A New Way to Shoot While Kneeling

The reverse-kneeling position with the shooter “locked” into a log. This position allows you to accurately engage targets at mid-range quickly.photo by Chad Adams

After the prone and sitting positions, a good kneeling position is the third most stable field position for a rifle shooter. Kneeling provides a wonderful blend of accuracy and expediency. In my opinion, it’s the one shooting position every good rifleman should know.

I received my first formal shooting-position training as a U.S. Marine. From qualification to field exercises I came to view kneeling as the most important shooting position for a rifleman.

You acquire the basic position by dropping your strong-side knee (if you’re right handed, this is your right knee) to the ground, with that leg parallel with the target and your weak-side foot pointed toward the target. You should get as low as possible, with your butt resting comfortably on your strong-side foot. Your weak-side arm should provide a point of contact on the weak-side knee.

When possible, you should also lean into a tree, wall, or whatever is available to further stabilize yourself and the rifle. This then becomes the kneeling-supported firing position.

In the sport of 3-Gun, a firing position called “reverse kneeling supported” has evolved. A typical 3-Gun stage will often present targets at distances ranging from right in your face to 400 yards. In most instances, the more distant targets are presented with shooting-position options ranging from prone to offhand. However, barricades, walls, tables, and other objects are often incorporated into the competition course to give the competitor a chance to obtain more stable firing positions. The reverse-kneeling supported position allows the shooter to take advantage of these objects.

A 3-Gun competitor uses the reverse-kneeling position to lock into an object.photo by Chad Adams

I tried this firing position during my first 3-Gun match after watching more experienced 3-Gunners use it to good effect. While it was awkward at first, it became immediately clear just how much more stable it is.

Here’s how it’s done:

1. When standing about an arm's distance from a stable, stationary object—a fence post, log, rock, or tree—drop your weak-side knee to the ground, leaving your strong-side knee up to provide a contact point for your firing arm. This is the stage that can feel awkward.

2. Brace the rifle on top or to the side of the support object, and get the most secure grip possible while "locking into" the object by pushing the rifle into the support with your body and while simultaneously pulling the stock into your shoulder by pulling back on the rifle's grip.

Practice at your home range by locking into stable objects. The goal is to get comfortable locking into the object as you see the sights from a new perspective. Push the rifle into the position and take the time to learn what this new, stable firing position feels like. Press the trigger when your sights settle, feel the recoil impulse, and practice your follow-up shot.

With practice, many competitors on the clock in 3-Gun matches consistently achieve first-shot hits out to 300 yards on 10-inch MGM Flasher targets. That’s rapid target acquisition under the stress of competition. It’s the kind of fast, accurate shooting hunters would also do well to learn.

Another example of how a reverse-kneeling position can be used. Notice that the shooters right arm is braced on the flesh of his right knee and that his left hand is reaching far forward on the rifle to stabilize it.photo by Chad Adams