Happy New Year!

I was 50 before I picked up a shotgun. As a kid I went hunting once with a .22 and shot pistols a couple of times but was never really around them growing up. And where I am from, not that many woman shoot.

When a friend asked me to go skeet shooting, I agreed. After breaking my first clay I was hooked. Fast forward a couple months and I shot my first sporting clays event…. Now THAT was exciting and I have now been shooting 14 years (and plan on continuing until I can no longer shoot.)

Why am I telling you this? Because I think all woman would enjoy our sport. We just need to get the stigma associated with shooting to change. I think GRITS is a great forum to show woman how much fun we can have (safely) with a shotgun.

Let’s see how many woman we can get to be GRITS…. The fun is just beginning!

Shoot ‘em up!

Linda Henson


Chokes pix

I found the following description of chokes from the Briley webpage:

“Shotgun chokes were designed to control pattern diameters at different yards. What is a pattern? It is just the grouping of the pellets at a given yardage. This grouping is called a pattern and is measured by a circle diameter. This particular circle must have certain efficiency. In other words, it has to have a certain number of pellets in a given area (called distribution) for it to be labeled an efficient pattern. It is that easy! However the confusion starts when we label them and you try to figure out what to use and when”.

Probably the biggest challenge we have as shooters is to decide which chokes to use. There are many thoughts on the use of chokes. Some people have what are called ‘fixed’ chokes and they are permanently in their gun, never to change. Then there are the chokes that are ‘flush’ to the gun and there are ‘extended’ chokes (sticking out of the gun.)

Some shooters change their chokes at every station depending on the presentation and then others just occasionally change their chokes. It really depends on the shooter.

Here is generally how shooters use each of these chokes

Percentage of Constriction Based on Distance
Choke 20 Yards 30 Yards 40 Yards
Cylinder 80% 60% 40%
Skeet 92% 72% 50%
Improved Cylinder 100% 77% 55%
Modified 100% 83% 60%
Improved Modified 100% 91% 65%
Full 100% 100% 70%


Super-Full and Extra-Full Chokes – This has very tight constriction and a dense pattern, delivering approximately 80 percent of a cartridge’s total pellets in a 30″ circle at 40 yards.

Full Choke – This has tight constriction and a dense pattern, delivering approximately 70 percent of a cartridge’s total pellets in a 30″ circle at 40 yards.

Modified Choke – The modified is characterized by less constriction than full choke, delivering approximately 60 percent of a cartridge’s total pellets in a 30″ circle at 40 yards.

Improved Cylinder Choke – Even less constricted than modified, the improved cylinder distributes approximately 50 percent of a cartridge’s total pellets in a 30″ circle at 40 yards.

Cylinder Bore – No constriction and distributes approximately 40 percent of a cartridge’s total pellets in a 30″ circle at 40 yards.

Skeet Choke – A specialty choke that sends approximately 50 percent of a cartridge’s total pellets in a 30″ circle at 25 yards. This type is designed to deliver optimum patterns for close-range skeet shooting.

Shoot ‘em up!

Linda Henson


Just Focus!


I find the times I ‘get into my head’ when I am shooting, I tend to miss the target. It is when I have done my pre shot routine (determining where on the bird I am going to focus), take a deep breath, let go and call pull with laser focus on that predetermined spot, I break the clay.

When we spend our time trying to measure, judge and in our heads we tend to look at the gun barrel. And when you focus on the barrel you are going to miss the bird. And if you look at the bead to check the gap, in that nano second your gun slows down and you miss behind.

Shooting is like playing a sport. You don’t focus on the bat when you swing at a baseball and you don’t look at the racket when playing tennis. You focus on what you are trying to ‘hit.’ Your brain will tell your hands how to move the gun to the ‘bird.’

What do you think?

Shoot ‘em up!

Linda Henson


Shoot stuff

It does take some initial investment to get into shooting… but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a let to get started.

Here are the essentials you need:

  • A shotgun (that fits)
  • Shells
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Gun cleaning equipment

Once you get hooked (and you will) here is what you will start spending money on:

  • Shotgun bag
  • Gun sleeve
  • Fancy boots
  • Shooting clothing
  • Shoot vest or pouch
  • Shooting jewelry
  • A fancier gun ; )
  • More guns
  • Traveling to other shooting events
  • Travel gun case
  • Choke sets
  • Shooting lessons

What have you spent money on that isn’t on this list? (Cat optional)

Shoot ‘em up!

Linda Henson




Here is a great explanation of the different types of targets that we shoot.


The most commonly used target of all, must weigh 105 g and be of 110 mm overall diameter and 25–26 mm in height for International competitions and for American competitions they must weigh approximately 100 g (3.5 oz) and be of 108 mm (4.3 in) overall diameter and 28.0–29.0 mm (1.10–1.14 in) in height.


Same saucer shape as the standard but with a diameter of only 90 mm; these targets are faster than the standard types.


This target is sometimes likened to a flying bumblebee at only 60 mm in diameter and 20 mm in height.


A very thin target measuring about 108–110 mm in diameter, it flies very fast and falls off very suddenly simulating a duck landing. They are generally more expensive than other targets.


A thicker, but standard 108–110 mm diameter flat target in the shape of a wheel designed to run along the ground.

Shoot ‘em up!

Linda Henson

Gun Explanation!

shotgun explanation

How many of you have wondered what all the parts of a gun are called? This picture gives a great explanation of all the parts on an over and under shotgun and the shell.

I did notice that the drawing did not point out the ‘butt’ of the gun where the recoil is absorbed. Recoil seems to be the biggest issue with woman shooters. In the beginning, we are all afraid that it will ‘hurt when we shoot the gun’.

If you don’t have a gun that fits properly and you don’t hold it in the ‘pocket’ it is going to hurt. But with good instruction, you will not have that issue.

Sometimes if you shoot shells that are too heavy of a load for you, that can hurt too. And then if you are someone like me, who has a pacemaker, you need to make sure that there isn’t too much recoil for health- safety purposes.

All of the parts on the gun are important to know. Take time to know your gun!

Shoot ‘em up!

Linda Henson

What is Sporting Clays?

Sporting Clays

If you are new to the sport, you may not know what sporting clays is all about. Here is an explanation of the sport we love! It is often referred to as ‘golf with a shotgun.’

Sporting Clays began as a way to simulate field shooting. When shooting sporting clays each presentation is meant to simulate the flight path of some type of ‘game’; i.e. rabbits, teals, grouse, quail, etc.

The courses are laid out in natural environments and typically include 10 to as many as 17 shooting ‘stations’ with shooters moving from one station to the next to complete shooting a total of 100 targets. Each ‘station’ will present a shooter with a different type of shooting presentation.

At any ‘station,’ targets may be thrown as singles, simultaneous pairs (true pairs), following pairs (one target right after the other), or report pairs (the second target launched at the sound of the gun being fired at the first).

To further challenge us as shooters, targets may vary from the standard clay bird to the smaller ‘midi’ and ‘mini’ targets, or a flat disc shaped ‘battue’ target. There are even ‘rabbit ’targets that are thrown on end and fly across the ground.

Sporting clays is the fastest growing shooting discipline and each course will provide us with a new challenge!

Shoot ‘em up!

Linda Henson


Empower - January


EMPOWER! To me this is what G.R.I.T.S. is all about. Women empowering women!

We can ‘compete’ against each other but in the end it is the empowerment/encouragement that we hold on to. By supporting, encouraging, and helping each other, on and off the course, we gain confidence, we want to do better, and we become stronger women.

In my 13 years of shotgun shooting, I have never met a woman who didn’t encourage another women shooting to do her best. I think that is one of the things I like most about this sport. Everyone is friendly, helpful and of course, loves to shoot.

As G.R.I.T.S., whether it is clay or wing shooting, when we empower each other we are giving ourselves a gift.

About Linda Henson: Linda writes a weekly blog called ‘Sometimes I pretend to be Normal’ to get people thinking about different topics. Elizabeth Lanier asked Linda to write something for G.R. I.T.S. and she gladly said yes, since she too is a shooter who believes in the G.R.I.T.S. mission.