Two Sides of the Same Coin: Range Appropriate Dress

by Amanda Suffecool



Timing is everything, and today it is was time for a conversation about Range Appropriate Dress.


I am sitting in front of my computer, and I have two range burns on my person.  One from the prior weekend, and one from Saturday.  I was sitting here trying to decide if I tell on myself or not, and then I read this on one of the women’s shooting forums.


So while I was at the range today shooting my 9mm.. I had something happen that has never happened before… a hot casing hit me in the forehead and landed inside my glasses and stuck to my eyelid… talk about moving fast… holy crap… I have a small mark but nothing serious. . I will never forget my hat again…


Decision made.   And even more embarrassing, since I am outing myself, might as well include photos.


We are all aware of the standard safety gear for the range.   Safety glasses…check.  Hearing protection…check.  Let’s move on and talk clothing for the range.  And remember, this is advice – and as such should be compared against what you are currently doing and the activities you are participating in.   When it comes to range dress, some of us know some things, others know other things and very few of us know everything.  As a result, we get marks and burns and lessons are learned.


Two weeks ago I went to Camp Perry to shoot at the National Matches. Sounds impressive, but in actuality it was to go to the small arms rifle training school.  While there, they taught me how to compete and how to position myself and my rifle for each exercise.   So I was the student. I went in knowing nothing – not what to expect, no2t where I was going, what to take, or what to wear.  So I ask a friend if shorts were acceptable, and they said yes.  Afterwards, I would say that the answer to that question is maybe shorts are acceptable, and/or, it’s also just the luck of the draw.


While learning to shoot in the prone position, there were many shooters on the line and we were positioned about 5 feet from one another, the neighbor to the west was tossing hot spent brass in my direction.   Prone means lying down, concentrating on my target and here comes a really hot brass that sticks between me and the ground.   By the time I moved, not only did I mess up my shot, but I had a pretty detailed burn on my leg.  With the weather in the high 90’s that weekend, I am not sure what decision I would make again, but one thing is for sure. I will be sure to bring a beach towel next time for the prone shooting if I select shorts.


Fast forward to the next week.  I am teaching a Woman’s Day on the Range class and thought that I had selected a top that had a suitably high neckline to stop the scoop of random brass.  Wrong.   A student’s semi auto tossed a brass directly down my top and it caught in my bra.   Burn – and as you look at the photo, it’s a perfect rectangle.


So, given these experiences and many others that you can find in a shooter’s forum or may have experienced out at the range, I offer a gear list for your consideration:


  • Hat – a hat with a brim that will help deflect brass away from your face and specifically from behind your glasses.
  • High necked shirt – shooters T-Shirts have a pretty high neckline and it’s on purpose.
  • Long pants – protection on your legs, especially when you are shooting in any of the down positions.
  • Closed toe shoes – any closed toe shoes will work, but there is potentially nothing worse than a burn on your foot. Cover them.



Have fun, shoot safe and consider all the necessary shooting gear when you go to the range.