Stance and Grip (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 - 04 PROPER STANCE AND GRIP Next is the stance and grip for the rifle. Don't get wrapped around the axle about your stance. I feel that far too much attention is given to the stance - because, in a fight for life, you will never have the opportunity to get into a picture perfect stance, and you will most likely be moving.

I feel this so strongly that perfecting a stance makes up very little of our curriculum, and we quickly move our clients from getting their hits with a good stance, to shooting on the move and getting good hits while moving at the earliest possible opportunity.

Set the foundation for your stance by setting your feet about shoulder width apart, weight equally distributed on both feet with your firing side foot slightly back.

01 Stand Naturally - Stand as if you are about to move rapidly. Feet comfortably apart, weight forward.

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Think of a good stance as a position from which you can dynamically and instantaneously move from, don't get married to a static position, as you will need to move in a fight, and you should train for that reality as often as you can.

In order to be able to move quickly, you will need to get your body weight forward, onto the balls of your feet.

02 Weight Forward - Stand as if you are about to move rapidly, and keep your weight on the balls of the feet.

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Keep a slight bend in the knees, with your but slightly back, think about being able to stalk or pounce in any direction you choose. Your hips and shoulders should be roughly on the same plain - that is to say that you shouldn't be doing any strange twisting at the waist to shoot.

03 Stalking/Pounce - Stand as if you are about to pounce with the knees slightly bent and but slightly back.

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A proper grip begins at the field ready, from the first moment you sling the rifle. The webbing of your firing side hand immediately is placed high on the tang of the pistol grip. On a straight stock, grip around the narrow portion of the stock with your thumb pointing forward. The firing side middle finger will be pressed against the bottom rear of the trigger guard.

By placing the firing thumb forward on a straight stock, keeping your thumb out of the way of your face/lips during recoil.

The rest of your firing side fingers should establish a firm handshake grasp around the grip with your trigger finger straight along it's reference point (most firearms have some kind of a tactile reference point that you can feel under your trigger finger when it is straight and on the receiver).

04 Grip Starts - A good grip begins when you pick up the rifle, the firing side hand should have a firm grip, thumb over the top pointing forward (for a full stock).

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Your firing side thumb should be relaxed, and resting on top of the safety/selector lever, ready to flip the safety to the "fire" position at the moment of your choosing.

Left-handed shooters can either have an ambidextrous safety installed or use thier trigger finger to disingage the safety at the moment of their choosing. 

04.a Thumb on Safety - When not in use, but in your hands, your thumb should be resting on the safety lever.

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Simultaneously your support hand should grasp your for-end (handguards) in a manner that gives you positive control, within comfortable reach. This is where a well fitted (or adjustable stock) will be worth every penny you invest in it.

Consider using a thumb over the barrel (for handguarded for-ends) or a thumb forward grip (much like you grip the handgun), if you have an exposed barrel. Additionally, I like to take my support hand trigger finger and point forward with it as well (certainly not a requirement), as I feel that it aids me in pointing more naturally and rapidly.

The support side arm and hand should be roughly near a locked out extension, and pulling the front of the rifle straight back into your shoulder.

05 Support Hand - The support hand provides rearward pressure to the rifle, thumb over top, support trigger finger points forward as well (optional).

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The support hand middle, ring, and pinky fingers should grasp around the for-end firmly and naturally, and in a position that allows you access to activate any light switches you may have.

In the photo below, the shooter has a light mounted on top, which allows activation with the thumb while maintaining the forward grip.

In this case of on and off pressure pad switches mounted on the side of the rifle, the support middle through pinky should be able to easily access and activate them.

Regardless of the lighting system you choose, make certain that your setup accommodates your ability to instantly access the lights when you need them while maintaining a proper grip.

05.a Support Hand - Ensure that you are able to instantly access all of your light switches.

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Your stock should be high and inside of your shoulder pocket, well inside of your deltoid and off the ball and socket joint of your shoulder. This position helps to control recoil more efficiently (bringing the recoil to where there is more mass to absorb it), and is much easier on the shoulder joint.

06 Stock Placement - Stock is high and deep into the shoulder pocket, well off the ball and socket joint of the shoulder, more towards your chest.

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What you can't see in the photos is the rearward pressure of the firing side hand (pulling the rifle into the shoulder with firm, but gentle pressure) and the support hand pressing firmly rearward on the handguard of the rifle.

A good stance and grip will give you power, control, and flexibility in your options to move and shoot in any direction that you see fit, any time you see fit.

Stick to the above basics, and don't make a mountain out of a stance molehill. Trust me on this, once you learn how to shoot and move properly, you will be grateful that you have the skill to shoot on the move, and any time you are relatively still will be a bonus for you.


NEXT DRILL: Proper Wearing Of Your Equipment


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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.