Rifle Shooting Standing Stance Q


January 25, 2012, 09:08 PM
I was wondering whether which is the correct style to shoot a rifle.

I've seen people stand almost perpendicular and lean forward towards the target. However, sometimes you see AR/AK operators that square up with the target and shoot. Which is correct or does it depends on the platform one is using? I.e. bolt-action/lever-action vs semi-auto? And what about using a shotgun?

Shooting stance for a sniper rifle (bolt action) (perpendicular):



Shooting squared up to target (AR)



Shotgun squared up (870)


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January 25, 2012, 09:28 PM
It really depends on

1) the type of shooting you are doing( target, cqb, ect)
2) the style of rifle
3) what is comfortable, and works for you

There isn't an " official" or " correct" way to shoot....just suggestions.

January 25, 2012, 09:29 PM
If you are shooting targets that don't shoot back the first one is correct. If you are expected to shoot while moving the others are correct.

January 25, 2012, 09:36 PM
Is there a big difference in potential accuracy?

Pete D.
January 25, 2012, 09:37 PM
Standing or Offhand shooting - the stance varies according to what gun and for what purpose I am shooting.
Hunting, I am apt to take a stance similar to the GI in the picture. If target shooting, that stance is very old school. Modern service rifle offhand looks like this:

Lots of skeletal support, less muscle. Most of the weight of the gun is on the left hand and supported by the hip. No sling.

January 25, 2012, 09:39 PM
Those soldiers are squared up because they are wearing body armor. Shooting from that position presents the ballistic plates to the enemy rather than exposing the unprotected spots around the side of the torso, underarms, etc. As far as I know it doesn't do much for accuracy, it's mostly about survivability.

For what it's worth I try to shoot (target practice) off hand in the manner displayed the first photo. I tend to not wear a glove and sometimes my right elbow starts to lean down to the side.:D

January 25, 2012, 11:34 PM
The different stances have to do with the different situations that they are geared towards, rather than any particular type of rifle.

Standing bladed to the target, chicken-winging your trigger side elbow, and either using a sling or putting your elbow on the point of your hip is a better position when precision is called for. It is a lot more muscle-neutral -- the point of using the sling or using the hip on the elbow is to turn your body into a solid platform, which is a lot more stable than using your muscles to support the rifle. However, it does not allow for easy movement or quick target shifts, so it is not ideal for close quarters combat or shooting on the move. It is something you will see used by snipers, target shooters, and the like. It works even better when you incorporate some solid support, like a tree, a door frame, or a building corner. Also, that first picture is not outdated... the reason Service Rifle shooters use the other position is because slings are against the rules for offhand in NRA High Power. A sling does the same thing as the elbow on the hip... it allows the shooter to relax the support arm.

The more squared stance is a more dynamic position, and is better for situations when you need to move and shoot, and for close quarters. Instead of building a solid platform, you are completely supporting the rifle with your muscles. This allows for more speed and movement, but makes you less precise, which is why it is good for close quarters and not so much for precision shooting. A more modern version of this technique has the shooter put his support side hand far forward on the handguard, to better control the muzzle.

I am firmly of the belief that a well rounded Rifleman ought to be able to switch between the various types of positions as the situation dictates.

In fact, on my "serious use" rifles, I have a sling that I designed myself that is a 2 point tactical sling which works great with dynamic techniques, but also has a built in arm loop for quickly getting into sling-supported positions when precision is called for, and getting back out when you have to get on the move again. It works great for me. The ability to bust out a quick sling-supported position is good for hunting, too.

January 26, 2012, 01:57 AM
Thanks for the input guys! Would you recommend the Vickers Combat Application Sling as one that can go from CQB to precision shooting?

January 26, 2012, 02:04 AM
The Vickers sling is very well made and very flexible to use as either a support for slinging in, carry, or for keeping the rifle on you when you transition to pistol.


January 26, 2012, 03:10 AM
Would it be bad if I put a VCAS on my 336 30-30? :P 20'' carbine, decent fire power, 150-200 yard shot capable, iron sights and capable of scout mount.

January 26, 2012, 11:50 PM
I've seen people make an arm loop with the front part of a Vickers sling, for use as a shooting sling. Or since it's quick adjust, you can also tighten it up enough to just wrap your support arm like a "hasty sling." So yes, it can work for both roles.

Or if you are more into shoulder carry, a 1907 sling works pretty well. just leave the keepers up high so you can slip into the arm loop quickly if you need the support... it still works fine without running the keepers down. Or if you need to take a quick shot but you want a little extra support, you can just throw the sling out around your support elbow and pull your elbow off to the side to take up the slack. That is called a "hasty hasty sling." It isn't exactly perfect form, but it's quick and it works.

Even if your sling isn't capable of being used for support, there are other ways you can get more stable... Obviously solid support is good any time you have it available (if it doesn't put you in too awkward of a position), and if you have a rifle with a long magazine like an AR or AK, you can monopod on the magazine for some support in prone. It isn't as good as a sling or a solid rest, but it is better than nothing, and it's quicker to put into action than a sling.

A VCAS sling on a 336? Why not? I don't know why more hunters don't use front-side carry. It gives you good hands-free retention when you're climbing through brush, and is really quick to bring the rifle up to take a snap shot. For best results you'd have to figure out a way to get side-mount sling swivels on the rifle, though. You might be able to twist a tube mount sling swivel sideways for the front, and for the stock you could either drill a stud in the side, or go with one of those velcro-on sling mounts.

January 27, 2012, 02:54 PM
Yes I always thought a side mounted sling on a 336 would be good because it's so light and handy and quick to aim.

I was thinking of a velcro A1/A2 buttstock mount, and a wire loop sling mount around the mag tube/barrel perhaps in the dovetail cut out of the rear sight. (I have a peep sight). Do you think that would work?

January 27, 2012, 02:57 PM
i like the vicker's blueforce sling and the viking tactics one too, but i wouldn't use either for precision work.

for precision work, look at the Tactical Intervention and TAB slings. "quick cuff" is what I use.

January 28, 2012, 05:54 PM
not sure why the GI type web sling is not real popular...loop sling, hasty sling, hasty hasty sling, easy length adjustment, and 15 bucks to boot

I learned how to use one at an appleseed, but I now use one on my hunting rifle

January 28, 2012, 11:55 PM
also your shooting stance will change if you shoot a lot of big guns offhand. You learn how to use your stance to absorb the high recoil and get back on target.

Its always preferable to get braced up to a post or tree or something and take a knee or shoot prone than to shoot offhand. Never shoot offhand unless you don't have a choice.

January 30, 2012, 02:03 PM
If you need to it is easy to brace your shoulder against a tree or barricade. One way is to use the opposite shoulder. It provide steadiness and won't affect your recoil side.
If you use your support hand against a tree or barricade do not put the rifle against the object. Your should be between object & gun.

The squared off stance also helps when shooting full auto. Gun being more along your body's centerline keep's from going high & right for a right hander.

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