Monday, July 10, 2017

Off Hand Shooting

Even in the military, shooting at targets on the KD (known distance) course is a sport of sorts. The positions are taught over a period of weeks and the goal is to get the highest possible score. It is not combat shooting. The forward lean you commonly see to control the muzzle and manage hits on silhouette targets or enemies is a different activity.

The closest civilian equivalent I know are military rifle matches at held at Camp Perry and around the country by the CMP. The positions used are the military positions. The hardest one is standing, commonly referred to as offhand. Prone and sitting are easy, you can use the ground or your skeletal frame to stabilize the rifle. Offhand, the barrel of the rifle is out there in the air and you are standing. It creates a wobble in the barrel that must be dealt with to get good hits.

The Army, Marine Corps, and the CMP all teach an odd posture. Leaning back, you set your forward elbow on the point of your hip bone, then tuck the other elbow against the rib cage. To then get a sight picture, the butt of the rifle rides up on the shoulder. In sport shooting, you wear a stiff jacket to further stabilize your torso. This minimizes the movement of the front sight.

Once in the position, rather than try to stop the front sight movement, you control it, creating a small deliberate movement so that your trigger pull ( yes pull) occurs when the sight picture appears correct. It is hard to do and very hard to do well.

Here's the picture of my son in that position, followed by several pictures of the USMC Shooting Team, the Army Marksmanship Team, and some civilians shooting military rifle matches I found in a Google search.

It's unfamiliar to a lot of shooters and even though I only saw one comment on the topic, I know some others were thinking it, so I offer this information to explain his position in the photo.


Bob Tamewitz said...

Okay, that explains it. I always wondered why the buttstock was so high on the shoulder when I saw pictures or videos like that. Thanks for the info.....

.45ACP+P said...

Competitive shooters are not allowed to use the sling for Off Hand. Your son was in the "Hasty" sling which counters the rearward tilt they are using. It is the "Old School" method, standing up straight.

nitram said...

I don' agree! This guy uses a sling in the same offhand position while shooting at 1000 yard steel.

ASM826 said...

+.45ACP+P, you are correct that competition shooters do not use a sling. We don't use any sling offhand in CMP Garand matches although our position is the same.

However, the Marine Corps still uses a true loop sling, not a hasty sling, when shooting offhand on the KD course. At least they did in 1977 when I was there and still did in 2007 when my son went through.

Goober said...

I still lean into my shots. And I shoot offhand like few men can. I don't know what it is, but leaning back away from your rifle does not feel stable or confident.

Lean into your rifle. Control it. Stability is nearly meaningless. You cannot hold a stable sight picture offhand, especially in my case, since it's usually at a moving target.

Instead, you lean in, and work to bring your sight picture across your target, and time the break of your trigger to correspond to everything lining up.

I hate leaning back. It's just wrong.