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| category: Guns and equipment

Clothing for Practical Shooting


Proper clothing for shooting. Where to go? To sports or military store?

We think that the issue of clothing and footwear for practical shooting is quite interesting, because the very practical shooting is a phenomenon at the crossroads of the world of sports and the world of applied shooting disciplines.

So where to go shopping? To a military store or to a store of conventional sports goods? Which brand shall be preferred, 5.11 and Blackhawk or Asics and Saucony?

Since this issue is very ambiguous, in this article you will learn our subjective opinion only, without attempt of being objective. We’ll just tell you how we addressed this issue for yourselves.

Clothes

The main requirements for clothes is its comfortability in the course of performance of shooting exercises and its correspondence to climatic conditions. It means that in winter, the clothes should keep warmth, but should not be too voluminous and heavy, and in summer, the clothes should not interfere with the heat exchange and be comfortable with any movements and manipulations.

Since practical shooting is a summer sport, then we’ll consider the clothing designed for warm season.

We prefer for clothing from the sports store. The fact is that there is one fundamental difference between sportswear and tactical clothing, i.e. requirements put forward by the end user to such clothing. In some aspects, these requirements are the same. For example, the tactical and sports clothes should be comfortable, remove the moisture well, not irritate the skin etc. However, the tactical clothing always has to meet an additional requirement, which makes it less attractive for sport shooting tasks. This requirement is strength and durability of the fabric and product as a whole.

As you know, it is not possible to make a strong, robust fabric, and endow it with the same properties as possessed by the material that does not have to meet such requirements. The cloth of tactical pants/shorts cannot be as supple and weightless as the cloth for sports items. That is why we ultimately opted for a purely sporting version of the uniform.

This does not mean that the tactical clothing is bad, it just has to perform different functional tasks. We gladly use it in our lives in cases not associated with competitions in practical shooting.

Footwear

Footwear is probably one of the most difficult issues in the outfit a practical shooter, since diversity of producers and pace of technology development can confuse even an informed consumer.

However, let’s try to understand this issue. We’ll start not from the discussion of “tactics or sports”, but with determination of the segment (type) of footwear in which we must search the required goods.

Unlike clothing, when choosing the footwear, you have to consider not only the climatic conditions of the area where you intend to practice or participate in competitions. You have to understand the coverages on which you’ll move, and they can vary dramatically even within one shooting facility.

In our practice, there were moments when a carefully selected and repeatedly tested model misled us due to vagaries of the weather or features of the soil, or even due to a combination of these factors, as happened in the championship of Ukraine in 2013 (rain and clay). The tracking soles of our shoes, instead of performing its direct function, to provide grip with the ground and prevent “crossing” when we stepped on sharp stones, collected such an amount (!) of clay that we couldn’t speak of dynamic movement any more, we just tried to drag ourselves to the next shooting position. However, we have run too ahead. Let’s get back to the definition of the footwear segment (type), which is the most suitable for practical shooting.

First, let’s define which coverage is the most common for shooting sites. We faced the following options: rough coverage with a mixture of earth and gravel; land with high content of clay; sand; grass; asphalt; concrete. Besides the texture, you also must predict the terrain. It can range from perfectly equal (coverage in indoor shooting galleries) to completely rough.

So, if we take a meticulous approach to footwear selection, it becomes clear that one pair will not be enough. However, it is possible to choose the footwear, which would be suitable for majority of conditions.

Since the above conditions are the most suited to such a concept as movement on rough terrain, it is logical to choose a single pair from the category of trekking shoes.

Here we are at the crossroads, tactics or sports. In both cases, these is quite a broad range of models, which generally meet the definition of “trekking shoes”. And if you can have only one pair of shoes for the entire warm season, you will preferably choose the most lightweight (without high tibia for the “tactic” shooting), that will provide the optimal ration of characteristics, such as good air circulation and protection from excessive moisture (rain, puddles, etc.).

In our opinion, such a universal pair can be found both in the sports shop and the tactical gear store. Perhaps, these shoes will not provide you with a complete comfort in some specific circumstances, but it is devoid of some excessive flaws in the opposite climatic conditions. To put it simply, you won’t feel to comfortable at + 38C, and you won’t get wet to the skin in the case of rain. That’s the thing.

All the above is a good illustration of the fact that the more versatile the thing is, the more various deficiencies it has in more specific situations. In order to not to seek a middle ground when choosing a single pair of shoes, we concluded that the practical shooting required different types of shoes, even for one season.

To date, our choice for rainy weather is sneakers intended for trail runningwith high-quality membrane, and for the good weather, we choose something among classic cross-country shoes in “amortization” category, with the most powerful ventilating mesh. Besides, for hooting indoors on a perfectly flat surface, the sport shoes models from “big terries” and “volleyball” series look very good.

Why, again, we passed by the tactical shop? The fact is that we have not gone past it. We are a big fans of Lowa, 5.11, and other recognized brands of footwear, but we use their products off the practical shooting sites.

Finally, to sum up, we would like to add that both the segment of sports clothing/shoes and military segment propose more than enough products, which are well suited for practical shooting exercises. The key to choosing the outfit is to understand clearly, what requirements every piece of your clothing must meet and what qualities it must possess.

The final choice as always is yours.