Best Shotgun Recoil Pads of 2020 – Ultimate Review

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With great power comes great responsibility. When talking about a shotgun (especially 12 gauge and less), half of that responsibility is called recoil. While recoil is affected by many factors at play, the most straightforward and effective measure to counter it is by using a good recoil pad.

Here we’ll learn about the importance and ideal characteristics of a shotgun recoil pad. While also reviewing the best models available for sale on the market. 

Comparison of the Best Shotgun Recoil Pads

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Advanced recoil pad design with air chambers for optimal mitigation
  • Reduced muzzle rise and up to 70% reduction in recoil
  • Suitable for 12 gauge shotguns used in competitions or practice
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  • Specially designed double layer sorbothane material for extra protection
  • Heel is canted at 45 degrees for easy shouldering
  • Leather grain textured face. Available in many variants
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  • Easy to install rubber recoil pad for shotguns
  • Can be grind-to-fit and has a white line spacer
  • Textured stipple face design aids with comfort
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  • Slip-on design installs and removes within seconds
  • Specially designed for guns with straight stocks
  • Textured rear end with soft granulated rest for better comfort
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  • Genuine leather pad with easy slip on & off design
  • Built-in thick neoprene padding and two extra pads
  • Firmly stitched and adjusts according to stock size
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What Does a Shotgun Recoil Pad Do?

A shotgun recoil pad, or any recoil pad for that matter, helps in reducing the tormenting of your shoulder by the rearward force from the recoiling weapon. Since the butt of a stock is a solid surface, it will start getting painful to shoot as the muscle tissues start getting fatigued. Recoil pads are extremely important for heavy recoil weapons like shotguns and large caliber rifles because the rearward exertion of force is higher. 

A recoil pad absorbs most of this rearward pressure ensuring your shoulder doesn’t take damage. It also helps improve shooting comfort by offering a squishy point of contact between your shoulder and the weapon. 

When Would I Use a Shotgun Recoil Pad?

As far as a shotgun is concerned, a good answer will be ‘always’. But let’s look at some common and important occasions:

Long Shooting Sessions

If you plan on shooting more than a box of shells (25 rounds), you should consider using a recoil pad. Since prolonged exposure to recoil will start getting uneasy after that one box. 

Young and Recoil Sensitive Shooters

Recoil pads are a necessity for small and recoil sensitive shooters. Since their body is less developed to absorbing impact, compared to a full-grown adult. Additionally, if you have been through any shoulder surgery or are very sensitive to recoil, having a pad is a must. 

LOP

Recoil pads can also be used to extend the length of the pull of the weapon by about an inch or so. This will come in handy if the weapon feels short while shooting. 

What to Look For When Buying a Shotgun Recoil Pad

Buying a recoil pad may seem easy, but there are certain factors you must keep in mind before choosing one for yourself. 

Material

Recoil pads are generally made using rubber or nylon. The internal filling may differ with each pad and it can be anything from simple foam to shock-absorbing gel. But make sure to choose a recoil pad that is tough and can withstand harsh treatment. 

Installation

Some pads have to be screwed to the buttplate of the weapon, while some feature a simple slip-on elastic design. Whereas some have to be strapped on. Either way, the installation must be easy and sturdy. A permanent or temporary solution is your matter of preference. 

Design

While some pads can be pretty basic, some can be more advanced in technology and provide angling adjustments as well (for example, the inflex recoil pads sold with Beretta o/u’s). Additionally, some pads have extra features like ammo loops, pouches, or a soft cheek weld.

Quick Take - The Best Shotgun Recoil Pads

These are our recommendations for the best shotgun recoil pads:

  1. Limbsaver Air-Tech Recoild Pad
  2. KICK-EEZ Recoil Pad
  3. Pachmayr F325

Review of the Best Shotgun Recoil Pads

Let's take a look at this year's top picks:

Pros

  • Very stable if installed properly
  • Up to 70% reduction in felt recoil
  • Super durable all-weather Navcom material
  • Improves overall accuracy and shooting comfort

Cons

  • Installation takes time
  • Pre-cut for only one specific model

What Recent Buyers Report

The fit and finish of this recoil pad are just excellent. The pad does reduce recoil significantly as advertised. It can be used for both low-end and expensive shotguns. Installation does take some time and effort, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Limbsaver recoil pad showcases the best in class technology. Its design features atmospheric air chambers that offer uniform energy dissipation. The pad has been made using durable synthetic material which is impervious to any weather conditions. The pad won’t corrode or chip-off with prolonged usage and is resistant to oils and solvents, So you don’t have to take it off while cleaning your shotgun.

The manufacturer claims a 70% reduction in recoil, and the reality is very close. Once installed, the pad will stay useful for decades to come. Plus there are pre-cut models to suit different shotguns.

Bottom Line

The Limbsaver is by far the most advanced shotgun recoil pad available on the market today. It offers a drastic reduction in recoil and immense durability against weather and abuse. The price may seem steep initially, but it’s a worthwhile investment.

Pros

  • Significant reduction in recoil
  • Made from soft and durable sorbothane
  • Easy-to-grind and very durable in all conditions
  • Available in different thickness and application-specific models

Cons

  • Don’t expose to temperatures above 200 degrees
  • Won’t retain shape if stored underweight for a long time

What Recent Buyers Report

This recoil pad is a very squishy but tough accessory for the shotgun. Installation is very easy, and the pad is very easy to grind if needed. Some users recommended not storing the gun stock down. But overall it is an easy to install product backed firmly by the company.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Kick-eez recoil pad is simple, very soft, and easy to install. Grinding it is very easy if the need arises. Which is often not a case with recoil pads showcasing such levels of performance. The synthetic material used in the construction will withstand any weather conditions. Plus, the pad is available in a plethora of options with different features such as the concave face, double layers, and a canted design.

The company will send you a replacement free of charge if you get the product damaged. The texture is just perfect for a non-slip solution while firing your shotgun.

Bottom Line

Featuring a very soft but durable construction, this recoil pad is impervious to anything except high temperatures. The pad will feel very comfortable on your shoulder and is covered by a prompt warranty. However, it is priced on the high end for a recoil pad.

Best for the Money:
Pachmayr F325

Pros

  • Stippled face for non-slip performance
  • Can be a grind to suit rifles or shotguns
  • Made using soft and flexible rubber material
  • Open side core for weight reduction and performance

Cons

  • None. Unless you are shipped a lemon

What Recent Buyers Report

The pad is very well built and handles recoil nicely. The recoil reduction is what’s promised and the pad doesn’t add any extra bulk to the rear. The rubber doesn’t distort or break so grinding-to-fit is really easy. Users reported it to be an economical alternative to more expensive pads.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Pachmayr F325 is a sort of universal recoil pad, that can be mounted on a shotgun or rifle with appropriate buttend dimensions. Grinding the pad is very easy since it is rubber. Plus the material is soft and durable enough to not impede performance in any way.

The open side texture offers better compression, which in turn reduces recoil very effectively. The surface is textured to provide a better grip, even under the influence of water, oil, or solvents.

Bottom Line

The Pachmayr F325 is a durable recoil pad with a rubber construction for easy grinding and ideal comfort. It compresses as expected from a recoil pad and doesn’t cost as much as other expensive alternatives. Great product and great quality.

Best Shotgun Slip-On Recoil Pad:
Allen Company Recoil Eraser

Pros

  • Easy to install slip-on design
  • Anti-slip surface and rear texture
  • Suits many different rifles and shotguns
  • Very affordable compared to similar pads
  • Significant recoil reduction. Especially with slugs

Cons

  • Needs perfect fit
  • Adds 1 inch to overall LOP

What Recent Buyers Report

The buyer reviews are full of satisfaction and appraisal for this recoil pad. The tough design, easy installation, and right fit are the most impressive features. The recoil reduction is also significant and was reported to be around 30-40%. You might want to add some styrofoam if you have a concave buttplate to add this pad upon.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Allen Company recoil pad has a simplistic and durable design. It is not a thin rubber sheath to be cleaved with a blade, but a durable polymer design that will withstand the test of time. The pad will shoot any long gun with a straight stock and is easy to install/remove, this pad can be used for multiple weapons.

Another impressive feature of this pad is its super low price. You won’t hesitate to buy multiple units for all your shotguns.

Bottom Line

This slip-on recoil pad is a simple and affordable solution to create a more comfortable shotgun for your hunting trips. If installed in adherence with the dimensions of this stock, this pad will prove to be a useful tool.

Pros

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Protective on stock’s finish
  • Elastic slip-on design will suit most stocks
  • Beautiful stock made from genuine leather
  • Thick neoprene padding. Includes two extra pads

Cons

  • Comes off too easily

What Recent Buyers Report

The leather looks very rich and improves the overall aesthetics of the weapon. This pad fits most stocks and has a very affordable price tag. It doesn’t grab and stick onto your clothing and aids LOP if needed. The recoil reduction is also perfect.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The exterior of the pad is properly stitched genuine leather. Which is very good looking, soft, comfortable, and also durable. The pad has an elastic patch on the bottom which expands to accommodate most stock sizes. The neoprene spacers allow you to thicken the rear for better recoil reduction. Plus they’ll also help you increase the LOP, which can be fairly useful when adults plan on using youth shotguns.

The pad will fit like a glove and can be removed very easily if not needed. This, however, can both be an advantage and a disadvantage in some situations.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Tourbon leather recoil pad has been made for leather lovers who want a recoil pad to aid the comfort as well as the aesthetics of their shotgun. This beautifully made pad is easy to install/remove and comes with extra pads included.

Best Adjustable Shotgun Recoil Pad:
Bisley Adjustable Buttplate Recoil Pad

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Very inexpensive and user friendly
  • Can alter the fit of the gun in different ways
  • Adjustable for height and includes a rubber pad

Cons

  • Requires modifications. You may need a gunsmith

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers like the value provided by this recoil pad for its price. Some users did require some grinding and trimming to get a proper fit. But the end result was truly awesome. It can be used for matches, shooting from a pod, or for a coaching shotgun.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This adjustable recoil pad from Bisley is a meticulously designed product that gives you a durable aluminum adjustment hardware, along with a soft but durable rubber recoil pad. All within a very reasonable price. The rubber pad is easy to shape using a grinder since it is rubber.

The concave face offers perfect and comfortable positioning on your shoulder. Plus, the easy-to-adjust screw system lets you set the cast. Thus eliminating the need for indulging into an extensive shim installation/removal procedure.

Bottom Line

Get the Bisley adjustable recoil pad for a more versatile fit and function with your shotgun. The pad is easy to install and adjust. While bearing an affordable price tag. Suitable for people who want to convert their shotgun into a competition-winning weapon.

Best Recoil Pad for 12 Gauge Shotgun:
Hogue EZG Grind

Pros

  • Very soft synthetic rubber pad
  • Very easy to grind for apt fitting
  • Oversized to attain the perfect fit for your stock

Cons

  • Requires customization for proper fit

What Recent Buyers Report

These pads were said to be very durable and easy to grind for a custom fit. Even for angles and curves. Users like the fit and finish of the stock, and its ability to dampen recoil. You might need screws longer than the ones included in the package. But drilling holes through the pad is not a problem either.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Hogue recoil pad is super easy to grind. It comes oversized and is required to be customized for the user for proper fit. This may seem like unnecessary extra work. But it is a great feature for people who like to make their own changes according to their taste.

The rubber pad can be ground to fit almost every stock available today on the market. It is suitable for a 12 gauge because the rubber is neither too squishy to deviate aim nor too stiff to feel like a hard rock. This recoil pad is an effective permanent solution for even the most unforgiving shotguns.

Bottom Line

An easy to grind recoil pad that can be customized to suit almost any stock. The price is very reasonable and the pad is both durable and comfortable for the shooter. Great for hunting and competitions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Shotgun Recoil Pads

Every accessory will have advantages and disadvantages associated with them. Shotgun recoil pads are no different in that case. 

Advantages

Here's the most noticeable advantages of recoil pads:

Improved Comfort

A recoil pad will greatly improve overall comfort while shooting. This will be useful if you are sensitive to recoil or have to shoot extensively for long periods of time. A recoil pad prevents you from getting a sore or even injured shoulder

Improved Accuracy

With a significant reduction in recoil, these pads also help with accuracy and faster follow up shots. Since the muzzle adjustment drops down and the firearm feels more stable. 

LOP

Recoil pads can also come in handy with increasing the length of pull of your shotgun. It allows slightly smaller shooters to accommodate the weapon better in their hands. Some pads can offer an on-the-go adjustment for LOP, eliminating the need for spacers or tactical stocks. 

Disadvantages

These are the downsides to consider when purchasing a recoil pad:

Unwanted Modifications

This factor specifically concerns recoil pads that require screws to attach. Drilling holes in a cheap pump action is fine. But if the gun in question is a $2,500 Beretta, such actions can break your heart. 

Winter Clothing

If your recoil pad is set to the exact tolerances you need. The gun might feel a bit shifted in the forward direction when wearing thick winter clothing. 

Kick Eez vs. Limbsaver Recoil Pads - Comparison Overview 

Both these recoil pads are ideal in their own merit. Limbsaver and Kick Eez recoil pads are used extensively by shooters with rifles and shotguns. Both these pads have been made using synthetic material and produce a similar amount of reduction in recoil. Both these pads have to be installed permanently on the buttstock using screws. 

Regarding the differences: the Limbsaver recoil pad uses air chambers for cushioning recoil force. Whereas the Kick Eez pad uses squishy sorbothane material for this effect. The Limbsaver recoil pad is slightly lighter than the Kick Eez in the same size. The Limbsaver pad looks better made than the Kick Eez in appearance and design. But the amount of recoil reduction is the same. Kick Eez pads are easier to grind than limbsaver due to their plain and simple design. 

The Kick Eez pads are available in a variety of different configurations and are extensively used by trap shooters. The Limbsaver, on the other hand, have a flat, non-angled design and are more suited for common applications like hunting or practice. 

Kick-Eez (Source)

How to Install a Shotgun Recoil Pad

There are two types of shotgun recoil pad models available on the market. The first are ones that have to be screwed on the buttplate. There are more like, permanent solutions. While the other ones are slip-on pads. They just slide over the rear end of the stock and stay in place using straps or elastic cuppings. 

Here we’ll be talking about the screw-on pads since they’ll require some effort. 

  1. Make sure your firearm is void of any ammunition and safe to be serviced. While disassembling the gun is not a necessary action. Doing so will be slightly helpful, and might also give you a chance to clean your shotgun.

  2. If your stock’s buttend has pre-drilled holes, it’s as easy as placing the pad and tightening the screws. But if not, measure the exact center of the buttend and draw a vertical line. 

  3. Now place your shotguns buttend on the recoil pad, and mark the perimeter of the end on the recoil pad. The extra part is what has to be ground off. Also, mark the position of the holes on the stock and drill them for mounting screws.

  4. Use a table grinder or any other suitable tool to grind the recoil pad for the required dimensions. 

  5. Steps 3 & 4 may not be necessary as most pads come pre-fit these days. 

  6. Place it back on and tighten the screws. Assemble back your shotgun and it’s done. 

For better insights and guidance on this process, make sure to take a look at this video below. 

Conclusion

Having a good recoil pad on a shotgun is an absolute necessity. These weapons are known for their heavy recoil which has given a lot of meme material for gun writers. Anyways, a good recoil pad must be durable, soft, and easy to install. Plus having a customizable fit can also be a great feature. 

People Also Ask

Let’s find answers to some common queries associated with shotguns and their recoil. Identifying the fine line between theory and reality. 

What Size Screws For Shotgun Recoil Pad?

The screw size may differ from gun to gun and also with the recoil pad. Longer pads need longer screws with more tpi. But most screws will be around 1 inch in length. For example, the Remington 870 uses a 1-inch #2 philip screw. Whereas a Browning Citori uses 1.25-inch #8 Philip screws.

What Are Recoil Pads Made of?

A recoil pad can be made of rubber, polymer, nylon, foam, or leather. Or any soft or durable material that fits the prerequisites. Their compressive abilities or slight squishiness is what makes them feel comfortable on your shoulder as they absorb the force of recoil. 

Are Limb Savers Worth it?

Yes. Limb savers are definitely worth it. These are among the best available recoil pads on the market with an amazingly unique design to counter recoil in the most effective manner. Having a good limb saver will improve overall shooting comfort and performance. 

What Shotgun Shell Has the Least Recoil?

The question is quite subjective. If you are talking in terms of gauge, .410 bore shotshells have the least recoil and 12 gauge 3” have the most. Additionally, each gauge has ‘low-recoil’ ammo variants available for them. If you are looking for the 12 gauge, Aguila mini shells will be a good choice. 

Which Shotgun Has the Most Recoil?

The larger the bore of the shotgun, the more recoil it has. Speaking of shotguns used today, 10 gauge has the most recoil, followed by 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge and .410 bore. Recoil is also inversely proportional to the weight of the gun. 

Do Shotguns Have More Recoil Than Rifles?

For a short answer, yes. Let’s understand with an example. A 7.62x39mm 125 gr AK-47 bullet fired from a weapon weighing 7 lbs has a recoil energy of 6.9 ft. lbs. Almost the same as a 5.5lbs .410 bore shotgun. A 12 gauge 3” 1-⅞ oz. a shell fired from an 8.75lbs shotgun has a recoil energy of 54lbs. Almost the same as a .450 Nitro Express 465 grain bullet fired from an 11lbs rifle. “It is directly proportional to the caliber”

About Ankit

Ankit has been a writer for almost a decade now and has developed a diverse portfolio. His love for writing led him to turn down his lavish and lucrative career as a software engineer, twisting the reins of his life towards being a full-time writing. He only does what he loves. His hobbies include gardening, reading, shooting, and most of all - learning new things in every context (hence why he chose to be a writer). His whimsical nature and love for writing fosters creativity in all of his work

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