If you’re new to shooting, then you may think that your height has nothing to do with this activity and that it can’t influence your shooting style. After all, it doesn’t matter how high above the ground you stand, it matters how you aim and shoot with your weapon.
However, even if an air rifle is within your reach – as in you can touch its trigger, reload its magazine, and properly fit it to your shoulder – this doesn’t mean that it is fitted to your body.
Keep in mind that your height affects other body parts as well – the lengths of your arms, shoulder positioning and size, and so on. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how a height difference can change shooting styles and what you should look for when choosing a gun or a shooting style.
Just like guns, all people are different. There are differences in height, arm length, and some have broader shoulders than others. Guns can be long or short, bulky or not, hard to grip, and so on.
Each of these things come into play when determining what we know as gun fit. Basically, the things that differentiate our bodies make us hold firearms in our own way.
A gun has to fit your body if you want to improve your skill as a shooter. Failing to achieve proper gun fit can make the process of learning how to aim and shoot harder and lengthier as well.
For example, if your gun is not fit for your body, then you will most likely lose accuracy and experience increased aim sway when you lean to shoot. It goes without saying that with a proper gun fit, your skills as a shooter will see much faster progress.
How Is Gun Fit Measured?
If you want to get your gun fit measured, you will have to reach out to a trained expert. They are usually either trained gun-fitters or gunsmiths or even both. Such trained professionals are able to adjust your current weapon to your stance or provide you with a weapon that fits you perfectly.
In order to measure your gun-fit, they will equip you with a fully adjustable weapon so that they can get your specific measurements. This type of weapon comes with highly adjustable stocks – they basically work like a blank that the gun-fitters use to adjust a weapon for you.
Here are some of the things they’ll consider when fitting a gun to your stance and height:
- Length of Pull – this is the length from the rear of the stock to the trigger. If it is too long, then you might experience drag on your clothing, thus hindering your mount. This will give you less control over the weapon because your arms will have to reach out much further than they actually should. On the other hand, if the weapon is too short, you may have to deal with some bruises on your shoulder.
- Drop of the Stock – this aspect refers to how much the gun’s stock drops down from the user, also known as bend. This is important when it comes to aligning your eye with the barrel. In short, the bigger the drop, the higher the chances of you misaligning the sights – if you cannot align both sights perfectly, then you will miss your sort. Also, a gun is not fit for you if you spend too much time focusing strictly on aligning the sights.
- Cast-Off/ Cast-On – this refers to how much the stock of the weapon is moved to the left or to the right (on and off, respectively). For example, if the center of the rear of the weapon’s stock is to the left of the center of the barrel, then you’ve got cast-on.
- Gun Rib – if all of the above is a perfect fit, so to say, then you will have no problem putting your eye over the rib. Take a safe and fully unloaded weapon and shoulder it in front of your mirror. Your iris should then be perched on top of the rib – the rib is basically the site that runs along the barrel’s top. It is your iris, not your eyeball or pupil, that should be perfectly sat on top of the rib.
Height Difference and Shooting Styles
A height difference will most likely affect your shooting styles due to the gun you are trying to use. Let’s take two clear examples.
- Short – Large Weapon
If you are either a young shooter or simply a tad short, then you should already know to avoid large guns – probably heavy guns as well. Take into consideration the size of the stock, as well as the overall length of the gun.
With an oversized stock and a long barrel, you will have to lean back when aiming, in order to counter the weight of the gun and to properly fit it on your shoulder. This results in a defensive shooting style (where you don’t actually aim and rather spray), fatigue, and a lot of missed shots.
- Tall – Small Weapon
Now, if you are a tall person, you will certainly feel discomfort when you have to shoot a gun that’s not fitted for you. While short people will choose stock of medium size, you will have to go for larger stock, as well as for a long gun, if desired.
With a stock too small for you, you’ll have to bend your arms more, lean forwards more, and further bend your neck in order to place it on the stock, if required. Thus, you will have a hard, difficult time aiming and shooting.
When considering height, you should also consider the gun you want to use. Technically, when it comes to shooting styles, height shouldn’t have any influence. For example, you will hold a handgun the same way, no matter your height.
However – and that’s a big however – here are the things that you should definitely take into account when training with your weapon, based on your height.
- As a short person, you will have to aim high when shooting a weapon. This means that you will have to get used to aligning your sights on targets above your height.
- This also affects posture, as you’ll want to bend a bit further, in order to counter the gun’s recoil without you losing your balance. If you are wielding a shotgun, for example, you’ll want to make sure that the recoil won’t knock you off your feet when you aim at high targets.
- On the other hand, as a tall shooter, you will feel more confident not leaning forward too much, as doing so can make it harder for you to keep your balance.
- Tall shooters also enjoy increased balance, so you may not need to worry about recoil when hip-firing, for example.
The Bottom Line
In the end, height affects posture and shooting difficulty rather than shooting styles. You will approach a certain shooting style, but you will adapt it to your height when aiming or fighting back recoil.
However, the first thing you have to do is to get your gun fitted for your body – doing so will make it much easier for you to adapt to different shooting styles without being affected by your height.
Jay Chambers – Pro Free Speech Writer, Disaster Survivalist, Business Owner. Believes in Resiliency and Self Sufficiency in an Increasingly Unpredictable World.