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Shooting Trap: The Curious Case of Station 5

Image source NJ State Trap Shooting Association

How many times have we heard sentiment like this - "I was doing great before I got to Station 5..."? It's safe to say we have all been there. Take me as an example. Being a right-handed, right-eye dominant shooter, I am all too familiar with the uneasiness of stepping onto Station 5. Similar to Station 1 for a left-handed shooter, this last station seems more challenging to me, more than any other but... what is causing this perceived difficulty?

Like many shooters out there, I have adopted the classic foot position and stance: body is rotated 45 degrees clockwise to the trap house, the front foot is pointed to 1 o’clock and the rear foot is pointed to 3 o’clock. In this position, a hard right target requires a right-handed shooter to use conflicting muscle groups to move the upper body laterally against its natural rotation. Once this rotation is maxed out, shooters tend to use their arms to continue tracking the moving target, pushing the gun off or away from the face and thus, altering the initial sight picture. The trigger is pulled and... the target drifts safely out of range! Another good reason to learn to shoot quickly, to avoid this prolonged unnatural body movement and to minimize target angle deviation but... this topic is for another time.

...shooters tend to use their arms to continue tracking the moving target, pushing the gun off or away from the face...

This challenge however is fairly easy to overcome simply by altering foot position, specifically by either pointing the front foot to 2 o’clock and the rear foot to 4 o’clock, moving the latter slightly back, or rotate the whole body slightly to the right, away from the trap house. Some might say that altering foot position from station to station may negatively impact the consistency of your shot routine but, in case of Station 5, this could be a welcomed deviation since it gives the upper body more room for lateral rotative movement, making the rotation itself to feel more natural. Think of the upper body as being “spring-loaded” for a sharp right target.

Additionally, the lateral movement itself can be minimized by moving the gun hold point 2 to 3 feet to the right, away from the trap house. A mirrored version of this same principle could be applied to Station 1 even though right-handed shooters rarely need extra help on that station, especially the ones shooting with both eyes open. In their case, the non-dominant left eye provides binocular vision and therefore better depth perception as well as widens the angle of peripheral vision, both aiding the dominant right eye to track the target flight path more accurately so the proper forward allowance (or lead) can be calculated.

...altering foot position ...gives the upper body more room for lateral rotative movement, making the rotation itself to feel more natural. Think of the upper body as being “spring-loaded” for a sharp right target.

And, since we mentioned shooters that shoot with both eyes open, there is another challenge that can make Station 5 to be more difficult. On a sharp right target, their non-dominant left eye and a good amount of peripheral vision is now obstructed by barrels. As the target moves farther and farther to the right, this obstruction may trick the shooters’ eyes into seeing an incorrect barrel-target relationship or it may block target's visibility altogether, in which case the shooter will lift his or her head missing the target above. Similarly, for left-handed, left-eye dominant shooters, Station 1 presents this additional complexity.

This barrel obstruction issue is not so easy to tackle because the solution would most likely require raising the Point of Impact (POI) by raising the comb, adding high adjustable rib so the shooter would be able to look over barrels and see the target in its entirety, etc. Here is Chris Batha on Station 5:


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Tagged... Tips and Tricks, Trap
 

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