Proper Shooting Postition for the AR15


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bad_dad_brad
February 1, 2003, 04:39 PM
I just got my AR15, a Bushy 16" A2 a few months ago.

I have been handling it like a plain old rifle. But something was not working quite right, my right shoulder picked up some arthritic pain, and the left arm easily became fatigued. And my accuracy was so so.

Then I get to poking around and searching the TFL database, and look at some pictures of people shooting the AR15 in books and publications, and I realized that I am probably shooting the thing incorrectly.

Every picture I see, the person shooting has their face far forward on the stock (some recommend that the tip of the nose just touches the charging handle), the left supporting hand is wrapped around the magazine well not the handguards, and the right shooting hand's elbow is close to the body instead at nine o'clock.

I have not had the chance yet to test this postition out, but I know many of you High Roaders have had AR15 experience for many years. I would appreciate opinions and answers on this question of the proper shooting position for the AR15.

Thanks.

Brad.

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goon
February 1, 2003, 05:05 PM
According to uncle sam, you gotta stick your nose up against the charging handle. It means that you get the same sight picture every time.
You wrap your hand around the handguards just like you would any other rifle. Other than that, there isn't much more I could tell you to try.

bad_dad_brad
February 2, 2003, 09:42 PM
I am only re-posting to bump things up and to try to get this thread noticed. I would like a few more opinions please, as my question is pretty basic.

I am wondering if THR is becoming a political chat and b**** site, instead of a firearms expert site. It seems so to me. I miss the old TFL.

Perhaps I should go to AR15.COM to get this simple question responded to.

Re-posting:

I just got my AR15, a Bushy 16" A2 a few months ago.

I have been handling it like a plain old rifle. But something was not working quite right, my right shoulder picked up some arthritic pain, and the left arm easily became fatigued. And my accuracy was so so.

Then I get to poking around and searching the TFL database, and look at some pictures of people shooting the AR15 in books and publications, and I realized that I am probably shooting the thing incorrectly.

Every picture I see, the person shooting has their face far forward on the stock (some recommend that the tip of the nose just touches the charging handle), the left supporting hand is wrapped around the magazine well not the handguards, and the right shooting hand's elbow is close to the body instead at nine o'clock.

I have not had the chance yet to test this postition out, but I know many of you High Roaders have had AR15 experience for many years. I would appreciate opinions and answers on this question of the proper shooting position for the AR15.

Thanks.

Brad.
_

gun-fucious
February 2, 2003, 09:59 PM
there is a whole FM on AR15 marksmanship...
FM23-9 - M16 Marksmanship Manual
http://www.mcdl.org/Manuals/Manuals/Manual%20Depot.htm

also see:

http://www.biggerhammer.net/manuals/mcrp3-1a/

MCWP 3-01.x complements MCWP 3-01, Basic Marksmanship. MCWP 3-01.x explains the fundamental techniques and procedures for Phase III Marksmanship Training (Field Firing). This manual's discussion of marksmanship skills assumes a strong foundation of individual proficiency in basic marksmanship. This manual is intended to be used by Marine Corps organizations and marksmanship training sites for the training of individual Marines and small units. Procedures in this manual are written for right-handed Marines. Left-handed Marines should reverse instructions as needed.

Sven
February 2, 2003, 10:16 PM
I usually try to wait a day or so before worrying that my thread missed the eyes of those who can help....

-sven, who avoids most of the political chat

Steve Smith
February 3, 2003, 01:50 AM
Nose touching the charging handle...not a necessity, and somewhat difficult when standing, expecially if you're short. It is a very good way to help you have a consistent cheek weld.

Firing arm close to the body...its pretty hard to have the "high elbow" with the AR due to the pistol grip...just have your elbow down at your side, where ever it feels most natural.

Forward hand. Depends on use. With the left hand at the front of the magwell and the right arm tight against the body, you're assuming the "tactical" stance where you use your body to point the rifle more than arms. You may also have your arm extended, of course. One of the ways to hold the AR for best standing accuracy is like this:
http://www.militarymarksmanship.org/images/singley3.jpg
Sorry for the size. BTW, that's Sgt First Class Grant Singley

Badger Arms
February 3, 2003, 03:58 AM
While Grant and others will certainly score high marks on the range, I suspect that real work is done with the head further back on the stock. I'm a fairly tall guy and I find it uncomfortable and awkward to fire my rifle as suggested above. I do whatever is comfortable. While it isn't necessarily repeatable, I don't think that my sight picture is compromised by a difference of a few inches. Other factors are more important to me. On my 'tactical' rifle, if you want to call it that, my cheek will litearlly weld to the rifle in winter.

Steve Smith
February 3, 2003, 10:30 AM
Everyone wants to find a point of contention. :rolleyes:

Bikeguy
February 3, 2003, 02:01 PM
as for left arm, I like to grab the mag well too - it is more comfortable.

Stock on mine seems a little short for me, and I have been looking for a longer one. No luck yet. That might be part of the problem with the right arm.

I find that the closer my nose is to the charging handle, the more the rear sight "disappears" as it is suppossed to. I keep my nose just rearward of the charging handle.

BigG
February 3, 2003, 02:08 PM
While I don't want to go against any self-appointed gurus, the nose-against-charging- handle idea sounds pretty asinine to me. If it works, use it but you should have your head upright in a comfortable position. Your eye will tell you when you're the right distance from the rear sight. It should just look like a fuzzy hole anyway with the front sight in the brightest part, the center. After a little live practice you will assume the same cheek position time after time. I have.

Do not put pressure on the sling as that bends the bbl and will string your shots unless you do it exactly the same way each time.

Be mindful that you have to have the weapon level. If you cant the gun you will get pistol errors unless it is canted uniformly each time. This is due to the separate pistol grip. Best idea is to keep the gun straight up and down. Hope this helps!

George

Steve Smith
February 3, 2003, 02:16 PM
Obviously, how you intend to use the rifle has a lot to do with how you hold it. If you're really fighting with it, you need a good firm grasp on the rifle. If you in a CQB stiuation, you want to take up less space and gain more control, so that's where grabbing the magwell comes in.

Nose to the charging handle is, as I said earlier, is not a necessity, and is not easy for many. You will just have to experiment to find what works for you.

bad_dad_brad
February 3, 2003, 09:48 PM
Thanks all for your opinions.

Special thanks to the links to the PDF manuals. Very helpful.

I do like that pic of the fellow picking his nose with the charging handle. Ouch.

Jon Coppenbarger
February 3, 2003, 10:09 PM
that guru in the photo with his nose on the charging handle just happens to be a national champion, but what would he know about shooting?

here this is going to be my standard answer from now on because I do not want to be considered a self appointed guru.

#1 ON ALL RIFLE POSITIONS IF YOU ARE SHOOTING THE 10 OR X RING OVER 97% OF ALL YOUR SHOTS YOU REALLY SHOULD NOT CARE WHAT YOUR POSITION IS.

#2 IF YOU ARE NOT HOLDING THE 10 OR X IN OVER 97% OF YOUR SHOTS THEN WORK ON YOUR POSITION TILL YOU DO AND IF YOU ARE SEE #1

#3 IF YOU CAN NOT PUT THE RIFLE DOWN AND PICK IT BACK UP NO MATTER WHAT POSITION YOU START IN AND HIT A 10 OR X THEN YOUR POSITION NEEDS LOTS OF WORK ANYWAY AND SEE #2 AND IF YOU CAN SEE #1

copier has been down this past week but got it working today and need to get a copy out for another shooter as promised and if you BAD_DAD_BRAD would like a copy on off hand positions and exactly what to do email me and I will send you a copy.
if you do follow it you may not understand it all at once but you will keep going back to it and pick up more each time. trust me it works.

the above 3 things are exactly what works and any great shooter worth his salt will tell you the same thing.
IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW YOU HOLD IT , IT'S THE RESULTS THAT COUNT.
now for example in my rapid sitting position my head does not even touch the stock but is about 2 inches above the stock on all rapid sitting shots, yes it just floats there. and to say my rapid sitting is kinda ok as my worst score in rapid sitting since early sept. has been a 199-7x out of 200. but having said that it goes to show you if you have a very good repeatible position in any shooting sport it works.

gun-fucious
February 3, 2003, 10:24 PM
ya see B_D_B
thats one of the hidden strong points of the AR15 platform

theres a rather large training user base

want the next step after the FMs?
Some Of The Answer, Urban Carbine
http://www.marksmans.com/
If you own an AR, this is a one stop shop for many of your answers.

Some Of The Answer, Urban Carbine--An Advanced Technique Manual for the Combat Carbine by Jim Crews--is a detailed training manual regarding the operation and application of the AR, Mini 14/30 AK and SKS. It consists of 296 pages (8-1/2” x 11”) of detailed techniques regarding the use of the tactical carbine in an urban environment. The manual covers safety, proper slinging and mounting techniques, proper loading, unloading, tactical reloading, zeroing, position shooting and much more. This manual is extrordinary in the fact that the manual included both right and left handed techniques. The manual is completely detailed with 680 high quality photos for almost every technique presented in the manual. This manual will become the bench mark for others to follow. This manual supercedes all previous versions of the former carbine manual. This training manual is the best technical training resource the carbine shooter or instructor can obtain.

Available December 1, 2002--Some Of The Answer, Urban Carbine, soft cover is $39.95, 3 ring binder version is $44.95 plus shipping.

BigG
February 4, 2003, 10:44 AM
IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW YOU HOLD IT , IT'S THE RESULTS THAT COUNT.

Now that is an answer I can agree with. :D

I've seen and heard of people who could do all sorts of wondrous things but they could not impart it to anybody else. There was a great shooter in the early days of the FBI named Jelly Bryce. Jelly was the guy they brought in when they had a desperado that was not going to come in alive. Jelly could point and shoot with a supernatural accuracy. He claimed, and a lot of people believed him, that he could watch the bullets as they traveled to their target. They made him a firearms instructor and guess what, he came up with the FBI Crouch or whatever they call that position but nobody ever learned Jelly's supernatural accuracy with a revolver.

You can also read FAST AND FANCY REVOLVER SHOOTING by Ed McGivern who gave detailed instruction of how to hit the individual spots on playing cards with a .38 revolver, either hand, at speeds that would tax Miculek.

When you read thru all the detailed scenarios and training regimens that McGivern put himself thru it staggers the mind, especially when you consider that he shot some 200,000 rounds (IIRC) of factory 38 Special to attain his awesome skills. That would run into quite a few thousand dollars of investment into ammo alone. $30-40,000 at current prices is my guesstimate.

And that is only in shooting, now when you get into the other areas of human endeavor there is equally astounding individual achievements. I remember in Paris there was a lady who...

BigG
February 4, 2003, 12:50 PM
http://www.okcpolice.com/images/bryce.jpg

This is a picture of Jelly Bryce, the most deadly shooter in the FBI who is almost unknown. Notice the crouch which the FBI adopted as it was Bryce's natural position. Notice he is point shooting, not looking down the bbl. He claimed he could watch the bullets as they streaked toward their targets. He is known for entering a hotel room in OK city where a desperado already had him covered with a revo. Bryce nonetheless drew from under his suitcoat and fired either five or six shots all of which struck the desperado in the head. His weapon remained unfired and he was dead before his pistol hit the bed.

According to what people have told me, Bryce was unable to impart his natural shooting style to anyone else even though he was made a firearms instructor.

Betty
February 4, 2003, 01:40 PM
Here's what works for me:

http://www.dearbetty.net/s_plinking.jpg
photo by Oleg Volk

M1911
February 4, 2003, 01:54 PM
I'm a stock crawler. On the AR15, I put my nose on the charging handle. YMMV.

Victor Romen
February 4, 2003, 01:57 PM
From the hip of course. ;)

BigG
February 4, 2003, 02:00 PM
The basic idea behind shooting any long arm is you bring the gun to your face, not your face to the gun. Shooters who worry about a "good cheek weld" should be learning a "good sight picture" and then the repeatable cheek weld would come naturally, imho. Just my two pfennig. ;)

Brian Williams
February 4, 2003, 04:08 PM
When I was in the Marines and qualifing Expert with a 245 out of 250 on the KD500 range, if I put my nose to the charging handle I would get the A1 carry handle scar just above my right eye. I worked on a cheek weld with a piece of black electrical tape folded and stuck on the stock right back of a nose touch cheek weld worked for me. I also padded the inside of my shooting jacket cause the stock was to short for me.

Steve Smith
February 4, 2003, 04:44 PM
Obviously this thread has taken a turn. Now, considering cheek weld, there are lots of ways to get a consistent one. The nose thing is olny one way. Another way, as stated above, is to use tape that you can feel with your cheek. There are many other ways, but I'm off to a job site.

Onslaught
February 4, 2003, 04:48 PM
I don't think anyone's mentioned this specifically... but if you hold the magwell instead of the forend, and you're not pulling on the sling, you're effectively "free floating" the barrel. If you're dealing with the "military profile" barrels, this is probably more of an issue than with the HBARs.

Keeing the elbows in close to the body is to make you less of a target and keep you from exposing an elbow as you corner in CQB and giving away your position (as well as your ability to play the piano :D )

I don't touch my nose to the CH, but I'm not a great shot either... :neener:

Biff
February 4, 2003, 05:27 PM
The nose on the charging handle technique is meant to ensure that your face's position an the stock (and eye's relationship to the rear sight) remains consistent from shot to shot. If you are uncomfortable with your nose on the charging handle, you do have alternatives! Find your most comfortable position, and place a piece of moleskin or a corn pad on the stock where your cheek contacts it. Thereafter, when you aim your rifle, simply make sure that you can feel the piece of moleskin on your cheek. Your eye/sight alignment will stay the same.

bad_dad_brad
February 6, 2003, 10:12 PM
Wow.

I can see that it is practice, practice, practice that is the key. And consistancy once you find your groove. Comfort I am sure is part of the equation.

It reminds me once of a great young baseball hitter. He had a coach that decided that his swing was not proper, and the kid's average went down 100 points.

I think Runt of the Litter's picture points out, that the AR is a great ergonomic rifle designed to fit the person and not vice versa. She is a tiny gal, but the system fits her well, and I am sure that she hits the target.

Range time!

fixer
February 7, 2003, 11:03 AM
at 6'2", i'm far from a runt... but i prefer the nose-on-the-handle method, with the shorter A1 stock instead of the A2, which is 7/8" longer... and with a 4 position "waffle" sided CAR stock, i go one or two clicks in from fully open. (one click is the same as the A1)

i also try to keep the chickenwings down against the torso, not flapping in the breeze.

and i'm not a fan of grabbing the magwell.

BigG
February 7, 2003, 01:12 PM
More than one way to skin a cat. Different strokes for different folks. Experiment a little. Use what works for YOU.

Mute
February 7, 2003, 01:29 PM
You're not going to find one method to fit everyone because physiologically everyone is a little different.

What you should look for:

- a consistent cheek weld
- comfortable hold on the strong and support side when the rifle is mounted (no strain or discomfort)
- a consistent sight picture

You'll have to play with it a bit and when you find the fit, practice mounting the rifle this way so that it becomes second nature.

Steve Smith
February 7, 2003, 01:47 PM
Last night, JC121 and I were doing some dry firing and I was working on my sitting position. I am still able to shoot mid-90's but I knew my position was deteriorating. Jon and I are both short, but he is probably a few inches shorter. I figured we'd have similar positions, but as I continued to work on mine, I found that it was quite different than his and different from what I thought mine was too. When I finally found a sweet spot, I knew I had it.


Bottom line, spend some time with the rifle and try different things. Having another person there that can give suggestions or criticize is helpful too.

Duke of Lawnchair
February 7, 2003, 02:41 PM
Bottom line, spend some time with the rifle and try different things. Having another person there that can give suggestions or criticize is helpful too.

Words to live by. Sometimes it's good to also have some buddies shoot with you. Bring a camera, preferably digital and have them take pictures of you and vice versa. It's good to critique your shooting positions. I have a few photos up on imagestation, but they'll only lead to insult! :banghead:

bad_dad_brad
April 13, 2003, 10:20 PM
Marines in Gulf War II suggest a proper shooting postion for the M16 (AR15).

This stance really works for me as well.

444
April 13, 2003, 10:38 PM
I am not sure if we are talking about formal bullseye shooting or "tactical" shooting.
I recently took the basic carbine class at Gunsite, which caters to the more "tactical" applications of the carbine. I had to learn to shoot in a whole new way. For one thing, you shoot with your feet in a position similar to if you were walking toward the target. In other words you are more squared to your target with your chest close to parallel with the target. Their are a few reasons for this. For one thing for law enforcement or military, it presents the front of your body armor to the target and not the seam running down your side. Obviously another reason is that you can come to that firing position when moving forward without much change in your position. It also allows you more movement from side to side with multiple targets. It is also a more balanced/stable position.
As was mentioned, they want you to keep your elbows close to your body so that you are not exposing more of your body than nessessary when moving around corners or cover. I belive this is also the rationale for griping the mag or using a vertical foregrip. It keeps your left elbow in among other things.

bad_dad_brad
April 13, 2003, 10:47 PM
444,

Tactical is what I am talking about.

For target shooting, I would be more traditional with the stance.

I just appreciate the M16 (AR15) system for allowing me to do both.

Houndawg
February 24, 2004, 05:11 AM
Keeing the elbows in close to the body is to make you less of a target and keep you from exposing an elbow as you corner in CQB and giving away your position

I just ran across this thread during a search and had to throw my $.02 in.


The elbows tucked in is to provide skeletal stability and also lowers the center of gravity. This method is a competition/qualification method. This method may have transitioned into tactial doctrine, but it didn't start there.

The sling should typically be a tight parade sling when firing in off-hand. This is required in Marine Corps qualification and also I believe in the Marine Corps matches. I'm not sure about other competitions such as CMP, NRA, etc. The barrel tension argument is moot since a tight sling arm in the other positions would create even more tension on the barrel than pulling a sling tight during off-hand.

In off-hand shooting, the butt is placed high on the shoulder. The head is fairly erect and is usually not as far forward as when in the lower shooting positions. YMMV. If it works for you and gets you in the 10 ring, then use what you use. In prone, sitting, and kneeling, I always put my nose on the charging handle. Hand placement in off-hand is a matter of personal choice. I usually put my thumb just forward of the mag well with my fingers over the ejection port. The casings would bounce off of my fingers. The forward hand lends almost no support, it just keeps the rifle steady. Angain, whatever is more comfortable for you and gives you the best stability is what you should use. If it doesn't get you in the 10 ring, try something else.

The USMC Primary Marksmanship Instructors at Edson Range, Camp Pendleton are the ones who taught me. And they aren't wrong.

444
February 24, 2004, 02:23 PM
I am not sure if we are on the same page here or not.
I was primarily refering to the stong side elbow. Many people shoot a rifle with their strong side (firing side) upper arm close to 90 degrees from their body. Obviously if you are slicing the pie around a corner, this would mean that your elbow would be seen before the rest of your body and before you can see the other person. He can shoot your arm/elbow before you even know he is there.
For the support side arm, I am not talking about bracing your elbow against your body as you would when shooting a target rifle off-hand. I am just talking about keeping it in close to your body for the same reason as above.
Again, note that I am talking about firing from a position where you are facing the target directly in the same position you would be in if you were talking to the person; face to face, belt buckle to belt buckle. In a traditional target shooting off-hand position you would be bladed away so that your body (belt buckle) is facing close to 90 degrees from the target.
One other point that I didn't see mentioned is the position of the stock on your shoulder. If you were looking at the rifle from the rear, the toe of the stock is the bottom part of the butt. You want the toe of the stock in the "pocket". The "pocket" is that part of your chest between your chest muscles and your shoulder muscle. The rifle or carbine pivots up and down on the toe of the rifle. Imagine if you placed the butt of the rifle against a wall. This would be the firing position. In order to see in front of you, or in order to be safe (not pointing the rifle at things you don't want to shoot). You pivot the rifle down so that only the toe of the stock is touching the wall. The rifle moves up and down on that single point. You bring the rifle to your eye and not your eye to the rifle. In other words you pivot the rifle up and your head remains errect. If you are doing this right, your head never moves. This places the rifle much higher on the shoulder than most people normally shoot a rifle.

Houndawg
February 24, 2004, 02:32 PM
I think it was Steve that mentioned it earlier in the thread. The strong side elbow is usually down because that's the most comfortable way to hold the pistol grip. Try it both ways. If your elbow is up then your wrist is bent at an unnatural angle. With the elbow at your side, the wrist is in a natural, comfortable position to be able to pull the rifle into your shoulder and support it. Nothing to do with tactics.

444
February 24, 2004, 02:38 PM
:D
Nothing to do with tactics.
Ok

If you want to shoot a carbine as taught in the shooting schools for tactical applications, the stance looks nothing at all like the picture Steve provided on page 1 of this thread.

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