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Why should you move the gun with your whole body?

Why is it so important?

Man with shotgun in muddy field

Body movement with a gun

Q: Why do instructors make a point of stressing that the gun should be moved by the whole body, particularly when shooting crossers and quartering birds? 

A: Most targets require movement. Those that don’t include a gentle straight driven target, or one going directly away from the shooting position.

In all other cases body movement plays an important role.

Moving and swinging the gun smoothly

The most important thing is about moving the gun with the whole body (assuming the foot position is correct) is that it enables us to move and swing the gun smoothly before, during and after the target has been killed.

Anyone who uses just their arms to bring the gun muzzles to the address point, not their bodies, is making things unnecessarily hard for themselves.

Take a right-handed shooter tackling a left to right crosser. Laying the gun across his chest in this manner will close down his shoulder pocket and result in the gun butt being mounted either on his upper arm or ball of the shoulder. Needless to say this makes it difficult – if not impossible – for the head and master eye to assume the correct position on the comb of the stock. This inconsistency alone will lead to missed targets.

Now try addressing a target from the right by moving your arms, not the body. The shoulder pocket might remain open but in practice the only arm you can move to put the muzzles on the address point is your left.

In addition, your head is also forced out of position.

Much easier

Compared to that cramped and uncomfortable approach, how much easier it is to now move and lock on to the target by pivoting from the knees, waist, chest and shoulders.

Think about it. If arm movement alone was sufficient to break targets consistently, instructors everywhere would be putting pupils in straight jackets right from the start!