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Do you suffer from stopping your gun? Here’s what you can do to correct it.

It's a common fault with shooters. Here's how to rectify it, advises Tony Jackson

Man shooting on sunny day

Make sure you understand the reasons why you are stopping your gun

What does it mean when you’re told that you’re stopping the gun?

Matt Clarke, editor of Sporting Gun says: “Stopping the gun means that are not swinging your barrels through the target, but are stopping the swing of the gun as soon as you have pulled the trigger. This will almost certainly result in a miss behind. You tend to shoot where you look.”

Problems stopping the gun

Stopping the gun as you shoot can be down to a number of factors.

  • Let’s assume that the gun fits, as an incorrectly fitted gun can cause all sorts of problems – especially to your swing.
  • Check where your feet are pointing. If they are pointing to where the target is coming out rather than where you are going to shoot, your body will tighten as you twist yourself to a standstill.
  • Make sure you are looking at the target – if you look at the gun to make sure it is in the right place it’s sure to stop as you check.
  • Keep your eyes locked onto the moving target and your barrels are sure to follow.
  • Pulling the trigger is not the end of your shot – follow-through is important, too.
  • Try this exercise at home: set up three markers in a straight line on a wall, about a foot apart (let us call them A, B and C); with a set of snap caps loaded but an otherwise safe gun, mount onto mark A; with a smooth and controlled swing move towards mark C, pulling the trigger as you pass mark B.
  • You should see the swing continue smoothly as you release the shot – any stopping or dipping is not good.
  • Keep doing this until you can execute it perfectly, it doesn’t cost anything and will transfer to your shooting in no time.

Q: People are always telling me that I keep stopping my gun. I’ve tried everything to stop myself doing this — swinging faster, giving the bird more lead and so on. What can I do?

A: This is a very misunderstood problem in shooting. People say that you are “stopping your gun” but they are not explaining why.

The simple reason for it is that as you go to pull the trigger, you are most likely looking at the end of your gun. It is known as checking your swing. The gun is the stationary object and so if you look at it, the gun doesn’t go anywhere. It is a bit like looking at your hands as you are about to catch a ball.

Watching the bird hard and concentrating on picking the bird up correctly will help you read the shot properly. Then, the key is to watch the bird die. If your eyes don’t leave the moving bird you will find it is impossible to stop.

Finishing a shot correctly is hard to do and does take practice, but if you persevere you will find a great improvement in your results and your shooting.