Why Firearm Fit is Essential

If you're a shooting enthusiast or a hunter, you know the right rifle stock fit is essential for performance. Whether hunting or target shooting, a properly fitted rifle is vital for accuracy and comfort. In this guide, we'll walk you through the importance of rifle fitment and how it affects your overall rifle shooting experience. We'll also discuss why firearm fit is important for hunting, competition shooting, and general precision rifle shooting, providing insights into how to achieve a properly fitted gun.

Firearm fit refers to how seamlessly a precision rifle fits the shooter's physique and shooting style. This includes stock dimensions, length, grip size, and balance. When a gun fits perfectly, it becomes an extension of the shooter's body, culminating in increased accuracy, safety, and comfort.


  • Drop: The vertical distance from the line of sight to the stock's comb.
  • Cast: The stock's recoil pad or cheek comb horizontal offset from the center of the rifle.
  • Cant: Implement angle into the recoil pad of the stock off the center axis of the rifle.
  • Length of Pull: The distance from the trigger's middle to the recoil pad's end.
  • Cheek Comb: The location of the stock/buttstock the shooter utilizes to locate their cheek for a proper sight picture. 
  • POA: Point of Aim
  • Palm Swell: An area of the grip of the rifle that is enlarged and curved in a way that allows an anchor point for the shooter's hand to be consistently positioned in the same and correct location for a 90-degree trigger press.
Properly fitted precision rifle shooter - Executing long-range shots with a spotter on glass.


A properly fit rifle is not just about comfort; it's about performance, safety, and enjoying your shooting experience to the fullest. This expanded section will delve into the intricate facets of why firearm fit is paramount.


A properly fitted rifle streamlines the process of target acquisition. When the rifle stock dimensions are tailored to your body, aligning the muzzle to the target becomes more intuitive. Your dominant eye and scope align effortlessly, ensuring you can acquire the target accurately and quickly. No matter your shooting position, this gives you a more natural POA (point of aim). Compared to an improperly fitted rifle, where the shooter will be fighting to get positioned due a specific or multiple improperly set up areas of the rifle. 


When the rifle is fired, this causes recoil, which is energy being transferred through the barreled action transferred into the stock or hunting chassis that then is concentrated eventually into the shooter's shoulder. If the rifle stock is not properly fitted to the shooter, this energy will cause difficulty managing the recoil. That energy will always find the path of least resistance, and if the shooter is not properly positioned due to poor fitment, the “felt recoil” will also seem worse. This means recoil management for quicker follow-up shots; spotting the impact/miss of the shot starts with rifle fitment. Lastly, fatigue due to forcing the shooter to try fitting to the rifle versus having the rifle fit to the shooter will also lead to poor performance.


A well-fitted rifle allows you to maintain a consistent shooting posture. Your head, recoil pad position, and grip of the rifle align naturally with the stock, ensuring that your body is in the optimal position for shooting. Everyone’s facial construction, body and hand size are different. To take it a step further, different shooting techniques vary depending on the application and type of equipment used for the said application also do. So how could one “style” of stock or chassis work for everyone, different rifle configurations such as scopes, and shooting disciplines? It can NOT! That is why you need a way to change these rifle characteristics to fit the shooter, which leads to a consistent posture which is essential for shooting accuracy, especially with bolt action rifles, where stability is critical.


When a gun fits you like a second skin, it enhances your confidence. There is a psychological comfort in knowing that the gun is an extension of your body. This improves your accuracy and makes the shooting experience more enjoyable and fulfilling.


A gun that is too big or small for the shooter can be challenging to control. An adequately fitted rifle ensures that your shooting hand can reach the trigger while keeping your arm in a comfortable position and, in some positions allowing certain contact for stability. Furthermore, it ensures that the shooter can securely hold the rifle, reducing the risk of dropping it or losing control during firing.


Whether you are shooting from a prone position, standing, or seated/kneeling position, different shooting styles like PRS Competitions, Hunting scenarios, or Bench Rest can all require different types of rifle fitment. A modern chassis or stock on a rifle allows for adjustments and customization according to the shooting style, ensuring peak performance for that shooting discipline or accommodating different shooting styles.


While getting a gun fitted might seem like an upfront investment, it pays dividends in the long run. A modern precision rifle will allow shooters to fit the rifle to them while their body changes, shooting application changes, or as simple as the time of year causing layering of clothing. This allows you to shoot the same rifle for years to come without spending extra money.

A well-fitted gun involves multiple factors, including stock length, comb height, comb design, grip design, recoil pad position and balance. It is integral to not just the accuracy of your shot but also the joy derived from shooting! Whether you are a seasoned shooter or just starting, understanding and investing in a properly fitting rifle should be a priority.


Embarking on the journey of rifle shooting or hunting with an ill-fitting firearm can be a recipe for frustration and discomfort. This section explores why a gun may not fit properly and how these issues can impact novice and seasoned shooters.

  • Length of Pull: A stock that's too short or too long affects the distance between your shoulder and a properly positioned recoil pad on that shoulder and the rifle's trigger, and a properly placed trigger finger. Aside from this key aspect of the length of pull, it also correlates to the eye relief of the rifle's scope. Either causes the recoil pad of the stock to position your body too far away from the ocular lens of the scope or too close, which can cause harm to the shooter and discomfort while shooting. Both of these instances can cause a shooter to blade their body or sacrifice a good shooting position rather than being able to square up behind the rifle naturally. 
  • Comb Height: If the comb is too low or high, it affects the alignment of your dominant eye with the scope. This can cause the shooter to either “float” their face behind the scope, which can lead to sight picture and parallax issues, or push or force their face too hard into the rifle, which causes a negative influence on the entire rifle. Both of these instances will make the shooter less consistent and lead to poor accuracy. 
  • Stock Cast: Stock cast can actually be two separate having cast adjustment. One rifle part is the recoil pad; casting the recoil pad either left or right allows the rifle, when shouldered, to have the cheek comb to be in a position allowing the shooter to position their face naturally and, in turn, their shooting eye directly behind the ocular lens of the rifle scope. The other rifle part is the cheek rest itself, like on the C-6 Buttstock where you can adjust the cheek comb/rest itself left or right in turn, achieving the same end goal. 
  • Weight and Balance: A rifle can be too heavy and also too light depending on the application and what the rifle is chambered in. The weight of the rifle can then cause the rifle not to balance, which almost all shooting applications can cause accuracy issues. Unlike other characteristics of the rifle's fitment, the weight and balance can either negatively exaggerate those weaknesses or help. 
  • Recoil Pad Alignment: The overall footprint of the recoil pad and the material of the recoil pad are very important when it comes to the fitment of the rifle. It is one of the few components of the rifle the shooter is making direct contact with on the rifle. Recoil pad design helps with how the rifle reacts after the recoil is transferred into the shooter, which the material also has a part in. 


Finding that your firearm isn't quite meshing with your shooting style and body build can be disheartening, but there's good news: the gun fitting is adjustable with the right chassis or stock. Here are some actionable tips and tricks for shooters of all experience levels, guiding you in achieving the perfect marriage between shooter and firearm.

  1. Adjust Length of Pull: An easy way to see if the LOP on the rifle is where it needs to be for you is to place the center of the recoil pad in the crease between your forearm and bicep, then while resting your forearm against the side of the rifle put your trigger finger at a 90 degree and see where the first pad of your index finger is located in relation to the center of the trigger shoe. If your finger is past the trigger, the LOP is too short, and if you can not reach the trigger while keeping your trigger finger at 90 degrees, then it is too long. Adjust the LOP on the buttstock until this aligns. This is a starting point for most. Some shooting disciplines/applications will benefit from having the stock or chassis set up with a shorter length of pull, allowing more forgiveness when in different shooting positions. Which can affect both target acquisition and body position for recoil management. Something that many hunters will find out eventually is not taking into consideration the clothing they will be wearing during some of those colder hunts. Thicker coats and layers is adding to your personal LOP, causing your body and face to be pushed away from the rifle. So don't forget to test the fitment with what you plan on wearing before that hunt! Often required to shorten the length of the pull. Testing the fitment of the LOP in different shooting positions like prone, kneeling, and standing is important to finding the most versatile LOP location for you. 
  2. Check Comb Fitment: When the rifle is shouldered, starting either in the prone position or on a shooting bench, place your face behind the scope and rest your cheekbone on top of the comb of the stock. This should be a comfortable/natural amount of pressure, and you should be able to see them through the scope without any shadowing. If there is any sort of shadowing in the scope, move your head/eye up or down until everything is clear. This will tell you if you need to adjust your cheek comb/rest up or down. Once set in the correct location, you should be able to get behind the rifle quickly, apply a cheek wield with the same consistent amount of pressure and see through the scope at all magnifications. On certain buttstocks, you can move the cheek comb forward or aft in relation to the rifle scope and cast it right or left. The position of the cheek comb in relation to the rifle scope is important due to the cheek rest controlling where your eye will be positioned in relation to the scope's ocular lens. And it can have a huge impact on not creating strain on the shooter's neck, especially after a long-range session. 
  3. Recoil Pad Location: Where you position the recoil pad can vary on shooting application and, of course, personal preference. The main goal should be a spot that can be comfortable and, more importantly, repeatable. Most shooters are taught there is a pocket between your shoulder joint and pectoral muscle, and this pocket can be a great location for some. Another location is further inward on the torso, more around the clavicle. Both have pros and cons. The shoulder pocket is usually more comfortable but can cause more difficulty when managing recoil and getting square behind the rifle, and making the shooter apply side pressure into the rifle with their cheek wield if not careful. Centering the rifle allows the rifle to be more inline with the shooter, promoting easier recoil management and allowing the shooter's head to drop directly down on the rifle and behind the scope. Meaning less likely to have side pressure affecting the shot. To obtain either one of these locations, sometimes the recoil pad might need to be adjusted up/down on the stock, casted left or right, and lastly, some might prefer the recoil pad to be canted. Implementing commonly between 5-20 degrees of cant in the recoil pad, for some shooters, preferences and shooting styles, can lead to more comfort. But this will also make the rifle more set up for that specific shooting position due to other positions commonly requiring the recoil pad to be ever so slightly positioned differently, leading to the canted, casted, and even height-adjusted recoil pad no longer be in the optimal position. 
  4. Grip Location: Where the grip is located in relation to the trigger can be looked at by some shooters as one of the most crucial aspects of precision shooting. There are different grip techniques, and of course, everyone has a different size hand, so how can you obtain a perfect grip location? That is where a chassis system that accepts AR-style grips enters the conversation possible more than any other adjustment option for proper fitment. This allows the shooter to choose from thousands of different AR-style grips that can have different angles, palm swells, finger grooves, and even adjustments to locate the entire grip closer or farther away from the trigger. The explanation behind all of this is very extensive, but the more important thing to take away from grip location is you need to try different things to see what allows the grip to position your shooting hand in the same location every time and allow the trigger finder to be perpendicular to the trigger granting the shooter to create a 90 degree with the finger. Many shooters have headed a “90-degree trigger press,” which is exactly how it sounds. You need to pull the trigger directly backward, almost like you are driving the trigger into your shoulder. This is very difficult to do every time, even more difficult to almost impossible if your hand is not positioned correctly for you and the rifle. 


  1. Recoil Pad Design: Recoil pads can have different durometers, widths, thicknesses, and curvatures. There is not one perfect recoil pad design best for all applications. So we are not going to go over what is best for every shooting type. But we will explain that you will want to take into consideration how much recoil your rifle has, which then the durometer (hardness of the rubber) can be an important factor. The pad's footprint is important for how it will react with your shoulder under recoil. Something too narrow can cause the rifle to “pivot,” affecting the shot. Something with too much curve can limit where the recoil pad can be positioned on your body comfortably. 
  2. Grip: Most shooters will benefit from a more vertical grip due to how it will position your hand in a way to run your trigger finger straight forward and perpendicular to the trigger, then granting the perfect bend in the fingers second to last joint 90 degrees, positioning the last pad center of the trigger. Hence the all-mighty desired 90-degree trigger press! There can be exceptions depending on the chassis or stock design. 
  3. Cheek Rest: The comb of the rifle must be designed, most importantly, to be comfortable! The shooter is resting their face on the component during every shot. It needs to be designed with some curvature and preferably have some softness, like a pad or foam otherwise, that cheekbone will be bruised. 
A precision marksman acquiring a target through his rifle's scope, hands perfectly fitting, exemplifying the key to successful shooting


XLR Industries offers custom accessories and chassis systems that allow you to tailor your rifle to your body and shooting style. While XLR isn't a professional fitter, purchasing their products empowers you to make essential modifications for enhanced accuracy and comfort without needing a gunsmith. Due to the modular design of the chassis, nothing is really permanent. You can change all these key components if your application or preferences change over time. Common praise for XLR chassis systems is from instructors due to them being able to fit the students during the class and parents for being able to actually fit the rifle to their child. And, of course, continue to adjust it while they grow! 


Whether you're a novice shooter or an experienced marksman, properly fitting your rifle is the cornerstone of shooting accurately and comfortably. Every aspect is critical, from the alignment of your rifle scope to the position of your head, where to position the rifle's recoil pad, and how to grip the rifle, allowing the trigger finger's proper position. Investing time into your rifle fitment and employing a professional’s expertise will improve your shot and make your shooting experience exponentially more rewarding. With a properly fitted rifle, the shooter will have a natural point of aim when they are getting behind the rifle, allowing faster target acquisition. They will not negatively influence the rifle, causing inconsistency and poor accuracy. They will be able to break a clean trigger press and manipulate the bolt and rifle in general without having trouble re-building that solid shooting position for the next shot. 

Moreover, the quality of your equipment plays an enormous role in your shooting performance. XLR Industries, based in Grand Junction, CO, offers high-quality rifle chassis, components, and accessories that can be the game changer in your shooting journey. Through precision engineering and impeccable design, XLR Industries, the leading rifle chassis manufacturer, is dedicated to providing shooters with the necessary equipment to take their skills to new heights.

Don't let an ill-fitting rifle hold you back – the perfect shot is in your hands. Partner with XLR Industries to ensure that your firearm is an extension of yourself, finely tuned and ready to achieve unparalleled accuracy. Elevate your shooting experience and embrace the confidence that comes with a properly fitted rifle and special equipment from XLR Industries. Contact us today to get started.