Improving The Kneeling Position

posted on April 9, 2020

Here are some excellent ways to improve your kneeling position scores. Use these five tips to help advance your skill level in many rifle disciplines.

Rifle kneeling position instruction
Both new and experienced position shooters alike can benefit from these kneeling tips.

Position Review

Have your coach or another person compare your kneeling position with the position outlined in this article. Alternatively, take video of yourself and review. In kneeling, the most important features to check are:

  1. Having the body weight back over the kneeling roll.
  2. The back bend and downward slump of the shoulders.
  3. Balancing the body and rifle weight over the kneeling roll.

If you are having trouble getting your position to work out right, go back to the article linked above and review the second step on practicing the body position. Get into position without the rifle, then follow the other steps for developing a position.


A habit all shooters must develop is that of self-control. This means not getting angry over a bad shot or upset because things are not going right. Good shooters teach themselves to stay calm and in full control of themselves at all times. This makes it possible to think clearly about performing the fundamentals of firing the shot correctly on the next shot.


One of the keys to good kneeling scores is making sure the weight of the body and rifle is carefully balanced over the right heel, which is supported by the kneeling roll. The right knee should help balance the body but should support little or no weight itself. Check for a balanced position by noticing if your right knee is supporting any weight. If it is, try leaning back away from your knee until your body weight is balanced over the right heel.

Balance in the kneeling position for rifle shooting
Good balance is key for a solid kneeling position in rifle shooting.

Back Bend

A good kneeling position should have as much body weight as possible back on the right heel, not forward on the left foot. Some good kneeling shooters appear to be leaning forward, but they achieve this position by bending their back and letting their shoulders and head slump down. A change to a less erect body position requires lengthening the sling and moving the sling swivel forward.

Position Changes

All shooters reach a point in which they think they can improve their positions by making changes or adjustments. Many times a change in sling adjustment, left-hand position or food position, or a small movement of some other part of the body will produce better results.

Kneeling position tips for competitive rifle shooting
Practice often to refine your kneeling position skills. Dry-fire training is also important.

The most important thing about making position changes is that each change must be made as a controlled experiment. First, decide exactly what change to make and why it might help. Then make only that one change. Spend an entire practice session or several practices on testing the change.

After giving the change an honest test, decide whether it has helped your shooting. If it helps, make it a part of your position. If it doesn't help, return to the position you used before the change.

Photos courtesy of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

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