Shooting kit should be comfortable, practical, stylish and appropriate.

Here’s our guide to what to wear out shooting, so that you’re dressed correctly and feel confident you’re in the right kit.

The first thing to remember is that shooting clothing was originally designed to be practical, keep the wearer safe and at the right temperature. Tweeds may have a bit of a reputation as the height of formality but tweed was the original performance fabric long before the likes of GORE-TEX came along. It’s still popular with shooters today.

Wear the right shooting clothes and you’ll make the best of your day out. Wear the wrong clothes and you’ll feel uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.

So here’s how to dress for the field properly.

pheasant shooting

Always check the dress code with your host

Top tips for what to wear shooting

  • Some days are formal. Others less so. To make sure you turn up in the right kit check the dress code with your host. Ask about footwear and headwear too (a lot will depend on the weather). Nobody will think less of you for asking – in fact you’ll be respected for your good manners.
  • Guns usually wear brown or green clothing which blends in with the surroundings. This may or may not be tweeds (in fact, some Guns now wear fabrics printed to look like tweed.)
  • If you want to preserve your hearing you must wear ear protection.

    woman wearing shooting ear protection

    Ear protection is essential to protect your hearing.

  • Tweed caps are popular and useful for keeping the sun out of your eyes and the rain off your face.
  • You’ll need to have some sturdy boots that will support your ankles (essential if you’re walked-up shooting) or wellies if you’re planning on wading through puddles. You can wear welly boots, boots with gaiters or brogues. A lot depends on the ground you’ll encounter (so ask about footwear when you make that initial call to your shoot host).
  • In early autumn you can have some warm shooting days – particularly if you’re walking up shooting when you’ll be doing a fair bit of exercise. Choose layers that you can discard – shooting in a shirt and tie and taking off your jacket is quite acceptable on a warm day. Or maybe just wear a shooting vest over a shirt and tie.

Protect your ears

Not wearing ear protection is quite simply stupid because you’re risking your hearing. Moulded earplugs, electronic ear defenders or disposable ear plugs are all options. If it’s cold, think about a hat with flaps to keep your ears warm.

Shooting clothing

Dress for the weather

 

Farlows Summer twill Tattersall shirt

A classic Tattersall shirt from Farlows

Shirt

If you want to be traditional you need to wear a green or brown check shirt. Tattersall checks are perennially popular and look good both with and without a tie. On the grouse moor opt for darker colours to avoid being seen by the birds.

shooting on grouse moor

The grouse moor calls for dark colours. Note the lady’s hat – you don’t have to wear a tweed cap you know.

Shooting tie

A tie gives you the opportunity to show off your individuality

Tie

In general a tie is expected on a formal shoot.

Shooting vest by Schoffel

A shooting vest is a good halfway house between jacket and no jacket

Shooting vest/waistcoat

If you’re on a formal shoot, many Guns will be wearing a three piece tweed suit with matching breeks or trousers, waistcoat and jacket.

grouse shooting shirt

Grouse shirt by Campbells of Beauly

Jacket/coat

You’ll be game shooting mostly during the winter so make sure your coat is warm and waterproof. When buying a shooting jacket, make sure you have enough movement to swing your gun. You’ll also want a jacket with deep pockets for cartridges.

Bag

A cartridge bag is essential. Run out of cartridges and it’s game over. You might also like to have a cartridge belt.

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Breeks/trousers

On a formal shoot, you should wear tweed breeks or trousers. At less formal shoots, you can wear moleskin trousers.

Gaiters for shooting

Gaiters will keep the wet and ticks out and protect your shins and socks from scratches

Gaiters

If you’re walking over moorland then these are a must. Read our guide to gaiters here.

best shirts for shooting

Best shooting shirts

Our pick of the best shooting shirts will have you looking smart and feeling comfortable even when you're in the…

Socks/stockings with garters

Wear long socks with stockings, tied with garters to stop them falling. Here’s how to wear your shooting socks correctly.

shooting socks

Boots/wellies

The best bet is shooting boots with good ankle support, as this will suit you on uneven ground as well as flat earth.

Tweed jackets by Campbells of Beauly

Tweed jackets by Campbells of Beauly

What to wear clayshooting 

For clayshooting, there is no official etiquette on what to wear. However you’ll almost certainly enjoy your day on the clay ground moor if your clothes are smart and functional. Go for items that allow movement and take account of the weather conditions.

Ear protection

On the clay ground this is even more important as more shots are fired than in game shooting. Make sure your hearing protection has a comfortable fit that doesn’t impede gun mount, or bad habits will set in. Options include disposable ear plugs, high end digital headphones and moulded earplugs.

Eye protection

All clay shooters need to wear eye protection and a shooting school can provide this for you. There are a variety of tints available which help you pick to the clays – experiment to see which works best for you. If you wear glasses then consider prescription eye protection.

what to wear clay shooting

This shooter looks great on the clay ground with his hat, ear and eye protection, shirt and shooting vest

Shirt or T-shirt

This depends on the weather. Most clay shooting happens in the summer season, but unlike game shooting, there’s often a lot less physical exercise. You also have the luxury of not needing to carry your clothing with you, as you would in the shooting field, so wearing several light breathable layers that can be discarded when needed is a good idea.

Shooting vest

A well fitted shooting vest is essential as this will aid gun fit and gun mount.

Gun

If you are attending a clay shoot you will be expected to bring your own gun. If you are attending a clay shooting lesson, the school will be able to provide you with a gun and ensure the gun fit is right for you. If attending a clay shoot, always return your gun to its slip between stands while waiting to shoot.

Comfortable footwear

This is a judgement call based on the weather. Wellies will be fine in the wet. In dry weather, trainers or walking boots or some other comfortable footwear will suffice.

Waterproof sports holdall

This is not essential when having a clay lesson but during a clay shoot you will need one for carrying cartridges, chokes and a cloth to keep your hands clean and a snack to keep your concentration levels up. This is also handy for storing extra kit if you have to remove a layer in the heat.

what to wear clay shooting

This girl’s waterproof jacket is perfect for the clay ground as it doesn’t restrict her movements

Waterproof jacket

Ideally overcoats should be removed before shooting if it’s comfortable to do so as this will affect gun fit. If you intend to shoot with it on during the rain, ensure when you buy it there is no restriction of movement.