Double barrel shotguns give a hunter the ability to use two different chokes—one for a bird that flushes close and another for one that flushes farther away. Side-by-side shotguns with double triggers allow very quick selection. Over/unders typically have single triggers with barrel selectors. photo from Windigo Images

I once heard an old-timer praise the dual triggers on his side-by-side shotgun. He said he was able to select a tighter or looser choke by selecting one or the other trigger, even during fast shots in the field.

Many over/under shotguns have the barrel selector mounted in the safety switch. Few shooters are able to use it to select a barrel and still get the shot off in time to hit a bird flying away.

The old-timer was right. Double triggers give you a fast and easy way to select a barrel in the field. With a little practice, it becomes an automatic reflex to reach for the back trigger when you need it.

By the way, there are still a few people who incorrectly believe that you should use two fingers on double triggers. All that does is subject your middle finger to a whack from the front trigger when the gun goes off. It also greatly increases your chances of pulling both triggers at once, making the gun double, which hurts even more. But, if you want instant choke selection, get a gun with double triggers and learn to use them. It’s not difficult.

A Miroku Charles Daly double-barrel shotgun similar to the author’s with a barrel selector and single trigger.

Most selectors are combined with safeties and require you to first select a barrel, then push the safety off. (You don’t have to flip barrel selectors between shots.)

The one single selective trigger system that was truly instant was the safety/selector found on the Remington 3200. It looked like a miniature version of the gun’s opening lever. Flip it one way or the other and the gun was off safe, with either barrel selected.

Of the other types of barrel selectors, the fastest to use is the button mounted in the trigger of SKBs. Some shooters have told me they can use it on a bird in flight. I have never tried.

The only time I can ever remember using a barrel selector in the field came on a preserve hunt I went on with my Miroku Charles Daly, a gun that has the typical barrel selector combined with the safety. A pheasant flushed. I shot it and opened the gun, ejecting the empty. A second bird flushed before I could reload. I closed the gun, selected the top barrel with the safety switch (the top barrel was the only one still loaded. Closing the gun had reset it to shoot the bottom barrel first), took the safety off and shot the pheasant.

Two triggers on a double-barrel shotgun, one for each barrel.