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Many people do not realize that a gun must be sized properly to have peak efficiency available to the user. I am not speaking of caliber or gauge, I am referring to the stock or grip dimensions.
Since each person is different in size and shape, a gun should be tailored to fit. Just like a suit or dress, guns can be purchased “off the rack” in a standard or common size. In most cases, the fit is poor. The wearer looks and feels much better if their clothing is tailored to fit properly. Similarly, a shooter will be able to shoot much better and be more comfortable if their gun is fit properly.
The “length of pull” is the most critical dimension. It is the distance from the face of the trigger to the heel (or top) of the butt stock when the weapon is brought to the firing position. This length is determined by measuring the shooter’s arm from the inside of their bent elbow to the last pad on their trigger finger. When these two dimensions are the same, the shooter can easily shoulder their weapon and shoot quite naturally.
If this stock dimension is too long, the shooter will need to push the gun outward to clear their shoulder before pulling back into a firing position. In this case, the shooter will also need to crane their neck forward along the comb of the stock to acquire the sights or scope properly. If the stock is too short, it will be difficult to shoulder the weapon properly. One must retract their head back far enough to see the sights or avoid getting hit by the scope during recoil.
Length of pull can be adjusted by cutting the stock shorter or adding a recoil pad to increase the length of pull. The same principle applies to handguns, but it is determined by the size of the shooter’s hands and the length of their fingers. With handguns, the problem is solved by changing grips so the last pad on their trigger rests comfortably on the trigger.
As with tailored clothes, a tailored gun will feel better to the shooter and be more efficient to use in any situation that may arise.