There are a lot of terms in the shooting world (and especially the gun review world) that can be considered “isms.” An ISM is basically a word that is unique to that particular field of expertise. When we get comfortable in a certain environment we start using ISMS that are well defined and understood to us, but to outsiders it sounds like complete mumbled jargon. Someone interested in the shooting world won’t know the first thing about what “sight picture” or “trigger pull weight” or “picatinny rail” or “kick” & “recoil” or what a “rear tang” is. And this is just the beginning, and so with our “How to Shoot” series I’m convinced that it would do well to introduce some key terms, what they are and even how to do them.
Today’s term of endearment is CHEEK WELD. It’s a simple thing, but sounds complicated and even maybe a little gruesome. Even though it employs the word “weld” into the mix, it is actually just about how to position your head on the rifle when lining up the sights for a shot. A cheek weld is basically the SINGLE LOCATION you come back to every time you lay your face down on the butt stock. In order to become a great shooter, you’ll learn that consistency and repetition in movement and technique are completely essential. Finding the right cheek weld every time will ensure that you are able to get on your target quickly and accurately.
Another advantage of a strong CHEEK WELD is quick recovery from recoil. If you’re shooting a gun that has a substantial amount of kick, then the more “ANCHORED” you are to the gun, the easier getting back on target will be. If both your grip and your CHEEK WELD are loose and willy nilly, you’ll rattle around just as much as the gun does once you pull the trigger.
What’s the best place to anchor to every time? The truth is that because each shooter is different it really depends on the shooter. Different people come in all different sizes, different neck lengths, different shoulder widths and arm lengths too. The most important thing is that you find what’s comfortable for you, allows you to use the sights on your gun (whatever style you choose) in the same manner every time. AND be sure it’s your cheek that’s resting on the butt stock and NOT your chin. It’s the fastest way to get bit by a hard recoiling gun and never want to pick one up again. So find that sweet spot to anchor your cheek to, and WELD IT to the gun. See how easy that was?