Different Types of Firing Positions | CHK-SHIELD | Outdoor Army - Tactical Gear Shop

Different Types of Firing Positions

Different Types of Firing Positions

One of the most important tactics when it comes to shooting, it the firing position or shooting stance. This is something that is taught during basic training for rifle marksmanship. Initially, the most basic firing positions are taught and used, however, later on, military soldiers will learn more advanced and tactical conditions, so that they can be ready for combat.

Army man holding a rifle in a standing firing position

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to go into the military or are becoming an avid hunter, when you’re handling any sort of gun, it’s important to know and practice the right stances. This helps to increase your aim and ability to hit the target, while bracing yourself properly from any kickback the gun may have.

So, let’s dive into the wide array of firing positions.

Basic Firing Positions

When initially learning how to use and shoot a gun, the individual will learn two basic firing positions. These two positions are not only easy to understand and use, but are where most of the other, more difficult stances derive from. These two stances are the individual supported fighting position and the prone supported position. Both are stable platforms and bases for firing a rifle and are used during basic record fire.

The Supported Fighting Position

First and foremost, we’ll dive into the supported fighting position, which is known to be the most stable platform for targets. To execute this position, these are the following steps in which the armed individual must take.

First: if there is anything in the soldier’s way, such as sandbags or dirt, it must be added or removed so that the solider is able to adjust for his or her height. Everything must be level, sturdy and even during this position.

Military man laying down shooting a rifle during combat

Second: Then the soldier is required to set up and face his target, in a way in which he demonstrates a half-face to his firing side. Once this has been complete, the soldier will lean forward but only until his chest is resting against his firing hand corner of position. This provides a steady and set base.

Third: His or her hand will then move to form a rifle handguard in a which the thumb and fingers of the nonfiring hand will resemble a V. This hand (the nonfiring hand) will be resting on the material that is in front of him or her, such as the dirt or sandbags that were initially set up in step one.

Fourth: The soldier then places the stock butt in the pocket of the firing shoulder, resting his elbow on the ground. One and only once this position has been mastered and is sturdy, can the soldier then move onto the last and final step of this position.

The last step: firing! Ready, aim, fire. Once the position has been accomplished the soldier is then able to easily shoot and repeatedly fire at the target.

Now, this process is encouraged to be mastered by any coach or trainer, however, it is also advised to have the soldier repeat these steps and fire in unsteady territory. The reason is simple. While it is important to have steady balance and hand placements, there are times in which the soldier will not be able to set up to be completely still and sturdy. That’s why many coaches work to get their soldiers to familiarize themselves with what is known as a wobble area. This wobble area allows the shooter to know the level at which they can be off balance, but still perform the shot.

Overall, this position is realistically more focused for combat as it is geared toward providing the shooter a steady position no matter the condition at hand. It is interesting and hard to achieve because although the shooter is set up to be high enough to see and aim at all targets, he or she must also be able to stay low enough so that they cannot be seen.

Prone Supported Position

Once the first initial firing position has been mastered, it is then time to move onto the second basic position that is trained during rifle marksmanship. This position is known as the Prone Supported Position.

This position is also aimed towards those in combat, as the goal is to have a steady and sturdy position while firing at engaging and moving targets. For this position to be achieved, the following steps must occur:

Prone Supported Rifle Firing Position

First: the soldier must face his or her target and drop to their knees, spreading out their feet that is a comfortable distance away.

Second: Utilizing the butt of the rifle as a pivot, the soldier must then roll onto his nonfiring side, placing the nonfiring elbow closest to the magazine.

Third: the rifle butt is then placed in the pocket by the firing shoulder, in which the shooter then grabs the pistol with his or her firing hand, lowing the firing elbow to the ground. Here, the rifle will be resting in a V format that has been created by the thumb and fingers of the nonfiring hand.

Fourth: getting ready to shoot, the soldier then adjusts his position so that his or her shoulders are level, pulling back on the rifle with both hands in a firm grip.

Lastly: then, it is expected that the soldier relaxes, keeps his heels close to the ground and fires.

While these two firing positions may seem simple and easy enough, the mastery of them during ideal or unexpected condition is necessary. Soldiers must be able to quickly assume the position no matter the elements at hand, firing with accurate aim at their targets.

Due to the expectations that are placed on these two firing positions, it takes soldiers some time to learn and master them before they learn and move onto more complex positions.

Advanced Firing Positions

As many know, there are way more than just two simple and basic firing positions. While the in-depth details will not be fully described, we will list some of the other advances positions available and when they should be ideally used.

These advanced positions are taught in case the soldier finds himself in a position in which the basic movements cannot be created. If this happens, then the solider is able to and expected to assume other positions that will not only provide a sturdy shot but will also allow him to remain covered and adapt to the combat situation.

Kneeling Supported Position

If the soldier needs to gain more height to observe his or her targets better, they will assume this position while also taking advantage of any available cover. The type of cover which is necessary is any that can help support the soldiers’ weight but also assist in sturdy, accurate shots.

Kneeling Unsupported Position

This position is similar to the kneeling supported position however is assumed when the soldier does not have anything to lean on to support his or her weight or help with firing accuracy. During this time the nonfiring elbow should be pushed towards the front of the knee so that the elbow can rest on the knee, gaining some sort of stability.

Kneeling Unsupported Firing Position

Standing Position

If the soldier is unable to view his or her target at a lower stance, then they might assume the standing position. In this case, the soldier must face his or her target, spread his feet at a comfortable distance apart, evenly distributing the weight in his feet. The weight that is created from the rifle is supported by the firing shoulder pocket and the non-firing hand.

Military man in combat standing in an advanced firing position

Modified Firing Positions

When in combat, anything can happen. So, soldiers must be able to adapt quickly to the climate and environment that they are in, creating sturdy, covered, and adequate firing positions that will allow them to shoot their target. This is why practicing modified firing positions are encouraged.

Once a soldier knows the basics of the simple and advanced positions, it is essential to practice finding cover and stability wherever it can be found. This allows the soldier to feel supported consistently while performing the shot and helps improve accuracy. 

While it may not be a life-or-death situation when you are obtaining your firing shot, it still is important to understand the basics of what makes a good stance for an accurate shot. This is why it is essential than any soldier or hunter learns and masters the basic two moves before practicing any other stance available.

Hunter laying down in a firing position while out in the field

When you know how to create a sturdy, supported stance out of anything and within any climate, then you can feel relaxed knowing that accuracy of your shot will not be a problem.

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