Don’t let Holiday Weight Gain Crush your Shooting Performance

The holidays are upon us – the season of cheer and goodwill is in full swing. You know what that means – more delicious food and beverages, parties, and living a little larger than usual. The average American will gain at least five pounds in holiday weight over Yuletide. And that can have a knock-on effect in the new year.

Did you know that weight gain can affect your shooting? That’s right; if you go down the range on January 2nd, or you are out taking part in other shooting sports and find you’re not quite as sharp as you used to be, it could be because you’ve put on a few pounds. Here’s how weight gain affects shooting and how you can get back in shape when 2024 rolls around.

Don't let Holiday Weight Gain Crush your Shooting Performance.
Don’t let Holiday Weight Gain Crush your Shooting Performance.

Shooting and weight gain

Weight gain can significantly impact the fit and comfort of a firearm for an individual. The relationship between body mass and gun fit is complicated, as people put weight on in different places. Some gain weight across their whole body, others pile it onto their belly but still retain the same shaped upper body. However, as a shooter gains weight, changes in body dimensions can alter the way a firearm interfaces with the body. This can affect the overall ergonomics of the shooting experience.

One key factor potentially affected by weight gain is the length of pull. This is the distance from the trigger to the end of the buttstock. Increased tissue around the shoulder and upper arm areas can alter length of pull requirements. This could potentially cause discomfort and compromise accuracy. Additionally, a larger waistline may affect the draw of a handgun from a holster, influencing the ease with which the firearm can be accessed. Weight gain can also impact an individual’s balance and stability. Carrying excess weight, particularly around the midsection, can lead to changes in the shooter’s center of gravity. This shift may affect the way a firearm is shouldered or aimed, potentially influencing accuracy and control. Not to mention how it’s going to hurt your NRL22 game.

What can be done to my firearm?

Not all of the changes have to be made by you if you’re happy with your shape. Adaptations such as adjustable stocks can accommodate changes in body size and shape due to weight gain. Or, you know, you could use the excuse to invest in a new firearm!

If you want to stay sharp, make sure to undertake regular reassessment of firearm fit, which becomes crucial to ensure that the firearm is properly aligned with the shooter’s evolving size, optimizing both comfort and performance. Recognizing and addressing the impact of weight gain on gun fit is essential for promoting safe and effective firearm use.

What can I do?

If you wish to lose weight post-holidays to improve your shooting, then it shouldn’t be too complicated. After all, we’re only going to be talking about a few pounds rather than making wholesale changes. A few simple tweaks in the kitchen are a good place to start. Smaller portions, swapping out high-fat products for low-fat alternatives, and cutting out sugary drinks is a great place to start.

A good weight loss program will never urge you to cut out all of the foods you like. That can create an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead, it’s about finding what works for you and incorporating things you like but in moderation. Then combine them with a more flexible approach to your diet. You may also wish to indulge in a little more exercise, especially if your shooting is conducted on a hunt rather than on a range. This can be easy as well – try increasing your step count on a daily basis, perhaps aiming for 10,000 steps. You can cut out small car journeys, instead walking or cycling to the store. Or even (as crazy as it sounds) take up an additional sport that doesn’t involve your gun.


You don’t have to be a certain weight to shoot, but fluctuations can affect your accuracy through poor gun fit and overall fitness. If you do find you’re carrying a bit of holiday weight, simply look to make subtle changes for a couple of months. That should get you back to your pre-holiday weight. Who knows, you might find a bit of a health kick makes you feel fitter and sharper, increasing your ability to hit a target.

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