There’s plenty of jackets to select from these days and I’ve tried a fair few on but I settled on Gehmann Canvas and Leather 404 because I kinda liked how restrictive it is when fastened up and the rather good price point. A few people have mentioned that “the restriction” can be a problem in Field Target and I can understand that but so far I’ve only struggled with it once. Working out which buttons you need to fasten can be tricky when the ground you are shooting on isn’t that even, as found out at the Bisley GP this year, it cost me a long kneeler as I struggled like mad to get on the target.
The jacket itself is a very good and strong build, there’s no doubting the build quality of the 404.
Made from rigid unbleached canvas with suede panels with anti-slip rubber on the elbows and shoulder that helps to ensure a stable position. The colour scheme is also played down a bit on this jacket, which may not seem like a big thing but looking like an explosion in paint factory or looking like you’ve just got out of a clown car isn’t really a good look if you ask me, so thankfully this jacket does offend my eyes, too much.
As these jackets are off the hook you need to take your measurements with your usual gear on and as they are sold in Euro size you need to minus 10, my advice on this is to ask a few friends if you can try on their jackets. I’ve been using a 58 for a couple of weeks before I purchased a 56 so I could get a tighter fit on the shoulders, I wouldn’t have known this without asking.
It fits like a glove expect over my food baby of a belly, it was just a little bit too tight. That was easily fixed by moving a couple of the buttons. You can buy a tool for moving the buttons but it’s easy enough to do using a screw and small Philips screwdriver to make a new hole. I had no problems moving a couple of the buttons to go for a snug fit and I’m guessing the jacket will also have a bit of give in it because when you get a new one the canvas is very rigid.
So, do they make a difference? My reply to that very subjective question is yes they do. I’ve found a great improvement in stability in my seated and standing positions, the anti-slip is really useful and certainly helped me when plonking myself down in difficult positions.
I’ve still got some work to do on my kneeling position with the jacket on but all that will come with more practice
That said, don’t go thinking that targets will start falling as soon as you put one on because they won’t. You’ve still got to put the work in and make sure you’re doing everything correctly for the jacket to come into its own. I’ve found that the dampening down of movement to be useful when coupled with the correct breathing techniques when trying to hold the cross-hair where you want it.
The only downside I can find is that you sweat like a pig in one and it can be slightly uncomfortable when shooting a 25 lane course but that’s a small price to pay.
You can buy one here: Intershoot