Gun Fit Can Be Confused as a Quest for Comfort. It’s Not.

Gun fit matters. We break down the reasons why it matters, and explain how a shooter can have the fit and function of a custom rifle right out of the box.

Gun Fit Can Be Confused as a Quest for Comfort. It’s Not.


Throw the butt of the rifle against your shoulder and look down the barrel. Does your dominant eye align? Yep. Call it good. It fits.

Or not.

What is fit, really? If a pair of jeans are too tight, they’re uncomfortable, but still functional. They cover what’s intended. But that general understanding of “fit” does a disservice to the notion of “gun fit.” Because “gun fit” isn’t like a pair of jeans. If the fit isn’t right, the function is compromised.

The Savage 110 Storm lets shooters quickly adjust comb height and length-of-pull. Those features, among others, provide the fit and function of a custom rifle — right out of the box.

Gun Fit 101

That’s the premise we start with here. Believing in gun fit. Understanding that the way your gun fits is everything. And recognizing that, today, there’s way too much ingenuity in rifle manufacturing to not purchase a firearm that fits as it should.

Length-of-pull is the distance from the butt plate to the front of the trigger. When this distance is too long for a shooter’s body, the stock will catch on your shirt, just below the pectoral muscle.  You’ll instinctively push the gun away from your body to shoulder it.

The comb, which is the top of the gun stock, must fit your facial structure. If the comb is too high, you’ll know it by feel. Plus, you won’t be able to get down on the gun enough to look down the barrel. Conversely, if the comb is too low, you’ll feel the gun stock against your upper molars when the gun is otherwise aligned properly. Or you may find yourself extending your neck to an awkward position to accommodate the low stock. A low comb can rise up and bite you during recoil.

If the pistol grip of the gun is too small, your hand will feel bunched up. If it’s too large, you’ll have trouble reaching the trigger properly. A grip that’s sized right will allow your shooting hand to align naturally, putting the trigger in the center of your index finger pad, halfway between the end of the finger and the first joint.

When You Know It’s Right

Let’s quickly revisit blue jeans and proper fit. With that comparison in mind, here’s a question: how do you know when a pair of jeans fit well? You try them on, right? It’s hard to eyeball a pair of pants and know for sure if they’re right for you. It’s about the feel. Same with gun fit.

Gun Fit for Women

Women are different. You know this. I know you know this. But here’s how differences impact gun fit. A woman’s cheek bones are typically higher, her neck is typically longer. Her frame is smaller. Often her arms are shorter.

“What I always say to men who ask me how they can get their lady friends to hunt is: ‘The surest way to make a woman hate shooting is to give her a gun that doesn’t fit her.’ Find her a gun that absolutely fits her,” said Georgia Pellegrini. Pellegrini is a hunter, chef and author of Girl Hunter.

Men buying a rifle for women and women buying a rifle for themselves have no excuse if the gun fit isn't right. Manufacturers are stepping it up and affordable, custom rifles like the Savage 110 Storm make it easy to shoot a gun that fits.

Most firearms are manufactured for men, not women. Still, fit is so important and the women who recognize what a difference proper fit can make were often left to round up aftermarket accessories to make an off-the-rack rifle fit. That was a hassle and, even now, most make do with what they’ve got.

But there’s no reason to continue shooting an ill-fitting rifle. Men buying a rifle for women and women buying a rifle for themselves have no excuse. Manufacturers are stepping it up and more options are available. And “more options” isn’t limited to the same rifles, only built smaller. Now, you can purchase a rifle that adjust to your size. Savage recently introduced its new 110 Storm. The rifle comes with Savage’s AccuFit system.

This system allows for customization without a gunsmith. It basically eliminates all the after-market running around for butt pads, comb height add-ons and other accessories. The 110 Storm comes with four length-of-pull adaptors and five comb-height adaptors, plus the hardware you’ll need to adjust the rifle to fit your build.

Personally, I’m wary of this stuff. Just in general, there are often claims of easy customization across all sectors and product lines, and I’ve been duped more than once by something that looked adjustable on Amazon only to be a customization train-wreck in real life.

But that wasn’t the case here. The rifle customizations require a Phillips screwdriver. Period. No other tool. Then you choose the spacers, what Savage calls its “length of pull inserts.” Eyeball what you think you need for the buttstock and try a few combinations.

Next, are the comb risers. They snap into place easily. After that, you just choose the right screw lengths (all screws are included with the system) and lock everything into place for your custom fit.

Here are a few other things women should keep in mind:

Straight equals weak. The non-shooting arm should have a nice bend when positioned on the fore-end of the rifle. The more bend you have, the stronger your arm will be and this is important since it’s this arm that’s holding most of the weight of your rifle.

Playing the average. The average American man is 5 feet, 9 inches tall with an average weight of 195.5 lbs. Meanwhile, most gun manufacturers design guns to fit the standard male shooter, approximately 5 feet, 10 inches, 185 lbs., according to the NRA. That means, if your height and weight fall under these measurements, your rifle won’t fit your frame without adjustments.

Gun Fit for Kids

Many of the tips and facts relating to women and gun fit also apply to kids and young shooters. Both groups are contending with the consequences of a smaller frame. But unlike women who typically are shooting guns too big and too heavy for them, often kids end up shooting rifles that are too small for them.

Think about it. Kids grow. Rapidly. Often, a well-meaning parent will buy a youth-model firearm for their son or daughter, only to find a short time later their child is shooting a gun that’s too small for them.

You would not ask your child to play a basketball game with shoes two sizes too large. The same logic applies to the rifle they’ll shoot. Photo: National Wild Turkey Federation

Let’s go back, one final time, to our blue-jeans analogy. If you have a kid, then you know clothing manufacturers make children’s jeans with adjustable waists. It is the BEST thing ever, and most parents secretly wish they had this feature built into their own jeans. The waistline features a strip of elastic fabric, like a narrow belt, that runs through the inside of the jean’s waistline, anchored by a small button on each side, just above the zipper. So you adjust the elastic by notching it tighter or looser and fastening it at the right length by using the small inside buttons associated with this brilliant, adjustable system.

This feature in children’s jeans shows a great amount of empathy for the parents and great ingenuity by the manufacturers. It also illustrates how youth-model guns are firearms a child won’t be using very long. And, much like jeans for your young son or daughter, aren’t worth buying without the elastic adjustment.

Likewise, allowing quick and easy customization is the only real solution for fitting a child for a firearm when the child’s measurements are in constant flux. That’s where a system like Savage’s AccuFit really hits pay dirt. The stock can be shortened to 12.5” or expanded as they grow to beyond 14.5”. The young shooter will rely on Savage’s four length-of-pull adaptors and five comb-height adaptors most, not once but several times throughout their childhood and teen years.

Even more, it’s so critical that the fit is right for a kid. These firearms and hunting experiences are making first impressions. No child wants to get beat up by a gun, and no child wants to work at something that’s ultimately futile. A young girl or boy needs to find some degree of success after putting in the work and practice to shoot well. This is made possible by proper gun fit and smart, innovative systems like AccuFit that allow a rifle to be customized to a shooter’s size.


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