You may have been to the range hundreds of times by now, and if you have these general rules of thumb are likely second nature to you now. For those who are newer to firearms ownership and shooting sports, we have some pro tips on dressing for all day range comfort and safety.
The first two non-apparel pieces that you have likely already thrown into your range bag are your eye and ear protection. These will not only complete the outfit but will keep your eyes and hearing protected. For indoor ranges, you may want to double down on in-ear and over ear protection to block out any sound amplified by the acoustics of an indoor range. These are the key first piece to prepare and the last piece to put on before you shoot.
Now for some keep apparel specifics… Let’s break it down from top to bottom:
Shirt: Again, this might be second nature to you if you’re regularly frequenting the range, but one of the most important pieces of clothing you will choose for the day is your shirt. You want to be sure to choose a full-length shirt with a high neckline. While you might prefer a v-neck in your day to day, there’s nothing quite as bad as getting hit by flying hot brass and knowing that a crew neck shirt could have avoided an uncomfortable burn. By wearing a full-length shirt, you are also ensuring your midriff will be safe from the same fate.
Pants: Shooting outside in warmer climates or during the warmer months might persuade you to wear shorts, and while these will keep you cooler, again they will not protect you from flying brass. The safest option is to go with pants that are full coverage, comfortable and have sturdy belt loops. If you are going to be switching up your stance or shooting position, you’ll want to be sure to have a pair of pants that moves with you. Extra pockets are generally always welcome, but if you plan on working from a holster, this and fit is something you will want to factor in. For example, if you are planning to utilize a drop-leg holster on this trip to the range, it’s best to leave the cargo pants at home.
Belt: This is where those sturdy belt loops come in. There are a wide variety of things you could plan to do at the range, if you plan to spend the day firing from the shooting bench or a mat, your belt and belt loops may not be quite as important. But for those who plan to utilize one of a wide variety of holsters, you will want to ensure you have a sturdy belt up to the task. If you plan to work on your self-defense EDC skills you will want to have a sturdy belt designed for EDC that you will use with your daily carry IWB or OWB holster.
Shoes: Check your Crocs® and sandals at the door, for the range, you will want a pair of fully enclosed shoes. The last thing you want is for anything to get into your shoe while you are handling firearms. A close toed shoe like an athletic sneaker with adequate grip, or even a lightweight hiking boot make for ideal range shoes.
Helpful Accessories: While not quite as essential as the main components of your range day ensemble, there are a few extra pieces you may want to keep in your range bag that can enhance the experience.
A pair of thin, grippy gloves can help you stay out on the range a hair longer on those colder days. They will help you to brave the elements while still having effective grip on your firearm and still allow you to feel the crispness of the trigger pull. Alternately, on the most scorching of days, these gloves can be helpful in keeping the moisture of your palms off the grip of your gun.
And last but very not least, regardless of time of year, indoor or outdoor, you may want to bring a hat along for the trip. Like many other components of your outfit, your hat can help to shield you from any flying hot brass with the added benefit of alleviating any glare from the sun or overhead range lights.