Shell Pouch vs Vest for Shooting Clays: Which is Best?

As a clay shooter, it is essential to have the right equipment in your arsenal if you are going for the bird. Keeping your shells accessible at all times is the first rule of clay shooting. For this, I am going to compare shell pouches and vests and suggest which one of them is a better option for you.

Clay Shooting Vest or Pouch: Pros and Cons

Before going any further, you need to consider the pros and cons of investing in a clay shell pouch or vest.

Should I Wear a Clay Shooting Vest for Clay Shooting?

For clay shooters, when it comes down to picking a vest, here are a few advantages and disadvantages that you should keep in mind.

Pros for Wearing Shooting Vest

Convenient Access

Keeping your eyes off the target is probably the biggest mistake you’d make while shooting clay. But with a vest, the chances of that happening decrease. Being able to quickly access your gear from the vest or having a few essentials at hand like chokes, gloves, etc., can save the day.

shotgun shell pouch

Safe Mount

Vests offer a perfect spot where you can safely mount your gun. Most of the latest vests feature recoil pads that can absorb shocks or recoil when shooting. Consequently, it can save you from bruises or fatigue that might occur while using high-recoil shotguns.

Added Style

If you find it hard to carry your gear, a vest is a perfect investment. Apart from ample storage, it also provides a nice, clean outlook. All of your gear stays organized while making sure that you look sharp while wearing it.

Increased Storage Space

Another benefit of wearing a vest is that it offers more storage space to carry your gear or essentials. You will need more space for empty hulls and shells, especially if you shoot doubles, thus making the vest a better option.

Cons against Wearing Shooting Vest

Adds More Weight

As you add more gear to your vest, the weight you carry also increases. That means that carrying more gear might weigh you down. So, if you are in for shooting clays, make sure that your vest isn’t so heavy that it could impair your shooting.

Prone to Overheating

Shooting clays in summers can be a challenge, especially in the scorching heat of the sun. With a vest on top, you can get very hot and dehydrate quickly. Therefore, investing in a mesh vest is a better option.

Unsuitable for Cold Weather

While wearing a vest in summers can make you sweat, the cold weather also poses a challenge. Wearing a vest on top of your jacket is not a feasible option as it might look and feel weird, not to mention how hard it is to mount your gun with the added layer.

Should I Use a Shell Pouch for Clay Shooting?

If you are thinking about investing in a shell pouch, consider its pros and cons.


Pros for Wearing Shell Pouch

Lightweight Design

Unlike vests, a shell pouch features a lightweight design. Although they compromise a bit of your storage space, they don’t weigh you down. This means that your shooting won’t be affected due to increased weight. Besides, it concentrates the weight you carry on your hips rather than shoulders to minimize its effects on your shooting.

Increased Versatility

Shell pouches are versatile. Their pockets can be dedicated to accommodating your essentials at your will. Moreover, there are several types of pouches like belt and sling pouches. These offer you more options that ensure your comfort while shooting. Also, several models feature special containers that are tailor-made for empty hulls, thus providing added usefulness.

Enhanced Compatibility

The best thing about shell pouches is their compatible nature; they can be worn comfortably with any clothing. Secondly, the ‘weather factor’ is also not a problem as in the case of vests.

Compact Size

The compact size of shell pouches is a great advantage when it comes to shooting clays. It allows you to move freely and swiftly without restriction in your movements.

Cons against Wearing Shell Pouch

Small Size

With their compact size, shell pouches are only capable of carrying limited essentials. You cannot pack them with unnecessary equipment or gear. Moreover, finding the right size is quite difficult as they are often available in sizes that are either too big or too small.

Difficult to Compartmentalize

Since shell pouches don’t have dedicated slots to accommodate your gear, they are hard to compartmentalize. You might have to make a few compromises while organizing your gear in the pouch.


It all comes down to personal preferences when opting for a shell pouch or vest. While each of them has its strengths and weaknesses, shell pouches seem a little more promising. With added versatility, compact size, and sleek design, they offer a better shooting experience and comfort overall. In comparison, vests are a situational purchase suited for moderate temperatures or for carrying more gear.