By: Teresa Mull
Shooting has long been considered a “guy thing,” but we know that’s changing.
“A recent study found that the growth in some shooting disciplines is nearly 200 percent,” WideOpenSpaces.com reports.
Other reports reveal minorities, females, and members of the LGBQT community are the fastest-growing demographics of gun buyers.
This is great news for gun rights, the safety of our nation, and for women who are tired of making do with garments and gear made for men. Gun and gun accessory manufacturers have noticed the surge in lady shooters, and there are a growing number of items designed specifically for women looking to carry concealed, hunt, compete in shooting sports, and so forth, and look good doing it!
You don’t need specialty shooting gear, except for eye and ear protection, to get started shooting, so don’t let a limited wardrobe be an excuse for delaying your foray into guns any longer! This article is simply intended to highlight some really cool products available on the market that will make your shooting experience more comfortable and enjoyable! There’s something about looking and feeling the part that makes a new hobby that much more exciting.
Today, we’ll focus on a fun element of being a female shooter: looking cute while you shoot. The following is a mere smattering of some retailers offering a range of fashionable and functional clothing designed for the range, in both tactical and more traditional, up-scale options.
If we’re missing some, let us know in the comments section! Links to all items are at the end of each section.
The Basics: Safety First
If you’re new to shooting, you’ll need to equip yourself with some basic safety gear, commonly referred to as your “eyes and ears.”
Shooting glasses and hearing protection are must-haves, no matter what discipline you’re shooting. Nicsshooting.com offers a handy “Range Kit for Her” that has everything you need to get started:
Of course, if pink’s not quite your thing, options abound when it comes to style of eyewear and lens color, type of ear protection – muffs, in-ear models, and even some designs that allow you to hear conversations at the range (perfect for instruction), but still block out the loud bangs of live fire.
A personal favorite of ours here at GPM is the GS Extreme model, “the world’s first all-in-one tactical wireless earbuds,” that do-away with bulky muffs, combining “hearing protection, hearing enhancement, and studio-quality earbuds…all in one sleek and comfortable product made from medical-grade components.”
Comfort and Layers
The principles of shooting attire are the same for almost any sporting endeavor: you want to be comfortable and prepared for the elements. Dressing in layers is sensible. And you certainly don’t want anything too tight that will restrict your ability to shoot properly.
I recommend a t-shirt under a button-down blouse in the chillier months. Some people complain that button-downs could allow hot casings to find their way to bare skin. It’s not a problem I’ve found to be very common or dangerous, but better safe than sorry! A turtle/mockneck top could be useful, weather warranting. What’s more, you can always remove your outer blouse or put it back on, depending on temperature changes, risk of sunburn, etc.
I also tend to wear stretchy, breathable long pants (hiking pants are awesome!), since shooting ranges are often outside (in my case, it’s the local coal “strippin’s!”), among bugs, grass, and other itchy/scratchy/potentially troublesome elements. Pants just make me feel more protected, but shorts are generally fine, especially in very hot, humid climates.
In the winter, vests are a great option. They’re less bulky than a coat or jacket, but still keep the core warm without hindering movement as much. Plus … pockets!!!
Chances are, you have a few of these staple pieces in your closet already. But a new shooting top could do wonders for your confidence and urge you to get out and shoot, since that’s what the shirt is made for, right?! Just saying…
Links: 1: Linen/Cotton Garment-Dyed Short-Sleeved Shirt 2: Women's Premium Washable Linen Shirt, Tunic 3: River Guide Shirt 4: Proud To Protect Plaid Flannel Shirt 5: MQ Green Upland Pheasant Shirt 6: Women's PRO LT Hunting Shirt 7: Linen Popover Shirt, Solid 8: Concealed Carry Knit Sweater 9: Women's Signature Chamois Tunic, Pattern 10: Women's Concealed Carry Scoop Neck Tee 11: Women's Lightweight Fitted Long Sleeve Crewneck T-Shirt 12: Outsmart® Tech Chambray Shirt 13: Kevin's Ladies Long Sleeve Feather-Weight Shooting Shirt 14: Departure 2.0 Long-Sleeve Shirt
McKenna Quinn is irresistible, and in my personal experience, worth the price tag! The designer’s stuff is tailored, classy, well-designed, and beautiful! I think I shoot better when I’m wearing MQ…
Same goes for Alaine Paine. Peruse his line of alluring apparel at your own risk:
And…ditto for Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear and Apparel. Don’t these people know we need to save our money for ammo?!
Try to choose something lightweight, flexible, and protective:
Links: 1: Carbine Short 2: McKenna Quinn Upland Pants 3: Women's Ultralight Pants 4: Carbine Pant 5: Lassen Hike Pants 6: 7: Departure Jogger Pants 8: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Women's Guide Pro Pant 9: Laksen Ladies' Tweed Breeks 10: Eddie Bauer Women's Horizon Guide 5-Pocket Slim Straight Pants 11: Kevin's Huntress Mid-Rise Field Pant 12: Berwick Ladies Waterproof Breeks In Olive
If you plan on wearing concealed carry leggings to carry why you exercise, you need to practice holstering and un-holstering with them!
Jackets and Vests
Vests are a must when you’re shooting trap, skeet, and/or sporting clays. You’ll need big pockets to carry your shells and stash your spent casings. Mesh vests are great for the summer, and oiled canvas add a layer of protection during the cooler seasons. “Aprons” or half-vests are another option, relieving the shooter of wearing anything but a belt-like device around the waist. Some vests also include a pad in the chest area to ease the impact of a shotgun’s recoil.
Links: 1: McKenna Quinn Shooting Vest in Green 2: Kevin's Huntress Quilted Vest 3: Wild Hare Range Vest Leather and Mesh 4: Tin Cloth Shooting Bag 5: Half Vest Charcoal 6: Wild Hare Heatwave Mesh Vest 7: Huntress Stretch Twill All Purpose Shooting Vest 8: Combrook Ladies Tweed Shooting Waistcoat In Lotus 9: Beretta Women's Silver Pigeon Evo Vest
Shoes should be sturdy, comfortable, and protective. Sneakers are fine. Hiking sneakers are even better! The wide world of footwear is WILD these days. I like Sierra Trading Post for variety and price:
Purses, Jewelry, Scarves
Showing your love of shooting can be fun on and off the range. There are so many stylish concealed carry purses on the market today. We also have beautiful jewelry crafted from bullets, and other accessories that celebrate the sporting life and make great gifts for the lady shooter in your life!
Links: The Well-Armed Woman
Link: Bullet Designs
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.