What is the correct way to shoulder a shotgun?

To shoulder a shotgun, ensure you shot exactly what you are targeting. A shotgun shoot is different from a rifle shoot, and if you are shooting the weapon as a rifle, then you are doing it in the wrong way. Shotguns are ideal at shooting sporting clays, bounding whitetails, or moving targets. However, for you to succeed in this, you need to practice appropriate shooting methods.

If you are using or practicing improper shooting method, you will have a hard time in your shooting. As a result, you will end up being a frustrated person. It is important to note that, when using a shotgun, there is no aiming, all you need to do is to focus and shoot. The only way to make your focus and shoot more effective is to use the right way to shoulder a shotgun. The following techniques will help you on how to shoulder a shotgun to your perfection.

Start with your cheek.

Having an appropriate cheek weld is the essential component in consistent shotgun shooting. You need to set the firearm to your cheek and not vice versa so that you keep your eye on the moving target. The right method of doing this is taking the butt on your right-side face and let it be the touching point. To ensure that the shotgun is up to your face, erect your head and maintain visual contact with your target. Then, ensure the gun is in the shoulder pocket and the right eye at the pinnacle of the firearm. After affirming that position, you will realize that the stock of the weapon will be on your base neck.

How to find the pocket

Once you have the firearm on your cheek, the stock is supposed to lay in the base neck. If the butt slides from the neck, you need to push your shoulder onward or pull the firearm inside the shoulder pocket tightly. The shoulder pocket is found underneath your collarbone, just where the shoulder connects with the collarbone. In case you are having a problem to fit the butt at the base neck while trying to maintain an excellent cheek weld, you might be having a shotgun that is not fit for you. To overcome this challenge, lean into your firearm and keep the knees at an angle of 45 degrees. In case this does not work for you, you require a shotgun that has a more significant stock.

Always open your eyes, point, and shoot.

If you are a beginner, tip the index finger and stretch your hand straight, pointing the target while gripping the forend. Then, point your finger at the target and raise the gun to your cheek. Your main objective when shooting running or flying targets is that your focal point needs to be on target. This is because when using a shotgun, there is no aiming. If you keep on aiming, the chances are you will shoot behind the target always. You need to put your firearm on your right-side of your face, let your eyes be on the prey and fire.


Just as the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect,” this adage is true when it comes to shotgun shooting. You need to practice for you to achieve perfection when shooting jumping rabbits and deer in the thicket. Since your targets are fast-moving and give you no warning, shooting requires no-brainer. The movements you make need to be more natural and intuitive.


It is essential to practice the basics once and another until you can do them without any referral. More practice is ideal in creating muscle memory. It is, therefore, advisable to practice the right way to shoulder a shotgun until your body is used to it.