The Rifle Shooting Positions Every Hunter Should Know

4 Rifle Shooting Positions for Hunter

Unfortunately, many hunters tend to ignore rifle shooting positions during hunting and target practice. For that, they miss some of the major advantages of shooting, which are control, comfort, and perfection.

The way you control your weapon during shooting is very important. Taking the right position is more important. The right position will allow taking a smooth shot on the target. Experienced campaigners also stop touching their weapons until they find a suitable position.

How Rifle Shooting Positions Came into My Mind?


Well, I was following a forum post on hunting, which I do regularly in my leisure time. A newbie was asking about the major hunters shooting positions. I thought this is the very basic information about the shooting, right? But, then I thought, how many of us really know about this stuff!

After a few digging and researching “google search“, I found that many people do ask this question regularly and the answer provided on the internet is too little or too complicated to take easily.

So, I thought I am going to share my knowledge in a way that you do not have to be a “code breaker” to understand.

4 Rifle Shooting Positions Every Hunter Should Know

Different rifle shooting positions

The comfortable positions for hunting are numerous. However, if you are talking about the basic Rifle Shooting Positions, then there are four of them.

According to the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), the basic rifle shooting positions are prone, standing, sitting, and kneeling.

With some equipment, you can combine one or two of these positions. I am not going to make a huge article on these positions. I will keep it short and simple by mixing the information with my experience.

See them below.

ProneShooting Position

Experienced hunters say the foundation position is the prone firing position. The beginner hunters should try and learn this position. Lying behind the rifle with the support of the elbow under the rifle is a prone position.

This position is very simple. All you have to do is to lie down on the ground and keep your hand on the rifle. Control both the rifle and the sling carefully. You can apply for this position in terrain. This is important information to keep in your mind. Put both of your elbows on the ground. It will allow the rifle and your hands to keep in a steady position.

Putting the elbow on for a long time can become a little exhausting. Most of the weight of your body will be on it. You must have strong elbows for applying for this position. Otherwise, this position will hurt your elbows.

prone shooting position

And we all know this can well hamper the concentration in locking any targets. You will not be able to get your target easily. You may have to keep your elbows in that position for hours. It may cause pain and inflammation. In my first days of shooting, I had this problem sometimes.

Well, I was smart enough to have some regular workout that enhanced my elbow strength.  You should also work out to strengthen your elbows for this position.

 Prone Rifle Shooting Position with Bipod

One other way to get rid of this problem is to carry a bipod. Many of the hunters prefer taking bipods with them. Bipod is very useful in the prone shooting position.

Using Bipod with your rifle is not compulsory. You can use a bipod with your rifle to test your capabilities. You can also use bags or other solid things underneath your rifle while you are in a prone position. Use soft things under your elbows to avoid fatigue.

Sitting Shooting Position

Getting used to the sitting position was one of the harder parts in those pre-days of shooting. But, it was later proved to be the most used position. You will find out the importance of sitting position in the shooting and hunting with safety.

Though the prone position provides perfect steadiness in the shooting, the vegetation can get in the way. To use a prone shooting position, you have to be sure about the land you will be hunting. Otherwise, you cannot use the prone shooting position. Perfecting the target in that situation can be a little difficult. So comes the alternative position.

The sitting position is one the best alternative position. The sitting position is a very stable position for maximum hunters out there. Though the sight is a little bit lower for my liking. But I was in between stable and comfortable in that position. So with these proper positions with rifles, target shooting is easier.

Sitting Rifle Shooting Position

You can get into the sitting position for shooting in three ways.

1. Open Leg Shooting Position

Extending the leg and keep them bending in front of you is the Open Leg shooting position. You just need to support the firearms with your muscle.

2. Crossed Stick Shooting Position

I do not follow this position, to be honest (I don’t like any kind of extra support). Nevertheless, many hunters have found it very stable for targeting long-range targets.

This is the open leg sitting position. You just need to put the rifle over the stick crossing each other. So, it removes the strain of muscle power and keeps you concentrating on shooting without any problem.

3. Cross-Legged Shooting Position

It’s more of a stylish position to me. Really comfortable and relaxing if you see it doing. You do not have to face the rifle directly in the cross-legged sitting position.

Cross-Legged Shooting Position

So, if you are using a powerful rifle, the bump of the firing will make you fall from your position. It will make hitting the target almost impossible in that situation.

I love somewhere mixing the position while taking on a target. However, as a hunter, you have to sit on the cross leg position on the ground while shooting at your target big like deer. You can also use other stuff to keep your position balanced. Stuff like bipod, sling, or a stick, etc.

Beginners may find this position difficult to practice. Most of them wouldn’t get the position the first time. You have to practice shooting in this position for a certain period to adopt this position. Practicing in this position also makes you shoot accurately at a long-range.

Kneeling Shooting Position

The kneeling shooting position is not a stable position to shoot the small targets. These are like a goose, jungle animal, and different types of duck hunting. Nevertheless, it is a very appropriate shooting position to shoot the fast and moving target. You have to move your body rapidly, to shoot fast and moving the target. The kneeling position allows you to move your body regularly depending on your knee. The kneeling position is also called the dropping position with a rushed sling to catch the target.

Don’t you have enough time to aim the target? Or you cannot see the target clearly?

You should apply for the kneeling shooting position.

One of your feet will support your elbows and the knee of the other feet will help to keep the balance intact in this shooting position. Use the stronger knee to keep the balance and a less strong one to support the elbow for shooting with the perfect adult bb guns or other rifles. Keep them at a 90-degree angle.

That is the way you pose for this position. You will be able to quickly change the way of your position. You can alternate the feet and knee when it’s needed.

This kneeling position also needs some support like the prone position. Keep something solid under the knee you put on the surface. It will help your knee to be in the position for a longer period. You can use kneecaps for that.

Again as in the other positions, you can use some other stuff to support this position. Stuff like bipod, sling, or a stick, etc.

Standing Shooting Position

The standing position in the shooting is a common rifle shooting position one can have for deers, foxes, and elk hunting and in big-game scenarios. There is not much to talk about in this position, right? You just have to stand, target, and then boom!

But, thinking it that way can be misleading. Standing in that way you will have the least control and least stability in the shooting. In this shooting position, you just have to rely on your balance and strength – there is no other support for hitting the target.

I love this position, as it takes no time to acquire a “shooting situation” in a short-range target. But I cannot remember using them too often. Only if the target is big enough.

Standing Shooting Position

Nonetheless, standing that way for a long can be very hard. It needs a lot of practice to be a master of the standing position. And if the target is at a long distance, and you cannot use the laser for P365, or other rifles, then the chance of hitting it properly with the standing position is too thin.

There are three standing positions, the hunter tries while shooting a target. These are: Arm rested position, free arm position, and tactical standing position.

  1. Arm Rested Standing Position

In this rifle shooting position, the arm rested properly in ninety degrees (to the target). The feet stand flat with the relaxed back. You can support the rifle with the left hand and pull the trigger with the right one.

This standing rifle shooting position allows a good balance to the head for hunting rabbits and other running animals. You will be able to get into shooting quickly with a natural aim point with this position.

  1. Free Arm Standing Position

In this position, the arms are parallel to the target. In addition, the feet are standing apart is in the width of the shoulder. The left foot comes half a step forward from the back foot, giving it a better body balance.

The rifle is placed on the shoulder giving a better look and keeping the head at a safer position from the bumps of firing. If you are using a small rifle like sig p365, Pistol, then you should keep these in the ankle holster and position yourself from there.

  1. Action Standing Position

Sometimes, especially at games, you have to shoot different targets in a very short time. So, this fast-action requires a modified standing position for rifle shooting.

I have tried this position with modern rifles like the spinoffs and AR-15. Where the strength I found in this position is the same as the free arm position acquiring a target is very easy and quick with this rifle shooting position.

Here you can easily change the position following the change of the targets.

The first position is parallel to the shooting target with standing in a position that sets the feet with the shoulder width. The rifle comes to the face allowing looking straight down the vision.

In the third position, the elbow freely stays with the position of the target. The right hand with supporting the trigger finger grips the rifle. The position of the grip lets the trigger finger do firing without disturbing flawless sight position.

See More: Taking Care of Your Rifle

Final Verdict

All I wanted to do is to provide a large “packed of ideas” on rifle shooting positions in a simple and practical article. Some of them will be very common if you are getting fond of the hunting hobby. And some others will be a bit less important.

Actually, I have tried some uncommon techniques in the field according to my comfort and the position of the target. One, who has a bit of experience of shooting, can invent some for him too. You should first try these positions, and when you think about what is best for you.


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