An Expert Guide to Gun Fitting

If you’re going to read one blog post this year, make it this one!

I am regularly asked by fellow ‘Lady Guns’ about gun fitting and the importance of this.  I thought it would be a great idea to get some advice from an expert in this field to share with you all! I caught up with Kevin Phillips from Sportarm (he helped me with my own gun fit) to ask him some of your questions. Kevin has 30 years experience in this field and is a leading authority on the subject.

Below is the full Q&A session with Kevin…

Why is it important to have your gun fitted? 

A shotgun doesn’t have a rear site, your eye becomes the rear site. When the gun is fitted perfectly it will shoot where you look. You need to ensure your eye sits so it is aligned with the centre of the rib. Up until ten years ago people gave little concern to gun fit and even longer ago guns could be bought mail order and delivered straight to the door; when you think of how things were back then it is really shocking.

I think it is essential you buy your gun from someone who can carry out the ­­­­­­­­fitting; in my opinion it is morally wrong to sell someone a gun without checking the alignment. It would be like selling shoes to someone that don’t fit properly. Not only will their shooting be ‘off’ but they are unlikely remain a customer as you gave them poor advice originally. Sometimes you will need the client to get used to their new gun first to ensure they are mounting their gun the same every time before you start measuring for fit, but this is something that can be discussed when selling/buying the gun and depends on the level of their experience.


What areas of the gun are we talking about when it comes to gun fitting? 

The only part of the gun that can be adjusted for fit, is the stock, and there are different areas of the stock we can adjust. Firstly, the rake of the pistol grip – this is the amount the stock curves back from the action. If there was a large distance here someone with smaller hands might not reach the trigger comfortably. You can also adjust the measurement of the comb which is the part of the stock where your face sits; and this can be heightened or lowered depending on your facial structure. We can adjust the cast; either left or right depending on which side you shoot and the heel and toe of the stock can also be adjusted to fit your body.


What are the common issues female shooters have with their gun fit? 

Female shooters often struggle with the size of the grip due to generally having smaller hands; meaning the rake of the pistol grip would need to be altered to reduce the distance from the grip to the trigger. Because of facial structure (women generally having high cheekbones) a higher comb is usually required so this often needs to be altered. Lastly, the angle of the heel of the stock is normally reduced and cut to suit the body shape of the lady so the recoil isn’t all taken through the toe (the part at the back of the stock that pokes out).


If I get my gun fitted does that mean I won’t ever need to get it done again? 

If your body shape, weight and height stay the same then the likelihood is your gun will continue to fit. However, if you lost weight or were still growing it is likely to need to be changed and this can be as often as yearly. The point of fitting the gun is to enable the eye to align exactly with the middle of the rib, therefore as you change this could affect where your eye sits so it may need re-fitting.


Can you buy gun’s that are aimed specifically at female shooters so there is less work to do on the gun fit? 

Yes you can get guns specifically designed for ladies, but this is a new concept so only a few brands currently offer this. Caesar Guerini have developed a gun aimed at women called the Syren. The launch of this gun was so successful that Beretta have decided to follow suit and have recently produced their own. We too will be launching a Ladies gun later this year so watch this space! Buying a gun aimed at ladies doesn’t mean you won’t need to get this fitted at all though. Because we are all different in shape and size it is unlikely a gun off the ‘shelf’ will ever fit you 100% so you are still likely to need some form of fitting. The main difference between a regular gun and one aimed at female shooters is that a ladies gun will come with a higher comb as standard, however things like the cast and the heel are still most likely going to need to be altered to fit you perfectly.


If I buy a new gun will this come with fitting included in the price or is it something I need to budget for? 

Depending on the work required the average cost of gun fitting can be between £150 and £400. It is unusual for a firearms dealer to try and market a gun with fitting included. The market for guns is so competitive if we market a gun at a higher price to incorporate gun fitting then a buyer is likely to buy the gun cheaper elsewhere as they may not understand that the price advertised is inclusive of gun fit and of course the cost varies for each person.. As such this is usually an additional cost and so is something you should budget for. Depending on the gun and the work involved we may cover this with a new gun so please do contact us.

Someone who can fit a gun will sell you the right gun rather than just one they have over stocked. We have, for example, seen people come in with a left-handed gun when they are right handed, and they have assumed that they are lacking in their shooting ability when in fact the gun fit is completely wrong for them. I think the reason we sell so many guns is due to the fact that we offer a comprehensive service and the correct advice to get our clients the right gun! We are passionate about shooting and want others to enjoy it as much as we do.


Once my gun has been fitted can the work be reversed? 

Yes the process can be changed if it is just reversing the bend in the stock. If you have made a permanent change such as cutting away the stock this is not something that can be reversed but there are ways to combat this. If the stock has been cut too short you can look at fitting a pad to lengthen it to a new measurement. Some people prefer to have the wooden part of their stock shorter so they can accommodate a pad, as some pads, such as the Kick-eez  offer up to 60% recoil absorption.


I would just like to say a massive thank you to Kevin for his help! I hope you have all found this as useful as I did, and it has helped to answer some of the questions you may have had and been afraid to ask.

The Lady Gun x