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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone - I'm hoping someone can break this down for me - a lot of the videos I watch about shooting trap feature someone shooting with their index finger pointing (as shown by the second picture), but I've always held the gun with my index finger placed with my other three (shown in the first picture).

My question being, is this more of a comfort thing, or is there a science/particular reason I see people shooting with their index finger pointing?

Is the first picture a result of shooting a pump for so long?


Any information would be great and I apologize in advance for slow responses - I work a lot and try get on when I can. I truly appreciate everyone's responses.

Thanks,
Jordan


Index In.PNG
Index Pointing.PNG
 

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Using the index finger to point at the target is a technique to help stay mentally focused, literally pointing at the target.
 

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People like to use the reasoning that you look at things you point at and while there might be some truth to that the bigger advantage comes from this:

When you naturally hold your hand out with an extended arm your hand is in a comfortable position to hold something that was running perpendicular to your arm. Think about it like if you were holding a rake standing straight up.
Holding something that is parallel to your arm is not comfortable because your wrist has to move quite a bit. Think holding the rake but with the end of the handle in your armpit.

Which, that's more akin to how we think a shotgun would be held. The problem is that this creates a fair amount of tension in our wrist. To counter that people will grip tighter with their front hand. Tension anywhere in the shooter is bad....holding the gun tighter on the front hand is bad.
Both of those things lead to people arm shooting the gun with their front hand, because it has much more control of the gun from the tighter grip and high tension that's being focused there.


With one finger pointed straight you can raise your hand a little out of the bent position because there is one less finger to get under the gun forcing your wrist to turn. This lets you have less tension in your forward wrist...and lets you not grip the forearm as tight either, both good things.
 

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The grip on the for end should be comfortable and don't hang on to tight.
If you like to point the index finger forward that's OK.

My gnarled up old mitts are no longer that flexible.

Its All Good
West
 

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Try it. If it works for you, use it. Like West, because of a work accident years ago in my case, I cannot do it.
 

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Interesting topic, and I (mistakenly) thought that the finger pointing started with the Sporting Clays shooters, BUT this is Matt Dryke, Gold Medal Skeet at the 1984 LA Olympic Games



Dan Bonillas (early 80s?) with his finger not quite pointed but on the end of the FE



and an un-dated British driven game shooter with a very straight arms and pointed finger

 

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Richard Faulds pointing. Olympic Double Trap 5th Atlanta 1996; Gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. 13th 2004; 6th Beijing 2008; 12th London 2012 using a high short rib Beretta.
Faulds also won the F.I.T.A.S.C. (Federation Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse) Sporting Championship September 2008 with a score of 198/200, using a Beretta DT10.



Harlan Campbell Jr. pointing



Maybe this fella could comment

 

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Drew,

I don't think you're wrong. To the best of my knowledge, the trend to point the left index finger (assuming a right-handed Shooter) in the direction of the line of fire when shooting an O/U first appeared in the UK (I can't speak for anywhere else in the world) in 1963. I can vividly remember a conversation I had with a retired American USAF Colonel called Steven Gulyas at the West London Shooting Ground who'd just won the British Open Sporting Championship.........please refer to the link below.

FORMER BRITISH OPEN SPORTING CLAY SHOOTING CHAMPIONS

Stephen and I were both pupils at the West London Shooting Ground at the time but I recall he had a different instructor. The gun he used to win the championship was a Browning O/U, if my memory serves me, while I always shot a SxS for sporting clays. Stephen held the fore-end of his gun with his left index finger extended straight out in a manner that George Digweed did many years later when he came to prominence. He told me this was the "proper" way to shoot and his instructor had taught him to do it.

I respectfully disagreed with him as only a 16 year old can do to a Colonel who'd just won the championship! We had quite a "discussion" during which I pointed out that when shooting a SxS my left index finger rested on the bottom rib under the barrels, which was merely for convenience and not to assist in target pointing accuracy despite what he thought. I further pointed out that the great American D.Lee Braun held his guns (Remington semi-autos) as I did when shooting a similar gun with my fingers underneath and around the fore-end as if gently supporting half a dozen eggs without breaking them. We agreed to differ.

I've never advocated that any of my pupils should point their index fingers in the direction of the target. To my mind that puts the front hand and elbow in a stress position. Supporting a shotgun and moving it freely is best done without stress. My personal opinion is the grip on the fore-end should be similar to that used by Richard Faulds who won an Olympic Gold medal for Double Trap in 2000 and has won a multitude of other championships in many other disciplines. I also subscribe to the Rudy Etchen school of thinking about what the hands do in the control and pointing department of shotgunning.

Finally, I think you've been slightly misled with reference to your photo of Matt Dryke. His left index finger is around and under his fore-end.......not pointing at the line of fire (as George Digweed does, for example). I shot in a number of competitions against Matt in the 1980s and even right next to him on the same squad when he won the 1983 ISSF World Skeet Championship, so I've had the opportunity to watch him very closely.

Jim
 

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If you point your finger down perpendicular to the barrel, and you know you can point directly at an object without having your finger in sight, for instance, down by your side, would that benefit you with the timing of the barrel crossing the target? I still think the trigger pull timing is related to our hands aligning with the target, in which obviously our vision is hopefully 100 percent focused on through conscious processing . The hand alignment is our motor-skills processing which should be sub-conscious processing I believe. Our two hands alignment are obviously straight with the barrel. No need to look for the barrel, our brains are already calculating it's location, and knows where it is pointing.

It is the reason why it is absolutely paramount that 100 percent concentration visually be on a moving target. Our eyes need to be feeding it's location constantly because the location is always changing. As soon as that information is interrupted or brain function changes from our visual processing, the trigger will be pulled at the last location of visual processing, or somewhere out in unknown blind space. Probably why most targets are missed behind or under. The gun movement more than likely stops also. You can't point at something you are not looking at if it is changing position. We can however point at a stationary object if we stare at it, close our eyes, and point your finger out at it. You are just relying on a visually processed and stored image for location.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the feedback guys, seems to be a feel thing - greatly appreciated! Great advice, do what is comfortable and that you can do consistently.
 

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Sporting clays master coach told me to do it. Put index finger at end of forearm touching the barrel. Other arm elbow up helps make you swing at the waist. In theory it keeps you from pushing with your forearm and pulling the gun off your face.

Sure helped my lifting my head problem also.
 
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