Clay shooter and photographer Benjamin Lycett caught up with Ed Solomons to delve inside the former world champion’s gear
Clay shooting offers a diverse range of personalities and a huge range of kit that shooters use to suit their needs. Ee delve into the kit bag of the 2014 FITASC world champion Ed Solomons. Whether honing his own shooting skills, or taking under his wing an ever growing list of clients and sponsored shooters, he is a recognised face at many shooting grounds.
I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Ed at Kibworth Shooting Ground to break a few clays. Ed started out playing rugby and other activities as a youngster, but an illness forced him to stop playing contact sports so he took up shooting. Ed’s achievements in this sport have earned him association and sponsorship with a selection of names of pedigree and heritage, including Krieghoff, Hull Cartridges, Laporte/CPC and Ed Lyons Sports Vision. As such, he opens his Krieghoff bag, and a shooter’s wish list of brands is revealed…
2014 FITASC world champion
2012 England captain for gold-medal-winning Sporting team
Bronze medal at 2012 World English Sporting Championship
12 England Sporting team caps
2008 Clay Shooting Classic champion
“Starting with Krieghoff through Alan Rhone and the factory in Germany, they have supported me from day one, which has been fantastic and I’ll stay with them as long as they’ll have me. I’ve been with Hull Cartridge Company for 15 years, including being an ambassador for them, working in promo as well as the shooting side of things. I’ve worked with Ed Lyons Sport vision since 2013 for all my prescription work, and recently changed to Pilla from Oakley. And finally, I’m a brand ambassador for Laporte in the UK.”
“I’ve shot a K-80 in various forms for about 17 years now. I have a lot of history with the brand. The service from Alan Rhone and the factory in Germany is always fantastic. The gun itself is by far and away the best made, the best put together bit of kit on the market – absolutely bomb proof. The handling is fantastic and you can get it made to any spec that you like – it suits me down to the ground.”
Several boxes of Hull cartridges sit in Ed’s bag, the crown logo instantly recognisable. The shells in question are 12-gauge Pro One 8s, 28 grams in weight with plastic wad with a 1,500 fps velocity. “The reason I choose Hull is primarily the shells themselves, the Pro Ones shoot fantastically through my gun. There’s nothing that I’ve found comes close to the level of kills that you can achieve. They also boast smooth shooting, which you’ll find is a characteristic of all Hull shells.”
“The Shothunt ear protectors are comfortable. They have easily interchangeable foam tips, which makes them comfortable for long periods of time – and I often do 8-10 hours a day of shooting or coaching. “From a shooting perspective I turn off the electronic function on them, because when I’m in competition I don’t really want to hear everything. But from a coaching perspective, being able to hear in detail and the dialogue between you and the customer is very important, so it’s a useful feature to have.
Eye protection is a topic of much debate, with many a person weighing in with opinions and solutions. Ed has a strong link and ambassadorship with Ed Lyons Sports Vision and as such has the opportunity to not only benefit, but also extol the virtues and expertise given to him. He chooses his eyewear to be a product of safety but also one that benefits the wearer medically and aesthetically. Ed uses Pilla 580s, carrying two sets of frames with a selection of lenses and filtration. All of his lenses are opthalmics, prescribed after detailed consultations at Ed Lyons’ practice, whereupon the best choices were made specific to his personal requirements.
“Pilla has the best selection of lens tints specific to shooting. The Pillas with the carbon fibre sides on the 580s I use now are incredibly light, with top quality single glazed lenses, provided by Ed Lyons Sports Vision. The overall package is fantastic: the lenses are easy to change for various weather conditions and I have a couple of different sets of arms, which I just pop lenses on to change as and when. Clarity and background is superb, so I’m pleased with them and Ed Lyons’ service.”
A shooter’s bag not only has staple essentials, many people have some choice personal affects, and Ed is no different. Long days out on a ground require a level of thought and planning, and as such, the sight of protein shakes, bars and nutritional supplements are a welcome change from the commonly chosen option of fast food. Healthy snacks of nuts and fruit, and the all important bottle of water.
The tools of the trade are never far away from a professional and vital for those tweaks a gun may need to aid them on a journey to success. Ed’s bag houses Allen keys, which are paramount and used when one of his clients requires adjustment to their gun. He also has electrical tape, cable ties and an assortment of other tools remain, their use aiding in the range of tasks and endeavours a shooter faces. And last but by no means least… “The tortoise is a comedy prop and a momento from the first time I went to Dubai… (further details shall remain illusive).”
As a top coach, Ed has some final advice that goes beyond just getting the right gear. He said: “Never neglect the basics. If you can get those right, you will never be far away from building a big score, or at least putting yourself on the road to do so.”