Proper Gun Handling Techniques: Which is the Best for a Hunter?

There are several ways to carry a firearm while hunting. Which carry gives the best control? Well, before I get to that, let me say this. There are several weapons that you could use while hunting. They include a bow and arrow or a firearm.

Even so, a firearm such as a shotgun makes one of the best hunting weapons. With proper handling, it could become your most favorite hunting equipment. But how best can you handle your hunting firearm? As you will find out, handling a hunting firearm requires proper knowledge and training.

You need to find a firearm that’s suitable for your prey and one whose weight you can easily manage. Nonetheless, there are several other tips that you could still practice for a better experience with your firearm. One of them is “how to carry your hunting firearm.”

Hunting Firearm: Proper Carrying Tips

To carry your hunting gun safely when on a hunting trip, there are five basic rules that you will have to apply. Take a look.

  • Keep the gun’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction
  • Keep the gun’s barrel under proper control
  • Keep the gun’s safety in an “on” position
  • You should only change the gun’s safety position when you are in a ready position to shoot.
  • Again always keep your finger away from the trigger guard when carrying the firearm.

These tips will make sure that your hunting gun is always carried in the safest position possible. And that brings us straight to our next topic.

Top Hunting Gun Carry Techniques

It is true that there are several ways to carry a firearm while hunting. Which carry gives the best control? In this section, I will provide you with the different gun carry methods that you can choose to go with when out hunting.

Trail Carry

This is the simplest gun carry method that you can use when out hunting. It is best when you are hunting alone. The trail carry technique uses only one arm to support and carry the hunting firearm and leaves the other arm free for maximum balance.

Sling Carry

A sling carry is another easy method. It uses the rifle’s sling. The sling is placed over the shoulder to provide support to the rifle. However, you’ll have to keep your hand around the sling when walking or trailing game to keep your rifle from slipping off its main position.

The sling carry is not only simple but good for the long walks when hunting on the open cover. Use it when hunting in a group. However, you’ll have to change positions when you get to thick bushes as this prevents the barrel tip from getting trapped on the low branches.

Cradle Carry

The best thing about cradle carry is that the technique allows the gun to rest across your forearm and again the elbow. As such, this ensures that your hand easily secures your firearm as it grasps the gun around the stock. It is one of the most comfortable carry techniques and a smart method that you can easily use when you want to reduce any chances of arm fatigue. Using the cradle carry is again best for newbies.

Elbow or Side Carry

The elbow or the side carry is one of the most comfortable gun carry methods for the break-action type of firearms. The pivot that you will achieve during the open action will rest easily in your elbow’s crook and then down over your forearm. In so doing, the gun’s barrel will naturally point down while the others can easily see that your firearm is safe and open.

Shoulder Carry

The other cool gun carry tip is the shoulder carry. It helps you to balance your rifle around your shoulder and leaves you to control your firearm by keeping your hand on the gun’s grip.

One thing that you should keep in mind when using this type of carrying is to keep your fingers off the gun’s trigger and, more importantly, on the outside part of the main trigger guard.

This is made up for a good carry when you are walking beside your pals or even behind the others when on a hunting trail. Don’t use it if there are people walking behind you.

Two-Handed Carry

Again known as safe carry, this is the safest way to carry a gun when you are walking with a group of other hunters. It allows you to carry the gun while held with both hands right in front of your body. The barrel points up while the trigger finger will always remain outside of the main trigger guard. This provides you with the best control of the gun’s muzzle, more specifically when moving around in thick brush or even weeds.

NOTE: So, there are several ways to carry a firearm while hunting. Which carry gives the best control?  The two-handed carry is the best. It is ideal when you need to ready yourself to take aim and shoot and will keep the others around you safe.

Additional Tips

Irrespective of how your gun is carried, make sure that you often check the status of the firearm, especially when traveling, when trailing, or tracking game. Again you should check the status of the gun when you are ready to cross any obstacle. The reason why you are checking is to confirm that the safety is still on.

Apart from that, it is important to ensure that the gun’s chamber is empty. Keeping the chamber empty is recommended since keeping the magazine loaded makes it is easy for you to chamber a round for a shot when you get ready to fire the gun. One tip that I often ask people to practice is to ask the others about gun handling safety rules. Please don’t be shy to do this since it might be the only thin line between safe hunting and a fatal accident.


Now that we have seen how to handle your gun when out in the hunting field, here are other common concerns that are addressed to give you a better gunning experience.

Which is the best field carry for a hunting gun?

From our post, the two-handed carry or the ready carry is what provides you with the best control. It is best for thick brushes and weeds and will come in handy when you need to have a quickfire. In addition to that, the two-handed carry will help you to keep the gun’s muzzle pointed towards a safe direction in case you fall.

Again, it is ideal for any handedness. You can use it easily if you are right or left-handed. It is best for group carry and is recommended for use if the gun wouldn’t be pointed towards the other hunters in case you are walking side-by-side.

What is the most important thing when carrying your gun in a group?

The most important thing is to ensure that the muzzle of your hunting gun doesn’t point at anybody. Carry it in such a way that the muzzle points away from the other hunters as this will prevent injuries in case of an accidental firing.

How good is the sling carry?

The sling carry is very good. Like I mentioned above, it is ideal for long walks when hunting in an open cover. However, this type of carrying is not the best when the bushes become dense as the barrel tip may easily get trapped among the shoulder-high branches and other dense twigs.

It is recommended that when you experience such, you should switch to different carry method positions. Nonetheless, this is again one of the best hunting gun carry methods when you are walking with the other hunters.

How do I learn the best gun carry methods?

Learning how to carry your gun safely when hunting alone or with others is simple. You will be taught that when taking your hunting lessons. Even so, hunting with the pro hunters will give you a better learning experience. You will have a hands-on experience that enables you to enjoy some of the best hunting tips and hunting lessons along the way.

Make sure that you remain patient so that you get every trick right. This is especially important if you love to hunt in a group.


So there are several ways to carry a firearm while hunting. Which carry gives the best control? Now that you’ve got the answer to that, the most important thing is to practice your aim and to get your best kill shots. Again, make sure that you’ve got all the hunting laws at heart. Do not use the wrong hunting weapons, hunt for the endangered species, or go for the wrong game.

Following proper hunting laws ensure that you get a smooth hunting experience. You will help to conserve the game and to ensure that there is sustained growth for future generations. More importantly, proper gun handling will keep you safe. There won’t be accidental shooting that could as well be fatal. This is the first safety tip that every gun handle should have in mind if they want a safe hunting experience.

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