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How To Master The Kneeling Position

How To Master The Kneeling Position

For most rifle shooting disciplines, the kneeling position can be almost as steady as the prone position. However, developing a good kneeling position requires proper balance and the proper relationship of the different parts of the body.

Tips to learn a solid kneeling position for rifle shooting disciplines
Here are six steps to study for a solid kneeling position.


Step One: Study the Position

The outstanding feature of a good kneeling position is the way the shooter balances the body weight over the right foot, which is supported by the kneeling roll. As much body weight as possible must rest on the right foot and kneeling roll. In a good position, the shooter does not sit up straight, but instead lets the shoulder slump down as the back is bowed. Here are the key features of the kneeling position.

  1. Head looks straight ahead, tipped forward slightly.
  2. Back bowed, shoulders slumped down.
  3. Body weight rests on right foot.
  4. Right foot on kneeling roll supports body weight.
  5. Sling supports weight of rifle.
  6. Left elbow rests on left knee.
  7. Left elbow to left of rifle.
  8. Left shin vertical, left foot parallel to right knee.
  9. Right knee points 30-45 degrees from target.


Step Two: Practice the Body Position

As in standing and prone, you should build your kneeling position by getting into position first without a rifle. Here is what to do.

  1. Start with a small, loosely filled kneeling roll. Place it on the floor, pointed 30-45 degrees away from the aiming area.
  2. Place the top of the right foot on the kneeling roll with the knee pointed 30-45 degrees away from the aiming area.
  3. Point the toe straight back and sit on the heel.
  4. The heel should be under the base of the spine or just to the right.
  5. Put the left leg in front of the body with the lower leg straight up and down.
  6. Let the shoulders slump so all the body weight rests on the kneeling roll.
  7. Complete the position by putting the left elbow on the left knee. Be careful not to move the body when doing this.


Step Three: Practice the Rifle Position

Next, get into the kneeling position with a rifle, but without the sling. Be sure to keep your shoulders slumped down and your body weight relaxed back on the kneeling roll.

  1. Place the rifle in shoulder. Keep stock high enough that head is nearly vertical and looks easily through sights.
  2. Raise or lower rifle by moving left hand forward and back until barrel is level.
  3. Grasp pistol grip lightly with right hand.
  4. Mark location of V in left hand. Move sling swivel to V in hand if adjustable.


Step Four: Adjust the Sling

When you have found the correct place for your left hand on the fore-end, you can attach the sling and adjust it to support the rifle in position.

  1. Form a sling loop and put the sling high on the arm.
  2. Tighten the sling keeper.
  3. Put the rifle back into position with the sling loose. Be sure the left hand is at its marked location.
  4. Tighten the sling until it supports the weight of the rifle.

Rifle sling for kneeling position shooting
This rifle shooter is firing in the kneeling position at the NRA National Smallbore Championships. Note how his sling is oriented.


Step Five: Align the Position

Once the sling is properly adjusted in kneeling, a target may be hung and the position can be aligned so that it points naturally at a target.

  1. Get into position.
  2. Look through the sights and aim. Then look down and away from the target.
  3. Let the body relax until the rifle points where it wants to point naturally.
  4. After a few seconds, look back through the sights to see if the position needs correction.
  5. If the rifle is pointing to the left or right, turn the entire body and rifle, pivoting on the kneeling roll.
  6. If the rifle is pointing high, lower it by lengthening the sling and moving the sling swivel forward.
  7. Raise the rifle by shortening the sling and moving the sling swivel back.


As you adjust the sling in the kneeling position, be sure that the weight of your body is slumped down and is balanced over the kneeling roll. This is one of the keys to good kneeling position shooting.

Step Six: Shoot in Position

As you prepare to shoot in the kneeling position, think about the things you must do in any position to get a good shot. First settle your rifle and body into position and relax your left arm so the sling is supporting the rifle. Then center your hold movements, holding as steady as you can, and pull the trigger smoothly.

Smallbore rifle shooting in the kneeling position
To load the rifle in kneeling, take the rifle out of the right shoulder. Use the right hand to replace the buttplate in the shoulder.


After studying the kneeling position tips outlined in this article, get into position yourself by following this sequence.

  1. Get into position without the rifle. (Set the rifle and sling on the floor beside you.)
  2. Get in position with the rifle, but without the sling.
  3. Attach and adjust the sling.
  4. Hang a target and align the position on the target.
  5. Practice aiming, breath control and hold control in the kneeling position. Hold the rifle as steady as possible.


Finally, don't forget to observe advanced shooters in the kneeling position on the firing line. You can often pick up pointers doing this.


See more: Improving The Prone Position

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