Trap shooting vests: how to find the right fit?

Trap shooting vests how to find the right fit

With millions of new firearms owners in the US, shooting sports are becoming more and more popular. In fact, shooting is one of the most competitive and hugely satisfying recreational activities and has led to the development of modern trap, skeet, and clay shooting sports.

So, whether you’re an avid trap shooter or a complete novice interested in taking up a new hobby, you know you’re joining a growing number of people who love being outdoors! I

However, while shooting is a fun hobby, you need to be sure that you’re properly outfitted to take up the sport. Note that it’s not just about shooting. Actually, shooting, in all its forms, involves proficiency tests of accuracy, precision, and speed in the shooting.

It’s the art of using ranged weapons, mostly man-portable guns such as rifles, handguns, shotguns, and even bows and crossbows. It’s also about knowing the various rules and regulations and having the right equipment to follow these rules.

So, if you planning on trying your hand at trap shooting, having the right equipment is vital.

One of the most important pieces of equipment for trap shooting is a shooting vest. Generally, shooting vests are used to carry ammo, shells, and ammunition, which makes shooting safe and comfortable because you can act with your ammunition in your pockets.

In this article, we have outlined some key points on how to go about picking the right fit and features to consider before buying a shooting vest.

How Do You Pick the Right Shooting Vest for Trap Shooting?

How Do You Pick the Right Shooting Vest for Trap Shooting

Of course, there’re the must-havesthat describe the best trap shooting vests for both right and left-handers. The vest isn’t just a piece of uniform; it’s also a great way for trap shooters and clay shooters alike to express themselves.

Well, this could be through any classic material or neon color schemes, but there’s a whole range of designs and fabrics that you can choose, based on your personal preference and how warm you’d like your vest to be. Below, we’ve listed and explained the main features to help decide on the right fit.

Left Handed Shooting Vests

The Shooter’s orientation is often the first concern when shopping for a trap shooting vest. There’re shooting vests that are specially designed for right-handed and left-handed people.

The right vest for your specific orientation can greatly increase the convenience and overall shooting performance. So go for those vests with large pockets and easily accessible designs.

Although you might do just fine with a left-handed vest even though you’re right-handed, it can lead to delayed shooting and increase the chances of missing your target. So, it’s always important to pick a shooting vest that’s a perfect match to your hand aptitude.

Ambidextrous Shooting Vests

This is yet another great option that you may consider. Ambidextrous shooting vests are mainly common because they can easily be used by both left-handed and right-handed. They can be an excellent pick for those who prefer to go practice with friends and tend to share accessories.

Half Vests

Although full shooting vests are great in most cases, you might still prefer a half vest. The best thing about half vests is that they’re highly adjustable and can be hitched around the waist. That means they’re easy to share with friends.

Half vests are also great in that they offer sufficient storage for the essential shooting accessories, making them an excellent option for those who would like to have more storage space.

They usually come with large pockets, which makes them suitable for summer, especially when you’re not planning to wear any form of clothing under the vest.

Trap Shooting Vests for Women

Both men’s and women’s trap shooting vests are almost similar in terms of usefulness. Perhaps the only contrast is in the designs and cuts, which, in this case, make them more comfortable for women. Some options also come with buckles for ear muffs and other shooting items as well.

Women trap shooting vests are also designed with a large rear pocket where you can store cartridges and ammunition. That said, the best women’s trap shooting vests should offer maximum protection during practices and without falling short on ease of use.

Features of a Good Trap Shooting Vest

Features of a Good Trap Shooting Vest

Shooting vests almost look identical, so it is easy to get lost from the myriad options if you don’t know exactly what to look for when shopping. Below are the various features that trap shooters and clay shooters alike focus on to find the best tactical vests that meet their needs.

Recoil Pads

The recoil or kickback of a gun is basically the backward movement a shooter experiences when the bullet is discharged.

On the clay ground, excessive recoil can create a serious range of safety concerns to your arm, shoulder, and neck. You can prevent this by choosing a vest that has recoil pads sewed in it.

Recoil pads are meant to lessen the shock and make it easier for you to settle the firearm on your shoulder. So on your search for the best vest, choose the one with sturdy material upholstering the pads for the best experience.

Dual Recoil Pads

These are usually recommended for amateur shooters or those who have just joined the trap shooting sport. The best part about dual recoil pads is that they provide more support to your shoulders and limbs to avoid any injuries or mishaps while shooting.

Padding and Reinforcements

Shooting vests can do more than just store ammunition. Additional features such as padding and reinforcement effectively increase their usefulness.

The reinforcement of the shoulder, in particular, is a crucial detail that you should keep an eye on. It also helps to minimize shock, while ensuring optimal support to the gun while you are acquiring targets. So, keep that in mind before making the purchase.


Trap shooting vests may differ in terms of size due to different brands and designs. However, you can expect the large size to measure about 42-44 around the chest, the medium size about 38-40, while the small size goes about 34-35.

Even so, you’ll be wise to size up because you’ll often have your t-shirt underneath the vest. You might want to size even higher if you’re planning to use a thick carrier plate under the vest. If you’d like to customize the fit, check for adjustment straps on the waist, girth, and shoulders.

Weight of the Vests

Weight of the Vests

Similar to other apparel, the best trap shooting vests should be convincingly light and easy to carry around. Fortunately, these vests can be made from a wide range of materials suitable for varied weather conditions.

For instance, summer vests, are normally made of more lightweight materials to prevent excessive sweating. A mesh vest or a half vest would be a great option for warmer months.

Winter shooting vests, on the other hand, are not so lightweight, but they are available in many materials such as parachute, which is great for fighting the cold during a skeet shooting session.

Design and Comfort

The overall design of a trap shooting vest also plays a significant role. Go for the most appropriate design to avoid distractions while shooting. Make sure the shooting vest comes with the correct positioning of the pockets as well as weight distribution.

Coming down to comfort, a shooting vest with the right fit should give you the freedom to target and make shots without struggle. It should fit snug and provide enough room to move your shoulders and armpits such that you’re able to focus on your targets comfortably.

Otherwise, there’s no point in dishing out your money on a shooting vest that doesn’t make shooting a convenient sport for you.


Longevity is often a major concern when making any purchase, and trap shooting vests are no exception; they can be costly too. Just like a high-quality shooting jacket, a decent shooting vest should be able to serve well in most outdoor conditions.

You can easily determine the longevity of a certain vest by checking the warranty terms. This will help you to know how much commitment the manufacturer pays for their product.

Other than the warranty, a good shooting vest should have the finest stitching quality. This is particularly important if you’re working in an abrasive environment or under harsh weather conditions.

Fabric Material

Both fabric and durability go hand in hand. Therefore, the kind of material used in the making of the vest is equally important, whether you’re a trap shooter or a clay shooter.

In addition to delivering long-lasting service, good quality material will also help to ensure sustainable comfort throughout the practice; while lousy fabric would simply rub against your skin and drastically compromise your shooting capabilities.

You might want to choose a shooting vest made from either cotton or polyester as they are breathable materials. That means they will keep you from excessive sweating while shooting.

How Should a Trap Shooting Vest Fit?

How Should a Trap Shooting Vest Fit

A decent shooting vest with a perfect fit should keep you from any form of breathing issues. It should deliver a comfortable fit without restricting your movement. Remember you need all the dexterity to focus and hit your targets.

It is advisable to try various shooting angles when making the purchase so that in case you realize any restriction in movement, you can turn and look for something else.

Another important aspect with regard to fitting is adjustability. This is how you get to customize your vest to the most suitable size. For instance, if your vest feels somewhat loose, you can easily adjust it to the right fit using a drawstring or adjustment straps.

The Best Choice for Your Money

Coming down to price, shooting vests are available in an extensive price range based on the quality and features incorporated. So, you normally get what you pay for.

You can get a good shooting vest for as low as $20 to upwards of $70. This means that if you choose to buy from more popular brands, you’ll obviously have to spend more money.

Downsides to Trap Shooting Vests

Downsides to Trap Shooting Vests

Shooting vests are associated with several problems, the first one being bunching up of the shoulder area, which makes it hard to achieve consistent gun mounts. Part of this problem can be due to the vests’ internal padding though.

Another issue stems from the weight of the shells being borne by the neck or worse yet by the shoulders. You’d be smart to choose a vest with a belt at the correct height to provide support to the shells on the hips while allowing a decent vertical fit of the upper portion of the vest.

This way, the fabric from the waist to the shoulder will be slightly snug, thereby preventing the shoulder area from bunching up during practice.

You might also want to pick a bag on the back of the vest for storing empty hulls, but that would be a personal preference. You can even have one crafted by your local tailor so it features a zipper in the bottom for a more customized shooting experience.

For clay shooting, you’d be better off with a vest that has a smooth, full-length compartment on one side to keep the recoil pad from catching in the course of gun mounts.

Essential Shooting Accessories

Essential Shooting Accessories

A vest is an absolute necessity for trap shooting, but that doesn’t mean other accessories are any less important; not at least for your safety. For instance, you cannot undertake a shooting session without a recoil pad or gel pad, especially when your vest doesn’t have one seamed in it.

You will also need to bring earmuffs to protect your ears from too much strain. Protective glasses would also be important to protect the eyes from any form of damage and in turn, help you concentrate on your target even when the winds are blowing fast.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

To sum up, having the best quality shooting vest for trap shooting is imperative. In addition to delivering a safer and comfortable shooting experience, a nice-fitting shooting vest also helps to ensure you have the ammo and the shell within proximity. Thanks to the cartridge pockets.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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