Shooting your rifle offhand – Position, Shot Placement & Physical Tips

Shooting your rifle offhand – Position, Shot Placement & Physical Tips


The main objective in marksmanship is to hit what you are shooting. Whether it is targets you are aiming at, game, or you want to use your rifle skills for personal defense – you will have to undergo a lot of practice.

Rifle marksmanship has been an essential skill for nearly all of American history. The rifle itself is a symbol of something that will get your competitive spirit going, put food on your table, and most importantly, save your life in dangerous situations.

Apart from practicing shooting itself, you should develop useful skills that complement your shooting skills. One such skill is firing a rifle offhand.


Position and Shot Placement

Firing prone is the most stable position – enabling you to shoot more accurately than in other positions.

Line the rifles bore center with the supporting structure of the body, the spine, lined up as nearly as possible.

Staying in this position will absorb the recoil energy. The way your body is lined up makes for an excellent firing position.

Keep your aim steady, but don’t squeeze the rifle too tightly – otherwise, your body will shake.

First, take up the travel of the trigger and then slowly press the trigger straight to the rear. Keep the trigger to the rear for a moment then release it and allow the trigger to reset.

Remember that a slight movement such as breathing may move the crosshairs and throw the shot off. Don’t forget accuracy is how close you are to the object you are firing at. Precision is the closeness of the bullets to each other on the target.


Physical Considerations

When firing offhand, the butt of your rifle must be firmly locked into your shoulder. Your firing hand needs to be in a semi-pistol grip, or pistol grip; while your support hand must pull the stock back into your shoulder.

Your support hand should be as far forward as possible— make sure it doesn’t touch the gas block, though, as it gets pretty hot.

Since you will be holding the rifle rigidly, remember to always bring your eyes to the rifle; instead of the rifle moving to your eyes.

Keep your feet in width of your shoulders.



While the process and practice you need to undergo to call yourself a rifle marksman isn’t easy, it is essential. Practice getting into the firing position, and dry fire as much as possible. It’s a muscle you need to stretch. It’s like the gym. You first do the deadlifts with a resistance band in order to move on to deadlifts with real weights. It’s the same with rifle marksmanship.