Wearing of Equipment (R)

The Rifle Drills course is an online curriculum consisting of 15 short instructional modules with quizzes.

The predecessor to the Rifle Drills Course is the Handgun Drills course which we encourage everyone to start with. By building on the foundation of the Handgun Drills course you will more quickly learn what works for you should you be afforded the luxury of enough time to retrieve your long gun.

In this Rifle Drills course, we will provide you with the study materials needed to begin mastering stress resistant gun handling techniques for the rifle. This course will introduce you to drills that you should practice at home (dry) and on the range (live).

The drill modules should be completed in order, after which the student can revisit any module at any time to refresh their memory. Students who complete all 15 modules and pass the quizzes will be awarded a certificate that can be posted to their profile page.

INSTRUCTIONS: Watch the video, read the narrative, review the still photos then take the quiz at the bottom. When done move on to the next module indicated at the bottom.

DURATION: 30 Minutes


RIFLE DRILLS - O2 PROPER WEARING OF YOUR EQUIPMENT We would like to give you some general guidelines to keep in mind if you want to be able to easily transition from carrying your handgun and easily integrating it to your rifle carry.

If you wear your equipment the way we are about to describe (and keep it relatively consistent), you will never be caught reaching for a thigh rig when you needed to reach for your handgun when transitioning from your primary (long gun).

This concept will allow your trained response to access and work your equipment without having to think about where it is currently or having to fumble for it because it's not where you thought it was.

Finally, if you wear your equipment as mentioned below, it will make for a smooth transition between carrying with or without the long gun, as your primary carry for the handgun will remain the same regardless if you are carrying concealed or using the handgun as your backup when you are carrying a long gun.

- The Tactical Sling

The first thing I would like to touch on is the proper wearing of your tactical sling. The idea behind any tactical sling is to provide both (some) support and a great deal of flexibility in weapons retention.

There are various quality slings on the market, and they all share the same basic characteristics. Generally speaking, a good starting point in sling adjustment is having the sling adjust so that you leave yourself about one fist-width (see below photo) of space between your chin and the but stock of your long gun.

01 Length - You can start with about a fist width of space between your chin and the but stock.

RDM4 1200

From this basic length, you can adjust the sling to fit you so that it provides some support in the standing, and once you start working on positions other than the standing, you will have the flexibility to adjust the sling as needed.


If you are carrying concealed according to the loadout we advised in the Handgun Drills Manual this will look familiar.

Visualize looking down at yourself from above, with your front being 12 o'clock, your right arm being 3 o'clock, behind you is 6 o'clock and your left arm is 9 o'clock.

Your holster and your magazine pouch should be near the point of your hips (3 and 9 o'clock positions) or positioned slightly towards your back, anywhere from about your 3 o'clock to the 5 o'clock position is fine for a right-handed shooter and from about 9 o'clock to 7 o'clock for the left-handed shooter.

Can you go to a more forward 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock? Yes, and we urge you to try different things, but it defeats the benefits mentioned above (ease of concealment, freedom of movement, ease of transition between equipment, and ease of transition between weapons systems), consider all other alternatives.

In the below photos, notice that my handgun and handgun magazine pouch are in the same place that they normally are. Doing this allows you to easily add the needed equipment (magazine pouches, shotshell carriers, etc.)

01 Front Facing - Handgun holster and magazine pouch mostly hidden from the front, with the rifle magazine pouch from 4 o'clock to the 2 o'clock.

RDM2 1166

On the firing side, everything is basically identical to a standard handgun carry setup. That is to say, the holster will be worn anywhere from the 2 o'clock to 5 o'clock position.

Be aware that the closer you can get to the 5 or 7 o'clock position (depending on your handedness), the better it is for a concealed carry (more difficult to see your equipment from the front and the easier it is to conceal), which also allows for a faster support hand draw in case you are hurt in the firing side arm/hand (see the Handgun Drill Manual for further clarification on this topic).

Also be aware that putting your handgun equipment too close to the front may not allow you to conceal your equipment as well as having it moved to the rear. Additionally, doing so may also impede your movement when you climb ladders, jump, run up steps, or squat to take cover (you could trap the holster and handgun between the upper thigh and your abdomen, thereby preventing you from gaining maximum flexibility while making for a slower draw).

Conversely, if the firearm is too far back towards your spine it can become awkward and difficult to reach (especially while seated, and just as importantly; if your handgun is on your spine and if you fall backward, you could damage your spine.

Finally, also consider the fact that if you are wearing your handgun equipment near the front for speed, you will then need to either position your primary equipment (holsters, magazine pouches, strippers, etc.) towards the rear.

I have found that the simplest solution is to wear my equipment in a manner that allows me to keep everything consistent.

So, once again - I keep my holster in the same place as I would if I were carrying the handgun alone.

02 Firing Side - Holster still worn from point of hip at the 3 o'clock to the 5 o'clock position.

RDM2 2167

On the support side, the wisdom of the previous suggestions about consistency in wearing of your handgun equipment becomes evident.

You will notice that on my support side (just like the firing side handgun holster) my handgun magazine pouches remain in the same place, and because I keep the handgun setup identical in most circumstances, I now have room on my support side long gun setup to fit in a couple of shotshell holders or rifle magazine pouches.

Keeping the handgun (secondary firearm) equipment in the same place, simply add your magazine pouches or shotshell carrier (stripper) into the vacant space from 10 - 8 o'clock (for a right handed shooter) and from 2 - 4 o'clock (for the left handed shooter).

03 Support Side - Magazine pouches fill in towards the front, leaving the handgun magazine pouches in place.

RDM2 3168


RDM2 4a170

In the idealized photo above, the shooter is wearing a rifle magazine pouch on the belt, as well as a leg drop down magazine pouch, attached to the belt just in front of the magazine pouch on his belt. If wearing a drop down magazine pouch, make sure that it is attached high enough so that your hands will naturally drop to the buckles/snaps/velcro. Most of the time, this will mean that you need to modify the leg drop down magazine pouch. However, getting it at the correct height makes for not only easy access, it is beneficial if you need to run.

Keep in mind the "idealized" loadout may not be practical for you. For instance, you may be fighting in underwear, or you may need to move so quickly that you don't have any time to put on any other gear than throwing a spare magazine into a pocket as you grab your rifle and run to the fight.

Keep all equipment off of the spine (the 6 o'clock position). Your spine needs protecting, so don't chance hurting yourself if you fall on your own or are pushed to your back.

04 Back Side - Keep all equipment off of your spine.

HDM 2 4

Again an additional advantage to wearing your equipment like this is that if you end up switching out firearms (rifle for shotgun), you will not need to adjust the above configuration much (if at all).In the case of the above configuration, you will be able to easily exchange items like rifle magazine pouches and shotgun strippers around the 9-11 o'clock positions (for a right handed shooter), while never having to move your handgun setup (and therefore having to retrain for hours on end in order to master you "new" setup).

In the case of the above configuration, you will be able to easily exchange items like rifle magazine pouches and shotgun strippers around the 9-11 o'clock positions (for a right handed shooter), while never having to move your handgun setup (and therefore having to retrain for hours on end in order to master you "new" setup).

For a proper magazine indexing (chapter 8), your magazine should be inserted into the magazine pouch with the rounds towards the front.

05 Magazine Indexing - Keep the rounds towards the front.

RDM10 863


RDM9 2257

Finally, on the subject of wearing your equipment, what I have outlined above are only suggestions for ideal loadouts. I am fully aware that your situation may not allow you to get kitted up.

I know that at different times in my life I have modified my equipment to meet my mission needs as well as had different levels of loadout dependent on what was happening at the time.

While some types of body armor may not work well with this type of setup, many will, even if you have to switch out holsters (let's say from the inside the waistband or "IWB" holster you see above to a drop-down type that drops down and is worn outside of the waistband).

Don't get wrapped around the axel about preferences, find what works for you across the broadest spectrum of circumstances and train to roll with that.


NEXT DRILL: Chamber Check and Magazine Check


Danger Stripe

NOTE: On-line instructional courses are not designed or intended to replace live training on a range, but rather to supplement your live fire and dry practice training.

At a bare minimum, you will want to enroll in a basic NRA course offered by any of the qualified NRA instructors in your area. Introductory NRA courses do a nice job of providing hands-on experience with basic marksmanship, weapon safety, maintenance, and cleaning.

If there is a DSI certified Combative Firearms Instructor (CFI) in your area we suggest you start with Module 1 (Rifle Basics) of our Combative Rifle courses. If not, we recommend that you take a quality rifle course from a reputable firearms training school near you.