Your Feet are Making You Miss | How to Shotgun 5Jul 20, 2023
Are you ever shooting your shotgun and say, "Why the heck am I missing!?" Did you ever venture to think that it could be your feet? Probably not. The feet are often the last thing we really think about while reflecting on how we could be shooting better. Our focus usually goes to our mount, our eyes, and our hands and probably the biggest one, lead. We believe taking a look at what our feet are doing while shooting is a really important element that a lot of people don't think much about. So are your feet making you miss? Let's find out!
Tell me, Steve, what's the rave about feet?
I'm glad you asked. Let's talk about why feet are so foundational to good shotgun shooting.
- The first and most obvious role that your footwork affects is your mount. Walking, running, and moving about this planet is so second nature to us that we don't think of it day-to-day. However, the feet are the literal base and foundation for the rest of our body. How we use them will affect the rest of our body systemically. We'll talk about how in a minute.
- With that said, the second element that our feet greatly affect is our gun swing and gun movement. First, let's look at some common ways shotgun shooters set up their bodies relative to the target.
Let's talk about bad stance
- The first way some people may stand relative to the target is perpendicular with their feet 90 degrees away from the target break area in front of them. This is bad for a couple of reasons. First, when your body is in this posture, your body becomes very 2-dimensional. As you mount this way, you essentially eliminate the shoulder pocket that your shotgun was intended to sit in. This leads to bad mounting and pain. This stance also completely hinders you from comfortably swinging and pivoting on moving or crossing shots. Also not good.
- The second common way people line up to the target is with a completely square stance, with both feet facing the target break area. This stance may be a slight upgrade to the one above as you have a little more shoulder pocked to work with, but it also comes with other issues. Your swinging and pivoting are even worse off in this position. First, when you mount, you will notice your body contorts, and you are not neutral. Secondly, standing in this fashion requires you to bend and contort your legs to achieve any useful swing on your target. Stand like this and try swinging to your left and right. See how much your body dips and your knees face resistance.
So how should I stand?
- Like many things, there's not necessarily one black-and-white way to go about it. However, we believe that there are some best practices to be considered. Regarding stance, we recommend shooting from a 45-degree angle relative to the target break area.
- This does a couple of positive things for us. First, it gives us a really good shoulder pocket to rest our gun in as it was intended. It's not too open, and it's not too closed. It holsters the stock of your shotgun in a really comfortable way giving us better gun control.
- Secondly, this stance gives us the best mobility to swing on targets leftward and rightward. If you were to try this approach and compare it to other common stances, you could see for yourself how much further you can comfortably swing without your hips binding. But wait, there's more...keep reading.
- Move your weight to the front foot to that about 70% of your weight is on the front foot and 30% back foot. This gives an appropriate amount of handle on the gun to manage recoil, and more importantly, it creates a much more fluid process swinging on birds. Try swinging with your weight 50/50, and then try it with 70% on the front foot. Did you notice the difference?
Experimenting and Fine-tuning:
- While there are general principles to consider, it's important to note that footwork is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Every shooter may have slight variations in their stance based on personal comfort and shooting style. Exploring different foot positions, such as flaring your toes to increase hip mobility for specific target directions, can help you fine-tune your footwork for optimal shooting performance.
In the world of shotgun shooting, proper footwork is often an underappreciated aspect that can significantly impact your success on the range. By understanding the relationship between your feet, body alignment, and shooting technique, you can optimize your mount, achieve smoother swings, and enhance your overall accuracy. Experiment with different foot positions and consider how they influence your stability, mobility, and recoil management. Remember, in the pursuit of shotgun shooting success, every detail matters, including your feet.
We hope this blog post has shed light on the importance of footwork in shotgun shooting and provided valuable insights to improve your shooting technique. Share your thoughts on footwork and any additional topics you'd like to see covered in the TFL Community.
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