Best Sporting Clays Shooting Vest Reviews of 2018
So, you’re ready to get into the sport of clay shooting? Awesome. If you’ve already got yourself a rifle and a trap thrower, it’s now time to start loading up and gearing up to get out in the field, and one piece of gear you’re going to find essential is a sporting clay shooting vest.
A good trap shooting vest, or sporting clay vest, will allow you to hold everything you need for a round of shooting, conveniently at hand. A round of skeet shooting usually consists of 25 shots – that’s why 25 shells usually come in a box – and it’s far easier to just stick all 25 rounds in your vest than it is to carry all 25 in the box, or in your pockets. A vest will also have a place to stick your choke tubes, sunglasses, a few tools, or anything else you may need to carry around with you.
We're going to walk you through everything you need to consider for choosing a good vest for your clay shooting, with our buyer guide and in-depth reviews highlighting what you need to know about our top 5 picks.
Read on to see our reviews of the best sporting clays shooting vests of 2018.
Top 5 Rated Models Comparison Table
1. Browning Trapper Creek
2. Beretta Two-Tone
Reactar G2 included
3. Browning Summit
4. Allen Ace
5. XHunter Target
Reviews of the Best Sporting Clays Shooting Vests of 2018
#1. Browning Trapper Creek Vest
Browning is one of the oldest and most respected names in hunting rifles, so it only makes sense to start with a Browning vest. The Trapper Creek Vest is as straightforward as clay shooting vests come – no fancy frills, but with all the pouches and storage you need. It’s made from a 100% polyester mesh body, which means it’s super lightweight, comfortable and breathes easily in hot weather. The full-length cotton shooting patch is made of garment-washed cotton that is soft and easy. There are four large shell pockets on the front for chucking in shells, and a large pocket on the rear for stashing empty hulls and anything else you may need.
Browning put some nice touches and details into the construction that you probably wouldn’t expect on a vest this cheap; bar tacks on stress points for added strength, and side tab adjustments to pull it tight and close, as well as expand it. Which is great in both cold and hot weather; you can fit it over puffy winter jackets or tighten it up without.
And, there is an internal pocket for a recoil pad; Browning designed it to fit their lightweight, gel Reactar G2 recoil pad, which you can grab online or at the local sporting goods store.
All in all, the Browning Trapper Creek Vest is a great choice for a lightweight, easy-to-use vest. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and the Browning quality is excellent and reputable. It doesn’t have the sheer amount of storage and pockets other vests do, so if you need a lot, you may have to opt for a thicker, heavier vest.
- High-quality, Browning build
- Super light, mesh body
- Not as much storage as other vests
#2. Beretta Two-Tone Mens Shooting Vest
Beretta is another dependable name in the shooting world, so we can only expect this clay shooting vest to be of high-quality as well. The Two-Tone Clay Shooting Vest is made of a lightweight cotton canvas, with mesh sides and back to keep you cool and light. Cool enough for summer, and layers over winter clothing easily. It’s got several shooting pockets for stashing shells, which are all expandable and stretchy for more storage. There’s a pocket for stashing your shooting glasses right on the front of the vest. There is a pocket for placing a recoil pad and even comes with a gel-tek pad included – something the Browning does not do. Slits in the shoulder allow for more unrestricted movement for better aim and mobility.
One cool feature this Beretta vest comes with, that others do not, is a skid-free gun rest patch on the shoulder and chest, which gives the rifle stock some grip and keeps it from slipping around. It seems small, but that extra grip can make a huge difference in your shooting.
Our only complaint is that the included gel pad does not stay tightly at the top of the vest; it falls down a little too low to truly protect the top of the shoulder, where most of the impact hits, which makes it almost useless. The sizing also runs small, so keep in that mind when picking one out for yourself.
- Lightweight cotton, mesh build
- Expandable pockets
- Gel-Tek recoil pad included
- Skid-free shooting patch
- Beretta quality build
- Recoil pad does not stay firmly put
- Sizing runs small
#3. Browning Summit
The Browning Summit Vest is the slightly more formal, less utilitarian alternative to the Trapper Creek Vest. Made of a 100% polyester mesh body, it’s got a quilted look, with double polyester shooting patches on the shoulders, and Reactar G2 pad pockets sewn right in. You’ll have to purchase the pads separately, but can they can be easily thrown in for comfort and padding when shooting.
On the front are two large bellows shell pockets, which can hold quite a few shells. On the back is a large pocket for empties and whatever miscellaneous gear you may have. There are side tabs for adjustment and a two-way front zipper.
Add in the classy good looks, and this is a pretty nice lightweight shooting vest. The only thing we don’t really like is how puffy and loose the shell pockets on the front can be. They are quite large and just fine for throwing in a handful of shells, and when you’re standing still, but don’t seem very secure if you’re moving around quickly. But, it’s still a super lightweight and comfy vest that looks pretty classy. Having recoil pads on both shoulders is great, too, for those of who shoot left-handed.
- Classy look
- Double-quilted shooting patches
- Recoil pads on both shoulders
- Pockets seem loose, note secure
- Sizes run small
#4. Allen Ace
This Ace Shooting Vest from Allen is another lightweight mesh vest, cool and comfortable, with ambidextrous shooting pads on both shoulders. Both sides have pockets sewn in for shooting pads. There are two elastic pockets on the front for storing ammo, empty shell hulls, and other small items. There are adjustable straps on the side for getting a comfortable fit you like. A zipper on the front keeps things easy.
As with many of these super light vests, there isn’t all that much storage on the Ace Shooting Vest. There are the two shell pockets, but nothing else. So you if like to carry more gear than that, you may want to look elsewhere, But for a super lightweight vest with ambidextrous shooting, this Allen vest is a good choice. There’s also only one size, which is definitely on the much larger size and may not fit smaller people.
- Super light, simple, mesh body
- Ambidextrous shooting pads
- Sewn-in Recoil pad pockets
- Very little storage
- Only one size, runs very large
#5. XHUNTER Clay Target Pigeon Shooting Vest
This shooting vest from XHunter is an ultra-lightweight option, made entirely from mesh to keep you cool and light. It’s designed to be ambidextrous, with quilted shooting pads on both sides, both of which have pockets to hold recoil pads (you’ll have to grab them separately). An adjustable waistband and elasticized shoulder slits allow to you adjust the vest for the perfect fit.
There are two large shell pockets on the front, which include snap buttons to make them expandable for even more storage – or smaller for less.
That’s it: light and simple, with plenty of storage for shells, but none for anything else. If you need a place to stash empty shells, your shooting glasses, or any other gear, you will probably want to opt for something else on the list. But if you just need a lightweight mesh vest with no frills, the XHunter is a good choice.
- Super light, mesh body
- Ambidextrous design, recoil pads
- Expandable shell pockets
- Not much storage; if you need more, this isn’t the right vest
Things to Consider When Choosing a Trap Shooting Vest
First, do you shoot right or left handed? Most shooting vests only come in designed for shooting right-handed, which means they only have padding on the right shoulder, as well as a pocket for recoil pads. Which means if you’re a lefty, or shoot left-eyed, you’ll be shooting on your bare shoulder. Some vests come with pads on both shoulders, and you may need to opt for one of those. A few vests even come with non-skid pads on the front for getting some grip and stability on the rifle, but often only on one shoulder. Some vests come with recoil pads included, but most do not; you’ll need to purchase a pad to place in the shoulder pouch. But this is easy.
Material, Fit, and Weight:
Second, what is it made out of? Almost all shooting vests are made of a lightweight poly mesh or a lightweight cotton. If you’re shooting in winter, you may not really care about how much the vest weighs or how thick it is, but in hot weather, you don’t want to be weighed down under a hot, sticky thick vest. Look for one made of lightweight mesh, but remember that the lighter they are, the less storage and pockets they usually have.
Storage: What do You Need to Carry?
Almost all clay shooting vests will have two large pockets on the front, for stashing shells. Some will have extra pockets, like one for shooting glasses, on the front, for storing more gear. A few will even have large pouches on the back of the vest, for storing empty shells and larger pieces of gear. Depending if you like to carry a lot or get by with just the basics (ammo), you’ll want to pay attention to how many pockets the vest has.
Advantages of A Clay Shooter Jacket
When you are out shooting, regardless of what it is you’re shooting, you should be protecting yourself with a shooting vest. Although these vests are mostly worn for hunting and clay shooting, some are designed in a way that they can also double up as a practical piece of clothing for the countryside.
There are two key benefits associated with a sporting shooting vest:
- Safety: Shooting vests protect the shooter from a weapon’s recoil. This is particularly important if you are using high-powered weapons whilst you are out shooting. A sturdy and well-made shooting vest will absorb most if not all of the shock which comes from the recoil, protecting your bones and joints from bruising.
- Storage: Most shooting vests come with a lot of extra storage on the front and sides of them in the form of pockets. These pockets provide shooters with several convenient and easy-to-access storage locations for cartridges, empty shells and other pieces of equipment.
A shooting vest protects the shooter from the risk of recoil-based injury as the shoulders can be opened and have recoil pads inserted.
These recoil pads are specially designed to protect your shoulder from the force of your gun’s recoil. Although these are best suited for newer shooters who haven’t yet had much exposure to a firearm’s recoil, they should still be worn by anybody who is using a powerful rifle or shotgun.
Don’t worry about the vest being too weighty; many shooting vests available on the market today are designed with practicality in mind. As a result, they are often very lightweight, maneuverable and made from breathable materials.All it takes is for your weapon to recoil into your shoulder at the wrong angle and you have the potential for some serious damage – a well-made shooting vest will prevent this from happening.
Each of the 5 best sporting clays shooting vests we listed in our reviews will get the job done. Whether it’s an ultralight vest to hold a few rounds of shells or one to hold all your gear for a day clay shooting, there’s one to fit your needs. Our personal pick is the Browning Trapper Creek vest, with it’s cool mesh and cotton body, lots of storage, and convenient recoil pad pocket. But they are all great choices and offer something different. Happy shooting!