3 Shotgunning Tips For Beginners: Body Position

Here's how to position your body with your shotgun to boost your success.

by
posted on July 26, 2022
young shotgunner takes aim with instructor watching carefully
If you're interested in getting started with the shotgun sports or wingshooting as a new shooter, you'll find that the positioning of your body is an important base on which to build all the rest of the things you'll learn in the future. We'll tackle three today: stance, gun ready position and swing to target. 

1. Stance

Stance is the position of your body in the act of shooting, and its relationship to the expected target. Two conditions are essential for a good stance. First, your stance must be comfortable and relaxed. This means attaining as natural a balance as possible without straining your muscles. One great way to think of this is to imagine yourself in a basic boxing position. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart and planted firmly on the ground. Your front knee should be bent forward slightly, while your bag leg remains straight. In shotgun shooting, you're putting yourself into this "boxer"-like stance because it provides proper balance and the ability to move. 

The second essential condition is that your stance should be aligned with the expected target breaking area. This will allow you to easily rotate your body if the target moves to the left or right. 

2. Gun Ready Position


The gun ready position is the posture you assume before actually moving your gun to shoot the target. It is intended to make your subsequent "swing to the target" as easy as possible. Maintaining your basic shooting stance, you should hold the shotgun with your non-trigger hand at about the middle of the shotgun forearm. Your grip should be just firm enough to provide control, but not so firm as to create unnecessary strain. The same is true of the trigger hand placed on the grip of the stock. The rear of the stock (the buttpad or buttplate) should be positioned along the front side of your ribs on the shooting-hand side. The muzzle is placed slightly below the expected flight path of your target, thus providing you with a clear view of the target area. Both of your eyes should remain open and focused in the area where you expect your target will first appear. 

3. Swing to Target

On first seeing the target, move your gun and body as a single coordinated unit toward the target, while raising the gun into the correct firing position. To achieve this position:
  • Keep your eyes focused on the target all the time.
  • Bring the stock to your face. It should be firmly in place against your cheek.
  • The trigger hand elbow comes into position about level with the shoulders. If you leave the elbow down, it allows only a small portion of the shotgun's butt to contact your shoulder, causing (among other problems) bruising and discomfort during firing. 
  • Place the butt of the stock against the shoulder.

With correct gun fit, the barrel will be aligned in front of your dominant eye and with the target. The swing to target must all be done quickly, but in a single and fluid movement.

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