Clay pigeon shooting is a fantastic sport for anyone from beginners to experienced shooters. It’s an incredibly popular outdoor activity that offers you a chance to get out in the fresh air and enjoy a little competition with your family and friends.
But as with all activities, there is a dress code that needs to be followed. So what should you wear when shooting clays?
Well, shooting, for all intents and purposes is all about concentration and accuracy; you need to shoot at the right moment in order to get the most out of the experience. The same rule is true when it comes to what to wear for clay pigeon shooting.
When starting off in clay shooting, most people don’t really think about what they need to wear, but there is a lot of vital equipment that goes into it.
Look, it’s not just your boots that you need to worry about; there are the overalls, gloves, hats, and all manner of other equipment that you need to have to stay comfortable and look good.
But where do you get it from and what should you wear for clay pigeon shooting? If you’re heading out to try this sport for the first time, below we’ve highlighted some key essentials to help you look and feel the part. From hat to shoes, here is what to wear while at the clay field.
What to Wear on Clay Shooting
Proper ear protection is definitely one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to clay pigeon shooting. Keep in mind that your ears will be subjected to lots of noise and blusters which could cause long-term hearing impairment; thus the need for good ear protection.
At the clay ground, you will most likely be provided with some foam ear plugs and possibly ear defenders, which may very well come in handy. But if you’re planning on hitting the clay field quite often, then you might want to get your own ear protection or invest in custom earplugs.
The good news is that there’s a whole range of varieties available nowadays, so it’s easy to choose one that is comfortable and works well for you without hindering your ability to focus.
You’ll also need eye protection because clay fragments that get into your eye could really hurt you. Again, the clay range will generally supply them, but if you plan to shoot frequently, you’ll need to have your own. Most of the options available have tinted lenses, but prescription eye protection is available as well. Otherwise, eye and ear protection tend to go hand in hand.
In addition to the regular everyday attire required for clay target shooting, you’ll probably want to wear a shooting vest. These can sometimes be provided at the clay field, but for the enthusiastic skeet or trap shooter, it is still wise to invest in your own.
Good shooting vests are normally designed with a padded shoulder to help protect the shooter against the firearm’s recoil, but in case yours doesn’t have one, you can always buy the recoil pads separately.
A high-quality shooting vest will enhance your shooting experience in addition to providing protection. With handy pockets to keep your cartridges, you can reload and aim at subsequent clay targets more quickly and effectively.
Shirts or Tops
Well, if you’d like to join in with T-shirt, that’s fine. Alternatively, you might don a long-sleeved shirt or a polo shirt.
However, avoid anything too baggy that could catch when mounting the firearm. You sure want to be able to move freely, therefore your top must fit without being too tight.
Hat for the Head
A baseball cap or flat cap can help block the sun’s rays from striking your eyes, especially when the day is extremely sunny. The best part about baseball caps is that they’re quite suitable at the shooting range and will both shield your eyes from the sun and protect your bald skull.
Just be sure to check that it won’t blow off your head, cover your eyes, or disappear on a windy day. Besides, a cap will shield your head from any clay fragments that may fall.
If you’re planning to be on the clay ground during the winter, then most likely it will be muddy and damp, and there will be lots of puddles.
And since it will be cold, you might want to turn up in your wellies or walking boots alongside warm socks to prevent having cold feet keep you from heading outside.
Meanwhile, you can wear sneakers when it’s dryer outside, but keep in mind that you are handling a rifle and that you must always be stable on your feet. The paths on the clay field may be gravelly and stony, and the grass may not always be perfectly cut. So keep that in mind.
If you plan to wear the coat during clay shooting, then you will need to make sure it fits comfortably and does not impede your range of motion. Ensure that there’s plenty of space for you to comfortably swing through with the firearm.
Otherwise, a clay shooting jacket may not be necessary for the summer, but it may very well be helpful in the winter to keep you warm and dry.
There’s a good chance that your shotgun’s barrels will get exceedingly hot during the practice- given that many competitive shooters can use over 500 cartridges in a single day.
If that’s your case, the barrel of your rifle is likely to become quite hot due to the increased activity. So consider wearing gloves to prevent your hands and fingers from getting burned.
Besides, you can purchase an excellent set of shooting gloves that will protect you from getting your hands burned on an overheated gun barrel for as low as £30. Additionally, with the additional grips offered by skeet/trap guns, you could potentially improve your shooting!
Tips for Trap and Skeet Shooters
For the approaching hunting season, spring and summer are great times to hone your shotgun skills, and there isn’t a better way to do this than by regularly taking part in skeet shooting, trap shooting, and sporting clays.
Five Tips for Trap shooting Sports
Pro Tip: During contests, shooters can lose it under pressure in that clay target championships are often determined by a single target.
However, the best shooters are aware that having the right attitude could mean the difference between outstanding success and disastrous failure.
Shooting experts suggest that you must first make room in your head to focus on the target in order to achieve full control. The stance, mount, and movement are thought to be automatic.
Identify the Target and Focus
In trap shooting, targets are normally launched in a 3-by-2-foot rectangle that is 15 yards away and 3 yards off the trap house roof. So look there for the emerging clay targets. You may call it “the window.” Start easy with soft focus, gazing into the window. Then check the target in the base of your peripheral vision and lock onto the target now employing the hard focus.
Learn How to Track Your Firearm to The Target
You should only focus on the target when it comes to tracking it. You shouldn’t aim as such with a rifle or a handgun.
In fact, you should consider the target as a balloon that is attached to the trap house by a string where you just need to just run up the string and strike the balloon. Avoid even looking at the gun when aiming; focus only on the target, and your eyes will direct the weapon.
Avoid Breaking Away
One of the most frequent mistakes made by shooters across all disciplines, including skeet, trap shooting, and sporting clays, is dropping the rifle too early.
After you’ve made the shot, try to keep your gun mounted for a few seconds. Experts claim that this will make your shot considerably smoother as you push into the clay. Many shooters rush the dismount because they believe they are done, in their minds. Yet they’re not.
Perfect Your Stance
A perfect shot starts the moment you enter the shooting position. When you’re getting ready for the shot, shut off all the distractions and focus only on the fundamentals.
Note that your correct stance plays a very crucial role when making the shot. It’s what keeps you steady and mobile while you track the target and release the trigger.
Maintain a forward-leaning stance with roughly 60% of your weight on the front foot. So get into position before even shouldering your gun.
Serious trap shooters may accumulate thousands of rounds. For an instinctive shooter, however, you might choose to use a less punitive trap load to prevent you from being sensitive to recoil.
Five Tips for Skeet Shooting
Whether you’re one of those recreational shooters or world-class competitors, here are a few tips to help you up your game.
Know How to Use Your Weapon
Experienced shooters shouldn’t have any trouble manipulating the controls of their firearms. You can easily hit targets by developing a rhythm through proper handling of your gun. It is important to know how to use and handle your shotgun’s controls. Operating gun safety features, releasing a bolt, loading, and other similar operations should all be instinctual acts.
Establish a Natural Index
In this case, you will need to practice dry firing and shouldering. The point here is to make the shotgun have a natural index on the target the minute you mount the gun, which means the barrel should be lined up on the target as soon as the gun meets your shoulder.
It may involve lots of repetition and your garage or basement can be a great area to practice the mount and natural index for this.
Pattern Your Firearm
Not many shooters take time to practice with their gun, but without patterning, you may not be as confident about your shotgun’s point of impact.
To pattern, your shotgun, one expert from osp shooting school suggests using a sizable piece of plywood, cardboard, or another material. At the very least, consider testing patterns with your three main chokes at distances of 10, 20, and 30 yards.
Although it may seem obvious, practice is crucial to acquiring the motor abilities and shooting skills required to become a natural shooter. You must commit yourself to learning the fundamentals of shooting, regardless of whether you’re interested in breaking clays on the skeet range or killing more ducks the following winter.
Then you can invest even more effort in becoming a natural shooter. No other advice given here will be useful if you don’t spend enough time at the range. You don’t have to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of shells a year on shotgunning. Successful implementation is essential.
Get Some Friends
Skeet shooting is more enjoyable with friends or other shooters around than it is with any other activity or hobby. The squad that moves collectively between stations during the round can include up to five shooters. Plus, shooting alongside more seasoned players can also help you get better because they can serve as an example and sometimes a helpful source of tips.
Another thing about skeet shooting is that it places a high value on sportsmanship, and practicing it in a group can be beneficial. Don’t let one poor shot affect your next one; instead, see each shot as an opportunity to get better.
Remember proper gun handling etiquette is crucial when shooting with other people. Shoot safely by treating each firearm as though it is loaded, and when you’re not in the stand, keep your gun unloaded and pointing in a safe direction; that is, down or straight up.
You might want to join the gun club for regular access to the range and the opportunity to participate in a skeet shooting league, especially if you don’t have any bird-hunting mates who you can convert to target shooters.
It can also be beneficial to sign up for the National Skeet Shooting Association so you can compete in matches against shooters with comparable levels of experience and possibly even rank nationally.
The Final Word
Both trap shooting and skeet shooting require practice in order to develop the abilities and muscle memory required for a successful round.
Hopefully, with the aid of the above suggestions, you can focus your practice efforts and accelerate your learning curve in order to enhance your performance in your local competition or even have a more fruitful turkey season come fall.