A ready to shoot position may mean different things to different people and a lot has to do with your training. Where you are at may also change the meaning. One ready to shoot position is where the safety is on and your finger is along the trigger guard and not inside. The weapon is pointed in the direction of expected fire or pointed slightly up or down, but not down to the point where your feet would be in the line of fire. Once the target is spotted or the command for fire is given take the safety off as you bring the weapon to bear on target, sight and depress the trigger.

Vitaly Pedchenko, Shotgun Instructor

Vitaly Pedchenko, Shotgun Instructor

When holding a shotgun in the ready to fire position ensure the stock is above any holstered weapon or ammunition pouches on your hip. The low ready position is one of the more complicated ones because it is used in close quarter combat and is sometimes called the “inside position” in reference to home defense. You are in closed quarters and having the weapon pointed out away from the body may mean it strikes obstructions as you clear rooms or even gives the aggressor the opportunity to grab the barrel.

The low ready position is where the weapon is pointed to the ground and the body is slightly bent. In close quarters, this keep the weapon’s muzzle from hitting objects and it also keeps you from firing prematurely. In home, defense this is important to prevent accidentally shooting other family members. The weak hand is on the forearm of the shotgun. Have the back of the hand in contact with the thigh. It would be the left thigh if you shoot right handed. This provides support for the weapon and shooting hand. You can move in this position but do not advance on an aggressor unless you raise the weapon and disengage the safety.

The low ready position is used when there is not a clear threat identified. The weapon is usually pointed to the ground. Remember you need a clear field of view and peering along the sights does not give you that view so until a target is identified keep the muzzle low, where the shotgun does not obstruct your view. It is always faster to bring a weapon up into the right position than trying to bring one down, you inevitably have to reposition if bringing weapon down because gravity will lower it beyond where you need it.

You can be blocked from shooting if the gun is raised high whereas if someone attempts to block or take your weapon as you bring it up you only have to pull the trigger. The gun in the low ready position is ideal for moving through tight quarters. This position also makes it easier to keep the weapon and your eyes pointed in the same direction by shifting your hands and body slightly. You have seen the movies where the shooter has the gun pointed up by their ears and they are looking in the opposite direction. You want the muzzle pointed where you are looking.