Vest intentions

Mark Harwood-Stone took a range of Skeet vests to a local club shoot to find out what shooters really look for and which vests were our readers’ choice

Most of us have one, but how much thought do we actually put into our choice of Skeet vest?

For some of us it’s simply the fact it’s the same make as the shotgun we use, for others the look, the price or even that it can be worn away from the clay ground as a functional waistcoat or casual garment makes it attractive.

Ultimately, the design has to ensure it can carry a sufficient number of cartridges for either a full round of clays or have the pockets comfortably topped up prior to walking into the cage or onto the stand.

Equally, there are summer-weight vests that are constructed predominantly from mesh, solid materials such as cotton or canvas, quilted or not, some with leather, suede or some other form of trim; those that can carry a few small accessories such as chokes, have loops to attach towels or headphones or come complete with the FITASC line just below the breast.

A must is that the vest allows the wearer to cleanly mount their gun, won’t snag or ride up, be of a reasonably enough fit, doesn’t irritate and will last at least a couple of seasons.

Lastly, if you happen to be one of those shooters fortunate enough to besponsored – is there enough room for your sponsor’s badge?

So with a selection of the latest Skeet vests from Top Gun, Jack Pyke and GMK’s Beretta collection available to be tried and tested, the Sunday morning shooters from Clough Head GC were asked to pass their opinions.

The outcome was more than interesting as each shooter made their choices and give their opinions.

Paula Dale

Paula Dale: Top Gun Clay Pro
£48
www.topgunclothing.co.uk
08453 708803
The colour’s great and the price is more or less what I’d expect to pay for a vest of this type. I like the lightweight mesh and the fact it has twin bellows cartridge pockets on each side along with a small breast pocket while the fit for me is excellent especially across the shoulders and around the waist with good adjustment when I needed it to allow me to wear thicker or thinner clothing underneath. Plus its good-quality, nicely made, long enough to come well down over my waist and looks good. For me this would be the ideal Skeet vest and one I could wear for every aspect of my shooting both here at the ground and elsewhere.

Geoff Barnett

Geoff Barnett: Top Gun Medallist
£55
www.topgunclothing.co.uk, 08453 708803
The look and the finish of this vest is great. I like the colour as it’s slightly different to most Skeet vests and that even though it’s handed, I like that the two suede panels run a good length down either side. It’s got good sized twin bellows pockets on the left and right sides, a decent breast pocket plus a small one inside for earplugs or other small items and I like the elastic expanders instead of adjusters and the built-in expander panel on the zip for when you need to wear thicker clothing in winter. The other thing about this vest is that it looks to be worth at least twice the asking price. A good-quality vest and one I’d more than likely buy when the time comes.

Trevor Street

Trevor Street: Jack Pyke Ultra GP
£55
www.jackpyke.co.uk
01234 740327
Jack Pyke is a good make, they produce some excellent kit at a good price and this is one of them. I like the two full-length panels of quilting on this vest, the good sized pockets and the colours. It is well made and looks hard-wearing. As a keen game shooter I could wear this no matter what I was doing since it looks equally at home on clay layouts or standing on pheasant drive. It’s warm too which is great for winter – and the British summer!

Ira West

Ira West: Beretta Trap Vest
£53
www.gmk.co.uk 01489 587500
The style and colour suit me down to the ground and it’s the same make as the gun I use, which means this is one I’d most certainly buy. The price isn’t bad and because I know it’s by Beretta I know it’ll be good quality.
It’s made of good, tough material so it’ll stand up to years of hard use whilst the simple, basic design, especially the elasticated waist, means there’s nothing fancy to go wrong or catch on anything. A good vest and one I’d more than likely go out
and buy.

Wayne Dale

Wayne Dale:
Beretta Gold Destro
£89
www.gmk.co.uk 01489 587500
For me a Skeet vest has to do a whole host of jobs. I own and run Clough Head GC so if my vest pockets aren’t full of cartridges they’re full of tools and the other bits and pieces I need to make sure all the traps and the others things are all up and running.
That said, this Beretta vest is smart looking, well made and the mesh material keeps you cool during the warmer weather. I like the leather trim and the fact it comes complete with the FITASC line.
Even though I don’t shoot with a Beretta it wouldn’t make much difference as I’d buy this Skeet vest on looks and practicality whilst the price, although its reasonably expensive, isn’t out of it when you compare it to the quality of the garment you’re getting.

Fona Crook

Fiona Crook:
Beretta Gold Destro
£89
www.gmk.co.uk 01489 587500
The only thing wrong with this Beretta vest is the colour, for me it’d have to be a lot darker although everything else about it is exactly right especially as I shoot a Beretta.
I’d be very interested in one more or less identical but without the mesh. I like the design of this one with the deep pockets and the small one on the breast. It’s a good idea having the facility to fit an additional recoil reducer into the shoulder that Beretta very kindly supply as part of the deal. The other thing I like is that it can be quickly adjusted so you can wear it over different clothing throughout the year and the fact that it’s long so when I sit down its not riding up. One thing though, it’s a bit pricy.

Lyndon Barrett

Lyndon Barrett:
Beretta Tiro
£89
www.gmk.co.uk 01489 587500
I just like this Skeet vest. The long leather pad down the right-hand side is exactly how I like it and as part of the bright yellow trim it comes complete with the small line you have to have to shoot FITASC. It’s a bit pricy given that like many other shooters I have a set budget for my shooting, but given the make I’d give it some serious consideration since you can guarantee that if it’s made by Beretta it’ll be good quality even though I don’t actually own one of its guns.
I can get plenty of cartridges in the two front pockets; add an extra recoil pad in the small shoulder pocket if I need to and it’s comfortable and big enough to wear all year round since the waist adjusts itself.

Paul Kenyon

Paul Kenyon:
Beretta Trap Vest
£53
www.gmk.co.uk 01489 587500
For me it’s the fact this Skeet vest combines a modern look with a lot of the qualities of the more old fashioned ones. It looks good, the quality is excellent and I can get plenty of cartridges in both of the large front pockets. The price isn’t too bad either and the quality of the material is great. One I’d consider even though I don’ t shoot Beretta.

 

 

John Townend

John Townend: Top Gun Clay Pro Cotton
£48
www.topgunclothing.co.uk
08453 708803
For £48 you can’t go wrong with this Skeet vest. As I’m left-handed I struggle with buying Skeet vests that I like. As a left-hander your choices can be limited.
This is a good looking garment, is well-made with good quality rivets to make sure the double bellows pockets remain firmly attached. What is good for me is that there’s plenty of adjustment around the waist for winter time when I wear thicker clothing underneath or let me wear it under another jacket as an extra and useful layer. Great looking Skeet vest, just a shame I couldn’t get into the one they sent to try.

Wayne Stansfield

Wayne Stansfield:
Beretta Trap Vest
£53
www.gmk.co.uk 01489 587500
I like the colour and the quality but no, I don’t shoot a Beretta shotgun. There’s nothing fancy about this vest apart from the fact you can insert an additional recoil absorber if you needed to. I like the fact it has simple single-style cartridge pockets plus one small one inside. What a great vest with a basic elasticated waist, so no messing about, it’ll fit over whatever you’re wearing at the time without any messing. And most importantly, it’s comfortable. Great vest and one I’d definitely consider the next time I’m out looking to buy one.

Richard Ashworth

Richard Ashworth:
Beretta Gold Destro
£89
www.gmk.co.uk 01489 587500
I like mesh Skeet vests and the fact I use a Beretta semi-auto means if I was looking for a new one this would be the vest for me. I like that I could wear it for shooting clays and the real thing, as a lot of my time is spent shooting and decoying live pigeons. You can get plenty of ammo into the deep pockets along with loads of other bits and pieces. And its elasticated waist means I’d be able to wear it all year round without having to mess with fiddly adjusters. Bit pricy though.

Jack Greenwood

Jack Greenwood:
Jack Pyke Ultra Light
£50
www.jackpyke.co.uk
01234 740327
The thing about this Skeet vest is that it’s lightweight with all the mesh but still offers great shooting protection due to the two big quilted panels that run down either side. It’s comfortable, the material’s nice, there’s plenty of padding and it’s a good fit across my shoulders and waist. Besides the cartridge pockets there’s a big one across the back to stow gloves, headphones and all the other pieces of kit you need to carry around – I might ask my dad for one on my birthday.

It was interesting to see that apart from the occasional shooter who found the price of certain vests slightly higher than they’d expected it still wouldn’t have put them off buying it.
Just because the Beretta vests have the name or logo on display if it didn’t match the individual shooter’s shotgun, that wasn’t a reason not to make the purchase – they were buying a Beretta manufactured garment and not the gun.
For all those who took part it was a combination of looks and material and whilst for others it was a case of could it be worn for game shooting or as an everyday item around their own shoot.

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