- – Ergonomics differs from shootability because it addresses how a rifle handles when you are not shooting it. We spend most of our time either looking at, carrying, or manipulating a rifle. Much less time is spent actually shooting. Again, this is where aesthetic-driven motives have overridden good design.
Notice the popularity of sharp edges and corners in custom firearms. They look good and showcase a gunmakers talent. It demands great skill and care to maintain those edges, especially on the stock, but they are impractical in the field. They catch, grab and make carrying the rifle quite uncomfortable over long distances or periods of time. Buffed corners are no good, either, as they are signs of shoddy work. An elegant solution is to provide the edges with a small, precise radius, neatly finished. They look good and give the firearm a wholesome warmth that begs to be handled.
The center of balance plays a role in ergonomics, too. The rifle should be easy and comfortable to grasp at the center of balance. Sights, scope mounts, quarter ribs, magazine-release levers and objective bells have effects on how you grasp a rifle. A rifle designed with an eye towards ergonomics will carry in the field with greater ease than a lighter rifle whose design is blind to such considerations.
Ergonomics applies to the manipulation of a rifles mechanism as well. Bolt handles, operating levers, loading ports and detachable scope mountings are all areas where ergonomics needs to be balanced with aesthetic and other practical issues