So you're off to a clay ground. From hat to shoes, here's what to turn up in.
First off, you need to know that a day on the clays isn’t formal in the way that gameshooting is.
There’s no need to kit yourself out in tweeds, a Tattersall check shirt and a tie. Just wear something non-restrictive that allows you to move freely. Of course you need to consider the weather and safety when you’re choosing clay pigeon shooting clothing. Layers are a good idea for coping with changing temperatures.
The Clay Pigeon Shooting Association advises on what to wear clay pigeon shooting: “For a Have-a-Go day or an introductory lesson, just wear casual clothes that will be comfortable for an hour or two outdoors. In summer, for instance, many shooters wear trainers, jeans and a T-shirt.
“Depending on the weather, you might want to add a fleece or jumper, boots and a waterproof coat.”
Clay shooting clothing and kit
This is probably the most important piece of kit to have for a day on the clays. The decibels your ears are going to be exposed to can cause longterm hearing damage, so protect them. You will almost certainly be handed some foam ear plugs as you arrive at the clay ground and maybe ear defenders which you may well find more comfortable. If you’re going to be shooting clays regularly then you might want to invest in bespoke ear plugs or buy your own ear defenders.
There are masses of different types available nowadays, so you’ll be able to find something that you find effective and comfortable that won’t intrude on your concentration.
Fragments of broken clays can cause serious injury if they end up in your eye, so you’ll need eye protection too. Again, these will probably be provided by the clay ground but if you’re going to be shooting regularly you will want your own. Many come with tinted lenses and you can get prescription eye protection too.
On your head
Baseball caps are quite acceptable at the clayshooting ground and will protect a bald pate as well as keeping the sun out of your eyes. Just make sure your hat won’t blow away on a windy day, slip off your head or over your eyes. A cap will also protect your head from any falling shards of clay.
Shirts and tops
If you want to wear a T-shirt that’s fine. Or you could wear a polo shirt or a long sleeved shirt. Nothing too baggy though which might catch when you’re mounting the gun. Your top needs to be fitted without being too tight – you need to be able to move freely.
You might well want to wear a shooting vest (a gilet-type garment) with a padded patch that will protect your shoulder from the gun butt. Again the shooting ground will probably be able to lend you one in the meantime (ring and check when booking).
Shooting vests are padded on the shoulder where the gun sits which helps to minimise recoil. They are important for getting your gunfit and mount correct and will also store gun cartridges, so you can reload quickly and easily.
They comfortable to wear, let you move freely and also keep you warm when it’s chilly. Some have an additional padded patch to put on your shoulder for double protection.
You might not need one in the summer but in winter a jacket is essential to keep you warm and dry. Make sure it has plenty of room around the arms so that you can swing through with the gun.
Are jeans or shorts okay to wear clay pigeon shooting?
Yes, you can wear jeans on a clayshooting ground. You could also wear chinos. In summer shorts would be fine. Again wear something loose rather than tight, so you can move easily.
It’s going to be muddy and wet if you’re out on the clay ground in winter and there will be plenty of puddles. So wear your wellies or walking boots, complete with some warm socks because it will be cold, and you don’t want freezing feet putting your off.
Come the dryer weather you can wear trainers. However flip-flops, sandals or high heels are never a good idea as you need to protect your feet. Remember you are handling a gun and you need to be steady on your feet at all times. The grass won’t be trimmed to perfection and paths tend to be gravelly and stony.
So you've decided to venture onto a clay ground with a view to taking up the sport. Congratulations. It's a…
New to clayshooting? This is what English Sporting, English Skeet and Trap shooting involve
The barrels of your shotgun are likely to get very hot – some people shoot 500 cartridges on a shoot day. To protect against burned fingers and hands wear gloves.