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Understanding Gun Fit

Shooting

Article written by 03 April 2013
Gun Fitting

When, Why and the Benefits.

In this article I will outline my personal and professional opinion with regards to gun fit, when you should have your gun fitted, and why.

The basics of gun fit          

Gun fit relates to the dimensions of the stock of your gun. A gun that fits you should enable you to mount the gun with ease and the gun should  shoot exactly where you look. If mounted correctly! It is the major factor to shooting accurately and consistently if your  technique is sound.

When, Why and Who For                                               

This is a question commonly asked, rarely answered and very misunderstood, but here’s my take on it;

The Novice or Inexperienced Shot

Like with any sport, it takes time and effort to develop correct technique. I know for a fact that you wouldn’t head straight to Newbury Cricket Bats to have a bat made after your first nets session, nor would you approach Wilson to have a tennis racket made after just one lesson. Shooting is no different.

This is where, as a new shot you must bide your time. As a game shooting instructor, I’m very aware of people’s keenness to run before they can walk. Learning to shoot should be enjoyed. It takes time to become a good shot and what I mean by this is, becoming consistent at a good level. Having a structure to your shooting will enable this to occur. At the same time, any good instructor will always make sure that the gun you learn to shoot with has a comfortable fit, enabling the new shot to shoot in comfort and progress accordingly.

Gun fit is a very precise procedure. It is not at all hit and miss. This means that in order for your stock measurements to be correct and benefit your shooting, gun mount, stance/ foot work and shooting technique must be constant and consistent. Gun fit will not benefit you in any way if you haven’t learnt to shoot correctly. Gun fit is not a quick fix. You cannot cut corners if you want to shoot well.

The experienced shot

I do not believe in the saying if you can shoot you can shoot with any gun. Completely the opposite in fact. The better the shot you are, the more important it is that the gun fits you. My reason for this statement is, in order for you to shoot to the best of your ability the gun must shoot where you look. A minor movement, or wrong fit at the shooters end is hugely exaggerated at the distance where the clay or bird is with regards to shot placement. Anyone who shoots well is more often than not going to miss a bird off line as opposed to lead. A badly fitted gun will affect the way the shooter picks up a bird, resulting in misreading the bird which will inevitably result in consistently missing. This in turn causes great frustration which then results in the shooter trying different techniques moving away from their structured shooting and stepping into no man’s land. It’s a vicious circle, all because of bad gun fit.

Not every experienced shot shoots with elegance and finesse, but they are incredibly effective with the way they shoot. In a case like this, if they are not broken and it works for them I would never fix them. I would fit the gun to the way they shoot. Especially if you know that they will never change. I would never fit a gun to a terrible mistake but this is a judgement that I make with every client when I see them shoot. As a word of warning, a gun cannot be fitted in the gun shop. You need to shoot using a tri gun to correctly fit the shooter. Anyone can rearrange the way someone mounts a gun in a shop to make them fit it. As a professional I can categorically say this is wrong. For myself to fit a gun I must see the person shoot. This may sound abrupt but you wouldn’t buy a suit or a piece of clothing without trying it on. Nor should you a gun!

Benefits of Gun Fit.

The benefits of gun fit are simple. A correctly fitted gun will shoot where you look. It will be comfortable to mount, allowing you to keep your eyes on the bird. At no point should you need to worry whether your master eye is correctly in line regardless of two eyes open or one eye closed. Your correctly fitted gun will be a joy to shoot with and not a stressful experience.

However, a correctly fitted gun is very reliant on your ability to mount the gun consistently. If your gun mounting is inconsistent, then the gun will never shoot where you look.

Like any sport, practice makes perfect. Lessons are so important. Shooting is a stressful and expensive sport to get it wrong. Gun fit is not a quick fix as I mentioned earlier, but  good technique and structure to your shooting will bring great results. It does reduce the  bank of excuses though!

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