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5-Stand For Beginners | Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

how to shoot a shotgun May 30, 2024
5 Stand For Beginners | Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

Understanding 5-Stand: A Fan-Favorite Shooting Game

When it comes to clay shooting games, enthusiasts have a wide variety of options: trap, skeet, sporting clays, and one of my personal favorites, 5-Stand. You might be wondering, what exactly is 5- 5-Stand? Today, we’re diving into this exciting shooting sport, discussing how to shoot it, and exploring what makes it such a fantastic game. Let's go!

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What is 5 Stand?

5 -Stand is a unique blend of other clay shooting games. While trap involves shooting at targets from a single oscillating machine, and sporting clays require moving through a course with various shooting stations, 5-Stand combines elements from both in a more compact setup. This means you can experience diverse target presentations without having to go around a lengthy course, making it more time-efficient.

In 5-Stand, you shoot from five different stations or "stands," each offering a distinct set of target presentations. These presentations are listed on a menu card at each stand, detailing the order and combination of targets you'll be shooting. Typically, this includes singles, report pairs, and true pairs, offering a variety of challenges from one shooting position.

(Below: Position of stands from above)

(Below: "Station Menu Card")

Why 5-Stand is Great

One of the main advantages of 5-Stand is its efficiency. A full round with a squad can be completed in about 25-30 minutes, and even quicker if you're shooting solo. This makes it an excellent option for those who want a quick yet fulfilling shooting session. Moreover, 5-Stand's variety in target presentations provides an excellent practice ground for hunting scenarios, combining the precision of trap with the diverse challenges of sporting clays.

Different Types of 5-Stand Targets

Comparing 5-Stand to Other Shotgun Games

  • Trap: Limited target presentations from a single oscillating machine. Ideal for honing specific shooting skills but lacks the variety found in 5 Stand.
  • Skeet: Targets cross at set points from high and low houses. Offers more variety than trap but still follows a predictable pattern.
  • Sporting Clays: A course with multiple stations, each providing different target presentations. Offers the most variety but requires more time and space to complete.
  • 5-Stand: Combines the diversity of sporting clays with the compactness of trap. Provides varied target presentations from a single shooting position, making it efficient and diverse.

Shooting 5-Stand: Tips and Techniques

To excel in 5 Stand, it’s essential to consider your stance, hold points, focal points, and overall focus once the target it thrown.


Flexibility in your hips and legs is crucial for swinging and moving on targets. Unlike trap, which has limited presentations, 5-Stand involves targets moving in various directions. Set up your stance based on your target break area. The target break area is where you anticipate shooting the target. For instance, if your target is crossing from left to right, ensure your stance allows for a smooth swing in that direction and that you are not facing resistance as you approach the target break area.

Hold Points and Focal Points

  • Hold Points: Position your gun between where you'll first see the target, and where you anticipate breaking the clay. The trajectory between these points is called "The Line". On a crossing shot, we want to hold our gun 50% back on that line toward the thrower. On a quartering or angled target, we come back 25% This helps you mount and move onto the target smoothly.
  • Focal Points: Focus your eyes just in front of the target machine to pick up the clay as soon as it emerges. This allows for quicker target acquisition and more accurate shots.

Common Mistakes

  1. Stance Issues: Inadequate stance setup can limit your ability to swing and move smoothly.
  2. Improper Hold Points: Starting with your gun in the wrong position can lead to excessive barrel movement and missed targets.
  3. Poor Focal Points: Staring directly at the bead or target machine instead of ahead can slow your reaction time.

Practical Tips

  • Minimize Barrel Movement: Start with your gun in a position that requires minimal adjustment to get on target. This reduces the time and effort needed to align your shot.
  • Pre-Mount vs. Low Gun: You can start pre-mounted or with the gun down, mimicking a hunting scenario. Practice both to see which feels more natural for you. Either way, know that the less barrel movement you have, the more successful you'll be.

Safety and Etiquette

  • Action Open: Always keep your gun's action open when not shooting. This ensures everyone can see that your gun is safe.
  • Proper Rotation: After shooting at each stand, rotate to the next station efficiently, with actions open, and maintain safety at all times. If you are on the 5th station, you'll rotate back to station one. Do this by walking behind the other stands initiated with a right-hand turn. 

Why You Should Try 5-Stand

The camaraderie, the challenge, and the sheer fun of shooting make 5-Stand an enjoyable sport for both seasoned shooters and beginners. It offers a balance of variety and efficiency that’s hard to find in other shooting disciplines. Whether you’re practicing for hunting or just enjoying a day at the range with friends, 5-Stand is a game worth trying. If you’re in the area, come visit us at the Alexandria Shooting Park. We have a fantastic 5-Stand setup, and we'd love to introduce you to this exciting sport. 


Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on, so live the #targetfocusedlife   

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