As well as the most obvious piece of equipment for skeet shooting, the shotgun, the sport requires a few other essential pieces of equipment for both safe and enjoyable participation.

These other items of equipment include hearing defenders, eye protection, gun care kits, footwear, and clothing.

Hearing Defenders:

There are many styles of hearing defenders available on the market. Perhaps the word ‘many’ doesn’t quite describe the true selection that’s out there. There are thousands of models and styles. Typically there are over ear protectors and ear-plugs. There are even ear plugs that only block out high decibel sounds and nothing more.

The most important thing you should look for in a hearing defender is its NRR rating. This number should be at least 21 for the purposes of skeet shooting. What other features or style you want is up to you. Some ear muffs contain two-way radios and can amplify low level noises via a directional microphone. Some even have auxiliary audio inputs so you can plug an MP3 player into them!

However, for shooting sports we would recommend you avoid the audio input usage. It can be vital to safety that you can hear another sportsmen or team member shouting at you to hear an important warning.

If you can’t find a certain hearing protection product at a store in your area, there are numerous online shops that offer a daunting variety at very competitive prices.

Eye Protection:

The first thing you should always check for before buying eye protection for skeet shooting is whether the eyewear complies with ANSI Z87+ and/or CSA Z94.3 safety standards. You may think that all eye protection devices available do comply, but there are a few on the market that simply don’t.

Another consideration to make before buying eye protection is the color of the lens. Yellow or other brightly colored lenses are best suited for shooting on overcast days. The color gives objects more contrast against a cloudy grey sky.

Grey or other dark colored lenses are most appropriate for shooting when there is harsh sunlight or glare present. As you might have guessed, the darker tint of the lenses greatly improves visibility – squinting because of the sun just before pulling the trigger doesn’t fare well for your results.

Clear lenses are typically used for indoor shooting, but some people find that a view unaltered by color gives them better results.

There are eye protection products that come with interchangeable lenses so you don’t have to carry multiple pairs around with you just in case the weather conditions change. Also, there are products that incorporate both eye and hearing protection by means of ear plugs located on the ends of the arms of the glasses.

Gun Care Kits:

Like all skeet shooting related products, there is a fantastic selection of gun care kits available. A standard gun care kit should include a sectioned aluminum rod that’s appropriate for the diameter of the gun, along with a couple of tips and cloth patches. It should also include gun oil, solvent and a bore brush.

Perhaps the only item that most kits don’t contain, but should, is a basic silicone cloth. This cloth is a step up from the conventional oily rag used for removing fingerprints.

All gun care kits come with detailed instructions on how to properly use the items in the kit.

Footwear:

Proper footwear is perhaps something that skeet shooters haven’t really given all that much thought to. There are no magical boots that will drastically improve your performance (unfortunately), but the more comfortable you are, the more focus you’ll be able to give to shooting.

One rule for picking footwear for skeet shooting is this: Try them on and walk around in the store. You must. It doesn’t matter if you know your shoe size in eight different languages or you’ve been buying the same brand year after year. Try them on and walk around. While all footwear will undergo some changes as you break them in, an initial comfort test will give you a fairly good idea as to what you’ll be in for in the future.

Not all skeet ranges will have hard-ground everywhere so make sure your footwear is waterproof as well.

Clothing:

As with footwear, comfort is of the utmost importance. Unlike footwear, though, there’s a chance that the clothing you chose to wear can hamper your mobility, which, in turn, negatively effects speed and accuracy.

Manufacturers of clothing have truly outdone themselves when it comes to shooting apparel. Not only is there a wide range of vests and gilets for all types weather conditions, but many pieces of apparel have designed buttons, snaps and other fastening devices specifically so they don’t scratch the stock of your gun.

Some vests will also have the addition of padding around the shoulder to help absord some of the recoil of the gun.

When selecting your clothing for skeet shooting, be certain you have a full range of movement and will be able to take off or add a layer as the weather dictates so you’ll always be as comfortable as possible.

Usage Considerations.

While most skeet shooting products are well made, be sure to consider how much you might be paying and how often you will use it. Remember that if you do end up purchasing a particular product that doesn’t stand up to its claims, stretches or wears out too quickly, it’s more than ok to return it and get your money back or, at the very least, ask for a store credit.

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