Shooting can be such an enjoyable pastime. In fact, most enthusiasts will agree that this is how they like to relieve stress and get rid of accumulated tension. However, as enjoyable as it may be, safety should always be put first. This is a fundamental rule that applies in all case scenarios.
This is why it is important to hold your shotgun properly each time you practice this hobby. But we’ll delve deeper into this topic in the forthcoming paragraphs – focusing on the main techniques that work, as well as the reasons why you should pay attention to this aspect, as overlooked as it may be by some.
Pointing Your Shotgun Correctly
Positioning the shotgun properly will determine whether the shot is successful or not. Generally speaking, experts advise keeping the barrel in line with the eye. This will optimize your precision. In essence, when practicing shooting, you want to improve your skills. This is why you should implement the right techniques from the very beginning. Of course, this is also applicable for the lady that wants to get accustomed to guns and shooting.
In addition to that, it’s worth pointing out the difficulty of actually aiming a target – particularly when you use a shotgun. The explanation is fairly straightforward: targets, which are usually animals, don’t stay in place. Quite the contrary: they tend to be rather agile, moving from place to place. A shotgun is essentially designed to be pointed.
When your gun reaches your face, then your cheek should snugly fit the stock. As for your eyesight, it should be above the centerline of the gun. Essentially, you can always adjust the fit here and there, depending on what feels more comfortable to you.
A common mistake that many beginners are prone to make is the following: failing to bring the stock all the way to the cheek. On the other hand, a common error is lowering the head as you also lower the cheek. What you should do is direct the stock to your cheek, as opposed to directing the cheek to the stock. This habit should be turned into a reflex, as this is the correct way of holding a shotgun. In time, this will grow on you.
Choosing the Best Way of Shouldering a Shotgun
Let’s move on to another important aspect – namely the fact that there’s no such thing as an all-size-fits all solution to shouldering a shotgun. Your personal preference should also be a factor worth taking into account. Preference refers to aspects such as the environment in which you are shooting, your comfort level, and of course, the shooting position. Another important aspect is your performance: in what position do you monitor your very best results?
On that note, we would like to outline some guidelines you can try when adjusting your shotgun and shooting. You should try and see what works best for you. It should feel comfortable, as you don’t want to focus on anything else but what you’re doing – namely firing the gun. The focus and your safety are primordial when it comes to shooting, and these two are imminently associated with embracing a correct position.
- As you bring the stock towards your head, you should turn your head a little bit.
- Lean into your gun, in order to diminish or cancel recoil altogether.
- Close the eye opposite to the hand pulling the trigger.
- Don’t lose sight of your target when you pull the gun to your shoulder.
- Focus on preserving a balanced and stable position when shooting.
- Consider the movement of the target when you point at it. Learn to predict the movement of your target.
Using Proper Form and Footwork Enhances Your Shooting Accuracy
Another aspect we should outline is footwork. That’s because this will either make your stance balanced or not. A balanced stance is critical also for your comfort, as well as for your performance overall. For instance, your heels should be kept close, at 6 to 9 inches. In addition, you should bend your front knee, directing the weight towards the front foot. Namely, roughly 60 percent of the body weight should be on the front foot.
However, the thing is that, as you point your target, you will most likely have to move towards it. And this entails the right footwork as well. You should move towards it in a subtle, yet steady way in order to fire the shot and accomplish your goal.
On the other hand, if you were to move in a clumsy manner, not knowing how to direct your body weight on your feet, your performance will most likely be impaired.
When discussing the flow, we aren’t referring to poking at your target – as tempting as it may be – especially if the angle is shallow. You might succeed in this respect from time to time, but it is less likely still. In most situations, engaging in some shotgun movement is mandatory for success and accuracy.
That being said, you should avoid picking up too early on the target. Another rookie mistake is chasing the target for too long while having the gun mounted. Instead, if you want to enhance your accuracy, you should steadily move the gun towards the target while blending the tip of the barrels towards the bird. In the meantime, as the gun will touch your face, a large percentage of the work will be done.
All in all, as you can see, learning how to hold your shotgun properly is essential for several reasons. For one thing, your body position impacts your accuracy, performance, and safety. This is why you should pay attention to the guidelines we included in this article and try to implement them. As soon as you do that, you will probably notice that your results will be better. It might not happen overnight, but with practice and perseverance, you will get there. Keep moving forward and you’ll see that for yourself.