Fashions in the gun world are always tricky. It seems like everyone judges everyone else on what they wear (or don’t wear). Either everyone loves it or they hate it. Fashions are actually super important (though no one would ever admit this). It really depends on the facet that you are entering.
If you are going into the tactical genre, then cool t-shirts and cargo pants are pretty much ‘it’. The more awesome the t-shirt, the better. And the t-shirt has to generally be ‘for’ something. The ones I see most frequently support police, firefighters, the troops, a specific branch, battalion, or are some sick design whose proceeds go to support KIA/MIA families. Cargo pants seem to be the norm because they are really handy, because, I mean, POCKETS! Colors are usually neutrals/military colors. Jeans are okay as well, just a bit less common. Nothing fancy. Shoes are usually some type of boot or covered -toe sandal.
With hunting, you’re going to want to go for camo. It seems to me that when in doubt, camo from head to toe is the best choice. Also, by watching most of the guys and gals around here, all camo matches……Yeah I’m just going to leave that at that. Also, water proof boots are always a good choice because cold wet feet are unhealthy. Dress warm…And don’t forget to wear some orange (or at least some pink).
**Little known tip that most people would laugh at, here: You know those lace leggings or fish net hose that we ladies keep tucked in the back of our closets? Well those are amazing as a next-to-the-skin warming layer! It’s funny, but really true. The coarseness rubs in between the skin and top layers of clothes and warms your skin and causes a heat friction. So if I’m going out in ridiculously cold temperatures, I’m going to put on my pair of hideous lavender-colored, stretchy, lace leggings, a thin pair of socks, then some slightly thicker fabric leggings, a pair of wool socks, then my long john shirt and a pair of jeans, or hunting overalls, or cargo pants, a long sleeved t-shirt (make sure it’s long waisted and you can tuck it into your leggings and pants) and then a sweater or two, depending on the temperatures. Finally I’ll finish with a coat or heavy hoodie (camo, of course) and my heavy leather hiking boots. This sort of suiting up is good for 30-10 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s warmer, ditch the second pair of leggings and cut back on the sweaters. If it’s colder, make sure you have hand warmers and maybe more socks and sweaters. If it’s colder than 10 degrees, though, there probably aren’t going to be many deer out. They bed down when it gets that cold.**
Cowgirl/wild west: Well, I think we all know what this means: Jeans and button ups. Cowgirl hat and boots are not optional. If you have Pinterest, you can easily look these up and get more ideas. Just make sure you don’t look like you stepped out of a catalog or you may get some ridicule. And that handy hint goes for all areas of life.
On the Range: So range clothes are a little different. Usually they are a mix of the genres but you’ll also find a lot of sportsman’s guide/Cabela’s etc. range wear. A lot of them are really clever and handy, like padded shoulders so you don’t get bruising from the butt of your gun, and/or they have handy pockets and stuff. In my opinion a lot of it is unnecessary and over priced, but I mean, if it makes it more enjoyable for you, then by all means wear it!
The list goes on and on. Pinterest has some really great ideas for all-purpose shooting outfits just make sure that your main focus isn’t just glamour and looking right. It needs to also be practical for you. Don’t wear those adorbs pants that flatter your curves, if you’re going to a tactical course. With all the action involved, it isn’t going to be pretty if you split the crotch or get constant wedgies. I cannot leave this section without elaborating for a moment on low cut shirts. LADIES. PLEASE. Leave the low cut hooter’s shirt at home. Yes, I know that it’s cute, just the right color and makes you look beautiful. But I’m just going to say right now, on a live range, with your scalding hot shells flying (in addition to those of the people next to you), if one of those flying pieces of hell lands in your cleavage, baby, you’re going to really wish you hadn’t worn that shirt.*
Trust me, I wore a regular old fashioned t-shirt to a pistol course and I still managed to have burn marks from hot shells on my back, arms and even two on my chest from ones that slipped down my shirt and anyway. Now don’t get scared, just cover up. Long sleeves, if it’s not too hot, higher necklines, keep your shirt tucked in, or out, but covering your pant’s waistline. You can even get a military shemaghs which is basically a scarf that you wrap around your neck to protect it from hot shells, the sun and (the real use for it) the sand, out in the deserts of the middle east. Take shooting seriously and you will be taken seriously. I’m not saying don’t be feminine, I believe in looking like a woman and we all know that we want to be attractive. Just don’t compromise your safety and seriousness for glamour. Women’s cargo pants can be attractive, or maybe a relaxed pair of jeans, a nice t-shirt and some comfortable shoes. I usually put on a little extra makeup and also wear a pair of sensible earrings (cute studs, small hoops, or short dangles. Nothing expensive, because it might get lost on the range). I would also STRONGLY suggest you leave all rings, except wedding bands, at home. I sometimes paint my fingernails, but nails tend to get chipped and broken on the range. Get your self a pair of shooting gloves, probably with the fingers exposed, since what you’re going to really want protected are your palms and the web between your thumb and pointer finger. This was just a few hours in, but by the end of the first day at Tactical Response, my hands were bruised and bleeding and we were using duct tape as a buffer. Not fun. Be prepared.
Also: Sunscreen. Okay, so it was my first time training, and I didn’t know what to expect. I’m big into roasting in the sun to get a tan and I was convinced that I was going to get a savage tan during this August session on the range.
My dad said to wear sunscreen, but I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. So we settled on ‘bring it in the truck, just in case’. I put a tiny dab on the tips of my ears and the bridge of my nose to pacify dad before going in to the classroom for two hours.When we got to the range, it was hot, but the training was intense and I was struggling to maintain sanity, so I didn’t think much about the sun. At the end of the day, I felt very proud of myself. I looked at my arms and face in the car mirror and didn’t look red at all, just a nice brown. But we stopped on the way home so I could use the restroom, and my mouth literally fell open in surprise when I saw my reflection in the mirror. I looked like a crab!!!!! And boy did it hurt all that night. The next morning I slathered myself in sunscreen so I could finish out the course but I’ll tell you what, by the end of the weekend I was burnt to a crisp, regardless, and peeling by the end of the next week. It isn’t worth it. Put sunscreen on. You’ll still get a tan and it might spare you some pain and peeling (yuck!).
I’m going to finish up with indoor gun events. As I said in my previous post, it wasn’t the best idea to wear business pants, a sweater and flats. Most of the women there were VERY casual. There were a lot of old ladies showing off a lot of cleavage (why even!?) and there were a lot of hoodies/sweatshirts and old jeans. I don’t think I’ll ever purposely fit myself into either of those categories, but next time I go, I’ll probably wear my dark wash jeans and a more casual top. I’ll probably also go for some tall boots (without heels) and some cushy socks. Comfortable footwear is essential to survival at these things, folks. Oh, and something I forgot to mention in my last post about gun shows: seating is simply non-existent. Like, most of the vendors bring their own chairs and some of them obviously forgot them. At least at the gun shows I’ve been to, there is no seating. You come, you walk, and you go home. So be comfortable. 🙂
Okay, I see that I’m going to need a part 2, so I will work on that in short order. Thank you all so much for bearing with me. I know I’m not getting these out as fast as I should. The holidays and life in general tend to throw a wrench in the works.
Much love to you all and I hope you’re having an amazing holiday season!!!
*Disclaimer: When dressing, it is my firm belief that a woman should take into consideration what her intent is and how she would like to portray herself. People will treat you according to how you present yourself. Dress like a lady, and you will be treated as such. This is especially important in the gun world.