What Is The Correct Way To Shoulder A Shotgun For Better Accuracy?

All hunting enthusiasts will tell you how deeply they’re in love with the sport. What you will also hear about is the kind of relaxation the activity provider when they need it the most. Some spend an entire weekend while some plan a vacation around it.

But, at the same time, you should also know that the Chase requires you to master some basic shooting skills. And among the very few essential skills is one that’s related to shouldering your shotgun. So, what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun to achieve better accuracy?

The thing about this particular technique is that it gives you more accuracy with the shot. The stronger the position of your shotgun, the more chances you get for taking home an elk or deer. And doesn’t that sound like a great day on the field? Of course, it does.


So let me show you the proper way to shoulder a gun. But before I do that, you should also know some other basic shooting skills as well. Especially ones that make the process of shouldering the shotgun easier.

So let’s go through the essential techniques one by one in this article. Are you ready? Time to get started!

What is the correct way to point a shotgun?

As a hunter, you know what the sight is, don’t you? It’s located in the front part of the shotgun. So what needs to be done here is that you have to place your head on the shotgun’s stock correctly. When doing this, also make sure that the barrel is in a straight line with the eye.

Shooting moving targets with a shotgun makes you realize that there is no such thing as an “actual aim.” What I mean to say is that your target never stays in the same position or place. This is why shotguns have a sharp design. And, because of the same reason, the sight of the shotgun is located in the top region of the barrel or rib.

Once the shotgun is brought near the face, your cheek should fit with the gun’s stock. You also need to ensure that the eye points on the same side on top of the shotgun’s centerline. If, for some reason, you’re uncomfortable with such a position, then what do you do? The answer is simple; adjust the fit of your shotgun.

What you see below are the most common sights on handguns:


Photo credit: emptormaven.com

What is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun?

The Guidelines

If you want to know what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun, then please pay attention. Do you know the only common mistake that hunters make when it comes to shouldering a shotgun? They forget to fit their cheeks to the shotgun’s stock.

Instead, they tend to lower their heads. And this causes the cheek to be away from the stock. Remember that you have to bring the stock closer to your face and not the other way around.


Once the stock is closer to the face, that’s when you bring the little thing back to the shoulder. If you make it a point to remember this guideline, then you’ll turn it into a habit in no time. And that’s the proper way to shoulder a shotgun.

Don Currie, NSCA Chief Instructor: Mounting to the Cheek, not the Shoulder​

The Different Ways of Shouldering a Shotgun Properly

  • Lower the head. You must first get the shotgun’s stock closer to the cheek and then the shoulder.
  • Lower the head. You can also get the stock to the shoulder first and then to the cheek.
  • ​The stock of the shotgun should be brought right up to the cheek. And once this has been achieved, you can get the thing back to the shoulder.
  • ​Simply bring the shotgun’s stock up till the shoulder and then right up to the cheek.

How to find out what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun?

If you’re a serious or experienced shooter, then you know the basic principle of shouldering a shotgun. There is no one way to shoulder a shotgun correctly. Such a technique depends on the shooter’s personal preference.

These personal preferences may be factors such as your current situation, shooting position, or comfort level. Another important factor is the way you’re able to shoot in the best possible manner. So if what you’re planning to target is a group of geese, then the standard low-forward placement is no good.

But there are a few helpful tips that I can provide regardless of your preference or current situation.

  • You can easily point the barrel downwards until you think you’re ready to take the shot. And this can be done by keeping the shotgun’s stock fitted into the lower section of your shoulder.
  • Following which, you must square up while forwardly leaning on the front foot. This helps in creating a naturally lower position.
  • ​While you’re still shouldering your shotgun, you should bring it up by pressing its stock to the cheek.

What is the correct way to pull the trigger and deal with the swing?

Rifles and shotguns don’t work in the same manner. So when you pull the trigger of a shotgun, you must do it quickly. This helps in explaining why rifles are tougher to work with than shotguns.

Shotguns tend to swing once you fire. The best way to deal with this is not to interfere with it. Because, when you do, it tends to compromise the accuracy of your shot. And in such cases, the bullet is more susceptible to falling behind your target. So to avoid making a regrettable miss, learn to deal with the swing.

That’s a wrap folks!

There’s nothing worse than watching a shooter struggle to stay on his or her feet after firing a shotgun. And do you know why? Because such a tragedy can be avoided quite easily. Not knowing how to position your shotgun correctly can have an adverse impact on performance and learning. Or worse, it might just cause you to lose interest in the sport altogether.

So now do you understand why one must know what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun? If you’re doing it wrong, then it might also cause pain or injury in that region. Since you finally know the right technique and how to go about it, it’s time to practice shooting, isn’t it?

What about you? How do you shoulder your shotgun?

I hope you enjoyed reading the article. And I hope you keep coming back for more. Till then, have fun and shoot safe!

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