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Changes in Gun Fit

By Steve Smith

A number of things happen to us physically as we age, and I have not as yet been able to identify any that are good. A couple things that change, as you may have noticed if you are on the sundown side of your mid-fifties, is your joints don’t operate with the fluidity and efficiency as once they did when you sent the hearts of twenty-something lasses all aflutter with but a glance. You'll be able to identify the onset of this particular malady because it chronologically coincides with an involuntary groan when you get up from your favorite chair after watching re-runs of NCIS.

Another thing that happens later on is... you get shorter. You're going to get shorter if you haven't already. Thanks to gravity, compaction of cartilage, especially those discs in your spinal column, can rob you of up to several inches from the height you were at 25. And trust me on this – you aren't going to shed pounds to keep your Body Mass Index where it was back then, either. If you were six feet and 175 in your 20s, you'll possibly be five-nine - and 175 - in your 60s. Maybe more as metabolism slows and appetite doesn’t.

Okay, so here we are. Where once we were tall, lean, and supple, we're now shorter, chubbier, and we dread having to tie our bootlaces. What does it all mean? Among other things, it means your gun fit has changed.

For example: Stiffening neck muscles and vertebrae can mean that you can’t get your face down as far or as readily as you did when you seldom missed with that gun. The same thing will happen if your handsome countenance has chubbed up a little and there is more of that face than there used to be. A little more drop will help you get aligned with the rib more comfortably. Maybe your wrists are getting a little arthritic, so a pistol or semi-pistol grip is easier to handle for you than a straight grip, which has more of a tendency to put your elbow higher and your wrist in an unnatural posture.

I know that my guns all fit better now with about a half-inch less length of pull. A shorter stock now comes up easier for me than the longer ones I've shot for decades. Now idea why.

What can we do to forestall the onset of time? Not much, really; just remember, if the unexplained misses pile up, there's an upside: You're now free to blame the gun.

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