Rifle Shooting Stances: 4 Popular Options

Rifle Shooting Stances: 4 Popular Options

Rifle Shooting Stances: 4 Popular Options

In an ideal world, hunting is much easier. You come across your target, which is standing at a broadside angle, and you’re already set up in the perfect standing position for an easy shot. You aim your weapon, take a deep exhale (all while the animal is completely motionless) and you take the easy shot, which hits the target perfectly. If only it were that easy.

While this may be the dream of every hunter out there, it’s a far cry from the reality you’ll face in the field. The animal will hardly ever stand perfectly broadside and motionless, and you’ll rarely be able to get a shot at the perfect position. An experienced hunter knows this, which is why they practice their shooting from a variety of different angles. Read on to learn more about different rifle shooting positions and how to choose the best rifle shooting stance for your situation.

Before You Shoot: The Fundamentals of a Good Rifle Stance

Before you can learn the rifle firing stances, you have to understand how to shoot a rifle properly. There are five key fundamentals to firing a clean rifle shot — each of them works together as one singular process.

Aim. It may be easy to do so, but try not to overthink this step. Keep your eyes focused, but at ease, and don’t take too long, as this will mess with the rest of your process.

Control your breathing. Although it may not feel like it, your breathing can do just enough to throw off a shot completely. If you’re holding your breath or breathing too quickly, your heart will beat faster, which will increase your pulse and move your firearm. Take slow, long breaths until it’s time to pull the trigger. This is easier said than done once the excitement of the hunt kicks in.

Hold your aim. Try minimizing your movement.

Squeeze the trigger. Position the trigger between the first joint of your finger and the fingertip. When you’re ready to shoot, draw a deep breath and exhale slowly. Hold your breath as you squeeze the trigger, and squeeze with a slow and steady pressure.

Follow through. Once the bullet fires, continue squeezing the trigger and hold your position as steady as you can so that you can ensure the bullet is leaving the barrel on a direct path to the target.

These fundamentals will apply to your shooting regardless of what shooting position you’re in. The more you can master this process, the better your shooting will be.

The Basics of a Proper Rifle Shooting Form

According to the Firearm Industry Trade Association, there are seven tips to perfecting your rifle shooting stance.

1. Triangles

In architecture, triangles are the strongest shape, and they provide a shooter with plenty of stability in the firing process. The more “triangles” you can create with your body, the less movement there will be in your shot.

Image courtesy of Let’s Go Shooting

When you’re setting up in your form, try to come up with as many different triangles as you can. This will provide you with the most stable shot that you can get.

2. Gun Fit

When was the last time you checked to see if your gun really fits you and your body? Finding the right fit can affect a shooter’s accuracy, experience and confidence. How naturally can you reach the trigger? Can you see the sights easily every time you raise the gun? If you have any questions about the fit of your gun, contact Silencer Central — we would be happy to help you get the right fit.


3. Head Placement

Finding the perfect head placement for your shooting style is all about consistency. Tinker with your head placement until you find a spot where you are consistently hitting good shots and feel comfortable. Then, continue to practice with that exact head placement so that it becomes muscle memory.

4. Natural Point of Aim

Any time that you’re mounting a rifle on your shoulder, it will naturally want to go a certain way. Rather than moving or muscling the rifle to fit where you want, it’s better to adjust your position so that you’re getting a consistent shot.

5. Master Your Wobble Zone

When aiming a gun, many people try to wait for the rifle to stop moving around before they take their shot. This is a mistake, because the rifle will never stop moving — but with time and experience, you can learn to use the “wobble” to your advantage. Study the difference between where your shot is when you squeeze the trigger and where it ends up. If you can notice patterns, you can utilize this in your shot.

6. Rest the Rifle

Holding a rifle for long periods of time, especially in the ready position, can cause fatigue. It can be hard to recover from this fatigue out in the field, so whenever you have the chance, place your rifle in a safe resting position. This will keep your muscles primed and ready for shooting once the moment arrives.

7. Follow Through

As mentioned earlier, the success of a shot can be made or broken by how well you follow through. Work hard to carry every aspect of shooting through the end of the shot so that you’re giving the bullet the most direct path to the target possible.

All of these fundamentals can be translated into any rifle shooting position. In general, there are four basic rifle stances that every shooter should be practicing from regularly.

Stance #1: Standing

Although it may be the shot you are forced into taking the most, a standing shot is one of the most challenging types of shots possible. When you’re standing upright, you have no external stability for your rifle, so all of your steadiness will have to come from your own technique.

The first step towards a successful standing shot is to not rush. Bring the stock to your shoulder and make sure your cheek is firmly placed against the stock. Stand 90 degrees to your target, place your feet shoulder-width apart and relax.

Naturally, you won’t be able to hold a target in your sights for long. Your body is in an unnatural position, and the gun will inevitably waver as you go to aim. If you can, get used to the rhythm of the barre’s movement and pull the trigger when you’re on the target.

When to Use It

More often than not, you’re going to have to use a standing shot as a last resort. Hunters usually use a standing shot when they stumble across an animal that they weren’t previously tracking. They don’t always have time to get down and take a steady shot, so in these scenarios, a standing shot is what they have to turn to.

Stance #2: Kneeling

A kneeling shot provides you more stability than a standing shot, but it also requires some awkward positioning on your part. In order to get the proper form, plant your right knee and tuck your right foot under your hip. Lift your left knee up as high as possible and try to slow your breathing. For support, place your elbow on that knee and build your stability from the elbow-to-knee connection.

When to Use It

A kneeling shot is often used when stalking an animal. Oftentimes, when you’re stalking an animal, you have to use different methods of cover to remain hidden. Kneeling is a great option for any hunter who is ducking behind a tree, bush, rock or anything else out in the field.

Stance #3: Sitting

If you’re looking for even more stability (and have the time and space to pull it off), then a sitting shot is the way to go. Position yourself so that you’re sitting cross-legged with your elbows planted firmly on your knees. Sit at a 45-degree angle from your target, place your non-dominant elbow on the same side knee, put the stock in your shoulder, and relax the rest of your body as much as possible.

When to Use It

A sitting shot is best used when you have a favorable angle on the animal you’re hunting. If you’re higher up in elevation than the animal, a sitting shot provides you with a great chance for a successful shot.

Stance #4: Prone

If you’re looking for the most stable shot possible and have the time to pull it off, then you’ll want to get in the prone position. Get down on your stomach, plant the left elbow, put your stock in your cheek well and plant your elbow in the dirt. Try to put the whole weight of your gun on that elbow. If you have a backpack or jacket, you can put that under the gun for extra stability.

When to Use It

Prone shots are often used when your target is a long distance away. This gives you the time to get set, clear out any vegetation or obstacles in the way, and take your time to get the shot you want.

Practice Often and Keep Your Ears Safe

As you can see, there are plenty of different factors that go into shooting. If you want to be the best shooter possible, it’s going to require practice — in all the different positions and variables.

However, with all of that practice, it’s important that you keep your ears safe in the process. Constant rifle fire can be taxing on your eardrums, and it’s important to take the precautions necessary to keep them safe. That’s where a silencer from Silencer Central can help. Browse our selection of silencers today and find one that fits your rifle so that you can do as much practice as possible!