for the occasion with House of BruarWhether you love the thrill of hitting your target or you want to enjoy a splendid day out for leisure, clay pigeon shooting is a beloved sport that can be enjoyed by all.
Explore our full collection of sporting accessories to prepare for your next shooting outing.