Ambidextrous Shooting

Both police and military snipers must practice firing from both shoulders. Soldiers learn ambidextrous shooting so they can take advantage of every target opportunity that presents itself as well as grab the best cover that's available.

A law enforcement sniper attempting a hostage-rescue shot prefers to relocate his hide rather than fire from his "weak" shoulder— especially considering liability and legal overtones. When firing in self-defense, however, even a lawman needs to be able to exploit available protection from hostile fire, and that's why he learns ambidextrous shooting.

Still, peculiarities of hide location and target location could make a weak shoulder shot the one shot a police sniper has—but this would be very unusual.

As the illustration below shows so well, attempting to fire from cover that better fits your opposite shoulder pushes you dangerously away from protection. Not only does it expose you to fire but it makes you far more prone to being spotted. The middle of our three shooters puts

Ambidextrous Shooting From CoverAmbidextrous Shooting From Cover

DANGER! The center figure shows what happens when a right-handed shooter fires from a left-hand corner.

himself in this predicament by firing right-shouldered from left-shoulder cover. The men on either side of him show how to match firing shoulder to available cover and demonstrate the advantages of proper matching.

The greatest difficulty in weak-shoulder firing is properly seating the rifle in your shoulder and keeping it snugly there to prevent excessive felt recoil.

Maintaining correct eye relief can be difficult, too, and requires some getting used to. Both eye relief and proper seating can be gready improved through lots of dry-fire practice—but this must lead to live fire, too, or you'll have problems if you ever attempt to fire ambidex-trously in a real-world situation.

I've found it easiest to fire from my weak shoulder in a prone, supported position, so this is probably the best position to practice until gaining confidence. The hardest position is standing, unsupported, which is what you should work your way toward. In a separate section I've recommended firing 5 percent of your rounds from your weak shoulder.

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