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Ask the Instructor: Visibility

Question: I’m a relatively new shooter and hope to shoot FITASC someday, so I am trying to practice a low-mount approach to as many targets as possible. When shooting at report or true pairs during a sporting clays round, however, and there is a significant delay between the appearance of the first and second target, am I better off to partly or fully dismount for the second target or to stay fully mounted?

Answer: Should we be mounted or unmounted when in our ready position or when transitioning between targets of a pair? Obviously, in FITASC, we are not given an option. We must start from a low gun ready position, according to the rules. But short of this exception, and given a choice, is it best to give the eyes more room to see the target by using a low mount ready position, or is it best to eliminate the inherent inefficiency and excess gun movement and start with the gun on the face?

I’m afraid my answer is not going to be black or white. It comes down to personal preference, shooting ability, visual acuity and preferred shooting style. We typically refer to the distance between the shooter’s lower cheek ledge and the comb of the stock when in the ready position as the “draw length.” You can look at the top 10 shooters in the world and you will find that they use a variety of draw lengths, and many will vary their draw length to the characteristics of a given target or pair.

If you intend to shoot FITASC, I would encourage you to perfect your mount and move to the target when using a low gun ready position. As for my personal approach as both a competitor and coach,I encourage a more dynamic approach when shooting sporting. I believe that the chosen draw length for a given target should be based on a trade-off between visibility and efficiency, given the character of the target or target pair. For a fast, trap-like target or other short-window presentation, I would recommend a pre-mounted approach. For a target with a lot of transition or a long flight time, I would tend toward a longer draw length to allow the eye more freedom to acquire the target.

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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