ArtOfTheRifle’s Analysis of The Standing Position

The standing position is my favorite position. Prone is more accurate, and my choice for if I absolutely, positively have to hit something that I have a clear line of sight to or if I’m practicing the basics, but standing is more broadly useful and more fun, too. Can the traditional standing position be improved? ArtOfTheRifle’s Rifleslinger thinks so, and his case is so compelling that I’m itching to try out his new techniques to improve my “minute of grapefruit” range. The article comes in four parts (so far), so be sure to catch all of them.

One of the things that immediately clicked with me when I read the articles was the concept of balance affecting your stamina. “Ah, that’s what that is!” I instantly thought. It’s not that I didn’t know balance was a factor in the standing position before, but I hadn’t thought of the problem in quite that way before.

Beyond that, Rifleslinger also covers how to tailor the position to rapid pointability, while still maintaining great accuracy, how things will differ for shooters with fully adjustable target rifles, or more practical ones, and even how the position of the head will affect the balance of he rifle-shooter combination. Rifleslinger also goes into detail on how he has adjusted his shooting stances with time, how his goals have changed, and what concerns he still has about the way his stance is now.

For anyone interested in the standing position, I can certainly recommend clicking through and reading the whole thing.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • iksnilol

    Not that hard. Lean back a bit (yes, the dreaded lean back) and use your bones to support yourself. Muscles tire, bones don’t. Find a comfy position and you are set.

    Then again I do shoot smallbore or whatever you guys call it in the US. Though I do lean forward if speed is a priority.

    • Steve Truffer

      Smallbore? Yeah, do whatever you want, they aren’t going to tip you over. 30-06 and .35 Whelen might convince you to lean forward a bit.

      • iksnilol

        By smallbore I meant DFS shooting, we shoot with .22 LR, 6.5×55 and of course 308. So for “normal” stuff a bit of leanback won’t hurt but will improve accuracy tremendously if done correctly.

        + that is also the way millitary was trained to shoot at distances (300+ meters). I know they did it as recently as the 1970-1980s.

      • Don Ward

        Firing a 30.06 with the stances that have been shown isn’t going to “tip you over”. Not unless you’re one of those 5-foot-3 guys with “small hands”.

  • Don Ward

    I think this is one of those issues where there isn’t a one-size-fits all answer, much to the chagrin of our typical Internet gun “If-it-ain’t-the-best-it’s-the-worst” world view. Different people are built differently. I think factors like being in shape from both a muscular and cardiovascular standpoint play just as much of a factor as whatever chosen stance that you’re assuming.
    The Dutch woman in the picture shown above/below is presumably fit with a lower heart rate and is able to use proper breathing techniques. Compare this to the broad stereotype of a 300 pound, Twinkies fed, couch potato whose only exercise is walking to the car or the fridge.

  • Don Ward

    Also, looking at the picture above, am I correct in stating the shooter is not using his sling optimally?

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Very interesting comments, with a broad span of differing opinions, I might add. FWIW, we were taught during BMT ( Basic Military Training ) to always lean into the rifle and direction of aim, and this technique has consistently worked for me ever since, both in operational units during military service and thereafter with a wide range of firearms. Of course, the fact that the FN FAL / L1A1 SLR originally had something to do with this might be a relevant factor (!).

  • Don Ward

    Thank you Captain Obvious!

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Speaking of different shooting positions, I have seen precious little written in depth about alternative positions we were extensively drilled in during my time “in”, and which were sometimes effectively employed in appropriate battlefield situations — firing from the kneeling and squatting positions being two of them.