Finding the Right Shotgun for a Woman

By Home Defense Gun Staffer Shanashotgun for a woman

The Right Shotgun for a Woman

More women these days are getting into shooting and hunting, which is a great thing. But finding the right gun, especially a shotgun, for a woman can be tricky at times. Many women borrow a gun from a man the first time they shoot, and a gun that fits comfortably for a man can often be too big, too long, too heavy, or just plain awkward to hold for a woman.

Many women have smaller frames than men, which includes shorter arms, so a man’s perfect gun often isn’t perfect for women. This can lead to women giving up on shooting because they find it too cumbersome or painful. However, finding the right gun for a woman can make her enjoy it and want to pursue shooting and hunting further.

So how do you find the right gun for a woman?

Here are a few tips that may help.

Make sure the gun isn’t too heavy. A lot of guns are heavy. Period. While a man may find it easy to hold the gun steady while aiming, women may find it much more difficult and this can have a huge effect your targeting. Try holding and aiming a few different guns before selecting one. Find one that you can easily hold steady and that doesn’t feel too heavy in your hands. However, don’t go too light either. You want a gun that’s perfectly balanced for you to help limit the kickback.

Make sure the length of the pull is the right size. The length of the pull is the measurement from the butt of the stock to the trigger. A big problem for women is that the stock may be too long and therefore they can’t hold the gun comfortably. This is especially true for women with smaller frames or shorter arms. Look for guns with shorter stocks or a shorter length of pull in general. If you need a youth model to fit comfortably in your arms, don’t be afraid to try one out! Just because it’s labeled a youth model doesn’t mean that it isn’t as powerful as a full sized gun, it just means that it’s made slightly smaller to fit smaller people. This could very well be the size you need if you’re a smaller woman.

Know which eye is your dominant one. How do you determine your dominant eye? Point to an object in the distance with your index finger. Close your left eye and look at it with just your right. Then close your right eye and look at the object with just your left. Which eye showed your finger closest to the object? This would be your dominant eye. Your dominant eye isn’t always on the same side as your dominant hand. If you’re right handed and right eye dominant, you can choose a right handed gun. If you’re left handed and left eye dominant, choose a left handed gun. But if you’re right handed and left eye dominant or left handed and right eye dominant, you’ll need to either learn to shoot with your non-dominant hand or else keep your dominant eye closed while shooting to force your brain to use your other eye. Once you know which eye is your dominant one and can adjust your behaviors or gun choice as needed, you’ll find shooting much more enjoyable!

Go for a lower gauge. Most men shoot 12 gauge shotguns, but the recoil can be painful for women (not to mention the weight of the gun itself likely being too heavy). Women often bruise easier than men, so don’t be hesitant to go for a 20 gauge shotgun if needed. If you aren’t concerned about the price of ammunition, even something like a 28 gauge shotgun may be the perfect choice for you.

Adjust the pitch of the stock. The butt of the stock usually angles down toward the armpit area. This works for men, but doesn’t work as well for women because of the curve of their bodies in the breast area. For women, the angle and curve should go in the other direction to fit comfortably. You can buy a wedge attachment to change the angle of the pitch on your gun.

Adjust the comb. The comb is the area where your cheekbone would rest while aiming the gun. Women typically have longer necks and higher cheekbones than men, meaning that they likely need a different positioning for the comb on their guns in order to have a comfortable and accurate aim. Try different gun styles to find one that works best for you, or buy an adjustable comb attachment for your gun.

These tips above are just a few that can help make shooting a shotgun more comfortable and enjoyable for women. What works for a man might not always work best for a woman and so it’s okay to look for something different or a few adjustments to keep her coming back to shooting again and again.


Photo credit – Mitch Barrie on Flicker

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