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Cocked leg prone position with loop sling

Discussion in 'MBR Club' started by thetoastmaster, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. thetoastmaster

    thetoastmaster NOT a sheepdog!

    I wrote this one specifically for the bent leg prone. Next time I take pictures I will get some of the straight leg prone, and do a write up on that. Additionally, the sitting essay is done, but it too needs some additional photo work. In the meantime, here is a description, with pictures, of the bent leg prone position:

    After learning your rifle's mechanisms and sling, you are ready to learn the basic firing positions. As stated earlier, all field positions represent a compromise between stability and mobility. The offhand position is very mobile, but unsteady, as the rifle has only the sling and the shooters support hand to steady it. The prone position is the most stable, and hence the most accurate, but is immobile, as the shooter is prostrate. Further, it limits the shooters field of vision if low-lying scrub and tall grass are between the target and shooter. The sitting position is a good compromise in these instances, as it places the shooter above the grass and low scrub, is stable (if the shooter assumes it correctly), and is more mobile than prone (easier to assume and return to a standing position than prone). The AQT requires shooting from the offhand, sitting or kneeling (shooter's choice), and the prone position. Since you will sight in your rifle from the prone position, and it is required for both the three hundred and four hundred meter strings of fire, I will address the prone position first. Again, although I am not and never will be a Marine, the USMC's Rifle Marksmanship is a top shelf document and an invaluable reference for the new would-be Rifleman (you are not a Rifleman until you score expert on the AQT; until that day, you are just a cook):

    Of the prone position variations, I will cover the "Cocked Leg Prone Position with the Loop Sling". It is the most common prone position, the most comfortable in terms of absorbing recoil, and it is easy to assume. If time is pressing, the shooter can also use the hasty or hasty-hasty slings in the prone position as well. To assume this prone position, begin by placing a loop sling on your support arm, as explained previously. Do not shoulder the rifle yet. There are two ways to get into the prone position from standing. One may kneel and kick his feet behind him; or, one may kneel, and move forward into the position. In a field situation, you will base your choice on available cover and time (if moving forward into position would cause you to crowd your cover, you would want to move back into position; similarly, if you may want to move forward to find cover). In both variations, use your support hand to break your fall, and to help you get into a strong prone position (Figure 1). If moving forward into position, use your rifle butt and support arm to help you move forward into position. If moving back into position, kick your feet back, and lie down into position. You will need to lie down, body facing at an approximate forty-five degree angle, body facing toward the strong side, with the rifle facing the target (Figure 2). Once lying down, roll onto your left side, and keep your support (left for right-handed shooters) elbow on the ground (this is the foundation of your position) and move your body around the elbow until your sights are on target. Do not try to move the rifle's sights on target with your arms. Your rifle must face the target naturally. Later, you will learn that finding this natural point of aim is what separates the Riflemen from the cooks. Your support leg should be straight, and your strong leg drawn up, until its knee is nearly touching your strong elbow. This bent leg helps to absorb recoil, and is important in delivering sustained accurate rapid fire (Figures 4 and 5). Your sling should be so tight that you have to place the stock in the shoulder with the strong hand. When you bring the strong side elbow down, it creates a cam motion that really tightens the rifle into the shoulder pocket. You will need that sling tight, because the third stage of the AQT is rapid fire, preparing to for that truism of riflery: "A Rifleman fires every shot rapid fire". Scoring expert on the AQT requires accurate rapid fire.


    (Figure 1, using your arm to support your weight)


    (Figure 2, getting into the prone position


    (Figure 3, settling in)


    (Figure 4, the prone position)


    (Figure 5, another view of prone; note the strong knee drawn up to aid in absorbing recoil)

    It is from the prone position that you will likely sight in your rifle. As previously mentioned, many gun owners only shoot from the bench. A Rifleman never shoots from the bench. A well-established prone position is nearly as steady, and allows the shooter to track his progress, and improve his ability. You will use the prone position for two stages of the AQT (three hundred meter rapid fire and four hundred meter slow fire), simulating real life situations. The prone position makes the shooter a small silhouette, and allows for accurate fire at longer ranges.

    Next up, the sitting position.
  2. Most training and rifle matches do not allow slings for off hand (standing) shooting. Off hand is the hardest position to master because it relys solely on the riflemen and the rifle. I have heard off hand is supposed to simulate a battle situation where you have to pick up your rile and shoot a inclosing threat where there is no time for sling setup.

  3. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

    Jun 18, 2005
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Hence the "hasty-hasty" sling mentioned in the "Use Your Sling!" thread.

    Or, "There's more than one way to skin a cat". ;)
  4. If you compete you would not be saying that. In the shooting competition world i.e. small bore, high power, Garand matches you get the point, off hand means shooting without a sling period. If you use a sling you are disqualified. Off hand has been with out sling since the flint lock days. Off hand shooting is a true test of riflemen. So what I’m getting at, what I’m describing is shooting off hand. What you are describing is shooting standing with sling support, there is a major difference.
  5. thetoastmaster

    thetoastmaster NOT a sheepdog!


    Thank you for your observation regarding the hasty sling in the offhand position. Fortunately for all here, this is not about competetive shooting; this is field riflery. I don't believe that any of us here are chasing a Distinguished badge (if anyone is, that's great, more power to you). Many of us are just trying to get rounds on the dog out to five hundred meters. The AQT offhand dog is one hundred meters. Using the sling, I've scored as high as 48 (6x). That's not boasting. That's a tribute to the level of instruction I received. If a fumble fingers like me can do it, anyone can.

    It appears to me that you are an experienced shooter. Do you have any constructive criticism about my presentation of the cocked leg prone position? Do you have anything to add? My biggest desire is to help as many as possible understand the mechanics of firing the shot. There is a great body of work extant; but, as CJ has pointed out, there aren't many descriptive photos available online. I do hope that the pictures will help bridge the gap between reading about the art (as Fred's Guide, for example) and receiving hands on instruction, either in highpower clinic, or an Appleseed shoot. It goes without saying that these pictures and words are no replacement for snapping in and dry firing, and then getting to the range to actually fire the shot. I want to take the mystery out of making three hundred to five hundred meter hits with iron sight, and without a bench or bipod.

  6. Thetoastmaster, I did not mean to come down on you about your description of off hand shooting. After rereading my post I could see how it may be interpreted that way. You are right, match shooting and field shooting have different purposes but the fundamentals are the same. Of course in a match you have a lot of equipment that you can take advantage of i.e. shooting jacket, mat, glove, spotting scope, non moving targets, cart, etc. In all 3 positions it is important to keep your head as upright as possible, bring the rifle to your head not your head to your rifle. This may not be a good thing in a fire fight because you would want to be as low as possible. To improve your accuracy you may want to put a glove on your support hand, old welding, work or ski glove works great and keeps the sling from cutting in the back your hand and acts as a damping barrier between your body and the rifle. A couple of sweat shirts will keep your pulse from traveling through the sling to the rifle. Your prone looks good. The bent leg gets your chest and part of your abdomen off the ground to facilitate unobstructed breathing. Breathing is so important. Take a breath and let out about ¼ of your air and pause. You should load up the trigger before this pause. If after 8 seconds you do not have a good sight picture, start over because your sight and mussels will start to fatigue. This is the hardest thing to learn, you got to focus on your front sight not the target. The target will become blurry. I know this may be new to some but it works. Remember to squeeze do not pull the trigger. You might want to try and get your rifle a little higher on your cheek as well as placing the sling a little higher on your arm. Try to keep the rifle over your elbow if you can.
  7. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

    Jun 18, 2005
    Corpus Christi, TX
    These three threads were stickied at my request (after asking thetoastmaster for his blessing). I think it's important to have a resource available for folks who don't have access to live fire instructors.

    When I decided to begin my rifle training, I couldn't find anything on the web. Search after search revealed nothing useful.

    So when Bo posted these photo-essays, I found them invaluable. I hope others find them equally useful.

    Please don't hesitate to continue discussion of these positions. We all want to learn.