The Prone Position

A. GENERAL. As the accuracy of rifles and ammunition have improved and techniques have been refined, the scores fired in the prone position have skyrocketed. Every shooter must strive for perfect scoresĀ» Multi-position matches are seldom won at the prone but they can be lost there.

Prone obviously Is the most stable of all the shooting positions. A shooter In the prone position has the benefit of very large support area and the position will be so steady that conscious body control will become a negligible factor,

B. ASSUMING THE PRONE POSITION. To assume a good prone position, the shooter lies facing between 5 and 15 degrees to the right of the line of fire to the target (Figure 23). The body is not twisted, but is stretched out and relaxed; the spine is straight (Figure 22).

C. POSITION OF THE LEFT LEG. The left leg is roughly parallel to the spine, with the toes pointing inward. The left heel should not be forced down to touch the ground. Pointing the toes outward is not recommended as this places a strain on the muscles of the left leg, and tends to roll the body to the right, resulting in too much body weight being placed upon the right elbow (Figure 23).

D. POSITION OF THE RIGHT LEG. The right leg is angled away from the spine at approximately a 45 degree angle. The knee is bent and the lower leg is roughly parallel with the left leg. The toes are pointed outward. The purpose for bringing the right knee forward is twofold: (1) to locate the right shoulder closer to the center of the position, (2) to facilitate easier breathing, which will in turn reduce pulsebeat (Figure 23). In the latter case, if the knee is brought to a 90 degree angle from the spine, the pressure of the body weight will be somewhat lifted from the chest and abdomen. However, with the leg at this 90 degree angle, too much pressure is placed upon the left elbow. Therefore the leg is moved back to the 45 degree area. The greatest variations of prone position will occur in the positioning of this right leg. The individual must experiment to find how much knee bend lb desirable in his own case.

E. POSITION OF THE LEFT ARM. The left elbow should be slightly to the left of the rifle (Figures 25 and 26). Placing the elbow under, or to the right of the stock, strains the muscles of the upper torso. The left hand and wrist should be straight and the fingers do not grasp the rifle. The stock is placed well over the heel of the hand and not positioned towards the base of the fingers. The left forearm in international competition is required at a 30 degree angle with the ground. For most shooters this angle provides approximately 6 inches between the shooter's wrist and the ground. The position of the fore-end stop is determined by the length of the shooter's arms and the length of the butt of the rifle. Exact placement is left to the Individual to determine for himself. A general guide is to start with the distance from the trigger to the butt being equal to the distance from the trigger to the fore-end stop.

F. ADJUSTING THE SLING. The sling may be high or low on the arm (see Chapter IV - Figure 19) and adjusted so that it supports the weight of the rifle. No effort should be made to hold up the rifle with the left hand and forearm. The left hand should be snug against the fore-end stop. The sling on the arm is a prime source of pulsebeat. One should find the area on his arm where the placement of the sling will result in the minimum of pulsebeat.


G. POSITIONING THE RIGHT ARM. The right elbow Is placed a comfortable distance away from the body (Figures 22 and 23). If an attempt is made to bring the elbow in too close, the right shoulder will be raised to an uncomfortable height and an unstable position will result. The right hand may grip the stock with any degree of pressure that is desired by the shooter. The important point being that the pressure be consistent for each shot. The thumb may be over the top of the stock or along side of it. No attempt should be made to guide the rifle with the right hand! The positioning of the finger on the trigger is also shooter preference. The trigger finger should be clear of the stock so that when pressure is applied to the trigger it is not also applied to the stock (Figure 28).

H. POSITIONING THE RIFLE, The butt plate should fit snugly into the shoulder. With many shooters the butt will be placed low in the shoulder and, in order to achieve maximum rifle-shoulder contact, the adjustable butt plate will be raised on the stock. The matter of greatest importance in placing the butt into the shoulder is that the rifle be located the same place for every shot. Some shooters find that using a hook butt plate will help them accomplish thisĀ«

I. POSITIONING THE HEAD. The stock of the rifle should be so constructed that when the shooter is in position and places his head on the stock, he is looking through the sights (Figure 24). Some shooters apply more facial pressure against the stock than others. Again, the important point is that the facial pressure be CONSISTENT! The head should be as erect as possible and proper eye relief maintained (see Chapter IV).

J. ORIENTING THE POSITION. The prone position is so steady that it may be said to have a single point of aim. The position should be oriented so the natural point of aim is directly in the 10-ring. Small changes In the point of aim can be affected in several ways. Small horizontal changes may be made by moving the right foot to the right or left. Very fine elevation changes can be made with breath control. Major changes should be made by reorienting the entire position or readjusting the sling, fore-end stop, and butt plate. As in all the other positions, changes and experiments should be conducted carefully, and their effects closely noted. Too many changes, too often, can be very detrimental.

Rifle MarksmanshipBasic Rifle Marksmanship Army
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