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Shotgun 101: Position

Shotgun 101: Position

I’m no stranger to the gun range. I grew up shooting pistols and for several years, that’s all I shot. But one weekend during college, I met the love of my life.... sporting clays.

Sporting clays is one of many shotgun sports. At first, I thought shotgun shooting would be pretty similar to target practice with my 9mm... boy, was I wrong. It takes a lot of practice to perfect your technique. Just like shooting a hand gun or a rifle, you have to learn the fundamentals like position, mount, and sight. But, a big difference from basic target shooting is the element of movement.

In this series, I’ll be going over the basics of shotgun shooting to help you prepare for your own journey to the sporting clays course.

Shotgun Position 

Your position or stance when shooting a shotgun is important. It lays the ground for the rest of your skills to develop. You’ll notice your position will be very different then shooting a rifle or pistol.

First, determine if you’re dominant with your right or left hand. I am right handed so I mount the gun on my right side.

Your feet should be roughly shoulder-width apart. Since I mount my gun on the right side, my left foot fill be positioned in front of my right.

Your forward leg should be slightly bent, supporting about 60% of your weight. Meanwhile, keep your gun side leg mostly straight but be sure you don’t lock your knees.

If you’re having trouble, hinge slightly at the hips. This will help you to lean forward, forcing the majority of your weight on your front foot. This may feel awkward at first. However, this position will allow you to balance and absorb any recoil. If you were to put your weight on your back foot and lean slightly backwards, you risk losing your balance, missing the shot, and having to reposition before you shoot again.

As you can see, I like shooting in my boots. Tennis shoes also make a great choice! Just make sure you’re wearing comfortable, stable closed-toe shoes. This will help you get proper balance for you position.

Everyone will adjust their position depending on their comfort and skill level. I recommending getting with an instructor to help perfect your position. 

Next up, we’ll discuss proper shotgun mount!


This series is a brief overview of shotgun shooting fundamentals. I suggest taking a lesson from a certified instructor at your local club or range, or signing up for the NRA’s Basics of Shotgun Shooting Course.

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