By Chris Parkin

A few people have been interested to hear the direct comparison between men’s and Ladies/youth models of the SP Black Shotguns from ATA and after taking two otherwise identical 12g game guns to task, here are the definitive differences between the versions.


Dimension Men’s Ladies/Youth model
Calibre 12 gauge 12 gauge
Barrel length 709mm/28” 709mm/28”
Length of pull 370mm/14.6” 357mm/14”
Drop at nose 36mm/1.4” 33mm/1.3”
Drop at heel 55mm/2.2” 42mm/1.6”
Overall Weight 3609gr/7.9lbs 3531gr/7.7lbs
Barrel Weight 1407gr/50oz. 1413gr/50oz.
Forend Weight 283gr/10oz. 308gr/11oz.
Stock/Action Weight 1919gr/68oz. 1810gr/64oz.
Balance point 10mm rear of hinge pin axis Hinge pin axis
Trigger pulls/lower/upper barrel 1674/1816gr 1675/1669gr

Items highlighted in Italics illustrate the differences are solely regarding stock geometry as all other metallic mechanical items come within manufacturing tolerances. Initially the main factor is the height and shape of the comb, the straight comb on the men’s version contrasts with the raised comb on the Ladies/youth version. Measurement to assess the difference here is called the drop at nose and heel, i.e., where your nose is closest to the front of the comb and your jaw at the rear. If you lay a straight edge along the top rib of the gun extending over the stock, the dimension below is the `drop`, at either point. Lesser dop essentially means an identical head/cheek shape would sit higher alerting eyesight alignment with the rib. Ladies or those of smaller build will generally have a less pronounced cheekbone, therefore needing a higher comb on the stock to align the eye just above the rib, whereas a heavier cheekbone needs a relatively lower comb. Of course, everyone is different so manufacturers can only offer average sizing, hence why guns can be custom fitted, tailored exactly to the specific shooter’s facial and bodily dimensions. The higher comb also features approximately half the taper from front to back, easing felt recoil through the face where the 19mm taper of the gent’s stock accommodates generalisations of neck length. The other major difference is length of pull, shorter arms and narrower shoulders need a shorter stock, although both guns are laterally cast identically, with the toe of the stock `bending` away from the chest more than the upper heel. The final difference is a combination of both longer length of pull (the actual stock length from trigger blade to the centre of the recoil pad), and varying mass of organic walnut. The longer stock weighs 109gr more which is a combination of the two and this leads to one of the most discreet handling factors, point of balance between your hands. The Ladies gun balances exactly on the central axis of the action/barrel hinge pin, whereas the longer heavier stock of the gent’s version moves this approximately 10 mm further rearward. The most subtle alterations are the slightly tighter grip radius, closing smaller hands with shorter fingers in forwards, towards the trigger by 5mm on the Ladies version. The grip is also 2mm slimmer in width at 35mm than the larger gun’s corresponding 37mm.

Essentially, the two guns are identical other than the stock, but the shape and dimension of the Walnut can make all the difference to the shooter. Other factors like choosing a longer 30” barrel rather than 28” can offer significant handling changes and redress the balance point forward as preference dictates but in either format, the gun is a pleasure to shoot and offers basic generic adaptation to suit those of different stature.

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Photo Captions

  1. Men’s versus Ladies/Youth version is all down to stock geometry
  2. Both are supplied with identical multichokes
  3. The raised comb shape of the Ladies gun with less drop
  4. Straight comb on the gent’s version, more drop and taper
  5. Men’s and Ladies versions side by side
  6. Measuring drop at nose and heel below the sighting rib
  7. Identical action and selective safety catch
  8. Identical 7.7mm rib tapers from 7.9mm at the muzzle for subtle optical effect
  9. Both feature a red bead
  10. With identical barrel length, the men’s version shows a more rearward balance point
  11. Very subtle variation in grip shape and width for smaller hands on the Ladies version (furthest from camera)