What Is The Correct Way To Shoulder A Shotgun? The Secret Reveals

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Shooting a shotgun is totally different from shooting a rifle. If you are using a shotgun like a rifle,  you are doing it the wrong way (unless it is at a big game). 

Shotguns work best at moving targets like flying birds or bounding whitetails. Shooting these fast-moving targets forces you to have some instinct. Fortunately, you could cultivate this instinct by always practicing the proper shooting technique. 

So what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun? Keep scrolling through our article, and you will find out the answer!


What Is The Correct Way To Shoulder A Shotgun?

Here is the step-by-step instruction on how to shoulder a shotgun. Let’s have a look at it and take note if necessary.

Start With Your Cheek

As regards shouldering a shotgun, some misleading perceptions may come to you. The key factor when shooting a shotgun is not in the shoulder. Surprisingly, it is the cheek.

To remain consistent when shooting, having an appropriate cheek weld is one of the most crucial parts you should take into consideration.

Normally, to finish the all-important cheek weld, some shooters tend to jam the gun stock into their shoulder and swing the muzzle up till the time the weapon touches their cheek. 

On the other hand, some others choose to plant the butt on their shoulder and bend their cheek following the stock.

Both of these methods are all wrong and may have a bad impact on your shooting speed and accuracy. Therefore, shooting the targets will be much harder.

To keep the heading aligned properly, you have to look at the moving target all the time. Also, bear in mind that you need to mount the gun to your face but not the face to the gun. We highly recommend putting the stock to your cheek and regard it as the main contacting point. 

Besides, you should keep your head vertical and maintain looking at the target so that you could bring the shotgun to your face. You may want the comb or the top edge of the stock to be strongly under the cheekbone. 

To do this, your main eye should be at the top of the shotgun and just stare straight down the barrel to the bead. You could also put the butt of the gun on the shoulder if your gun is properly fit.

Find The Pocket

When you have already brought the gun to your face, the butt should be fit on your shoulder pocket. If the stock slips into the pocket, you could choose between bumping the shoulder forward or pulling the gun in the pocket. 

These movements are not excessive at all because, basically, the gun has to be in the right position. Especially if you intend to have a 3 ½-inch magnum 00 buckshot, the stock should be pressed firmly in the pocket. 

The shoulder pocket should be underneath your collarbone, which is the place the shoulder meets your clavicle. A natural pocket exists here to fit the butt-end of a stock like its original function. Moreover, it could provide some great God-given cushioning from the recoil of the weapon.

When the gun is not inside the pocket, you may stand the chance of getting a bruised collarbone or bicep, which is extremely not fun at all.

In case the stock does not fit into the shoulder pocket though keeping a good cheek weld, you may have a problem with your shotgun. Anyway, it is quite easy to recognize this improper fit. All you need to do is just slide the butt back into the pocket. If you feel like you are tilting your head to keep the cheek, it means you are having an unfit problem.

The main reason for the issue above is that you are leaning back on the firearm, which is quite popular among apprehensive shooters. To fix it, lean slightly on your weapon from the hips, and your knees should remain slightly bent. However, sometimes this little correction may not work efficiently. At that time, you have to use the shotgun with a higher comb.

Additionally, when hitting the shoulder pocket, female shoots always have difficulty in maintaining the cheek weld. This is because women usually have a bit longer necks. Just a fraction of an inch could cause a significant distance between the shoulder pocket and the cheekbone. Therefore, they could consider using a higher comb or a stock with a moderately different pitch. 

Comb Raising Kits

Via Antlerdreamer

Another useful piece of advice for you is to prepare comb-raising kits. With a comb-raising kit, you will never have to trade in your beloved shotgun but still get a better fit. These handy kits have a convenient size with a squashy neoprene sleeve that matches well with the stock of your shotgun. Notably, there is a selection of foam inserts that are available in most kits. This could help to raise the comb of your stock. 

What calls for special attention is that these kits work wells with various comb heights. Don’t just alter your weapon as a last resort. Instead, try to find another suitable comb height for your gun. 

Keep Your Eyes Open, Point, And Shoot

Most shotguns always have only a crude bead at the last barrel due to one main reason. When shooting, flying, or running a target, you have to focus mainly on the target. Anyway, this seems not to be simple when you line up the iron sights

With a shotgun, you will eventually need no aim. Just place the gun on the cheek, keep looking at the target, point and then give the best shoot. If you are trying to aim, you may stand the chance of hitting behind the target all the time. 

A great tip that all beginners should know is to point the index finger of the off-hand toward the target to grasp the forend. It does not matter whether you stretch the finger alongside or below the forend. 

Just point the finger at the target (pull ahead if necessary) when you raise the gun to the cheek. Pointing to what you are focusing on is quite natural, as we all have that tendency since we were toddlers. 

Practice And Practice

Typically, our shooting targets are fast-moving and appear suddenly. Therefore, the shooting form should be a no-brainer. There is hardly any time for you to walk mentally step by step, raise the gun to your cheek, and find the shoulder pocket. These movements have to be instinctive, fluid, and natural as well. As a consequence, all you need to do is to keep practicing, and practice makes perfect.

Sometimes, to the budget concern, ammunition is a little bit overpriced. Therefore, we may feel frustrated more whenever we miss a goal. The best advice here is to practice as much as possible at home before coming to the shooting range. This method is much more economical and less discouraging as well. 

Safety First

Before directly practicing the correct way to shoulder a shotgun, make sure that your gun is unloaded. If you are careless in this step, numerous serious injuries could exist. So check the shotgun several times to gain the highest safety for you and other people.

Mirror On The Wall

Another practice drill at home is to watch yourself by looking at your reflection in the mirror. You should remember to have an adequate distance between you and the mirror. 

When you lift the stock to the cheek, keep looking and letting the butt slide in the shoulder pocket. This simple exercise will help you to complete the motion perfectly when shouldering the shotgun. 


So what is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun? With all the step-by-step explanations above, 300AACBlackout Team bet you have got the answer. Trust us! Always keep practicing all methods we have mentioned above patiently many times, and you will get the best shooting results ever.

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