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Any tricks to shooting unsupported?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by -v-, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. -v-

    -v- Well-Known Member

    Hey Gang,

    I had the fortune to get out to the range today and blow through some of the x39 stock pile. However, I was horrified by how poorly I was shooting at ~40-50 yards unsupported standing. Sitting supported, I can usually put a 20-shot group in an oblong 4" wide 8" high column at 100 yard. Today while unsupported I managed to get something that looked closer to a shotgun pattern at 40. Main culprit: When standing for a little bit with that nice ol' AKM, my arms started to sway around quite a bit, making lining up accurate shots hard if not impossible.

    Searching was unfortunately only marginally helpful with suggestions. So I'm wondering if any of you fine gents have any tips or tricks about building up muscle strength to hold said firearm rock steady and general tips for improved unsupported accuracy?
  2. TheDriver

    TheDriver Well-Known Member

    Sling, sling, sling, sling. I brace my off elbow in the sling when shooting my AKs. Makes a world of difference.
  3. PT1911

    PT1911 Well-Known Member

    it helps if you put your support hand under the gun in such a way that you pull your elbow direcly under your wrist. this creates a "shelf" of sorts with your hand.. this greatly eliminates any side to side deviation allows you to focus more on preventing vertical "wandering"
  4. usmc1371

    usmc1371 Well-Known Member

    Also try to really pay attention to your trigger squeez. unsuported its easy to pull your shots all over the place and service rifle trigers don't help. On the range with my m16 I would squeez 90% of the trigger pull then breath again and then finish the shot. Sling will help. If your hitting good keep shooting when you start to miss alot take a break for a few min to let your arms relax.
  5. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Well-Known Member

    Take a big breath in, let half out, hold.
  6. feudalson

    feudalson Well-Known Member

    slow steady breaths... with about a 5 second hold before firing... and try to keep your supporting hand and elbow in line.. meaning your forward arm should be at a tight 45 degrees and a +1 to the sling warp tension support
  7. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    your first sight picture is your best sight picture
  8. Big Bill

    Big Bill Well-Known Member

    Ya! Wear a jock strap.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  9. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Well-Known Member

    Shooting offhand is difficult. Practice is about the only thing that helps.

    Make sure you feet are about shoulder width apart and you have a good base. Control your breathing. As support from this position is all muscular, it is important to realize the importance of oxygen and the effects lack of oxygen has on your stability. Denying fresh oxygen to your muscles by holding your breath to take a shot means that you must get your sight picture and fire within a few seconds, before your muscles begin to shake. If you haven't shot by this time, you are better off to pull the rifle down, take a couple deep breaths, and reattempt the shot from the beginning. When I shoot offhand, it is mostly snap shooting. I don't usually try to hold the rifle up more than 5 or 6 seconds. This means you must get your sight picture quickly, and this is all about consistency. If the rifle is brought up to the same place in the same manner every time, and the sight picture is the same every time, you'll be more accurate.

    All of this is why offhand shooting is reserved for usually close in fast encounters. If I have time, whether in the field or on the range (unless I am specifically practicing my offhand shooting), I will almost always get to a lower and more stable position.
  10. GreyOne

    GreyOne Member

    +1 on breath control.
  11. Mr. Alloy

    Mr. Alloy Well-Known Member

    Brace your arm tight against your torso, as you would if you were taking a photo.
  12. jester_s1

    jester_s1 Well-Known Member

    There is a mental game involved in being steadier offhand. I do holds at home without dry firing or anything, just to see how long it takes to get steady and how long it lasts. It's amazing how much that can change from day to day. Your diet also makes a difference. Be well hydrated, not overly full, and skip the caffeine and sugar.

    I'll give a technique tip too: It is often easier to move intentionally and time your shot than to try to hold solid. I haven't mastered it yet, but a buddy you does service rifle competition says he moves in a constant figure 8, squeezing the trigger a little more each time the sight crosses the 10 ring. Works for him.
  13. woof

    woof Well-Known Member

    More people should shoot offhand more often. I'm more impressed with someone who can shoot well offhand than with tight groups from a benchrest. When you really need to shoot it will probably be offhand. And I would agree the key is practice because that's the only way you can find the technique that works for you.
  14. BADUNAME27

    BADUNAME27 Well-Known Member



    More practice.

    Then practice some more.
  15. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Well-Known Member

    I utilize my bony hips. Although it's against the rules in NRA High-Power, I can, and sometimes do set my support elbow ON my hipbone.

    Voila. I'm no longer shooting unsupported. Depending on the rifle, how long the mag is, where I hold it with my support hand, I might make a fist and set the gun on top, hold it normally, flathanded in my palm, etc.
  16. PTK

    PTK Well-Known Member

    Kind of Blued

    No wonder you put my groups to shame... CHEATER! :D
  17. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Well-Known Member

    I'd heard from some TV show that women have that advantage over men in silhouette shooting, in that their hips are wider and therefore better arranged to be used in that manner. Why is it illegal to do in NRA High-Power?
  18. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Well-Known Member

    I haven't verified that it's illegal, but I was told by a guy that was voluntarily coaching at a rifle clinic. I would guess that it's illegal (if it really is) for the very reason that I stated; some people don't have the "shelf" to utilize, so it's not fair.

    It's almost a moot point however, since once you put on a coarse, thick shooting jacket, you can't really use your hips or elbows anyway. Those are essentially meant to make use of the same technique, stabilizing the elbow on the torso, but by using friction instead.

    Anyway, it's something to try.
  19. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    over the winter i develop what i refer to as my "High Power Gut" which i rest my elbow on during HP season. it looks much like the ever-popular beer gut, only it contains no beer, just lots of sausage biscuits and gravy and flapjacks and mt dew. i get rid of it after camp perry in august.
  20. nbkky71

    nbkky71 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely legal to use the hip for support in the standing position. Clearly mentioned in NRA rule 5.12 (Standing Position)

    "Erect on both feet, no other portion of the body touching the ground or any supporting surface. The rifle will be supported by both hands, the cheek and one shoulder and upper arm. The upper arm is defined as from the middle of the biceps toward the shoulder. The elbow or back of the forward arm may be placed against the body or rested on the hip. The sling may not be used for support and may not be wrapped around the arm or hand. The butt of the rifle must be on the outside of the coat."

    There are 4 things you need to master in order to shoot well
    - having good solid position
    - sight alignment
    - trigger control
    - breathing control

    Shooting on your hind legs without any support is challening. If it were easy, everyone would have a high master classification!

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