Barrel Angle

Question:

I’ve taken lessons from many of the top instructors and I’ve been taught two different approaches to setting barrel angle at the hold point. The first method calls for the angle of the barrel to remain oriented on the target line and trace the target’s line smoothly through the breakpoint. The other method starts with a lower barrel angel at the hold point. As I move toward the breakpoint, both hands move in unison with equal force as I mount just before the break point. Which is correct?

Answer:

Neither technique is wrong and the proper barrel angle for a given target can vary depending on the character of the target.

With the first method your back hand moves more than your front hand, your front hand acts like more of an anchor for your move, and muzzle movement is reduced during your mount and move. Theoretically you could pull the trigger at any time during your mount and move and break the target. The second method you mention eliminates any possibility of “see-sawing” or “muzzle wobble”, and keeps the muzzle from occluding the target or target line during the mount and move.

There is actually a third “barrel angle technique” which involves keeping the muzzle on the target line and using mostly the back hand to get the gun mounted and to the target. This third technique might be appropriate for a fast, longer distance, trap-like target when shooting FITASC. While either of the other two barrel angle techniques will work on any target, I would suggest that the first technique (keeping the muzzle angle oriented on the target line throughout the mount and move) would be more effective on targets with a flat trajectory like a flat line crossing target or flat line quartering target and less effective on transitioning targets. By “transitioning target”, I mean targets that are changing trajectory, speed or both at the breakpoint.

With transitioning targets, the chance of occluding the target with the muzzle runs much higher using this technique and keeping the muzzle a bit farther away from the target line is more appropriate. The second technique you mentioned (both hands moving in unison to the breakpoint) will work on any target but does generate more muzzle movement. I personally use the first technique on flat trajectory targets and the second technique on targets that are transitioning at the breakpoint.

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