Never point a gun at anything you're not willing to destroy and take full responsibility for.
There are shooters without toes.
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or get busy dying!
About those toe rests.....
They are actually very handy and I use one. What is very important is NOT shown in the picture. The gun is an over/under and the action is open, perfectly safe.
Thank you all for your replies. Sounds like the general consensus is to have the finger on the trigger before the call.
I've shot trap a handful of times, treated the trigger like any other firearm and kept my finger off it until the stock was to my cheek. I found that by taking that extra half a second or so to put my finger on the trigger I would have a steady lead on the clay and nail it most of the time no matter what the distance.
My range offers a juniors program and I was watching the kids shoot skeet the other day. All of them had their fingers on the triggers and most of them fired well before they had acquired and started to lead the clay. It's not my program to run but it was quite evident that they would have benefited by waiting an extra half second or two before shooting. Also, in my opinion, it doesn't sound like a good idea to have fingers on the triggers for 12-17 year old kids, most who have been shooting for less than a few weeks.
Beware the man who has one gun because he probably knows how to use it.
Experienced trap shooters generally want to shoot the clay as soon as possible, while it's still rising. Dedicated trap guns are set up for this -- often with high ribs, almost always with a high point of impact -- so the shooter doesn't need to cover the bird with his barrel.
More casual trap shooters often shoot with a flat-shooting gun (think skeet, sporting clays, or hunting guns). With such shotguns, waiting that touch of a moment allows the bird's flight to flatten out, and barrel no longer needs to cover the bird.
I agree that most new shooters should learn with their finger off the trigger at the clay's pull.
I know it's an O/U. And if the action is open and there's nothing in the tubes, all should be good. Most of the trophy toes have been bagged by semi autos.
But I've spent a number years in clays comps -- skeet, trap, sporting, FITASC, 5-stand. One shotgun dude in my neck of the woods doesn't walk all that well without his big toe.
I've watched shooters in all clays disciplines load rounds into an O/U with the action open, with the choke tubes resting on their toe flap.
I've seen virtually all brands of O/U torch off a round when closing the action, with finger off the trigger. B, P, K guns -- probably others, too. Sometimes the shot impacted the ground a fair ways down range. Other times the impact was close enough to scatter dirt and leaves back at our squad. Those were close calls.
Most of the time when we violate only one of the four primary gun safety rules, nothing happens. It's the combination of two or three simultaneous violations which cause NDs. I see no reason to start with one safety violation right off the bat. But hey, do what you want.
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