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gun fitting

Gun Fitting – Does it Really Matter?

Yes, yes it does. In fact, gun fitting matters a great deal, as without it can cause a lot of issues not only in your shooting but injuries too. With poor gun fit the gun is less likely to be pointing at the target or in the direction the shooter is intending. This, in turn, can cause the shooter to unknowingly and subconsciously develop several corrective measures to try and address the problem. These problems can, however, manifest themselves into learned bad habits which are terribly hard to undo once the shooter has them embedded in their memory.

Areas that Require Gun Fitting –


Most off-the-peg guns are intended to suit and fit the average shooter with average build and stature. In simple terms, a taller person needs a gun with a longer stock, whilst a person with a smaller stature needs a shorter one. It’s quite common to see women especially with an ill-fitting gun of which has just been purchased “off the shelf” and is most probably a gentlemen’s gun which has no relation to the woman’s female form. This is why various gun manufacturers have released women’s specific shotguns designed with smaller grips, shorter length of pull and higher combs or Monte Carlo stocks to aid in a better fit.

Comb Height

The comb height can be easily seen by gun mounting in a mirror to see the position of the eye in relation to the rib and the view. If the eye is too high, the gun will shoot high, whereas if the eye is too low then the non-shooting eye will take over and the gun will not shoot where it’s intended or the head will be lifted. Which will then, in turn, the relationship of the eye to the gun is completely destroyed.

Bore and Cartridge Load

One aspect which is very closely related to gun fit, which can have a huge effect on the amount of success or failure one has is the suitability of the bore and cartridge load used. This is most common with youngsters and women’s who are over gunned with either a gun which is too long or too heavy or a cartridge load which is likely to blow them backwards. It is important to choose wisely and try not to have this happen, as we want to encourage them into the sport after all.

Gun Fitting

  • In conclusion to the above, with the help and advice of a good instructor, gunsmith or gun fitters, alterations and adjustments can usually be made to your existing gun to help you achieve a good fit and improve your shooting success. You’ll often see improvements right away and by using pattern plates before and after a gun fitting session, it will be clear to see.
  • Ladies, try and look into having a go with a ladies specific shotgun.
  • In general, there are all sorts of items available to address gun fit issues, such as simple slip-on butt extensions in leather or rubber, or temporary comb raisers, as well as professionally fitted adjustable combs.
  • In the event of your stock length being incorrect or altering the cast, then an expert gun smith is your best bet to professionally deal with those issues.
  • Or you could just treat yourself to a brand new correct gun that has been fully adjusted.

Common reasons for poor gun fitting and how to identify them

  • Length of pull: Too short – this can cause the shooter to develop a cramped style and perceive more recoil. The gun may also have a more lively and uncontrollable feel to it.
  • Too long: The gun is going to feel too big and beyond a comfortable reach. Due to the slope of the comb, the shooter is likely to get a poor view along the rib, which, in turn, may cause the other eye to take over or the head to lift for the shooter to see the target.
  • Comb Height: A comb that is too low, thus causing a poor view along the rib, can cause head lifting for the shooter to see the target. Or, in the case of a right-handed person. using both eyes, the left eye can over dominance of the view.
  • Cast-off or Cast-on: The degree to which the stock is offset for the handedness of the shooter. In the case of a right-handed shooter the stock is bent away from the right cheek – “cast – off”. In the case of a left-handed person, it is bent away from the left cheek – “cast-on”

Contact us

The staff at Sportquest Holidays have over 14 years’ experience in travelling and shooting. After this amount of travel, we have gained some precious knowledge. If we do not know the answer, then we know someone who does.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Shooting Team, then call us on 01603 407596 or email and we can always recommend a particular destination or holiday that would suit you and your group.

For more insights, articles and expert travel advice for all things Shooting, make sure to visit our shooting blog page or our dedicated shooting video playlist.

Until next time, shoot straight,

Sportquest Holidays


  1. Nick lowe

    Do you know of a place near Sacramento, California that can custom fit guns?

    1. Georgie Tillson

      Hi Nick unfortunately I don’t have any first hand experience with gun fitting services in Sacramento, try asking at your local shooting ground and they will be able to give you some advice.

  2. Zihni Bilgehan

    Can you recommend a good instructor/gunsmith to approach for fitting?

    1. Georgie Tillson

      Hi Zihni, it all depends on where you are based but any good gun shop/Shooting ground should be able to help you with fitting and instruction.

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