August 10, 2022

Shooting from the prone position is the most stable shooting position that there is. Being low to the earth and having almost all of your body stretched out across it leaves less room for human error with the rifle. The prone position is the preferred position by many when it comes time to sight in an optic because the position is so rock-solid and dependable.

prone shooting skills
Shooting from the prone position can vastly improve your long-range accuracy. However, there is more to it than just lying on the deck.

The biggest obstacle is usually visibility. The curvature of the ground can get in the way or the height of the grass can obscure your target. If visibility allows, prone is in our opinion the best position to sight in a rifle.

Four Steps

If you have shied away from prone and you’re not comfortable with it, here are four steps to get you in the correct form and shooting to the best of your ability.

Getting Behind the Rifle

First of all, set your rifle down and have it pointed at the target. Then, fall into position behind it. You really want to focus on a natural alignment to the target. Your body needs to naturally and comfortably line up with the target. If you have to fight your alignment while making shots, it will make things more difficult.

getting behind the rifle when shooting prone
To start with, place your rifle on the deck pointed toward the target. Then, fall into a position directly behind it.

Position Your Legs

Second, you want to take your legs and spread them out in a wide V-shape. You also don’t want to be up on your toes. You want your legs and feet turned out so everything can lie as flat against the ground as possible. With your feet down, this will help with your mitigation of recoil. It will also help you be more still since you increase your surface area and it keeps you lower so you don’t unnecessarily catch the wind.

Foot position while shooting from prone position
To minimize movement and error, try to have your feet flat on the deck. This eliminates user-induced wobble that can come from being on your toes.

Get the Right Eye Relief

Third, don’t let the prone position mess up your eye relief. Find where that cheek rest point is for you where you see no scope shadow and where you don’t have to strain your neck to make it happen.

eye relief
Eye relief is important. Get the proper placement so that you are not straining your neck, which can lead to a loss of concentration and the addition of movement.

Focus on Your Hand Grip

And the last thing to focus on in the prone is your shooting hand grip. Some people will instruct you to almost have no grip on the gun at all when you pull the trigger. This is one method that is taught with the idea that a light grip has less of a chance of moving the rifle. However, we suggest you match your grip to the weight of your rifle.

For example, if you are shooting a rifle that is very lightweight like the Model 2020 Waypoint, you might need a firmer grip to make sure that rifle isn’t blown around by the wind. Plus, you might need that grip to manage the recoil. But if you are using a heavier gun like a Loaded M1A Precision Rifle with a National Match barrel, you can lighten that grip up.

Bonus Tip: Bipod & Support Bag

Shooting in prone will be much easier with a good bipod on the front of your rifle, and if you can have a rear support bag as well. These two things, again, take more human error out of the equation, build a strong position and put you in a good spot to shoot.

bipod on a Waypoint 2020
A bipod and rear support bag can also help you to stay on target with a minimum of user-induced movement.


Next time you have to sight in a rifle or you have to shoot 100 yards or more, try getting down in the prone position. You may not shoot in it regularly, but now is as good a time as any to start. In this position, you will be more accurate and waste less time and rounds.

Prone isn’t just a position for shooting at the range, either. The prone position has some serious tactical advantages when in combat situations, too. We fully plan to do another training piece on using the prone position in some real-world tactical applications soon, so make sure you stay tuned on The Armory Life and on the GunSpot YouTube Channel.

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