Other Shooting Positions

Sorry I fell off the face of the planet again and for taking so long to get back to this. I’ve been incredibly busy with so much other shit. Anyway let’s just jump right in. I just want to do a quick discussion of the other shooting positions. You really only need three: prone, kneeling, and standing. There are a few others making the rounds in training circles and they have their pros and cons, but if you’re only going to master a few, master the three I just mentioned. 

Sitting position:

I don’t really like shooting while seated. It’s stable and all that, but it’s not a position I can personally get into and out of quickly. Maybe you can, who knows? It’s a good position to use if you need to make shots at angles, like from a top of a hill, or towards the top of a building. But honestly, getting into the kneeling position is faster in my opinion and if done properly can be almost as stable. I’d use the kneeling position if I couldn’t use prone for an angled shot personally. 

In case you still want to use it, here goes:

Start by standing and facing the direction of your target. Literally just sit straight down. Do not index your body toward the target. You can keep your feet apart, or cross your legs at the ankles. 

Place your elbows inside each respective thigh. Shoulder the rifle so that your head does not need to dip down for your eye to meet the sights. Get your support arm out as far as you can first, but just make sure you aren’t bending your neck so that you can see the sights. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

Squatting Position:

The prone position, as we learned before, is the most stable of all of the shooting positions. Squatting is another very stable position, when done properly. It is definitely more useful than sitting, at the very least I’m more likely to use this position. You may have some trouble with this position if you’re not all that flexible, but for most of us, it’s achievable. (Shooting does have some inherent ableism involved I’m afraid. If you’re unable to use this position specifically that’s totally ok. You can get by with any of the others that you can do. I just want to illustrate as many of them as possible.)

Stand facing the target again, except this time index your body with your support leg out front. Your feet should be flat on the ground, with your heels close together. Squat down. Place your weight on your heels, but don’t lean too far back or anything. Your elbows will rest on your inner thighs just like with the sitting position. Definitely practice this position A LOT before you fire a round while squatting. Your feet need to be close together, specifically at the heels. Your weight should be on your heels as well. Even an intermediate powered rifle might have enough recoil to cause you to fall backward in this position, thus the recommendation to practice.  You may even find that you can squat and shoot faster than you can kneel and shoot.

Kneeling Position:

There are a few variants of this one. I don’t recommend you bother with traditional competition shooting style kneeling. If you’re unable to assume the squatting position and the situation does not allow for prone or standing, this is the one for you.

Start by indexing your body again with your support side to the front. Take a small step forward with your support leg. Then sit down onto your firing side foot. If you can lay your firing side foot flat on the ground, that’s ideal. If you can’t, that’s ok too. You’ll be less stable if your firing side foot isn’t flat, but it’s also faster to kneel down without the foot being flat so again, pros and cons like everything else. If you’re unable to get your firing side flat (I can’t do it all the time.) just get as close as you can. 

The further back you can lean in this case, the better. Your support side foot should be as close to being under your butt as you can get it. Your toes should point towards the target. And as always, get your support hand out as far as you can on the rifle. The closer you can get your feet in a straight line the better as well, but don’t exaggerate it so you lose your balance.

Be careful when kneeling behind cover. You might inadvertently expose more than you have to because of the tendency to modify your position. If you’re kneeling behind a barricade you’ll probably be tempted to lean toward it and support your rifle on the barricade. That limited space might cause you to reverse the relative position of your support and firing legs, or cause you to straighten a leg into view. So, pay attention to what you’re doing while training. A good use of this position is to get behind something that’s too short for you to stand behind but would still make good cover. It’s a good idea to do that, just watch your body positioning. 

Standing Position:

You may hear people call this shooting “offhand.” But that’s usually a word used to describe a traditional shooting stance that we won’t discuss here. Modern adaptations of the weapons we train with call for a modern adaptation of the shooting stance. 

The old way of doing this had you stand with your feet shoulder with apart, but with neither one out further than the other. It was an isosceles type of stance. And before that, people would train to shoot standing with your body indexed as much as 90 degrees to the target, to minimize “how much your enemy could see.” If you want to train using these methods be my guest, but the recommendations are far different now.

Stand facing the target with your feet approximately shoulder-width part as if you’re going to use the isosceles stance. Place your support side foot slightly forward, not even a full step. Keep your feet pointed towards the target. Bend your knees slightly. You may want to experiment with how far apart you place your feet. A wider stance will be more stable. A wider stance might also cause you to take longer to move. Play around with it and optimize it for yourself.

Your support side arm should reach out as far as possible. Don’t lock your elbow, but get that arm out as far as you can. Keep your body squared towards the target. Keep yourself squared behind the rifle as well. This will help absorb recoil (And supposedly has something to do with presenting as much body armor as possible. That might be true, but I don’t always wear body armor and this is still the best way to mitigate recoil.) Shoulder the rifle so that your sights come up to your eyes and not so that your eyes need to move to find your sights. Your firing arm needs to be used to help pull the rifle towards your body just like the support arm, but it can be more relaxed in reality. 

** In this position and in all the others, don’t forget about things like cheek-weld and all the other things you need to do to keep the rifle steady. **

There are a few other positions we could talk about, mostly modifications of the prone or sitting positions. We’ll cover those eventually. But if you can get these down you’ll be well on your way. As always, I hope this information is useful and clear. If it isn’t, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Take care. That’s all for now. 

More on MOA

Alright this time I’m going to attempt to further illustrate what MOA actually is. You have the thumb rule of 1 inch at 100 yards already, and that’s fine if that’s as in-depth as you want to go with it. But if you want to gain a better understanding of what this actually means, then continue reading.

How did we arrive at that 1 inch at 100 yards number? Let’s take a trip back to geometry class. If you never had a geometry class, that’s ok. You’ll just have to take my word for it I suppose? Let’s move on.

The diameter of a circle is the length of a straight line from one point on that circle to another point directly across from it, or 180 degrees away from it, since a circle is 360 degrees all the way around.

The length of the diameter of a circle divided in half is called the radius of that circle. Or, put another way, the length of a straight line from the exact center of that circle to the edge of the circle can be considered the radius also. So far so good?

Ok, so we know that a circle can be divided up into degrees, and is comprised of 360 of those things called degrees. Turns out, a degree can be divided further into even smaller units, called minutes. 

That’s what a minute of angle is, it’s the smaller divisions of a degree, and 60 of these minutes of angle equals one degree. It’s that simple. A full circle is 360 degrees, a half circle is 180 degrees, and a degree is made up of 60 minutes. Cool? Cool.

So when we talk about MOA or minutes of angle in terms of shooting related shit, how do we determine what a MOA equals?

The distance you’d travel if you walked all the way around a circle is called circumference. Another way of looking at it would be if you took the circle and straightened out into a line, how long would the line be? Turns out circumference of ANY circle is equal to 2 times the number Pi times the radius of the circle. Pi is roughly 3.14. (This doesn’t have to be all that exact.)

So for the 100 yards example, let’s run the numbers and see what we come up with. If you’re shooting at a target 100 yards away, imagine where you’re standing or kneeling or sitting or whatever, is the center of a circle. And that 100 yards is the distance from the center to the circle itself, so the radius of this circle is 100 yards. We said that the circumference equals 2 times Pi times the radius. So when the radius is equal to 100 yards, our circumference all the way around this circle would be equal to 628 yards. Let’s convert that to inches. One yard is 3 feet. And one foot is 12 inches. So 628 times 3ft is 1884 ft. And 1884 times 12 inches is 22,608 inches. With me? Awesome.

We know that there are 360 degrees in every circle. And that each of those degrees is made up of 60 minutes. So if we multiply 360 times 60 minutes, we now know that a full circle is made up of 21,600 minutes. 

So for our circle with a radius of 100 yards, we know the circumference is 22,608 inches. And since we also know that this circle is comprised of 21,600 minutes, we can figure out what the relationship between inches and minutes is for this circle. We simply divide the two numbers. 22,608 divided by 21,600 equals about 1.047 inches. Meaning there is 1.047 inches in every minute of angle for a circle with a radius of 100 yards. So is it really one inch at 100 yards? No, but it’s pretty damn close. 

I hope that makes sense. It’s so simple but it confuses everyone at first. If it’s easier to just remember 1 inch and 100 yards and not where the number comes from that’s fine. I only put this out there in case anyone is curious about it. 

The more important thing to remember is how to apply this. Meaning, at 300 yards, one MOA is now 3 inches. At 500 yards, 4 MOA is 20 inches. At 25 yards, two MOA is ½ inch. I care more that you understand that part than the derivation of the number itself. But as I said, I hope this was helpful.

I’m unsure of what to write about next time. We need to talk about other shooting positions besides prone so that’s probably what it’ll be. Til next time, take care comrades.