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Ask the Instructor: A Swell Palm

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Q: I have a problem with the gun going off before I want it to. I have had the trigger pull measured and it is about 4 to 4.5 pounds yet it happens at least twice in every round. An instructor once told me that I “choke up” on the gun and that might be the cause. He said that I tend to grip the shotgun too far up toward the receiver with my right hand (I’m right handed). I’m a bit shorter than average and have a small hand. What should I do?

A: Yours is a classic case. It sounds like you are shooting with a gun that has a “reach” or trigger-to-grip length that is too large for your hand.

Trigger-to-grip length is the distance between the trigger and the end of the pistol grip of your stock. When this dimension of your shotgun is appropriate for you, your trigger finger easily reaches the trigger when you grip the shotgun naturally and the trigger meets the trigger finger approximately halfway between the end of the index finger and the first knuckle. If your shotgun has a reach that is too long for you, you may need to choke up on the stock to reach the trigger. You my even experience pain in your wrist and sometimes tendinitis. Some shotguns are equipped with an adjustable trigger that can be moved forward or backward to adjust the trigger-to-grip length for a better fit. If yours does not, I strongly recommend that you engage a gun fitter to determine whether or not your gunstock fits you properly.

If it turns out that the trigger-to-grip length of your shotgun is too long, and your gun is not equipped with an adjustable trigger, then your options are limited to the following: 1) get fitted for a custom stock or custom gun, 2) purchase an adjustable stock like Ergosign Evocomp or TSK that offer adjustable stocks in a variety of grip sizes.

If you are in the market for a new shotgun, there are a number of manufacturers that offer shotguns with a variety of grip sizes and trigger-to-grip lengths. All Perazzi’s are customized to the purchaser’s dimensions at no extra charge. Zoli and Caesar Guerini offer custom stock options for an additional fee of about $1,250. Guerini also offers two models that come equipped with a shorter reach: the Summit Compact and Syren over/under shotguns, both with trigger-to-grip lengths that are ¾” shorter than the standard Summit Sporting.

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