Karsten’s Brand Adjustable Cheek Rest for Shotgunning

"Not everyone can afford a custom fitted shotgun or justify taking a luxurious show gun afield and on the water. Karsten’s Cheek Rest is a convenient and affordable way to improve the fit and accuracy of a basic shotgun." -TRF

Typically, when a shotgun is shouldered or mounted for firing, the shooter’s cheek should meet and rest on the top (and side) of the gunstock, buttstock or shoulder stock. This top ridge of the stock is commonly referred to as the comb.

The angle and height (pitch and drop) at the comb determines the shooter’s line of sight through the gun’s sighting method. If a shotgun’s comb is too low, thin, sharp or angled, shooting can be awkward, uncomfortable and inaccurate. In most cases, if you have high cheekbones, a smaller face or physique, you will need to raise your comb. If you have adjustable iron sights on your shotgun or if you have added any aftermarket sights such as light pipes, fiber optics, glow dots, scopes, red dots, holographic or reflex sights, you will need to raise your comb as well.

There are many different aftermarket methods and accessories for raising and adjusting a comb. Temporary comb raisers are wrapped, laced or adhered around a stock. Permanent comb raisers often require the stock be cut, divided or deeply bored. Furthermore, many comb raisers trap or absorb moisture.

Karsten is a specialty manufacturer who utilizes an extremely tough material called Kydex®. Kydex is stronger and has much more water, chemical and stain resistance than plastics, vinyl and fiberglass. Nearing a decade of production, these Kydex Cheek Rests have a very precision form and finish that outclasses most other comb raisers, cheek pieces or rests.

The unhelpful aspects of Karsten’s Cheek Rest are few but should be noted. This Adjustable Cheek Rest, should not be used with Monte Carlo style gunstocks that have a tapered relief in the form of a thick, sloped outcropping on the sides of the stock. However, if your shoulder stock has only the Monte Carlo style comb ridge without the outcropping on the sides, you should be able to add an Adjustable Cheek Rest. Additionally, the use of Karsten’s Cheek Rest requires two small holes drilled through the sides of the stock (these holes could be covered or plugged when not in use). 

Finally, I discovered that Karsten’s Cheek Rest also provided an unreported or unpublished benefit for shotguns with synthetic stocks. Most synthetic stocks for shotguns are much more slender. This often leaves the shooter’s line of sight off center from side to side. Although Karsten’s Kydex® Cheek Rests can be reformed for thinner stocks, I chose to add nylon washers under the sides of mine, which corrected my line of sight to the center of the receiver, resulting in a perfectly fit gun. 



Part II

I recently installed Karsten’s Brand Adjustable Cheek Rest on my shotgun. This shotgun is for hunting, but I immediately took this to an indoor shooting range to try out the newly installed cheek rest.

I was very pleased with the perfect fit, feel and line of sight through my gun, that Karsten’s Cheek rest provided.

My accuracy was dead on because I had a proper line of sight through my gun’s sighting method.

I am saving the paper targets from this range session because these show perfect, centered shots, the equivalent of golf’s “Hole In One”.

Special Note: There are many conditions that give good reason for adding additional sighting methods to shotguns . Loss of vision occurs normally as people age. Vision can also be decreased by diabetic retinopathy, high blood pressure, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, stroke, shingles, trauma or scarring. Furthermore, many people live in “Shotgun Only Zones” (where rifles are not permitted) and need to optimize their shotgun for all types of hunting.


I requested the opportunity to independently test, review and give opinion for Karsten’s Brand Adjustable Cheek Rest. I utilized a donated products for this purpose. Currently, I am not otherwise affiliated or associated with Karsten or Kydex®. and have not received pecuniary compensation or incentive from Karsten or Kydex®. 


Nathan Bonner said...

Thank you for your excellent review.
As an ambidextrous shooter who also shares the use of his guns with friends and family in the field and at the range I have two questions specific to the Karstens' cheek rest:
1) Did you find the adjustment knobs intrusive when shooting left handed?
2) Does the cheek rest require frequent significant adjustment from left hand to right hand shooting and between shooters?
If the answer to my first question is "yes" and the answer to the second is "set it and forget it", I'll opt for the Karstens' Model B.

Nathan Bonner said...

Also, is adjustment required between shooting positions (prone, seated, standing, etc.)?

The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

I just surveyed the experience of switching from right-handed to left-handed shooting and the back adjustment knob did contact the side of my chin when I switched sides (this may occur when sharing with other handed shooters.

As far as adjustment for line of sight, a single general adjustment correcting the line of sight would suffice for all persons when sharing a gun.

Nathan Bonner said...

Thanks so much for the prompt and specific answers. Based on this information I will be selecting Karstens' Model B cheek rest.

Anonymous said...

All you need to do is put the carriage bolts in from the opposite side.