“My trigger guard is impacting my middle finger on recoil. What is the cause of this? I have never had this problem before. I’ve been shooting the same shotgun for months and I’ve made no change in ammo. Any suggestions would be appreciated, because it’s beginning to affect my shooting. I’m anticipating the recoil instead of concentrating on the target.”
There are three possible causes for bruising of the middle finger due to impact from the back of the trigger guard when the gun recoils. First, your trigger-to-grip distance may be too short for the size of your hand. If you draw two parallel lines perpendicular to the line of the shotgun rib — one aligned with the front face of the trigger and the other aligned with the very front tip of the pistol grip — and then measure the distance between the two parallel lines, this gives you the trigger-to-grip distance. If the trigger–to-grip distance is too small/short for your hand, it will force the middle finger of the trigger hand too close to the back of the trigger guard. There is not much you can do in this instance unless you have an adjustable trigger and can move the trigger forward (away from the pistol grip).
Another possible cause is “choking up.” If you are inadvertently moving your hand too far forward on the neck of the shotgun (toward the muzzle), this can also cause bruising. Try to always position your index finger such that you are pulling the trigger straight back from the middle of the trigger. The front face of the trigger should be positioned halfway between the end of the index finger and the first crease on the inside of the first knuckle.
Lastly, it is possible that your physical grip on the shotgun is too loose. I always caution against over-gripping the shotgun; however, every once in a while I encounter a shooter who fails to grip the shotgun firmly enough. The grip pressure between your hand and the pistol grip of your shotgun should be about as firm as a medium handshake: not a death grip, but not a limp handshake, either. For a person with a larger- or smaller-than-average hand size, a custom stock might be the best long-term solution to maximize your shooting potential.
Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at www.doncurrie.com.