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Ask The Instructor: Gun Fit

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

Question: There seems to be disagreement about drop at comb. There is a YouTube video that suggests a shooter should be flat on the rib with both beads lined up when the shooter is mounted to the shotgun. I’m confused.

Answer: I can understand the confusion. While we have levels of certification for clay shooting instructors, no such proficiency standards exist for gun fitters. Different gun fitters will vary in their approach to gun fitting. To further complicate matters, trap shooters on average will tend to have the eye slightly higher over the rib than sporting clays and skeet shooters.

In my opinion, and the opinion of a comfortable majority of well-respected gun fitters, the iris (or colored portion of the eye), should sit atop the rib like a marble on a table. If a gun fitter were to look back down the barrel of a safe shotgun from the muzzle end as the shooter is fully and properly mounted to the shotgun, the iris would be completely visible and sitting immediately atop the rib. If the shooter’s eye is positioned this way, the shooter will see a slight amount of rib and the beads will be aligned in a “snowman” configuration with the muzzle bead stacked immediately on top of the mid-rib bead. If a shooter were fitted to a shotgun such that the mid-rib bead and muzzle bead were lined up one behind another, the shooter would see no rib and half of the eye would be blocked by the barrel, reducing the shooter’s visual connection with the target.

There are some well-known and highly proficient shooters who shoot with the eye positioned far above the rib. As shooters grow in proficiency and experience, they will gradually put less pressure on the comb and the position of the eye will rise slightly over time. I advise students to look at the rib under only one condition: When they are cleaning the gun. However, if a sporting clays shooter is properly mounted to the shotgun and peeks at the rib, he will see a bit of rib and “the snowman.”

Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at

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