Fashion Sense at the Shooting Range

By Kellene Bishop

Ladies, let’s face it.  Given that there are very few female firearm instructors, no one has come right out and provided sound “fashion” advice to women for their trips to the range.  Although my husband is a great instructor and incredibly knowledgeable, there are certain things that even he would not think to share with me.  So I had to learn on my own… not fun.  That said, I thought I’d share with you a few fashion tips for the shooting range that will make your trip a bit more safe and comfortable.

Photo c/o

Photo c/o

Shirt—Be sure that you wear a shirt that sufficiently covers your chest.  I particularly avoid any v-necks, or button-up shirts.  I usually am wearing a t-shirt or a sweatshirt when I go shooting.  The reason being is when you’re shooting, those hot little casings don’t always go where they are “supposed to” and some of them make it down a loose shirt and linger in your bra.  Ouch!  Those buggers are hot.  If a hot casing isn’t enough to make you lose your shooting concentration, then you are one tough mama!  If you’re going to be with all of those guys, do you really want them to see you doing the “get this hot casing out of my bra” dance?  So if you’ve got cleavage, cover it up.  (Don’t worry. You’ll still look sexy with a gun in your hand.)  Also, be sure that you don’t wear any “dry clean only” items.   The gases and debris aren’t completely removed in the dry cleaning process, and in some instances are even found to be set permanently in the fibers of your clothes through that process.  So be sure you wear something that can easily be thrown into the wash.

I don’t mind wearing a short sleeve shirt because the casings just bounce off of my arms. But I’m sure to change clothes shortly after shooting.

Make up—Personally I avoid wearing makeup when I go to the shooting range.  I realize that for some of you women that’s nearly against your religion.  So here’s some food for thought.  If you can wear mineral makeup instead of a cream foundation, it’s a lot better for your skin. The gases and debris from shooting linger much easier on a cream foundation that a mineral one.  Mascara, lipstick, and blush are fine, but I wouldn’t wear a base when attracts the gases and such… until some scientist discovers that they’re actually good for your skin.  🙂  I also always have on hand some facial cloths to use immediately after shooting.  (Oil of Olay, Ponds, and the like make a great portable version.)  Just thinking about the gas and debris sitting on the outside of my facial pores gives me the creeps.  (I know.  I know.  Whoda thunk I’d be so girly, right?)  

Shoes—Again, those hot casings are not very obedient when I tell them where to fall.  So I never wear shoes that expose my feet.  I always ensure that they are well covered.  Please don’t wear flip flops or sandals when you go to the range.  You’ll make all of the rest of us women look like mindless sissy-girls when you do the “hot casing” dance.  You’ve never seen a man doing that dance, have you?  

Photo c/o

Photo c/o

Hat—I prefer wearing a hat when I go shooting.  This prevents the gases from going into my hair.  It also keeps any glare from the sun or the lights out of my vision, so it makes for more accurate shooting.  If you’re using electronic ear muffs, or simply those that go over your head instead of inserted in your ears, be sure to wear a hat that your ear muffs can easily go on top of.  That’s right.  Leave the Easter Bonnet at home.

Long Fingernails—For those of you who fashionably indulge in those great looking nails, that’s fine.  But you should carry a toothbrush or a nail brush with you for washing your hands afterwards. Use the brush to scrub thoroughly under your nails and around your cuticles.  The gas and debris is toxic and you don’t want it getting into your food or drink.  Not to mention it dries out your hands like a brittle old stick.  So wash them well, and then apply a nice hand cream to restore a softness that any fashionable woman would require.  Otherwise, reasonably long fingernails don’t affect your shooting skills whatsoever.  

Hopefully these fashion tips for the shooting range help you to have a safer, more comfortable time at the range! 

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. 
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop


8 Responses

  1. I learned the hard way that long sleeves are a must for shooting a rifle indoors, or outdoors in a close group such as tactical rifle class. I still have a burn scar on my arm where I had to peel off a .223 casing that landed there and stuck.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Hectate. Since .223 and 5.56 casings are heavier than the typical .40 and .9 I shoot, I would think that they may not as easily “bounce off” of the arm. So yes, dressing appropriately for the type of shooting that you’ll be doing is a good consideration as well.

  2. […] it here. Related PostsNo Related […]

  3. You left off shooting glasses – they’re not just a fashion accessory.

    As for hats, I recommend a ball cap – ear muffs fit over it fine, and the bill keeps the brass from falling down into the gap between your shooting glasses and your eyelid.

    From personal experience, the burn leaves a scab that will have people asking questions for a week or so.

    A hat with a full brim doesn’t work as well with ear-muffs, and ear plugs are not good enough – there is a sound path via the bones of the skull that can still cause hearing loss, especially with the louder calibers.

    • You’re right. I did omit shooting glasses. That’s part of the problem when you have a pro writing this stuff sometimes. I just take for granted the “duh” stuff. Thanks for the reminder. for the record—ALWAYS wear eye protection!.

  4. Great post! I’ve been wondering what to wear to the range for my first shooting lesson this weekend. Thanks!

  5. Your fantastic article has helped me immensely! Thank you!

  6. I learned today about the bullet casing in the bra. I found your blog while shopping for a suitable shirt…my skin is still tingling right where the casing got stuck.

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