Sorry it has been a while since I posted but I am a graduate student after all and my pesky finals got in the way of things (silly responsibilities).
So last week, I was out at a skeet shooting event. For the sake of nicety, I will refrain from naming the establishment. After Five Stand (which I am happy to report I shot better than my dad, hooray!), my squad moved on to wait our turn to shoot some skeet. As we were waiting, I noticed that the squad that was up had some first time shooters, in particular two ladies. One of the guys with us noted that the person instructing them charges a 1,000 dollars a day for lessons. I watched as he explained lead and what the houses meant etc.. Now maybe I missed the part when he explained to them about how to mount a shotgun and stance but neither of these women were demonstrating a proper understanding of either. Needless to say, I watched them almost get knocked on their asses with every shot. I cringed thinking about the giant bruises their shoulders were going to have in the morning. Besides the bruising, I can probably guarantee they were going to leave with the idea that a shotgun has too much power for a woman to handle. I heard later of another squad with a female on it, who gave up after four stations due to the recoil and the fact she wasn't hitting any clays (same instructor).
Now I am sure we have all seen the you tube videos of those "silly women" who get knocked over by the "big powerful" shotguns. And I am not going to say that I haven't laughed at some of them. But in reality, it makes me sad. These are women who are losing out on an enjoyable sport. It took me forever to start working with shotguns because I was afraid of the recoil and getting hurt. Once I got over that fear (and learned proper mounting and stance), I realized it wasn't that bad. And then I was able to learn the joy of actually breaking clays and watching them burst in the sky (one of the best feelings ever!).
There are obviously some differences between men and women when it comes to the shotgun: women have boobs (some of us bigger than others), longer necks, and smaller arms. The major difference between men and women when it comes to mounting is that we have a smaller pocket in which to mount the gun. When I have been badly bruised it has come from me either mounting incorrectly or accidentally moving out of the pocket during a shot. Problems like that can be solved with proper technique and finding a shotgun best made (or modified) for a woman's body. There are some things women need to consider when choosing the best shotgun: most importantly the length of the stock. If the stock is too long, it will be difficult to mount it properly (ending with bruised shoulders and breasts and possibly landing in an embarrassing, sexist you tube video). You don't want it to be short as that can screw up your sight. The goal is to find the best length for a balanced stance. As with all firearm purchases, you need to figure out what fits your body the best. There is also a misconception that a smaller gauge will have less recoil. When picking the gauge, I have actually found that a 12 gauge absorbs recoil BETTER than an 20 or 28. A reduction in the shot load is also a way to manage the recoil. So shop around, find what works for you, and then get some instruction on technique. It will make a world of difference... if the instructor does their job right!