While I have greatly enjoyed Othias and Mae’s “Primer” series on WWI guns, there’s something I need to mention — not as criticism, mind you, but as a technical issue.
Whenever Mae talks about the old rifles’ “ergonomics” (what we old guys used to call “handling”), she often complains that a straight buttstock does not give her the optimum means to pull the rifle back into her shoulder, so as to mitigate the effect of recoil. She prefers rifles to have a “semi-pistol” grip so that her hand can feel its way back into its firing position more easily.
I’ve never had that problem with straight stocks (as opposed to “semi-pistol grips”) myself, because I hold rifles differently from the way she does. Here’s the difference:
Note how her thumb rests on the side of the stock. What this means is that only her three remaining fingers can grip the stock, leading to a weaker grip than if she were to cross her thumb over to a “baseball bat” type of grip.
Which is how I hold a rifle with my right hand:
That hold gives me a good grip on the stock, and I can pull it into my shoulder quite firmly — so whether I’m using a straight stock or one with a pistol grip is irrelevant. (When it comes to shotguns, I prefer a straight, or “English” stock, because I can slide my hand into the firing position.)
I know that a number of shooters — very good shooters, e.g. Doc Russia and the Layabout Sailor — hold their rifles the same way as Mae does, and as I said above, this is not at all a criticism, merely an observation.
Not that any of this matters much, mind you, as all the cool kids seem to be using actual pistol grips on their rifles these days:
…so once again, I’m out of step with the times. [sigh]