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What Is an Adjustable Comb?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

An adjustable comb is a device used on a shotgun to improve the feel of the firearm as well as the point of impact (POI), or the location in which the shot pattern of the shell impacts the target. Created by installing an adjustable piece of wood on a shotgun's stock, the comb is used to raise the height of the stock to better line the shooter's eye with the barrel. While it is possible to attach a riser to a shotgun stock to improve the feel and performance of the weapon, an adjustable comb allows a shooter to make fine adjustments and alter the position of the comb in the future. These adjustments can be used to compensate for changes in body growth, shooting styles and injury.

Competitive shooting requires the utmost in gun control and comfort. Using an adjustable comb to center the shooter's eye on the barrel or to improve the shooter's POI is a competitive edge that can mean the difference between first place and last place in a competition. Some of the world's most elite and most expensive shotguns are factory-equipped with an adjustable comb, however, any shotgun can be fitted with the component in a matter of hours. Gunsmiths around the world offer the conversion on nearly any shotgun, with many offering a one- or two-week turnaround to complete the process.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The adjustment capabilities of an adjustable comb are not limited to only vertical movement. The comb can be corrected to center the shooter's eye either left or right on the barrel. This allows a straight sight window down the center of the barrel when the shotgun is brought to the shooter's shoulder. When used to raise the shooter's eye level parallel with the top of the barrel or the rib on top of the barrel, it is said that the gun is equipped with a parallel-comb. Most shooters prefer a comb that is parallel to the top of the barrel instead of an adjustable comb that is in line with the original stock profile.

Many stocks are lower at the rear than the front, creating a drop-stock. This can lead to a sore cheek if firing the weapon for extended periods. By raising the rear of the comb higher than the front, the comb will become parallel to the barrel, which is more comfortable for most shooters. Usually, the addition of an adjustable comb to any shotgun not only raises the shooter's average shooting scores, it also raises the weapon's value, in most cases.

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