whoa, I suck at the kneeling position!


October 5, 2008, 08:31 PM
So earlier today we were qualifying with M16A4s out at Fort Riley and I was dead inside all of the circles after zeroing and shot very well prone supported and unsupported. Switched to the kneeling position and it was just plain terrible. I made 30/40 of my first (20 supported, 10 unsupported prone) then missed all 10 of my kneeling shots.

It was very windy out today and I imagine that may have had an impact on my shooting (it was literally blowing me left and right) but does anyone have any tips on shooting in this position? I am decent at standing and shooting but for whatever reason I have ALWAYS sucked at kneeling! :banghead:

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October 5, 2008, 08:37 PM
What works for me is making figure eights. As the wind is blowing you let it rock you and you rock yourself and your rifle into a rhythm of figure eights. It defeats the fundementals of marksmanship, I know, but when you get to the middle of the "eight" pull the trigger. Granted, you need to take up all of the slack you can before firing, and I know that the trigger on an M4 and M16 is pretty crappy, but pull up the slack, and once you get to the middle of the eight, give 'er a pull and you should put it right in the numbers. This is the method I use for standing and kneeling.

~Aaryq, USMC.

Coal Dragger
October 5, 2008, 08:53 PM
Kneeling is a difficult position to master. You need to practice it fairly often to be any good at it.

A good kneeling position starts with deciding what works best for you with the foot you are going to sit on. Either sitting on your heel or your instep. If you sit on your heel, try to make sure it is centered in the crack of your back side, if you can sit on your instep (more steady for most shooters) do so.

Your leading leg (the support leg for your supporting arm) should have the foot placed perpendicular to the target to give more stability from left to right. Your support arm should not be placed on your knee at the elbow! Lean forward enough to rest the back side of your support arm just above the elbow, it is flatter and wider, and will be more steady. Your dominant shooting arm should be held at a comfortable angle that gives good control of the rifle, probably about the same as your offhand position.

The most common problem I encounter with kneeling is side to side motion, think of it as like shooting offhand but instead of having vertical and lateral movement of your sights you just have mostly lateral movement.

Get yourself a good .22LR and shoot at reduced size NRA 25yd or 50ft bullseye targets for practice. This is a frustrating target to shoot (the 10 ring is about .22 inch) practice prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing until you can shoot scores of 90% or better on the prone and sitting, 80% or better on kneeling, and 70% on standing. If you can achieve these goals (prone and sitting shouldn't be too hard) then you will make a mockery of your annual rifle qualification.

October 5, 2008, 09:06 PM
You really gotta be careful with that title :)

Coal Dragger
October 5, 2008, 09:29 PM
:neener: :neener: :neener:

October 5, 2008, 09:46 PM
If your main problem is left/right displacement there is a fair chance that most of the problem is in breath control and/or tenseness within your core muscle groups (chest, abdomen and kiester). Relaxation is the key to both.
Be conscious of your breathing and make it as relaxed and rhythmic as possible.

Be aware of (and get rid of) any rigidity in your core torso This is similar to Coal Dragger's comment about not putting the point of your elbow on your kneecap. He is correct in saying you should put the muscle against the hard surface of the kneecap - but you should also make sure that muscle is not so flexed or you will still have a "hard surface against a hard surface", and that's exactly what you don't want..

Likewise, the heel and the instep of the foot are both "hard surfaces" so you want to put a "dead" surface against them - quite like shooting from a bench where you would drape a bag full of (dead) sand over a hard wooden support in order to steady the rifle and dampen any vibrations. Just like the back of your upper arm becomes the "sandbag" draped over your knee - you make your entire torso "deadweight" so it becomes the "sandbag" draped over your foot. Obviously that means you need to practice the balance but that comes fairly quickly. Using their weight and balance instead of their muscle is really the only effective way a shooter has to "anchor" themself in the kneeling position.
Think of it like this - You aren't trying to hold the rifle steady - you're trying to make YOU steady. Not "hold" yourself steady - that takes muscle. It's make yourself steady via relaxation. The more muscle you use, the more you lose.

Good luck !

October 5, 2008, 09:49 PM
You really gotta be careful with that title

Darn it, someone beat me to it!

October 5, 2008, 10:51 PM
Ha, wow. Didn't even notice the pun on the title.

Y'all are right though, it was definitely left-right mistakes, not up-down. I had the lower portion of my tricep on my patella to avoid the joint on joint contact, so maybe it was just the wind this time. I'll have to go out sometime when it's mild to see in comparison. Only having 10 rounds to diagnose and treat a firing correction apparently isn't enough for this guy :D

October 5, 2008, 11:42 PM
were you sitting on your foot? was it sideways or vertical?

are you kneeling in a slow-fire olympic style course of fire or is this a rapid, timed military-style event?

there are about a dozen different kneeling positions. are they forcing you into one of them?

October 6, 2008, 06:12 AM
I like like to sitt if it is possible and shoot with my bolt locks and one barreled break open rifles also T/C Contender / G2 pistols and revolvers. I have no self loading- or automatic guns. :rolleyes: :uhoh: :rolleyes:.

October 6, 2008, 04:42 PM
I set my forward foot in at a 30-45 angle--this helps stabilize that forward leg. The I sit either on my heel or my ankle depending on footwear, firing point and how long it has to work.

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