Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Basic Training Gear

We spend a lot of thought – or at least you should – and money on weapons, mags, pouches, and the such, but often shooters will show up to class without some of the basic pieces of gear that are essential for training but often overlooked.

Number one on the list is eye-protection. While technology may eventually catch up, at this point the eyes are one part of the body that when damaged can’t be repaired or replaced. You need to purchase and wear eye protection that meets or exceeds the “ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Face and Eye Protection.” All eye-pro is not created equally. To shoot accurately, especially at extended distances or small targets, you have to see clearly. You’ll be wearing them for hours at a time, and with ear-protection over them, so they need to be comfortable. Keep in mind you’ll need clear lens for low-light training, or the new photochromatic lens that adjust according to the light level. For protecting my eyes I like the products made by Revision, Oakley, and Rudy, and I wear them on and off the range.

Ear-protection is also mandatory. I recommend muffs as opposed to plugs since a lot of the noise that can damage our hearing comes in behind the ear at the point about where the jawbone attaches to the skull. Electronic muffs are great because you can hear range commands or your partners’ communications clearly, but they shut down anything exceeding a certain level. This is another item you need to make sure fits your needs because a lot of muffs will prevent you from getting a proper cheek weld when shooting a long gun. I use the Peltor 6S and flip the muffs upside-down so the thin portion is at the bottom.

Hats are also required. The bill of the hat will keep hot brass from getting lodged between your eye-protection and your head. This can damage your eyes and create a dangerous situation for everyone on the range. You also want to keep brass from going down your shirt, especially rifle brass, which is hot. Wear a shirt that buttons at the neck, or even better wear a bandana around your neck. Long sleeve shirts are another advantage that keeps you from getting burned by hot brass settling into your bent elbow.

For rifle work I wear gloves, because with a long-gun the training and weapon manipulations are usually more intense. You need gloves that fit well, protect your hands, yet still allow you to feel in order to operate your weapon properly. Once you find the type you like buy several pair. I haven’t found any that will last a long time under hard use.

Fighting with firearms requires training and practice. Maximize the time you have on the range for live fire by having the proper gear, and don’t overlook the little things that make a big difference.

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November 4, 2010 - Posted by | Gear

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