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The Perfect Stance
perfect stance is more important than people believe. Weight should be on the
front foot. Your feet should be no farther apart than your armpits-any wider
and you can't move well with the gun. The back foot should be to the side not
placed behind the front foot. Drawing an imaginary line from the back heel through
to the front toe should set you up to hit the target at that point (the break
zone). Your weight must be on the ball of your front foot. This makes the gun
come up easily into your face and makes the gun go where you are looking.
Looking at the photograph, you can easily see that weight displacement determines
the line of your natural swing. With the weight on the back foot a good consistent
gun mount is impossible, and in order to maintain balance, your natural swing
line is now a rainbow not a straight line. Your weight must be on your front
foot and your spine should be bent slightly forward, but not too far. This will
make the gun come up perfectly into your face and become the extension of your
eye that you need. The back hand guides the gun to your face. Too much back
hand and the muzzles will seesaw and not make the same consistent move.
You also can see in the photo that when the target is below your nose, you need
to put more weight out over your toes. Curve your spine a little more. This
keeps the swing arc pivoting on only the front foot, and because the spine is
curved more forward the swing arc is now down on the line of the target. If
the target were much lower the spine would curve more forward and the swing
arc would come lower still, but the weight must be kept on the front foot in
order for the swing to continue in a straight line.
When the weight shifts to the back foot everything goes wrong. You no longer
have 1 balance point, you have 2. This causes a subconscious weight change every
time you swing the gun which makes consistency impossible. It would be like
driving a car with all the wheels out of balance. When the body does anything
but pivot on one point, gun speed and line are affected in a negative way. The
shooter is often not aware of it because the movement he senses is the movement
of his body shifting its weight from one foot to the other, not the gun mirroring
the target line and speed. The only shot that should be taken with the nose
not over the front toes(weight on the back foot), is the high incoming or driven
bird shot. Note how with the weight on the rear foot the spine naturally curves
back, the gun muzzles come up, and the gun can swing past vertical and balance
can be maintained.
In order for the swing to be consistent, the body must remain in balance. If
at any time during the swing the body looses balance, one of two decisions will
be made by the subconscious mind-
1. Keep swinging with the bird and fall down or
2. Keep my balance and stand up, by letting the gun either stop or come off
line with the target.
#2 will always happen. A person's balance mechanism is their strongest instinct.
The shooter who remains in perfect balance through the shot can move the gun
precisely and consistently regardless of target line or speed.
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Eye or Two Eyes Open?
I've been hunting over 20 years and have always kept one eye closed when shooting
a shotgun, and have been a pretty good shot. I got interested in sporting clays
and at first did good with the one eye closed, but a friend told me to try to
shoot with both eyes open, but when I attempted this it did no good and my scores
got worse. Should I shoot with one eye open as I have for 20+ years or do you
think it would be worth my time trying to learn to shoot with both eyes open.
There is no right answer. This helps huh. Is it better to shoot with 2 eyes
open? The answer is definitely YES. The targets will look larger, closer and
moving more slowly. Is it going to look completely different when you shoot.
YES. Remember, that your eyes are used to working together, so that you can
walk or drive a car. If you will think of shooting your shotgun like driving
your car and merge into the lead with the gun, you won't have to be so concerned
about the barrel. If you are looking at the barrel of the gun, you are not looking
at the target and focusing totally on it. That will put you behind the target.
There is a 3/10 of a second delay between when the eye sees the lead and the
brain tells the body to pull the trigger, that will also put you behind the
target. Try focusing really hard on the front of the target and bringing the
gun up in front of the target and as it touches your cheek, pull the trigger.
A way to practice this, as it is a learned thing, is to find something small
to focus on-such as the light switch or the edge of a picture frame. Look at
it and count to 10. Start to train your eyes to stay focussed on something small
in a large area. That's what you have to do when you are shooting. Finding a
small 4" disk in the sky and focus on it.
My question to you is, are you willing to take the time to retrain your brain
on the pictures? I had to do the same thing years ago. I'm left eyed and shoot
right handed. I went from 1 eye shooting to both eyes open. It took some time,
but it really helped my shooting. It will be frustrating for awhile, but after
you have seen the picture a few times it will get easier. It will make the targets
look slower and larger. Just trust the gun a little more, as it is going to
go where your eyes are looking. Hope this helps. Let us know.
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and Left Eye Dominant
I am a right-handed shooter
with a dominant left eye. I never knew this until an instructor told me. Before,
I was told this my father-in-law had labeled me as a natural shooter because
I was doing great, even outscoring him, a clays shooter of 30+ years. Now, I'm
lucky to get 18 out of 50 and I find that the dot on my glasses is very annoying.
Help! (Tom Malone)
I too am left eyed and right handed. It does not bother me and I am usually
able to score right up there with the right eyed and right handed folks. I too
wore a patch over my entire left eye to shoot--buy you can't walk around and
the targets look like they are smaller, farther away and going really fast.
The best solution is not worry so much about it as you say you were shooting
really well before. Eye dominance means that one eye focuses first and leads
the other eye to focus. The eyes work together to focus on whatever you are
Try trusting your natural ability to bring the gun up in the front of the target
and shoot when the gun gets to your face. The way the eyes works is like this---Look
beyond the flight path of the target-focus on something ( a bush, a tree anything,
but you must keep your eyes still). Let the target come into your view, then
start moving the gun the same speed as the target and insert the barrel in front
of the target. Shoot as soon as the gun gets to your face. If the gun comes
to the face and the shot is not taken, the eyes will go to the thing that is
moving the fastest in the picture and that is the gun.
The only time eye dominance comes into the equation is when you don't fire and
your eyes go back to the barrel and this causes confusion to the brain. Trust
your ability and your instincts as they are always correct. Just think how you
drive a car and merge into the traffic with 2 eyes so why close one with a shotgun.
You don't look at the front of the car to get there you look where you are going.
Look at the front of the target, as that is where it is going and put the gun
in that lead window and pull the trigger. Did you know that if you don't tell
yourself to look at the front of the target, your eyes will naturally go to
the back. So where is the gun going to go. To the back. Try it on the clays
range just see where your eyes will go naturally. Always look at the front.
The goal is to make these little 4" disks look bigger, not smaller. Don't
worry about the eyes so much, focus on the target. Just look at it and shoot
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