Someone may even have gone so far as to say, “It seems a little high, but just press your cheek a little harder into the stock.”
This scenario is played out time after time in gun stores across America. Unless the buyer, the friend or the sales guy is qualified to do gun fittings, the buyer is setting themselves up for major problems down the road. I know this because I have experienced this first hand and I am now paying the price.
I own a Beretta 391 that I bought over three and a half years ago and for all that time I had thought it fit me like a glove.
Gradually, I began to notice a pattern with my performance that I attributed to everything except gun fit. On any given day, out of one-hundred targets, I would shoot anywhere between the low sixties to high eighties. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for these huge swings in performance.
This consistent inconsistency had gone on for too long. I finally took my own advice about getting help and signed up for a session with a highly qualified shooting instructor, who also just happened to be an experienced gun fitter and stock fabricator.
One of the first things he did was examine my gun fit. “Your comb is WAY too high,” he said. “I’ll bet you see wide swings in your performance.”
He went on to say, “If a course has a bias for right to left targets you’ll do well. Left to right targets will give you issues.”
He was right on both accounts.
Because my comb height was so far off, my unconscious mind had learned to add in a large amount of compensation. He told me that if I wanted to improve, I needed a stock that fit. A properly fitted stock would free my unconscious mind from performing all of the complex calculations it currently required.
To fix my stock he removed over an inch and a half from my comb and narrowed it so my eye would be more precisely aligned with the gun. The result has given me a completely new view on the world of sporting clays. He told me it would take at least 4,000 targets to get use to the new sight picture.
The adjustment has not been easy. At first, with each pull of the trigger everything felt OK, but I almost always missed. I kept adding in the compensation that was no longer needed. It took a few hundred targets to stop applying the compensation to just a few types of targets.
As of this writing I’m about 1,000 targets into it. Gradually, I am learning how to shoot with a properly fitted stock. My scores are now much more consistent and they are steadily climbing from when I first had the stock adjusted.
I can only imagine where I would be in my development if I had my gun properly fitted three and a half years ago.
Ken is a technical writer and has spent the majority of his career documenting storage hardware and software products for start-up companies. Although start-ups demand long hours, he always finds time to get to the club and break some clays. Ken is not a shooting instructor and he is not a professional shooter. He’s part of the majority of people who love to shoot clays just for the sheer fun of it.