A Beginner's Guide to Choosing Shooting Clothing

If game shooting is something you’re looking to try in 2017, then this guide is for you. From serious hunting to clay shooting just for fun, this guide will show you how to choose the right shooting clothing so you can look and feel the part.

But as well as what to wear, we’ll also explain how to choose each item of clothing carefully to meet your own preferences and requirements. On a shoot you want to be safe and comfortable, but you should also be free to feel stylish. No matter whether you’re observing or participating, we’re here to help you do both.

Here’s how to choose the right shooting clothing for you.


Ear Protection

Did you know that any noise above 85 decibels is damaging to your ears? And more importantly, that gunfire can be anything from 156 decibels and above? Therefore, protecting your ears is crucial if you want to avoid any long term deafness further down the line.

Ear protection comes in a variety of forms, from moulded to digital to disposable.

Moulded earplugs are a cheap but effective option, made to fit your ears closely. 

Digital earplugs may be more expensive but are very discreet and effective. Custom-made variations are available and they often provide additional noise management features for ultimate control.

Headphones (or ear muffs, as they are sometimes called) sit over the ears rather than inside, and can be passive or digital. Though passive muffs are very beneficial, digital/electronic ones often come with additional noise reducing properties, blocking out sudden noise over a certain number of decibels.

Here at John Norris we like the Peltor Bullseye folding earmuffs for their lightweight feel and easy storage.

Folding shooting earmuffs



Most game shooters will wear a tweed flat cap, but what you wear on your head is entirely up to you as long as it is practical and warm.

Choosing a hat with a peak will help keep the sun out of your eyes and protect your field of vision.

Waterproof versions of flat caps are also available which can be ideal for grey, uncertain weather days. The Barbour Wax Sylkoil cap is one of our favourites.

Wax shooting cap



Game shooting season is very much in autumn and winter, so you’ll need a coat or jacket that’s warm and waterproof. When choosing a shooting jacket, there are a few things to think about.

Weatherproofing: to ensure your jacket is equipped for all weather conditions, check it over for features such as storm front zip; storm collar; storm cuffs and/or a removable hood.

Cut: a well cut shooting jacket will have freedom of movement across the shoulders; storm cuffs or sleeves that don’t shorten when shooting; ‘bellow’ cartridge pockets with retaining clips for rapid reloading, and finally room for layering, so you always have room to add extra warmth.

Weight: this will be determined by the type of shooting you may be doing. For ‘standing gun’ shooting, warmth is priority, so will require a heavier, thicker coat. For ‘walking gun’ shooting, a lightweight jacket will be more preferable.

Brown and green colours tend to be more preferable among shooters, but check the dress code with the person hosting the hunt.

Ideally you’ll want plenty of pockets that are deep enough for carrying cartridges.

A tweed jacket isn’t always needed, but if that’s your preference there are plenty of water resistant tweed jackets on the market. We love this Ptarmigan tweed shooting coat from Schoffel.

Tweed shooting coat


Trousers & Breeks

For informal or casual shoots, a simple pair of moleskin trousers or cotton breeks will do. However, more formal shoots may require tweed trousers or breeks. The colours don’t have to match your jacket exactly, but should be complimentary.
Many first-time shooters may wonder what the difference is between shooting trousers and breeks, and why they’d choose one over the other. Whilst it largely comes down to preference in the end, some of the main differences are outlined below.

Breeks - these are a traditional style that have stood the test of time. You might wonder what benefit breeks could have over trousers, but shooting breeks are actually excellent for wearing wellies whilst trousers can ride up or twist. A good pair of breeks should be a neat fit that finishes just below the knee and sit over the top of your socks. They are also handy for climbing over fences!

Why not try this simple pair of Seeland Woodcock breeks?

Waterproof shooting breeksTrousers - these are a more casual, laid back option and come in either moleskin or tweed. A good pair of overtrousers can also be useful for extra waterproof protection in case of bad weather.

These moleskin trousers by John Norris are a handy pair for those just starting out.

Moleskin shooting trousers



A good sturdy pair of walking boots or wellington is a must for any shooting trip, ensuring you’ll always have a sure grip underfoot, whatever the weather.

Walking boots should be waterproof and breathable, with whatever level of ankle support you require. We like these Harkila Pro Hunter GTX boots.

Harkila walking bootsWellies are more suitable if the weather is set to be wet or unpredictable. They have a greater wading depth than boots and will be much easier to slip off at the end of the day - no messing about with muddy laces!

We love this pair of Hunter Balmoral II boots, made from heavy duty rubber to handle almost any terrain.

Hunter shooting wellington boots



A good shooting bag is essential for carrying your spare cartridges, waterproof(s) and a snack. Many bags have available matching gun slips so you’ll really look the part.

When choosing a shooting bag, ask yourself whether the bag can cater for your requirements on the range. In other words, can it carry everything you’ll be taking with you, without being too large or hefty to weigh you down? Some pro game shooters like to take a smaller ‘primary’ bag with them as well as a larger bag for extra essentials.
Here are a few things to look out for when choosing a shooting bag.

Lots of pockets of varying sizes. You’ll want to be able to have separate compartments for all of your stuff, rather than a sack where everything is thrown together.

Made to last and durable - the last thing you want is a bag that tears at the seams when carrying weight. Look out for bags made of thick, cordura nylon with heavy duty nylon zippers and double stitching at the seams.

Comfortable to carry - your bag should be easy to carry across the field and not a chore. Look out for wide, padded shoulder straps that feel comfortable when the bag is packed.

Not sure what you should be packing in your bag? Some ideas include ammo; spare magazines; extra eye and ear protection; a multitool; a knife; a first aid kit; targets; double sided tape or staple gun; wipes and a water bottle.

This Beretta Gamekeeper cartridge bag is made from light, durable fabric and features an adjustable web carrying strap.

Shooting cartridge bag