When you’re heading to the range for a practice day or a competition, you might find that you need to follow a shooting range dress code. Even if you don’t, you still need to know what shooting attire is appropriate – and what will keep you comfortable enough to stay out all day.
It’s always a good idea to call the range before you head out to see if it has a dress code. As a general rule, you should dress conservatively and comfortably, keeping the temperature and range conditions in mind. The season will dictate what you put on if you’re heading to an outdoor range, but even if the weather isn’t a factor, here’s a quick run-down on the best gear to wear while you shoot.
Your tactical pants are one of the most important components of your range outfit. If there isn’t a shooting range dress code, you’re free to dress in what works best for you.
Whatever pants you wear to the range, you want to be able to move comfortably and without distraction. Maybe you like a good pair of cargo shorts with plenty of pockets to stash your phone, your wallet and your gear, or maybe you shoot best in soft range pants. If you’re practicing your draw, choose everyday tactical pants that pair with your holster.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to shoot in the prone position, wear pants – even if it’s hot outside.
The best shooting range shirts can be long- or short-sleeved. You’ll get plenty of flexibility in a breathable range polo, but if your real-world scenarios involve you wearing a button-down, that’s how you should practice. Pick up the military’s mantra, “Train as you fight,” when you’re choosing your range shirt. For some people, that means wearing a concealed carry shirt to practice draws, and for others, it means wearing a T-shirt with an OWB holster on the belt.
To pull off your best shots, you need a good stance – and you can only get a good stance if you wear comfortable, supportive range shoes. Wear closed-toed shoes that mirror what you wear day-to-day so you can practice as you normally stand, move and draw.
Pro Tip: Designate a pair of range shoes that you don’t wear anywhere else. Your feet will pick up plenty of lead particles at the range, which you don’t want to track into your car or your house.
Those are just the basics. Learn what to pack in your range bag to be ready for any situation.
If the range you’re going to doesn’t have a dress code, you can pick whatever you’re comfortable wearing – but there are still some things you should never wear to a shooting range, mainly due to the risk of being hit by hot brass:
A lot of ranges have dress codes that cover the bare minimum, and some even have regulations that require collared shirts. It’s always best to call the range before you leave the house to make sure they won’t turn you away at the door.