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Article 12 – 2011

people posing and smiling with shotguns

Question: I have recently started a very bad habit when shooting clays of not being able to pull the trigger when I want to. I am sure it is just a mental thing, but is there anything physical I can do to get over this. I have been shooting the same shotgun for more than two decades and have never had this problem before. Any help would really be appreciated.

Ray McGregor, Gold Coast QLD


Answer: The problem you are experiencing Ray is called “freezing”. There is no real definitive answer why this starts to occur, but it quite common in shooters that have fired many hundreds of thousands of shots. The most drastic way to overcome this is to replace the trigger mechanism of your gun from a “pull” trigger to a “release” trigger. This is very popular in the United States amongst competition clay target shooters. It should be noted that this form of trigger is illegal for the International clay target events such as Olympic Trap, Double Trap and International Skeet. Not all shotguns can be readily converted to this type of mechanism also.

Some more simple solutions that I know have worked include adding a trigger “shoe” on top of your existing trigger or, if possible, changing the trigger position, either back or forward, on the mechanism. Both of these methods actually change where the finger sits on the trigger, which can make a difference.

Another solution that is popular these days is to have what is called a “glove grip” stock made which actually fits your hand into the stock like a custom pistol grip. When properly made this will put your hand in the perfect position to pull the trigger. I have recently changed to one of these stocks and whilst I never have had any “freezing” problems I will say that this grip is far more comfortable to use and allows perfect alignment of the hand and elbow when gripping the gun.

Finally please make sure that this problem is not mechanical in any way. I have seen shotguns where the triggers were so heavy to pull that freezing was inevitable simply because the trigger took so much force to fire them. This can cause freezing on the second shot more so than the first however.

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