6 Clay Pigeon Shooting Tips for All Skill Levels

A great skeet shooter requires practice. When you’re out shooting clay pigeons, you’re going to learn valuable skills and gain experience needed to transition to a veteran shooter. There are a lot of tips that can help a beginner transition into an expert shooter.

We’re going to cover tips for clay pigeon shooting and trap shooting, too.

Clay Pigeon Shooting Tips

Clay pigeon shooting takes skill, and you need to start with the basics before moving on to more advanced tips.

1.      Safety and Gun Fit

Safety first. If don’t keep safety at the top of your list, you don’t have any business shooting. A few safety tips that will go a long way to ensure that you’re able to properly shoot are:

  • Wear eye protection
  • Wear ear protection
  • Keep your gun unloaded until it’s time to shoot
  • The muzzle of the gun always needs to be pointed down until shooting time

And always keep the shotgun pointed at the target. Under no circumstances should you point a shotgun at anything but the desired target.

A correct gun fit is a vital part of safety. Mount and take a few shots at a target board to see if your shots are off center. If the density point is off center, you’ll need to have the gun fitted. Clay pigeon shooting requires quick firing, so you shouldn’t aim during your testing.

2.      Stay Focused

Staying focused on the target is a basic tip, but a lot of people overlook trap shooting tips. The issue is that you need to have precision to shoot the target, but if you’ve been taught to aim a gun, you’re at a disadvantage.

The truth is that you don’t have the luxury of time to aim and shoot – just shoot.

So, what do you do if you’re not aiming?


It’s pertinent that you point and shoot at a target. If the shotgun is properly fitted, you’ll be able to hit it with a high level of accuracy by just pointing.

Focus plays a major role in your success, and if you’re looking down the barrel of the shotgun, you’re sure to make mistakes. The goal is to train yourself to have laser focus on the target rather than lining up a shot and shooting behind.

3.      Keep Both Eyes Open

It’s easy to get in the habit of closing one eye, but you need to break this habit if you want any chance of succeeding at skeet shooting. Yes, you have a dominant eye, and you should know how to find your dominant eye, too.

Most shooters assume their dominate eye correlates with their dominant hand, but this isn’t true.

To find your dominant eye, you’ll want to:

  • Focus on an object at the other end of the room and point at it
  • Close your left eye

At this point, if you can see the object at your fingertip, you’re right dominant. If you don’t see the object, close your right eye and see if it’s in view. If you can see it, you’re left eye is dominant.

But even as you’ll use your dominant eye, you’ll want to keep both eyes open when tracking a moving target.

4.      Keep the Barrel in Motion

Your dominant eye will follow the target, and this is part of the follow through. An issue many shooters have is that they stop moving the barrel before they pull the trigger. The problem is that the target is still moving, so if you stop before pulling the trigger, your shot will always be behind.

A way to fix this issue is to always keep moving until you pull the trigger.

If you fail to follow through with the barrel, you need to continue to focus on the barrel motion.

5.      Maintain the Proper Stance

The shooter’s stance is vital to success. If you’re not in the correct stance, you’ll lack the fluidity to shoot quickly. Targets will continue to move, so the following stance is recommended:

  • Keep your front leg slightly bent
  • Keep the back leg straight

You’ll want to lean forward, just a little, with your gun and bend slightly at the hip. Think of this as a boxer’s stance.

The reason for the positioning is that you’ll be better situated to handle the recoil of the gun. Rotation, from the waist, is also easier when in proper position to allow for rapid firing at targets.

If you can’t figure out the proper stance, YouTube has a lot of videos that can help, or you can ask someone for help.

Always start your practice with the proper stance if you want to be serious about clay pigeon shooting.

6.      Analyze Your Mistakes

Everyone misses targets. The goal is to use these misses to advance your shooting further. If you never analyze what went wrong when taking a shot and missing, you’ll never correct your flaws.

Your lead is the first thing to adjust.

I recommend decreasing the lead at first and seeing if your shot improves. If you don’t see a difference, increase your lead and try again. Improper lead will cause you to go on a missing streak.

The next course of action is to take a break and try again.

Adjust your posture and stance to see if your luck changes. A fluke session where you’re missing every target may be an off day.

Finally, if you’re still having issues, the fit should be checked and adjusted. Make no mistake about it, you’ll miss, but you shouldn’t miss every target.

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