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How to Improve with Sporting Clays

How to Improve with Sporting Clays

By Shooting Tips No Comments

Without question, the past few years have put people around the world to the test.  The COVID pandemic has been horrible, and people have had to find alternate ways to be entertained. They found that being outside was both healthy and enjoyable. Enter the clay target shooting sports like trap, skeet, sporting clays, and other clay games. Outdoor pursuits that men, women, and children found habit-forming.  

1. Make Clay Shooting Work for You

When it comes to new shooters, the sporting clays game has attracted the most participants.  The game is similar to golf in many ways and people find it to be fun and very social. There are millions of people who shoot clays for pure recreation and fun. Those who have discovered the game strive to get better at it. So how can a sporting clays enthusiast improve his or her game? There are many ways, but it is always best to learn the basics first, as the fundamentals of the game will always give a shooter something to fall back on when scores are inconsistent.  

2. The Clay Shooting Basics

The most basic fundamental of clay shooting is how to use your vision. The eyes send information to the brain which guides the hands and the gun. In sporting, you will use what is defined as a visual focal point. That is the area in the flight of a target when it becomes crystal clear to your vision as it leaves the trap.  

In most instances, it is best not to look right at the trap for the target.  The starting point for the muzzle of the gun should be just ahead of where the target is visible to your vision and just below the line of the target where you plan to shoot it.  This lets the gun travel to the target and forwards for the lead while staying on the line of the target as it moves. 

In sporting clays, you can view the targets that will be shot on a station. This allows you to make a plan of attack for that target or pair of targets.  When the targets emerge from the trap, determine where the first target shot will be seen, and pick a spot in its flight that you have to break it. At the breakpoint, what is the target doing? Is it rising, falling, turning left or right? Making a plan on how to shoot a target is key to your success.  

You will find that lead pictures are solely based on the angle of the target presentation when the shot is taken. The more a target crosses in front of you, the more lead the target will take.  As the target angle decreases, the lead to hit it also decreases. As a result, quartering targets take much less lead than crossing targets when shot at the same distance and speed. 

3. The Mechanics

Developing the mechanics of a proper gun mount is important but getting the eyes slightly above and just left or right of the gun to see the target before the gun sees it is critical. As you see the target you can move the gun to it, in order to then establish your desired lead picture. This allows you to see the target clearly without trying to find it with the muzzle of the gun. When the eyes see the target first, the gun can be moved precisely to where the eyes are focused.  

There are so many elements to a successful shot, but these are a few of the fundamentals of the sporting clays game that will help you build your game quickly.  Job one is to get the gun comfortable to shoot.  Once that is done shoot as often as you can and enjoy the ride to the top. 

You will find that selecting a gun that is comfortable to shoot is the first step to improving your scores. A properly fitted shotgun is key to instant improvement since a fitted gun will shoot where you look and will offer less recoil.  

4. Recoil and How to Fix it

Speaking of recoil, many shooters are concerned about just how much recoil or kick the gun they are shooting will put on their shoulders and face. The shooting industry has come up with several recoil suppressing products that do reduce the felt recoil of a shotgun.  

One product on the market is a recoil pad by Falcon Strike.  This pad utilizes a Hydraulic Dampening technology developed by the military and the aerospace industry to distribute and soften recoil in the shoulder and face of a shooter.  The company claims that when using the pad there is 80% less recoil energy, and 35% less muzzle jump, which significantly reduces overall felt recoil.  Independent testing indicates that the product does significantly reduce the felt recoil of a shotgun and reduces the muzzle jump which allows shooters to more quickly locate and shoot the second target of a pair.  With a shotgun that is comfortable to shoot, you can learn to play the sporting clays game.  

Make your next Sporting Clays outing more comfortable with the FalconStrike Hydraulic Recoil Pad! 

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Wood Stocks

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Synthetic Stocks

Marty Fisher

By Marty Fisher
Marty Fischer is one of America’s best-known outdoor personalities. He is the host of the Wing & Clay Nation radio series and has been a fixture on national outdoor television for more than a quarter century. Millions have read his articles in numerous outdoor and lifestyle magazines. For the past three decades he has dedicated his life to his passion for the outdoors as a shooting professional, television and video host, shooting instructor, gun club design and business consultant, outdoor writer and book author, public speaker and volunteer instructor for youth shooting sports programs across the country.

5 tips to improve trap shooting

5 Tips To Improve Trap Shooting

By Shooting Tips No Comments

Many people are drawn to trap shooting because of the inherent challenge of competing against themselves in a constant quest to be a better shooter today than they were yesterday. By virtue of this, in the game of trapshooting, everyone is a student. Beginners and experienced pros alike know they must continually improve their game to get to the next level and achieve the next goal they’ve set for themselves. Whether you’ve shot 100 targets or 10,000, these five tips will help to improve your trap shooting.

1. Establish proper gun fit

When shooting trap or any other discipline of shotgun sports, gun fit is a key element. The criticality of the proper gun fit cannot be overstated, as gun fit can impact your ability to acquire and break the target. It can also affect how much you can comfortably practice, your endurance during an event, and the way you feel for days after the event due to soreness and bruising from recoil, or lack thereof.

Most guns meant to be sold off-the-shelf are built for an “average” height and build shooter. This means there are few shooters who buy a gun that fits them perfectly without some modification. Fitting your gun may include length alteration, comb height adjustment, or cast change. There are excellent gun fitters all over the country and it’s likely that your local trap club staff can recommend one in your area.

2. Create a routine

As experts on the mental game will agree, it’s never too early – or late – to start thinking about the mental game. One key tenant of being successful at the mental game of trap is creating and adhering to a consistent routine while you’re on the trap line.

An effective routine will help you to keep your mind clear of distractions, prevent nerves from derailing your performance, and encourage repeatable success. A pre-shot routine can and should vary by individual and could be as simple as “Deep breath. Close the gun. Mount the gun high on your shoulder. Find your hold point. Call for the bird.” You can customize the routine to include the key elements of your process you want to focus on.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Practice is a key element to becoming an expert in any hobby you pursue. However, the quality of the practice is significantly more important than the quantity. When you go to the range for a practice session, ensure that you’re intentional with your goals for that day. Some days, it may mean that you focus only on left hand targets. Others, it may be that you load two shells and shoot the target with one, then the biggest chip of the broken target with your second shot to train your body to keep your head on the gun after the shot. Whatever your daily goal may be, make sure that you are using your time on the practice field to achieve it or learn from it.

4. Find a shooting buddy

While shooting alone is often more efficient while practicing, shooting with a buddy can springboard your progress. Often, when you shoot alone, you find a different rhythm than when you shoot with others. Too much solo shooting can lead to a difficult transition when shooting a competition with a full squad. A consistent shooting partner is often the first person to realize if you’ve made an unintentional change in your technique, which can prevent hours of frustration down the road. Have your shooting partner regularly photograph and video you while shooting. Like how professional sports teams reviewing their tapes after a game, you can use these images and videos to review your technique, experiment with adjustments, and pinpoint areas of improvement. This is also a great way to track change over time and to document how your shooting has evolved.

5. Stick with what works

When you find the choke combination that you love, or a favorite shell load, or a vest that fits you very comfortably – don’t change it. Sometimes in the pursuit of perfection, we scrap something great in favor of something good, and it can impact months of progress. When possible, if you find something you like, stick with it. Too often, we see shooters adjust their gun during the week, then post their personal best score over the weekend, only adjust their gun more the next week! If you do need to trial something new, make sure to give yourself enough time to determine if it’s better or worse than your previous solution. Then, make your decision and don’t waver from it until you have a reason to try something else. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Make your next Trap Shooting outing more comfortable with the FalconStrike Hydraulic Recoil Pad! 

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Wood Stocks

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Synthetic Stocks


By Mimi Wilfong
Mimi has traveled the world shooting trap and helice, and has a full trophy case to commemorate the trips. She’s currently president of the United States Helice Association and on the board of directors at the Dallas Gun Club. In her spare time, Mimi volunteers with a number of conservation and youth shooting organizations and tries, often unsuccessfully, to keep her amazing dog, Hoss (Deutsch Drahthaar) out of trouble.

trap shooting recoil reduction

What is Trap Shooting?

By Shooting Tips No Comments

Where Trap Shooting Began

Trap Shooting Olympics

Contestants in the live pigeon shoot: Maurice Fauré (France), Léon de Lunden (Belgium), Donald Mackintosh (Australia)

Trapshooting is the oldest of the clay target sports. We owe it all to Marin le Bourgeoys from Normandy in France. In the early 1600s, he improved the existing flintlock so that the lock time became quick enough to shoot flushed game birds. Bird hunting started to catch on. In England, in the late 18th century live pigeons were released from boxes or traps and shot as a practice for bird hunting. In the late 19th century, glass balls were thrown in the air as targets were substituted for live pigeons.

Trapshooting started in the USA around 1825 using those glass balls filled with feathers. Annie Oakley once shot 4,722 out of 5,000 of them. Later, around 1880, clay targets, called “clay pigeons” for obvious reasons, were substituted for glass balls. Shooting clay pigeon targets from traps became so popular in the USA and elsewhere that a form of trap was included in the 1900 Olympic Games. It has remained almost uninterrupted to this day.

American Trap
The Trap Shooting We Know Today

Today, an American trap field has a single laterally oscillating trap that throws the bird 50 yards starting at just under 50 mph. Target height doesn’t vary and is set at 8 to 10 feet. The sidewise angle at which the targets are thrown varies 34° or a little more. The random oscillation of the target is what makes the game challenging as you don’t know where the bird is going until it is released.

There are five shooting positions in a curved row 16 yards behind the trap. In Sixteen Yard trap, each shooter in turn calls for his single target and takes one shot. Shooters get five targets on each station for a total of 25. You can see a trap field diagram and read the rules at the website of the governing body of traps in the USA, the Amateur Trapshooting Association, at www.shootata.com.


Handicap and Doubles Trap

American trap also includes Handicap traps and Doubles. Behind each 16-yard shooting station, there is a line of stations extending back to 27 yards. Depending on a shooter’s handicap classification, he will shoot handicap from an increased distance back. This increases the difficulty and requires more precision. The target is the same as in a 16-yard trap, but the shooters are further away and require even more precision.

The third type of trap the ATA sponsors is the Double trap where the shooter has two shots at two targets thrown at the same time. This is shot on the same field and the shooters line up on the 16-yard line, but the trap machine is fixed and does not oscillate the way it does on singles. However, the shooting angle does change as the shooter moves from station to station.

Other Trap Games

Those are the three games covered by the American trap. But wait, there’s more. The rest of the world also has slightly different trap games. Down The Line, DTL is quite popular in the English Commonwealth countries. The field and machine settings are about the same as the American trap. The main difference in DTL is that you can shoot twice at a single bird if you miss the first time. There is also Wobble Trap. Wobble Trap is where a standard trap field uses a vertically and horizontally oscillating machine throwing the usual 50 yards.

Olympic Trap

And then there is the Olympic trap game, also called Bunker or Trench. It is shot all over the world. The field is about the same as it is for American trap, but it stops there. Instead of one horizontally oscillating machine, there are fifteen fixed traps set in a ground-level bunker 16 yards in front of the five shooting stations.

There are three machines in front of each shooter. Each machine is set to throw the target up to 83 yards at almost 65 mph. Making it much faster than the American trap. The machines are also set to vary laterally up to 90°. There is a considerable vertical variance too, so the targets go all over the place. A computer governs the machine sequences and assures that each shooter ends up with the same presentations at the end of the round while the shot order is different. On the plus side, you do get two shots at each target. On the downside, you can only use ⅞ oz shot shells, as opposed to the 1-⅛ oz permitted in American trap, so you have fewer pellets on your side.

Most Popular

Trap, in one form or another, is still the most popular of the clay target games. It can provide a wide variety of difficulty levels and appeal to shooters of all ages and experience levels. These clay pigeons don’t have feathers, but they sure can be challenging and fun.

Bruce Buck

By Bruce Buck
Bruce Buck has championships in both International Skeet and Sporting Clays. He has also been a coach at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado. He writes for Clay Shooting USA and Shooting Sportsman magazines as well as the website www.ShotgunReport.com.

Make your next Trap Shooting outing more comfortable with the FalconStrike Hydraulic Recoil Pad! 

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Wood Stocks

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Synthetic Stocks

Sporting Clays

Sporting Clays: A Gateway to Shooting Sports

By Shooting Tips One Comment

In an age where politics and personal opinions seem to reign supreme, the essence of “fun” has been lost in many areas.  The sporting world is no exception.  Polarized by 2nd Amendment conversations and passionate posturing, the shooting sports have been hit hard by current societal norms.  That said, I am an incurable optimist.  If you’re ready for good news, read on!

Shooting Clay PigeonsThe Fun Factor

Enter: sporting clays.  A few decades ago, the idea was conceived to create “hunting-reminiscent” shooting scenarios to both entertain and challenge the intrepid bird hunter.  So, shotguns in hand, shooters across America took to the sporting clays course and tried their hand at dynamic target presentations and diverse shooting scenarios set within more natural environments.

Sporting clay shooting is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, with some 13 million estimated participants in the United States, it’s hard to imagine a time when it wasn’t a major part of the shooting landscape. (Source: Brays Island)

Today, sporting clays has morphed into its own realm, with many participants engaging in that shotgun shooting discipline only.  This means a couple of things.  First, the guns and gear are somewhat different for sporting clays than the more traditional disciplines of trap and skeet, thus opening up entirely new markets for manufacturers.  Second, and more important for our conversation, sporting clays is an experience, not just a sport.

Let’s look at that last thought and how it creates a gateway, not just a sub-set.

Golf With a Shotgun

Sporting Clay Score Card

Sporting Clay Score Card – Photo Credit: Undead Earth

When I explain to non-shooters what the different shotgun games entail, I describe sporting clays as “golf with a shotgun.”  It’s a cultural experience focused on multi-location challenges, focus, mental game, physical fluidity and competitive acumen.  It also happens to involve guns.

On the competitive side, an “X” means a broken bird.  Most sporting clays courses are set in a baseline of 50 targets with the option to shoot 100.  The more Xs on the score card, the better!

Here is where sporting clays become the gateway to the sporting world.  Some non-shooters/anti-gun enthusiasts shut off when “guns” are mentioned.  Sporting clays takes the emphasis off the gun and puts the focus on the skill, capacity, social desires and competitive edge of the individual instead.  The upshot to this is that individuals previously completely opposed to “going to the range” now have a much more socially acceptable outlet in which to participate.

The Basics of Sporting Clays

Let’s break down three components.

  • Safety is priority number one.  This is an unwavering concept found across the shooting disciplines, including sporting clays.
  • Etiquette: In addition to the golden tenets of gun safety, there are also range etiquette mores sporting clays shooters are expected to follow. This can include (but is not limited to) things like, the number of show birds a squad may receive, guns remain open and empty unless in the stand and ready to shoot, no back up shooting, conversation volume while a shooter is in the stand, etc…  Generally, there is not a dress code specific to the sport, but there may be one for the actual course/venue.
  • Stands: On the subject of stands, there can be a lot of latitude here.  Some sporting clays courses have elaborate structures that are covered, boast comfortable seating and feel like spacious pavilions from which you happen to shoot.  Other courses have a stake or hula hoop in/on the ground delineating the general area for the shooter to stand.
  • Recoil: Recoil can limit endurance and accuracy over the course of an afternoon round. Recoil pads like FalconStrike can make a round of sporting clays more enjoyable.

To traverse from stand to stand, the options depend upon the place.  Some courses have concrete cart paths and golf carts putt from one stand to the next.  Others have more of a walking focused course, with the overall distance and terrain geared toward those looking for more physical engagement.

Sporting Clays StandWhether walking a narrow, wooded trail to a primitive station or cruising a double-wide cart path to a luxurious station in a custom cart, there is an undeniable symmetry when the gun closes and “Pull” rings out.  Sporting clays is the ideal recreational access point for people of diverse ages, personalities and priorities to engage in the shooting sports.

For those of us already living and loving life at the range, it is our calling to share this experience as positively and prolifically as we can.  Sporting clays is the gateway to the shooting world.  It helps create community amongst strangers and social acceptance in previously unacceptable (to some) activities.

When that new shooter steps up to the stand, calls “pull” and breaks that first target, the only thing that matters is the universal “I got it” smile when they step off the stand.  That’s what sporting clays is about – fun, community, camaraderie and breaking barriers like they’re clay targets.  Shooter ready?

Andrea Bogard

By Andrea Bogard
Andrea has been an NSCA Level 1 instructor since 2001, specializing in introducing people of all ages to the shotgun sports.  She is an avid hunter and has chased both fur and feathers in locales around the world with rifle, shotgun and bow.  She resides in Northern Michigan with her two sons.  Learn more at andreabogard.com

Make your next Sporting Clay outing more comfortable with the FalconStrike Hydraulic Recoil Pad! 

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Wood Stocks

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Synthetic Stocks

Best Recoil Pad For Long Range Shooting

A Few Points On Recoil Pads For Long Range Shooting

By Shooting Tips No Comments

Long-range shooting has become synonymous with precision shooting. Gone are the days of just hitting a large steel gong at super long distances. Today shooters are focused on shooting small controlled groups at what previously would-be unheard-of distances. The factors that go into this are many and include a newly developed interest in the long-range arena. Equally as important however are advancements in equipment and technology. The term MOA or minute of angle refers to the size of a group of shots at a specific distance. Its baseline is set at 100 yards and is equal to a one-inch group at this distance. So, a one MOA rifle will be able to shoot one-inch groups at one hundred yards. Not that many years ago, a MOA or especially a sub-MOA gun was a unique and special production. The reality today is quite the opposite. Finding a gun that is not MOA capable is the anomaly in the firearms industry.

Run the gun

The X factor in all of this, however, is more than just the gun and its ability to perform. The person running the gun must be capable to do what they need to do in order to experience that level of performance. In short, you need to be able to run the gun well in order to get the precision it is capable of. There are many factors that go into this with a mix of training and supplemental equipment. Training on the techniques and methodology behind precision shooting is critical simply because it is unique to that arena.

Long Range Shooting Mechanics and Equipment

While obvious things like smooth trigger press and follow-through are found in all shooting skills, the ability to get a good position on the rifle and knowledge of ballistics are also important. Equipment-wise, a serious shooter needs good optics on their gun. Clear, reliable, and durable scopes are one of the cornerstones of accuracy. To many, this is a well-known principle. There is however another item that many shooters overlook, a well-made recoil pad. The laws of physics never take a day off and are a major part of long-range precision shooting. This is, even more, the case in rifle shooting above handgun or even shotgun for that matter because hyper precision is involved.

When the gun is fired, there are a series of events that generate recoil on the gun. There is no escaping it and if not managed correctly, it will ruin your chance of enjoying serious accuracy. A good recoil pad helps in a few ways:

  1. Mitigates excessive push against the shooter’s shoulder, which can push the shooter out of position even slightly.
  2. Improves the shooter’s ability to get back on target quickly and reengage with follow up shots.
  3. Large caliber rifles without a recoil pad will affect a shooter’s physical and psychological mindset in training and competition. Recoil becomes annoying at first and then painful. This can lead to losing focus on the task and worse, a preemptive flinch in anticipation of the discomfort that is headed their way when the next shot fires. This flinch will eliminate any hope at high-performance accuracy. A recoil pad can mitigate these effects.

In most cases, there are slide on rubber devices that have a variety of air spaces or proprietary honeycomb “shock-absorbing” designs. Some provide a modest amount of relief while others are nothing more than a hard piece of rubber attached to your gun.

Hydraulic Recoil Pad for Long Range Shooters

There is another device that falls into the category yet should actually be in a category by itself. It is a custom fit recoil pad that utilizes patented hydraulic dampening technology. This is the FalconStrike and it borrows its design from the aerospace industry. This advanced recoil pad converts up to 80% of the generated recoil energy into heat. That heat, in turn, is then absorbed and distributed evenly at the point of contact with the body. The hydraulic fluid in the device works to match the shooter’s body shape that contours the shoulder when the gun is fired. The result of this is that the gun wraps around you as opposed to the shooter wrapping around the gun. The device touts some very impressive numbers as well. It provides 80% less recoil energy, 35% less muzzle rise, 25% less peak force, and 35% less rock back.

While it may sound cliché, the FalconStrike Hydraulic Recoil Reduction System takes care of everything. The beauty of this design for precision shooting is that it allows the shooter to more effectively stay on target while experiencing no discomfort. It is one item that while overlooked by many, should be an essential part of any precision rifle set up.


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Do recoil pads work?

Do Recoil Pads Work?

By Shooting Tips 2 Comments

Recoil will NEVER be totally eliminated, but it can be very easily managed to seem as though it has. So, yes, they do work as long as the recoil pad is made properly.

No matter what firearm platform you choose to shoot there is one ever-present factor that plagues them all. One undeniable force that has caused not only frustration but depending on the firearm literal physical discomfort as well. This force that most shooters consistently fight against is recoil. The amount of recoil can drastically differ between different firearms. Some have less and are much easier to run while others may make you feel as though you’ve physically taken a beating. Regardless of the recoil amount, the simple fact remains that’s it’s always there.

Recoil is an Issue We are Constantly Combatting.

Sharpening our shooting skills and fundamentals can help. Through proper grip, stance and trigger control we can absorb and dissipate recoil with our bodies. In no way are we getting rid of recoil, we are just learning how to control it better. Utilizing your body for this is much easier when it comes to shooting handguns. Switching it up to certain rifles and shotguns however, this becomes a much more difficult task. Even with proper grip and stance, there’s a certain amount of recoil shooters have just accepted as part of the process. Waking up after a long-range session to sore arms and possible bruises have become expected and we just deal with it.

Over the years certain products have come to light that actually aid in recoil management. The one I want to shed light on today are recoil pads and the common question of’ “Do recoil pads really work? I could list out reviews from the general public showing statistical answers, but I really don’t feel that is truly beneficial. That is still only an “opinion” and not fact. Instead, I want to bring out black and white facts, physics and concrete reasons to support what I believe to be true, that recoil pads do in fact work.


Hydraulic Recoil Pad for Wood Stocks

First, we need to understand recoil. Newton’s third law comes into play with every action having an equal and opposite reaction which goes hand in hand with momentum conservation. I promise not to inundate you with a long-winded physics lesson here, but it is important to understand the principle. Every round and shell has a certain amount of gun powder, or “explosive material”. When the firing pin strikes, the “explosive” is ignited causing the round/shell to propel forward from the gun, this is Primary Recoil. Once this happens the gas that is released from behind the round/shell accelerates the gun backward. This is Secondary Recoil.

Primary Recoil is not the Recoil That we Feel.

What’s socking us in the shoulder is the effect of the secondary recoil. Depending on what you’re shooting the aftermath can be quite painful. Without proper grip and stance, shooter’s often end up stumbling back, or worse yet, on the ground. When the correct shooting fundamentals are there, shooters can handle and absorb the recoil but typically with a painful price that follows a bit later. This is where products such as a recoil pad come into play.

There are many manufacturers who have come out with recoil pads promising an elimination of recoil. The question is, do recoil pads really work?

Now that we understand primary and secondary recoil as it pertains to Newton’s third law, it should be evident that incorporating a barrier between you and the stock should be able to protect you from the punishing effects of recoil. Recoil will NEVER be totally eliminated, but it can be very easily managed to seem as though it has. So, yes, they do work as long as the recoil pad is made properly. Not all recoil pads are even in the same league. Any soft barrier will obviously help take out the “sting” but only a well-designed recoil pad will make you really feel the difference.

Remington-Hydraulic-Recoil-Pad-for-870As a consumer, you need to be looking for a product that does more than just soften the blow. A good recoil pad should reduce the recoil energy, muzzle life, peak force and rock back. This is done through scientifically converting the recoil energy into heat which causes it to be absorbed and distributed evenly at the point of contact, which would be the shoulder. This energy conversion is typically done through water or air which expands to wrap the recoil pad around your body vs you wrapping your body around the gun. When utilizing a good recoil pad you should notice quite a difference in your shooting such as; less flinching, less pulling and less compensating for absorbing felt recoil.

A sound recoil pad that is scientifically engineered beyond just “another rubber pad” absolutely works when paired with good shooting fundamentals. Utilizing recoil pads will enhance your shooting experience and enable you to shoot longer. They are also a wonderful option when introducing people that may be more timid or fearful into the shooting realm. Shooting doesn’t have to be punishing, with the right products that are true to what they claim it can be a very enjoyable experience that doesn’t leave any punishing effects.

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Wood Stocks

  • Hydraulic Multi-Fit Recoil Pad for Synthetic Stocks


Five Clay Shooting Tips For Beginners

By Shooting Tips No Comments

Clay pigeon shooting is one of the most exciting activities you can do to enhance your shooting skills. While there are three types you can choose from, the goal is the same–shoot small clay discs out of the sky.

This sport is ideal for shooters because it gives them a moving target to try to pick off. Numerous hunters have sworn their shooting skills improved tremendously after engaging in clay shooting. It is also a sport enjoyed by all types of shooters and not just hunters.

Are you interested in shooting clays? Below are five tips to get you started.

1. Prioritize safety, all the time

In any shooting sport, the foremost concern should be the safety not only of the shooter but also the people around him or her.

Proper gun safety is essential that if you have no idea about it, you’d rather learn about it even before you think of shooting clays. The basics include never loading a weapon until you are ready to shoot and unloading your gun before you step away from the shooting line.

It is also important to always wear appropriate protection for your eyes and ears. As for your clothes, it is recommended that you wear shirts with tight sleeves because baggy sleeves may get caught on your weapon as you mount it.

2. Open both eyes when shooting

recoil shotgun pad

Photo credit: Jeff Wilson – Range 365

It goes without saying that clay shooting is a sport where eyes are of paramount importance. You’d likely think, though, that you will need to open your dominant eye and close the other. However, most experts highly discourage it.

The one-eyed technique has long been preferred by clay shooting enthusiasts. It’s been passed down from generation to generation. The main advantage of it is that it eliminates visual confusion. But it can also put you at a disadvantage because you can’t fully determine how far the bird is from you, or how quickly it is moving.

Open both your eyes to get the best shot, experts advise (image source: telegraph.co.uk)

Our brain has timing circuits designed for two eyes. When you shoot with just one eye, you would lose depth perception, field vision, and total vision. Using both eyes, meanwhile, lets you read angles and distances a lot better. You can also determine leads which are critical in hunting and sporting clays. Using two eyes would also let you see the targets rising behind the gun. It would also let you hold it higher over a trap house.

In short, it is a lot easier to hit a moving target when you have two eyes open.

3. Perfect your stance


The position of your body or your stance is equally important. It can be said that the stance is the foundation of a successful clay shooting. If you can adopt the correct stance, then you should be able to take better shots. Adopting the right stance will also enable you to swing your body and follow the flight of the clay.

Image source: shootinguk.co.uk

But what is the right stance? Let’s start with the position of the feet. Your feet should be slightly open and around shoulder-width apart. Your forward knee must be slightly bent while the rear leg is kept straight. Position your upper body to lean slightly forward from your waist up.

Aim to place about 60% of your weight on the forward leg while the rear gets the remaining 40%.

4. Proper gun mount

Like your body stance, the proper gun mount can determine your success in clay shooting. Unfortunately, many shooters fail to mount their guns properly. The most common mistake would have to be mounting the gun after acquiring the target, putting their head down, and then trying to find their target with the end of the muzzle. What would that result in? The shooters simply fail to hit their target.

Also, many novice shooters raise their heads off their weapons because they anticipate recoil, or they simply want to see the clays break. But if you raise your head, you will most likely miss the shot. So, you should aim to keep your head down all the time.

So, how should you mount your gun? First is to acquire your target before mounting your gun to your face and shoulder. Then take the shot! Moreover, do not forget to insert the muzzle in front of the bird.

You can practice this by making 10 practice mounts a part of your daily routine. Try practicing in front of a mirror so you can see to it that you are mounting the gun the right way and in a consistent manner.

5. Continue swinging

After you have acquired your target and squeezed the target, you may be tempted to stop the swing of your pistol. This is one of the top causes of missed shots in clay shooting.

Yet after firing off your shot, you ought to continue the movement of the muzzle on the same plane on which you were formerly moving. This can be likened to a golf swing. If you aren’t familiar with the sport, golfers do not strike the ball and then stop their momentum. They continue to swing to have better control of their shot and therefore, lead to improved accuracy.

Think of it this way: your swing starts at 10 o’clock and it’s 12 o’clock when the muzzles are on your target. Continue the swing through the birds and you’ll be able to pull the trigger at about 2 o’clock.

Of course, a bonus tip for anyone aspiring to be good at clay shooting is to practice as much as possible. If you want to be good at this sport, then you should devote enough time to training. This can help you change something that you are missing or lacking.

If you find yourself shooting for hours on end, make sure to mitigate the punishing effects with a recoil pad.

In short, clay shooting is an enjoyable and exciting activity to get into especially if you are fond of shooting. It can also improve your shooting skills. Follow the five tips shared in this article and you could be on your way to being good at clay shooting.

By Bobby Norman – an avid blogger with particular interests in guns and shooting.