Stopping your gun!
To break a target successfully you must keep your gun moving throughout the whole sequence of the shot, the reason many shooters, particularly novices, stop their gun is because they suddenly look at the end of the barrels at the point of pulling the trigger, and take their focus off the target.
This is known as “Making Sure” or “Checking Your Swing” and of course should be avoided, as soon as you look at the end of the barrel and the bead, at that vital moment, your gun will stop stone dead.
So you will inevitably end up missing behind, but you can also pull your gun off-line because you no longer have any momentum in the movement of your gun. What you have seen lead-wise may have been correct prior to pulling the trigger, but it will be cancelled out as your gun slows and stops.
It is like any hand and eye co-ordinated ball game, if you look at your Golf Club or Tennis racket as you are about to hit the ball it goes wrong. You don’t run around a tennis court staring at your racket, and you certainly don’t look at your hands when you are trying to catch a ball. You are aware of where your hands, club or racket are in your peripheral vision but your focus stays on the ball.
With all the different shotgun shooting systems in use, they all rely on one vital element and that is to “Concentrate on The target”, never be tempted to let your eyes drift from the target to check its relationship with the gun barrel because this will simply result in the swing of the gun being stopped momentarily and the shot ending up behind the target. It can also lead to the shooter committing another deadly sin: lifting the head away from the stock to get a better look at the bird. Now the shot will miss over the top as well as behind!
By checking the position of the barrels, a shooter loses a large measure of the controlled response that is set in motion by the first clear sight of the target. Such a lapse in concentration hampers our first and usually correct instincts about the target because valuable moments are lost by the eye focusing on the target, then the gun and back to the target.
Even a slow moving clay or bird will have covered quite a bit of sky while the eye is flickering back and forth as we try to measure out the right amount of forward allowance. Unfortunately, it hardly ever works because the interruption caused by a shooter switching his attention from one to the other automatically slows the swing of the gun.
This is not to say that the shooter will be totally oblivious to the rib of the gun when it is being mounted into the face and shoulder. Even when they are concentrating hard on the target a shooter will always be aware of the rib creating a faint, indistinct line in their peripheral vision.
With experience, the shooter can learn to use this fleeting image to double check the lead he is giving the target just before he pulls the trigger.
Photo 1. Correct way hard focus on the clay, not on the end of the barrels.
Remember the only accurate thing you ever have to do when shooting a shotgun, once you have aligned it correctly with your eye, is to “Point” directly at and make contact with the target you are looking at, with this achieved its job done! so “Pull Away” and shoot!! Don’t hang around and ride the target trying to make sure because it won’t get any better!