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Don’t Be that Gal: 6 Items NOT to Wear to the Shooting Range

I’ve seen quite a few students arrive at firearms training classes wearing the correct clothing for a day on the range. However, every once in a while, to my amazement, a few show up not quite dressed for the occasion. Perhaps they never got the memo or maybe they just didn’t know any better. To prevent others from becoming “That Girl” I’m sharing a list of “What NOT to Wear on the Shooting Range.” Note: All images have been recreated to protect the not so innocent. 

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What NOT to Wear on the Shooting Range

1. Flip Flops or Open-Toed Shoes

There’s a time and a place for flip flops, but the shooting range certainly isn’t one of them. On many outdoor ranges you may find cinders, red ants, spent ammo casings and a lot of lead. When actively shooting, hot brass may land (and often stick) to your foot, cinders can lodge under your toes and need I say anymore about the lead? Closed-toed shoes are the way to go. Read more about what shoes to wear on the range in a previous article here

Flip flops What NOT to Wear on the Shooting Range

2. Shorts

When it’s hot I wear shorts on the range, but not when shooting steel or during dynamic shooting. Ricochets or splash-back happen more than many people realize. Plus it’s easy to slip on casings left on the range floor and it hurt like the dickens when you kneel on them. A better choice is long pants on a range when dynamic shooting or steel is involved. 

Brass and rocks on range

3. Pants without Belt Loops

Simply put, belts are held in place by belt loops. Cinching a belt over top a sweatshirt or loosely slung on yoga pants it not conducive to successful firearms training. The belt needs to stay in place so the holster is always where it needs to be. You shouldn’t have to hold your belt down on your hips while you try to draw your pistol. Find pants with belt loops that are strong and wide enough for the belt to fit through.

yoga pants and belt cerino What NOT to Wear on the Shooting Range

4. Fashionable or Dress Style Belts

I’ve seen a lot of braided or fashion belts that don’t have the strength to keep the holster up on the waist and in place. During a full day of firearms training there will be numerous draws from the holster. A thick belt, made specifically for use with a holster is a much better choice. 

Hot brass burns! Imagine if this went down your shirt.

5. Low-cut, V-neck or Botton-Down Shirts

Ladies, especially those well endowed, should avoid v-neck shirts. Hot brass, either from the one’s own gun or a neighbor on the shooting line, inevitably finds the v-neck funnel. Aside from the fact it will leave a pretty good mark, it also leads into the “hot brass dance.” Yep, imagine someone jumping around, often with flailing arms and waving a loaded firearm trying to get the hot brass off her skin. If it’s a button down shirt, keep it buttoned up. A better choice is a higher neck shirt or even a neck gaiter to keep the hot brass out.

non shooting glasses What NOT to Wear on the Shooting Range
These fashionable sunglasses are NOT safe for the range. (Julia Horner photo)

6. Stylish Sunglasses

Everyone knows eye protection is mandatory on a range. However, some students don’t realize the importance of wearing glasses specific to shooting. Those fashionable sunglasses worn at the beach aren’t designed to stop high velocity objects flying toward your eyes. For more information about safety glasses for the range read “Ban the Ray-Bans” here.

Cerino range hat

I’m not saying students have to be tacti-cool or even tactical when attending firearms training classes. Heck, I often wear my extra-wide brimmed teal hat and even a pink scarf to keep the sun off my face. Hopefully this gave you a little giggle and you didn’t recognize yourself as one of the offenders. However, if you did, perhaps you need to add some wardrobe pieces before you next trip to the shooting range. 

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, is the managing and social media editor at The WON. Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group, LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers.