Rifle Marksmanship

Three Elements of a Good Shooting Position



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A stable shooting position is essential in obtaining the best results in rifle shooting.  A stable position reduces rifle recoil and provides the optimal conditions for successfully applying the fundamentals of marksmanship.  This stability is enhanced by using the rifle sling to aid in the control and support of the rifle.  Proper adjustment of the rifle sling will have little benefit if the competitor can not assume and maintain a correct shooting position.  A proper shooting position provides the stability and control required to employ the weapon accurately and consistently.  The basic shooting positions, can be tailored to meet the individual needs of each competitor and also provide both the stability and control necessary to shoot accurately and consistently.
  •  Bone Support


    • The body's skeletal structure provides a stable foundation to support the rifle's weight. A weak shooting position will not withstand the repeated recoil of the rifle when firing at a sustained rate or buffeting from wind. To attain a correct shooting position, the bones of the body must support as much of the rifle's weight as possible. Proper use of the sling provides additional support.
      • The weight of the weapon should be supported by bone rather than muscle because muscles fatigue whereas bones do not.
      • Establish a strong foundation for the rifle by utilizing bone support, This will enable the shooter-to relax as much as possible while minimizing the movement of the weapon due to muscle tension.

  • Muscular Relaxation


    • Once bone support I achieved, muscles are relaxed.  Muscular relaxation helps to hold steady and increase the accuracy of your aim. Muscular relaxation also allows the maximum use of bone support to create a minimum arc of movement and consistency in resistance to recoil.
      • The best way achieve muscular relaxation is by utilizing bone support.  During the shooting process, the muscles of the body must be relaxed as much as possible. Muscles that are tense will cause excessive movement of the rifle, disturbing the aim.  When proper bone support and muscular relaxation are applied, the rifle will settle onto your aiming point, making it possible to apply trigger control and deliver a well-aimed shot.
      • Only through practice and achieving a natural point of aim will proper muscular relaxation be achieved.
  • Natural Point of Aim


    • The point at which the rifle sights settle when bone support and muscular relaxation are achieved is called the natural point of aim.
      • Since the rifle becomes an extension of your body, it may be necessary to adjust the position of your body, thereby adjusting your natural point of aim, until the rifle sights settle naturally on the desired aiming point on the target.
      • When in a shooting position with proper sight alignment, the position of the tip of the front sight post will indicate the natural point of aim.  When completely relaxed, the tip of the front sight post should rest on the desired aiming point.
      • One method of checking for natural point of aim is to aim in on your target, close your eyes, take a couple of breaths, and relax as much as possible.  When you open your eyes, the tip of the front sight post should be positioned on the desired aiming point while maintaining sight alignment.


2003 GySgt Gregg White  (Ret.)   Contact E-Mail