Straight, swan neck, Monte-Carlo, pistol: what’s it all about?

Published on 06 September 2019
Author: Adrien Koutny
Gunsmiths often say that “the bullet comes from the gun; the kill comes from the stock”. The stock is in direct contact with the shooter and has to nestle perfectly in the pit of the shoulder to guarantee a certain level of performance. Everyone has heard of straight stocks, swan-necks, the Monte-Carlo, pistol grips, and others, but what do these names actually mean? Here’s a quick overview of some of these terms.

Straight stock

This is a linear stock with no protrusions. The straight is a very traditional type of stock found on older guns and luxury models. With no projecting grip to restrain hand movement, it is especially convenient for double triggers, allowing the finger to slide quickly from the first to the second trigger. The finer style of the straight stock is often recommended for women shooters and smaller men.

Swan-neck stock

The swan-neck stock is, as its name suggests, curved like a swan’s neck. It is a highly aesthetically pleasing stock that is also found on older guns and luxury models, especially earlier B25s. It offers much the same advantages as the straight. The half swan-neck follows the same concept but has a slightly less prominent swell.

Pistol-grip stock

The pistol-grip stock became popular in the 1970s as double-trigger guns fell out of favour, and is now the most common style, especially on Brownings. It features a protruding section that the trigger hand rests against for a firmer grip when taking the shot. Pistol grips can be rounded or fitted with a metal cap at the end. Semi-pistol grips refer to pistol-grip stocks with a less pronounced protrusion.

Examples from Browning:

Pistol grip / B525 New Sporter One, B725 Hunter Premium

Rounded pistol grip / Heritage Hunter, B725 Hunter UK Black Gold II

Capped pistol grip/ B15 Beauchamp Grade E

Monte-Carlo stock

Monte-Carlo stocks feature a raised comb. They were originally designed for sports shooters and provide a better cheek weld. The Monte-Carlo is also used on rifles as it allows shooters to align their eye faster and more naturally with the scope. On large calibre guns, however, shooters may feel more recoil.

Example from Browning:

B525 Liberty

What type of stock do you prefer?