Introduction to Rifle Accuracy and Positions

Prone, seated, standing or kneeling; the stance in which you fire a rifle from may be dependent on circumstance or preference. As with most things, learning to master rifle accuracy will prove more beneficial before you need to know, rather than when. Of course, never even think about handling or operating firearms unless you are thoroughly versed in firearm safety in addition to any relevant laws and regulations in your region. Before embarking on the quest to master rifle accuracy and firing positions, make sure you know how to aim a rifle first.

Fire from a Prone Position

Make a line with your non-firing leg and elbow that points about 25 – 30 degrees to the right of your target. Shoulder the rifle in the crook of your firing shoulder so your natural point of aim falls on your target. Keep the butt high enough in the shoulder so your head stays upright as if you were standing. Use your left hand to bring the rifle up to the target level.

  • The prone position is the most stable of all standard firing positions because the shooter’s elbows and the weight of the rifle are supported by the ground. You can also use a bipod, sandbag, or other steadying device in this position for maximum rifle accuracy.
  • Be careful of your hot shell casings. Since you’re prone, hot spent casings can roll against your skin or fall onto your body, but this applies to shooting from any position.

rifle accuracy

Shoot from a Seated Position

In this position, you’ll sit cross-legged, oriented 90 degrees toward to the target. Rest your elbows on each knee to support the rifle stock, keeping your back as straight as possible to improve your accuracy.

  • This position is very comfortable for some shooters, but rifle accuracy is effected significantly by breathing. Maintain good breath control when firing in this position.

Shoot from the Standing Position

Keep your non-firing hip pointed at the target. You want to distribute the weight of the rifle over both feet evenly to ensure the most accurate shot, so keep your elbows down, your weight balanced on your hips.

  • Securely support the rifle by forming straight column of support with your body. The rifle should balance comfortably atop your body, requiring only minimal muscle use from you.


Fire while Kneeling

Professional shooters use something called a “kneeling roll” to brace the ankle of the firing-side leg, but you can also use a rolled up t-shirt or other brace. Kneel over your brace, keeping your bracing ankle on the firing side straight and the non-firing knee vertical. You can rest the non-firing elbow on your non-firing knee, or use the kneeling position as a modified standing position and keep it up. Either way, keep your elbows and in and down, supporting the weight of the rifle.

  • If you do rest your elbow on your knee, make sure you avoid unstable “bone-to-bone” contact. Instead brace the “meat” of your arm against your knee. Try placing your knee against your left tricep an inch or two above your elbow, then making minor adjustments to find the stablest, most comfortable position for you.