Shooting in winter: top tips to get you through

Now that winter is in full swing here in Australia (check out Outback Paparazzi's beautiful photos of snow in the outback!), those of us who continue to shoot outdoors might start to find conditions are a bit more challenging!

Myself, I struggle a bit in the cold. On very chilly days, my extremities feel like they've turned to ice - or worse, they go numb! The wind cuts straight through my clothing and sneaks into every tiny gap. It still takes a lot to stop me from turning up to a match, but all of these things are distractions that can impact on one's shooting performance.

Here's a few strategies that I use to help improve my comfort and my shooting during colder times...

Another rainy day at the range - soggy, muddy fun!

Cold fingers!
This can have an effect on your shooting, as your fingers may not be quite as responsive when they're cold - and those of us who are a bit older may find our joints are a bit stiffer than usual. Of course, you can don some gloves, but if you don't normally use shooting gloves, you may find that they change your grip slightly, and reduce your feel on the firearm.

Top tip: Try taking your woolly gloves off when it comes time to shoot, and use a commercial hand-warmer packet to warm up those fingers, in the lead-up to your turn at the firing line.

This is me in winter
Bulky clothes!
I'm a bit of a cold frog, so it's not unusual for me to turn up at the range with at least 5-6 layers of clothing, including a puffy jacket! This poses something of a problem when shooting long arms, as I find it more awkward to position my firearm with all those clothes on!

Top tip: Wear one or two thermal layers under your normal clothes (a singlet and a long-sleeve top together works well - go merino if you can afford it), and wear a lighter windstopper jacket over the top, to reduce the bulk of your clothing. Take off your outermost layer when it comes time to shoot.

Okay, I think I'm rugged-up enough to leave the house now....

The weather is just bl**** awful!
Excuse my French, but sometimes weather is just too horrible to even consider heading out to the range - and the match is often cancelled anyways. These are the days that you can work on your shooting game in other ways.

Top tip: If you decide to stay home on your usual shooting day, you could always:
If you do head to the range, and then the heavens open and you'd prefer not to step out from under the shelter of the firing line (assuming the firing line at your range is covered!), you could consider asking your Range Officer if it's okay to do some dry fire practice instead of a shooting a match.

Here's hoping that every one of your range days is sunny and not too cold this winter!

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