Doing it correctly is key to shooting success

Knowing how to hold a shotgun – known as gun mount – will go a long way towards making you a better Shot. Look at the best shooters and you’ll see that they have slow, unhurried movements. That’s because they have practised their gun mount consistently so it’s second nature.

Learning how to hold a shotgun correctly

Start at the beginning. Ask a shooting coach how to bring the gun to your shoulder, where to hold the barrels, how to grip the trigger and where the stock should rest against your cheek. You also should be aware of the shooting safety rules when holding a shotgun – when it should be broken (so it can’t fire) and when it should be kept in a slip.

Then practise, practise, practise.

how to hold a shotgun safely

Part of knowing how to hold a shotgun is knowing how to do so safely – and when to break the gun

If you are just starting out spend a few minutes each day dry mounting the (unloaded) gun in the comfort of your own home.

  • The simplest exercise is to stand in front of a mirror and bring the gun up to the reflection of your master eye which you should see just over the top of the centre rib.
  • Start with the stock tucked just below your armpit with the muzzles pointing towards the reflection of your master eye in the mirror. Assuming you are right handed, push your left hand towards the mirror and, at the same time, lift the gun with the right.
  • ‘Pushing’ with the left ensures the heel of the stock clears the armpit, and ‘lifting’ with the right allows the butt to slide nicely into your shoulder pouch. Don’t aim the gun. Concentrate on the reflection of your right eye in the mirror and you should find the muzzle comes to the point of aim every time.
  • Dry mounting like this helps you get used to the weight and balance of the gun but continual mounting tires the muscles so restrict yourself to just three or four minutes per session, once in the morning and again in the evening.

If you’re happy with the way you mount the gun, and still feel rushed, then pay a lot closer attention to where you look for the target, and hold the gun in relation to its line of flight.