Shooting in the heat is part of competitions in the summertime, and shooting when it’s sunny out is a lot nicer than in the winter. The one thing that isn’t that nice about shooting in hot weather is it can get scorching hot and … you can get sweaty and exhausted. There are many things you can do to keep cool and hydrated. I’m going to mention some things that have helped me to keep cool this summer.
Clothing can have effect on your body getting overheated. In the summertime, sitting under the sun, you bake and get incredibly sweaty. I try to wear clothes that are more lightweight and breathable – but sometimes, doing that isn’t enough. If you wear a vest when shooting, it’s still adding a layer and again, can make you overheated quickly. There are 2 things to help with the vest situation: one is to wear a vest for shooting in the summer that is light weight and made of breathable fabric. The second thing you can do is ditch the vest and use a shell pouch to hold your shotgun shells and hulls. Using a shell pouch is just like a vest; except you don’t have the extra layer on your chest. Depending on your preference, you can use either one. I know many people that like using a shell pouch because it’s easier for them. I like using a vest.
Staying hydrated is so important. When you are out in the sun, you sweat. When you are sweating, your body is losing water, so you must drink lots of water to replenish the water your body is missing. If you don’t drink enough water, you can run the risk of getting heatstroke or exhaustion. Usually, when I have a long day of shooting, and it’s going to be hot, I will take a something that has electrolytes in it and drink it, along with lots of water, especially in between shooting rounds. Drinking electrolytes is good for your body because it helps boost energy and helps the brain focus. It’s good to drink water and Gatorade/ Powerade, if you practice this routine – for each Gatorade you drink, you should drink 4 cups of water. If you have a long day shooting on a sunny day, I suggest staying away from energy drinks that have a ton of sugar. There not doing you any good, except they are giving you a boost of energy for about 5 minutes.
When shooting, you will be in the sun a lot which can make you extremely hot. I would recommend wearing a hat or a visor. This will help cool you down and keep the sun out of your eyes. It’s also important that you wear sunscreen. Staying in the shade will also help. After each round, take a minute to sit down and drink some water. Grab some shade, if possible. I always take a minute to cool off before I shoot another round. Whenever I’m done shooting a round, I grab a towel that is damp and wrap it around my neck, which helps so much to cool me down. I always keep a towel on my vest, for when my hands get sweaty, and I can wipe the stock of my gun where I hold it.
When shooting in hot weather, you get fingerprints and sweat all over the gun, which can start to rust the metal pieces of the gun. I suggest wiping your gun down after every summer shoot. It doesn’t have to be a deep clean; get a rag and some gun cleaner and wipe the outside of the gun down, such as barrels, receiver and trigger/trigger guard. After you wipe it down with gun cleaner, wipe it down with some gun oil. You don’t have to oil it every time you shoot. It’s best to do it after every 2 shoots, though.
These are just some ideas of what I do during the summer. Competition shooters do different things to stay cool while on the range or course during the summer. A lot of times, when going to competition during the summer, you will pick up ideas from other shooters. If you have any other ideas for shooting in hot weather, please feel free to share them with The WON here, in the comments, or at any of our social media outlets.
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