What is a Shooting Jacket?
Updated: May 30
About the Shooting Jacket
A shooting jacket is a type of sports jacket and, as you could imagine, is a jacket that has been specifically designed for the purpose of shooting. Primarily worn for hunting, clay shooting and other shooting sports, the shooting jacket is a traditional piece of practical country attire. This specific type of jacket differs from a standard jacket in a number of different ways:
A special cut within the shoulder area allows for movement in the shoulders to give you the greatest amount of flexibility when aiming and positioning your rifle. Whereas a traditional jacket may constrain your arms when aiming them in an upward position, a good shooting jacket will allow for this extra movement to help with high flying targets.
One of the most definable features of a shooting jacket is their large front pockets which help to accommodate cartridges in an easy to access way. The pockets should be deep enough to ensure your cartridges don’t fall out and wide enough to allow for easy accessibility.
A large number of shooting jackets also have their zips hidden to avoid scratching the stock of your gun. This also gives a stylish streamlined look to the jacket which many casual jackets and coats use.
A number of high quality shooting jackets will also be waterproof and made with a breathable liner to ensure that they are ready for any conditions, no matter what the weather throws at the wearer.
The History of the Shooting Jacket
The shooting jacket derives from a wider range of jackets that have the blanket name of “sports jackets” or “sports coats”. There are three common types of sports coat which are the shooting jacket, the hacking jacket and the sports blazer. Whilst the shooting jacket is worn for shooting and hunting, the hacking jacket is worn for horseback riding and the blazers are worn for either casual or formal occasions.
The sports jacket originated from the Norfolk jacket (which owes its name to either the county of Norfolk or the Duke of Norfolk) and has a much simpler design than the specialized shooting jackets that you will see available today. Traditionally linked back to the sportsmen on the Duke of Norfolk’s estate, the design had a loose and comfortable fit to help swing in golf and aim a gun whilst hunting. The Norfolk jacket is thought to be the first garment specifically designed for sports use.
Modern Shooting Jackets and Fashion
With advances in the fabric industry, shooting jackets have become more and more complicated in their design, with an increase in diversity across the range available. Some of the leading designers in shooting jackets are common names such as Barbour and Schoffel, who have managed to incorporate modern technology into a classic and timeless style.
With so much choice in regards to picking the right shooting jacket, it may seem fairly daunting, however as long as you keep an eye on what you want the jacket for it shouldn’t be a problem. Whether you’re looking for something warmer either for standing around for long periods of time (or just for the colder months) then a shooting jacket with extra warmth would be preferable. However, if you were looking for something to wear whilst being active when shooting then a more lightweight breathable jacket would be a better idea.
With some shooting jackets you don’t have to choose between a lightweight breathable jacket and a warm one. For example Schoffel offers some great 100% wool shooting coats with GORE-TEX-Z linear which makes it 100% waterproof and highly breathable.
Although fashion never originally played a part in the design of the very functional shooting jacket, nowadays tweed and the country style has seen a resurgence with the popularity of the Victorian style clothing of which the shooting jacket is embodies. Even in places where the shooting jacket never took off such as the United States there has seen an increase in traditional English shooting jackets based on their unique blend of style and functionality.
Schoffel designs some great traditional shooting jackets made from lamb’s wool in tweed, incorporating the sort of cut that you would expect of a classic shooting jacket. Whilst with the likes of Barbour you’ll find a slightly more contemporary style of shooting jacket, including their waxed jackets which are equally as comfy and warm as their Schoffel counterpart.
Ultimately it is down to your personal preference in both style and use which will help you pick out the ideal jacket or coat for job.