How to Hold a Hunting Firearm

by Michael Kozlowski
Properly holding your hunting firearm helps you take accurate shots.

Properly holding your hunting firearm helps you take accurate shots.

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Hunting firearms are, generally, shotguns or rifles. In either case, the way to hold the firearm is the same. If you do not hold the firearm correctly, you risk injury from the recoil, will not be able to aim properly and will not shoot consistently. Holding a firearm properly, and practicing shooting the firearm, helps to maximize your chances at making clean, humane kills when hunting.

Items you will need

  • Firearm
  • Safe shooting area
Step 1

Make sure you are in an open area and that you have a safe place to point the firearm. Even if you are practicing with an unloaded weapon, always treat all guns as if they are loaded and ready to be fired. Make sure the gun's safety lock is in the "safe" position.

Step 2

Grip the weapon with your left hand (if you are a right-handed shooter) by the upper hand guard; this is the spot about midway along the barrel that serves as the forward hand hold. With a shotgun, this may also serve as the pump action.

Step 3

Put your dominant hand around the small of the stock, right behind the trigger and trigger guard. Make sure you can comfortably reach the trigger with your forefinger, but do not put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Step 4

Rest the butt of the gun in the pocket of your shoulder (the area between your shoulder and chest). This placement allows your cheek to rest against the butt of the gun so that you can line up the sights with your dominant eye.

Step 5

Take aim at your target and switch off the safety of the gun. You are now ready to place your finger on the trigger and fire.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on what you are hunting, you may be able to use a rest for your gun, such as a sandbag or tripod. Use a steady rest, whenever possible, for maximum accuracy.
  • Firing guns can cause damage to your ears. Wear earplugs or muffs to protect your ears.

About the Author

Michael Kozlowski began writing in 2006 and has published fiction in Eternal Press, "The Monsters Next Door" and "Scarlett Literary Magazine." He also has a novel-length travel memoir distributed through He spent many years in the manufacturing and construction trades, traveling extensively. Kozlowski attended Wayne State University for graphic design and fine art.

Photo Credits

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