Well, not really, because there are literally hundreds of different designs available, especially now with the worldwide web. These are items of clothing which generate intense personal likes and dislikes so it’s not surprising that there are so many styles.
Concentrating on what’s used in wingshooting substantially cuts down the choices. If we begin with the sleeveless type of vest/waistcoat, firstly there is the skeet shooting/clay pigeon vest. Usually this is a pretty lightweight affair, most have netting backs and even sides to keep the wearer cool. All are mid-thigh length. Two, or four, commodious front pockets for cartridges and a substantial leather shoulder/recoil pad, usually brought down quite low towards the waist, are the most salient features. A ‘gun mounting line’ to show the umpire that your gun position isn’t cheating, is another accepted essential. Both left- and right-handed shooters are usually catered for – a definite bonus.
Colours tend towards the brighter tones; greens, blues and blacks predominate, though camouflage is rarely seen. A thrifty soul will opt for brown or khaki as it can then do double duty during the pigeon shooting season. The pockets are well designed and unlikely to dump cart-ridges. All in all, it’s a pretty thoroughly thought-out and well-evolved garment.
Then there’s a dark green netting vest by Gamo; the front is closed with buttons which are better than a ‘one-way’ zip. The suede leather patches on the shoulders are rather short so I had a longer piece of suede sewn over the right-hand one. A medium-sized waterproof cartridge/bird bag with Velcro closures is at the back. The top left-hand pocket, so often omitted in vests, is useful for cellphone, dark glasses, etc. There are eight cartridge loops above each good-sized front pocket. These I would omit as the cartridge rims are likely to scrunch your gunstock. There’s a polymer ring for bird-hangers under each armpit. Apart from being a bit short it is a well thought-out garment and I use mine for both clays and hot weather hunting. Price-wise it is very reasonable.
Read the full article in the February 2016 issue of Magnum